L is for Emile Leray

Leray, now 62, with his bike

A story emerged in 2012 of an amazing feat of extreme auto engineering by Frenchman Emile Leray that allowed him to escape being stranded in a Moroccan desert in 1993.

Leray had been driving from the city of Tan-Tan in his battered Citroën CV when he was stopped at a military outpost and told he could go no further because of the conflict between Morocco and Western Sahara, in the area beyond Tilemsem. Read more ›››

K is for Lena Celestia Kellogg

Lena Kellogg Sandler

Lena Celestia Kellogg was the sister of John Harvey and William Kellogg of Cornflake fame and one of the ‘discoverers’ of The Urantia Book of divine revelations.

Lena was born in 1875 in Michigan and after a brief spell as a teacher, she turned her attention to nursing. It was then that she met and married William S Sadler and the two pursued their medical careers together, graduating with equal honours at the American Medical Missionary College. Read more ›››

J is for the Modern Jonah

Moby Dick

In the latter years of the 19th century, the English whaling ship ‘Star of the East’ was operating around the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic when a whale was spotted.

The boats were launched and the whale harpooned, but its thrashing in the water capsized one of the boats and two men were lost, one of them a sailor called James Bartley. Read more ›››

I is for William Henry Ireland

William Henry Ireland

Filial affection can be a dangerous thing, especially if that affection isn’t reciprocated – it can lead to all sorts of trouble.

Such was the case with William Henry Ireland. Born in 1777, his father regarded him as a waste of space, and even his mother denied that he was hers, claiming that she was just the housekeeper. Read more ›››

H is for Gerald Herbert Holtom

Peace Symbol

The peace symbol is one of the most instantly recognisable in the world, but less so is its creator, Gerald Herbert Holtom.

Holtom was a professional artist and designer who studied at the Royal College of Art. He was born in 1914 and had been a conscientious objector during World War Two. Read more ›››

G is for Francis Galton

Sir Francis Galton

Francis Galton was a flawed Victorian genius responsible for the introduction of forensic fingerprinting, the weather map, the originator of the nurture versus nature debate and of both sane and silly inventions.

He was born in 1822 and was a cousin of Charles Darwin. The two families were very close with the Darwins being the scientists while the Galtons were Quaker bankers. Both had produced members of the Royal Society and helped found the influential Lunar Society. Read more ›››

F is for Charles Fey

Where would Las Vegas be without the fruit machine, the invention of car mechanic Charles Fey?

Charles was born Augustus Fey in Vöhringen, Bavaria, in 1862, the youngest of sixteen children. He moved to the US when he was 23, first to New Jersey and then to San Fransisco where he worked for the Electric Works Company. Read more ›››