World War Two was a time for heroes, both on the battlefield and on the home front, and one of those was machine operator, Ruby Loftus.
Loftus was born in Llanhilleth in South Wales and in 1940 she and her sisters were assigned to work at the Royal Ordnance Factory in Newport. She proved herself to be exceptionally skilful in operating a lathe and was chosen to work on the breech-ring component of the 40-millimetre Bofors anti-aircraft gun. Read more ›››
Hedy Lamarr was one of the great Hollywood stars of the 1930s and 1940s but behind the glamour, she led a secret life as the inventor of the technology that we now use in wi-fi and Bluetooth.
Lamarr was born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler in Vienna in 1914, the daughter of a successful bank director. Read more ›››
A figure from way back for this week’s ABC Wednesday offering – financier, adventurer, duellist and gambler John Law who single-handedly bankrupted France in the 18th century.
Law was born in Edinburgh in 1671, the son of a Scottish moneylender. He joined the family business at the age of fourteen and studied banking until his father died in 1688 when he took himself off to London to live the life of ‘Dandy’. Read more ›››
Solomon Linda is responsible for one of the most instantly recognised songs heard across the world and yet despite this, he earned little from the composition and was to die unrecognised and in poverty.
Linda was born in 1909 on a labour reserve near Ladysmith in Natal, South Africa. He grew up in the traditions of amahubo and izingoma zomshado music, or wedding songs. Read more ›››
This week we have another of those pioneers of aviation, the aviatrix Clara Livingston, the 200th woman to gain a pilot’s licence and only the 11th to fly a helicopter.
Livingston was born in Chautauqua, New York, in 1900, the daughter the physician, Alfred Livingston, who retired a few years later and took his family across the globe to establish a coconut and citrus plantation in Dorado, Puerto Rico. Read more ›››
If you click the photo on the left you will see a remarkable image of one man refusing to conform in a crowd of hundreds performing the Nazi salute in 1936.
It was taken at the launch of the naval training vessel Horst Wessel and the one-man protestor is August Landmesser who had run foul of the Nazi party on account of his relationship with a Jewish woman. Read more ›››
If you’ve read my ABC posts before, you’ll know that I’m fond of eccentrics because people who kick against the system tend to lead more interesting lives.
But two who considered themselves ‘unexciting’ were Eleanor Charlotte Butler and Sarah Ponsonby who became known as the Ladies of Llangollen… Read more ›››
Tuesday Lobsang Rampa launched himself into the public consciousness in 1956 as the Lama from Lhasa with the publication of The Third Eye, his account of growing up in Tibet, which despite being an obvious hoax became an international best seller.
Among other things, Lobsang claimed to have had a splinter inserted into his pineal gland to activate his ‘Third Eye’ when he was eight in order to ‘see people as they really are and not what they pretend to be’… Read more ›››