Saturday, 17 April 2021
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Peter O Polack Author PicJust before April Fool's Day 1971 Ivan Aleksandrovich Kulikov the Second Secretary of the Soviet Embassy in London walked into the Kensington High Street branch of bookseller W.H. Smith and stole a £5 Mickey Mouse kaleidoscope. He was tackled as he made his shuffling escape and was lucky not to be charged. A seemingly idiotic act of larceny was followed by the expulsion of Soviet Embassy personnel inSeptember.

A look through the kaleidoscope would have provided a guide to the future behavior of Russian diplomacy and espionage which could be described as erratic unless one were part of the state security apparatus soon to be shadow government. This extensive arrogance has its genesis in the post-Cold War successes of Soviet espionage that culminated in the overconfidence and excesses today by those at the control console.


We mark the passing of those who have served their country. Contributions from comrade and families welcome - email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it MOUNTBATTEN Commander Philip Mountbatten 10 June 1921 – 9 April 2021 Later Admiral of the Fleet HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh MiD Croix de Guerre Greek War Cross

Graduated from Dartmouth in 1940 as the best cadet in his course. Midshipman HMS Ramillies, protecting convoys of the Australian Expeditionary Force in the Indian Ocean, followed by shorter postings on HMS Kent, on HMS Shropshire, and in Ceylon.] After the invasion of Greece by Italy in October 1940, transferred from the Indian Ocean to battleship HMS Valiant in the Mediterranean Fleet.

On 1 February 1941, commissioned as a sub-lieutenant after a series of courses at Portsmouth,(top grade in four out of five sections of the qualifying examination.Battle of Crete, and was mentioned in dispatches for his service during the battle of Cape Matapan, in which he controlled the battleship's searchlights. He was also awarded the Greek War Cross. HMS WALLACE - in 1942 he became the ship's First Lieutenant at the unusually early age of 21 During the invasion of Sicily, in July 1943, as second in command of Wallace, he saved his ship from a night bomber attack. 1944 destroyer, HMS Whelp, where he saw service with the British Pacific Fleet in the 27th Destroyer Flotilla. Present in Tokyo Bay when the instrument of Japanese surrender was signed. HMS Royal Arthur, the Petty Officers' School in Corsham, Wiltshire until his marriage to Princess Elizabeth (later HM The Queen)

Robin confJL703589 10151321812591122 745318061 oArkitka is the first of a new class of Russian nuclear icebreakers. She's designed to smash through Arctic ice up to 3 metres thick or more. But her long-delayed maiden voyage followed on a series of failed trials – and was marred by an inability to find thick enough ice to demonstrate her full potential, and equipment failures.
Instead of sailing the Northern Sea Route in splendour, last November she was back in her home port of Murmansk for more repairs. Like much in modern Russia, she has over-promised, under-delivered, and finding out what really happened is obscured by an anxious State, writes Robin Ashby.


USA00000IMG 00000 BURST20190107130637518 COVER"Parallax", according to the Cambridge Dictionary, refers to "the effect by which the position of an object seems to change when it is looked at from different positions." It is the "fact of seeing wrongly."

In counter terrorism, the nature of an insurgency, the position of an object, is understood differently by the military, politicians, and government contractors. The object seems to change as each looks at the insurgency from different positions. The military through war, politicians through aid, and contractors through profits. This leads to fraud, waste and corruption, making it difficult, if not impossible, to defeat an insurgency, writes Joseph E Fallon.


A contribution (DV14) to our series "Distant Voices"
By Gabriel J. Christian. President East Coast Chapter Tuskegee Airmen (2018-2020) This article is also published by Gabriel at with further illustrations

Wendell ChristianAround seven thousand British West Indians - including my father seen here -  served in the British armed forces during World War II. When Britain declared war on September 19, 1939, the Royal Air Force (RAF) itself was compelled to overcome the prejudices of the time. After the defeat of France in 1940 and the retreat of the British Expeditionary Force at Dunkirk, Britain found itself in dire straits. With advocacy by progressive Britons and British West Indians who spoke out against segregation, the RAF, to its credit, integrated its ranks. Around 7,000 British West Indians rallied to freedom's cause and served as fighter pilots, bomb aimers, air gunners, ground staff and administration. No other colonies, or group of nations, contributed more airmen to the RAF during World War II. This is even more remarkable, and their commitment more profound, given the small populations of the islands. Several Africans from Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone also became officers in the RAF, with the most notable being RAF Flight Lieutenant Johnny Smythe of Sierra Leone, who was shot down over Germany on his 28th mission and survived imprisonment in the famous Stalag Luft One.


HMS-Invincible-IWM-Q-39273-249x192By Richard Bridges
My Great-Uncle Richard Townsend served as the Commander of HMS Invincible throughout her time in the First World War.

HMS Invincible and HMS Inflexible were the first of Admiral Jackie Fisher's battle cruisers ("Fisher's greyhounds"). Designed to deal with German armoured cruisers they were intended to use their superior firepower together with speed to keep out of harm's way while they pulverised the enemy. She was built by Armstrong Whitworth on the Tyne 19060-9, when she was commissioned. Amongst her armaments were 4 twin turrets housing Vickers-designed 12 inch guns, whose 13.7 metre long barrels could project a third of a tonne shell nearly 23 kilometres at twice the speed of sound.


Joan Wanklyns painting of Ajax Bay Major (later Brigadier) Tony Welch wrote in the Distant Voices series:

Much has been written about the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Army and RAF fighting units involved in the Falkands Conflict but less about the amazing logistic gamble taken to conduct a war at the end of an eight-thousand-mile supply line. This article looks at the conflict from a logicians' point of view and relates how ingenuity and hard work kept the British forces going forward to eventual victory over terrific odds. (This illustration is by Joan Wanklyn of Ajax Bay)


Young mum22852158 1996377177298499 1051457243680247884 nAs told over several years to her son, Robin Ashby

During the Second World War, at the time of the Dunkirk evacuation, Marie remembers a soldier who lived downstairs below her mother's flat in then very unfashionable Islington north of Kings Cross Station, returning having lost most of his clothing. In the summer of 1940 as a17 year old she evacuated herself to a house in Kent. It was owned her mother's former employer, who had written suggesting it. She did some light domestic work, but as it was "more dangerous in Kent than London" with so many air raids (against the Kent airfields where her future husband was serving) during the Battle of Britain she went back home.


Brian Desmond Joseph WelchMy father, Sgt Brian Welch, was a member of the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF), sent to England to fly as a tail gunner, in Stirling and Lancaster bombers, over Germany and Europe, writes retired Brigadier Dr Anthony Welch. After training in Canada, he arrived in England and spent time familiarising himself with the bombers he would fly in on operations before joining an operational squadron in Suffolk.

On leave in London he met my mother, who was an English girl of twenty-one, born in Godalming. He was just two years older than his stunningly beautiful bride. My mother been engaged to marry an American flyer called Bob Ryerson, a winner of the Silver Star, who was to die on operations over Europe. My father had been engaged to a girl in New Zealand before the war but he broke it off when he met my mother, such was her charm. This was, of course, wartime and lives were short. Fun and romance had to be taken as and when it presented itself.

My parents did just that and it was, perhaps, a miracle that my father survived the war. Bomber Command aircrews suffered high casualties. Of a total of 125,000 aircrew, 57,205 were killed, a staggering 46% death rate. Tail gunners were particularly vulnerable. In all, 1,850 New Zealand airmen died in bombers flying from British bases during the war.


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