The early days of flying was an age for pioneers and none more so than Bessie Coleman who was both the first woman of African-American descent and the first of Native American descent to hold a pilot’s licence.
Coleman was born in 1892 in Atlanta, Texas, the daughter of sharecropper George Coleman, who was mostly Cherokee and part African-American, and his African-American wife Susan. Read more ›››
HMS Dreadnought was the pride of the British Navy and in 1910 it was visited by a group of foreign dignitaries, including the Emperor of Abyssinia who inspected the fleet and bestowed medals on several of the officers.
The visit might have been soon forgotten except that the whole thing had been an elaborate hoax dreamed up by the king of pranksters Horace de Vere Cole. Read more ›››
If the record of Noel Chevasse is impressive for his double Victoria Cross, even more so to my mind is that of William Coltman, the most decorated serviceman of the First World War.
Coltman was born in a village on the outskirts of Burton-on-Trent in 1891. Despite being a deeply religious man and a member of the Plymouth Brethren, he joined the North Staffordshire Regiment as a rifleman. Read more ›››
Two for the price of one for this week’s ABC Wednesday post in the two most decorated men in the British Army during the First World War – and neither of them were fighting men, but both had names beginning with the letter C.
As the only man to win the Victoria Cross twice in WWI, Captain Noel Chevasse is perhaps the better known of the two. Read more ›››
The world of magic in the 19th and 20th century was a competitive business and many conjurers became celebrities only after adopting an exotic Chinese persona that the public came to associate with the mysteries of magic.
One such was Chung Ling Soo who became one of the most celebrated magicians of his age who was to die in the pursuit of his art. Read more ›››
Catherine the Great of Russia is one of the more flamboyant characters from history and is remembered for what she did for her country and for the mostly spurious stories about her personal life.
You can read more about the latter on Wikipedia if you must, but I wanted to concentrate on Catherine’s great contribution to the modern world – the roller coaster. Read more ›››
Carlo Collodi was the Italian children’s story writer whose best remembered creation is Pinocchio, the puppet who became a boy, although his end was originally rather more gruesome than the familiar Disney version.
Collodi was born Carlo Lorenzini in Florence in 1826, the son of a cook and a maid who worked for the wealthy Ginori family in Collodi, the name he took and now known as one of the best small towns in Italy. Read more ›››
In 1896 William George Crush created the second largest ‘city’ in Texas only to deliberately demolish it overnight in a publicity stunt that went catastrophically wrong.
Crush was a passenger agent for the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad, known as Katy, and he conceived the idea of demonstrating a train wreck as a public spectacle… Read more ›››