Filed: ABC Wednesday

My last post for this round of ABC Wednesday focusses on André Zirnheld who was a philosopher, a pioneer of the Special Air Service (SAS) and writer of the Paratroopers’ Prayer.

Zirnheld was born in Paris in 1913 to a Jewish family originally from Alsace. He studied at the Pensionnat diocésain de Passy, a private Catholic school in the city, and graduated in philosophy. Read more ›››

Isoroku Yamamoto

Isoroku Yamamoto was the ‘mastermind behind the dastardly sneak attack on Pearl Harbour’ in 1941 and who died as a result of equally sneaky tactics by the American air force.

Born Isoroku Takano in Nagaoka in 1884, his first name translates from the old Japanese as the number 56, the age his schoolmaster father was when his son was born. Read more ›››

X is for Father Xmas

Certain letters are getting harder to fill and none is more eXasperating than X. So yet again I have decided what could be more timely than to resurrect my post about Father Xmas.

Actually, the Father Xmas I have in mind is not the Coca-Cola swilling, red-coated fellow in his speed of light sleigh, but rather the English Father Xmas who has quite different origins to St Nicholas and Santa Claus. Read more ›››

Adrian Carton de Wiart is known as the unkillable soldier who served in the Boer War and World Wars One and Two.

Along the way he was shot in the face, head, stomach, ankle, leg, hip, and ear; survived two plane crashes; tunnelled out of a prisoner-of-war camp and; tore off his own fingers when a doctor refused to amputate them. Read more ›››

Unusually my post this week is not about an individual, but rather a group of people who together became known as the Veronica Mutineers.

The Veronica in question was a three-masted wooden barque built in 1879 and by 1902 it was still being used as a cargo ship despite the competition from the much faster steamships. Read more ›››

U is for Donald Unger

Donald L Unger

‘Mother, I know you can hear me. Mother, you were wrong! And now that I have your attention, can I stop eating my broccoli, please?’

Those are the words of Donald L Unger after he proved that his mother was wrong – that continually cracking your knuckles does not cause arthritis in later life as she so often warned him when he was a child. Read more ›››

Annie Edson Taylor was a remarkable woman. At an age when most people would think about putting their feet up and taking it easy, she decided that she would become the very first person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel.

She was born Annie Edson in Auburn, New York, in 1838, one of the eight children of flour mill owner Merrick Edson. He died when she was eight but the money he left meant supported the family. Read more ›››

There can be few people with a more unfortunate name as Clotworthy Skeffington, a cruel trick played on him by his parents, but one he tried hard to live up to.

Born in 1743, he was then the latest in a long line of Clotworthies, the family having adopted the first name from John Clotworthy, the Anglo-Irish politician who became the first Viscount Masserene whose title passed to his son-in-law, Sir John Skeffington. Read more ›››

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