World War II goes live

WOULD YOU BELIEVE IT?

Secret German WW2 code machine found on eBay

A historic machine used to swap top secret messages between Hitler and his generals has been found languishing in a shed in Essex, England.
Volunteers from The National Museum of Computing used eBay to track down the keyboard of the Lorenz machine.
It was advertised as a telegram machine and was for sale for £9.50.
“My colleague was scanning eBay and he saw a photograph of what seemed to be the teleprinter,” said John Wetter, a volunteer at the museum.
“He then went to Southend to investigate further where he found the keyboard being kept, in its original case, on the floor of a shed “with rubbish all over it”.
“We said ‘Thank you very much, how much was it again?’ She said ‘£9.50’, so we said ‘Here’s a £10 note – keep the change!'”
During the war, the Lorenz teleprinter was used to swap personal messages from Hitler to the generals
The teleprinter, which resembles a typewriter, would have been used to enter plain messages in German. These were then encrypted by a linked cipher machine, using 12 individual wheels with multiple settings on each, to make up the code.

source = www.bbc.co.uk/news

ON THIS DAY – May 6th

ON THIS DAY – May 6th

1994
English Channel tunnel opens

In a ceremony presided over by the UK’s Queen Elizabeth II and French President Francois Mitterand, a rail tunnel under the English Channel was officially opened, connecting Britain and the European mainland for the first time since the Ice Age.

The channel tunnel, or “Chunnel,” connects Folkstone, England, with Sangatte, France, 31 miles away. The Chunnel cut travel time between England and France to a swift 35 minutes and eventually between London and Paris to two-and-a-half hours.

As the world’s longest undersea tunnel, the Chunnel runs under water for 23 miles, with an average depth of 150 feet below the seabed. Each day, about 30,000 people, 6,000 cars and 3,500 trucks journey through the Chunnel on passenger, shuttle and freight trains.

Millions of tons of earth were moved to build the two rail tunnels–one for northbound and one for southbound traffic–and one service tunnel. Fifteen thousandpeople were employed at the peak of construction. Ten people were killed during construction.

Napoleon’s engineer, Albert Mathieu, planned the first tunnel under the English Channel in 1802, envisioning an underground passage with ventilation chimneys that would stretch above the waves. In 1880, the first real attempt was made by Colonel Beaumont, who bore a tunnel more than a mile long before abandoning the project. Other efforts followed in the 20th century, but none on the scale of the tunnels begun in June 1988.

In 1996, the American Society of Civil Engineers identified the tunnel as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.

source = www.history.com

ON THIS DAY – May 4th

ON THIS DAY – May 4th

1979

Margaret Thatcher became the UK’s prime minister. She is the only woman to have held that office.

Margaret Hilda Roberts was born in Grantham, England, in 1925, the daughter of a grocer, but she won her way to Oxford, one of the world’s leading universities.

In 1959, after marrying and giving birth to twins, she was elected to Parliament. She rose rapidly in the Conservative Party and, after that Party won the General Election in 1970, Margaret became secretary of state for education and science.

Having lost power in 1974, the Conservatives chose the radical Margaret Thatcher as their next leader. Under her control, the Party shifted further to the Right in its policies.

At that time, the Labour Party was in government and the Prime Minister was James Callaghan, forever disgraced by his attitude of “crisis, what crisis?” when the country was at a standstill through an epidemic of workers’ strikes.

He lost a vote of confidence in early 1979 and the consequent General Election gave the Conservative Party a majority in Parliament. As head of that Party, Margaret became Prime Minister.

She immediately set about dismantling socialism in the UK. She privatized numerous industries, enabled people in social housing to buy their homes, and encouraged citizens to own shares.

History will probably remember her most for breaking the stranglehold of the trade unions, which had been driving the country into economic collapse.

In 1983, despite the worst unemployment figures for half a decade, Margaret was re-elected to a second term, thanks largely to the decisive British victory in the 1982 Falklands War with Argentina.

The “Iron Lady” took a stand against the Irish Republican Army (IRA), which was regularly planting bombs in Britain. She was targeted, and escaped death by inches when a timed explosion part destroyed her hotel suite. Showing typical grit, instead of going into hiding, she re-wrote the speech she was to give just six hours later and defied the terrorists.

In 1987, an upswing in the economy led to her election to a third term. But Margaret alienated some in her own Party because of her tax policies and opposition to further British integration into the European Community. In November 1990, she failed to receive a majority in the Conservative Party’s annual vote for selection of a leader. Weakened by her own Party, she resigned as prime minister. She was still a strong public figure and in 1992 became Lady Thatcher, with a seat in the House of Lords.

In later years, Margaret wrote her memoirs, as well as other books on politics. She continued to work with the Thatcher Foundation, which she created to foster the ideals of democracy, free trade and co-operation among nations. She stopped appearing in public in the early 2000s after suffering a series of strokes. She died on April 8, 2013, at the age of 87.

Margaret Thatcher was either loved or hated. One of her most famous quotes, when she was being pressured to do a U-turn on her no-nonsense principles, was: “U turn if you want to. The lady’s not for turning.”

I had the great privilege of working on her behalf. Fond memories to Margaret Thatcher.

ON THIS DAY – May 1st

ON THIS DAY – May 1st

Traditional May Day origins and celebrations

The earliest May Day celebrations appeared in pre-Christian times, with the Floralia, festival of Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers, and with the Walpurgis Night celebrations of the Germanic countries. It is also associated with the Gaelic Beltane. The day was a traditional summer holiday in many pre-Christian European pagan cultures. While February 1 was the first day of spring, May 1 was the first day of summer; hence, the summer solstice on June 25 (now June 21) was Midsummer.

As Europe became Christianised, the pagan holidays lost their religious character and May Day changed into a popular secular celebration. A significant celebration of May Day occurs in Germany where it is one of several days on which St. Walburga, credited with bringing Christianity to Germany, is celebrated. The secular versions of May Day, observed in Europe and America, may be best known for their traditions of dancing around the maypole and crowning the Queen of May. Fading in popularity since the late 20th century is the giving of “May baskets,” small baskets of sweets or flowers, usually left anonymously on neighbours’ doorsteps.

Since the 18th century, many Roman Catholics have observed May – and May Day – with various May devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary In works of art, school skits, and so forth, Mary’s head will often be adorned with flowers in a May crowning. May 1 is also one of two feast days of the Catholic patron saint of workers St Joseph the Worker, a carpenter, husband to Mother Mary, and surrogate father of Jesus.

In the late 20th century, many neo-pagans began reconstructing traditions and celebrating May Day as a pagan religious festival. Traditional English May Day rites and celebrations include Morris dancing, crowning a May Queen and celebrations involving a maypole. Much of this tradition derives from the pagan Anglo-Saxon customs held during “Þrimilci-mōnaþ” (the Old English name for the month of May meaning Month of Three Milkings) along with many Celtic traditions.

In Oxford, it is traditional for May Morning revellers to gather below the Great Tower of Magdalen College at 6:00 a.m. to listen to the college choir sing traditional madrigals as a conclusion to the previous night’s celebrations. It is then thought to be traditional for some people to jump off Magdalen Bridge into the River Cherwell. In recent years, the bridge has been closed on 1 May to prevent people from jumping, as the water under the bridge is only 2 feet (61 cm) deep and jumping from the bridge has resulted in serious injury in the past. There are still people who climb the barriers and leap into the water, causing themselves injury.

In the 20th century May Day has also become linked to International Workers’ Day in Great Britain, even though the holiday is not officially a “Labour Day”. In London the May Day march and rally, gathers in Clerkenwell Green near the Marx Memorial Library before marching to Trafalgar Square for a rally with speeches from representatives of local, national and international trades unions and campaigning organisations.

source = wikipedia

ON THIS DAY – May 1st

ON THIS DAY – May 1st

Traditional May Day origins and celebrations

The earliest May Day celebrations appeared in pre-Christian times, with the Floralia, festival of Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers, and with the Walpurgis Night celebrations of the Germanic countries. It is also associated with the Gaelic Beltane. The day was a traditional summer holiday in many pre-Christian European pagan cultures. While February 1 was the first day of spring, May 1 was the first day of summer; hence, the summer solstice on June 25 (now June 21) was Midsummer.

As Europe became Christianised, the pagan holidays lost their religious character and May Day changed into a popular secular celebration. A significant celebration of May Day occurs in Germany where it is one of several days on which St. Walburga, credited with bringing Christianity to Germany, is celebrated. The secular versions of May Day, observed in Europe and America, may be best known for their traditions of dancing around the maypole and crowning the Queen of May. Fading in popularity since the late 20th century is the giving of “May baskets,” small baskets of sweets or flowers, usually left anonymously on neighbours’ doorsteps.

Since the 18th century, many Roman Catholics have observed May – and May Day – with various May devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary In works of art, school skits, and so forth, Mary’s head will often be adorned with flowers in a May crowning. May 1 is also one of two feast days of the Catholic patron saint of workers St Joseph the Worker, a carpenter, husband to Mother Mary, and surrogate father of Jesus.

In the late 20th century, many neo-pagans began reconstructing traditions and celebrating May Day as a pagan religious festival. Traditional English May Day rites and celebrations include Morris dancing, crowning a May Queen and celebrations involving a maypole. Much of this tradition derives from the pagan Anglo-Saxon customs held during “Þrimilci-mōnaþ” (the Old English name for the month of May meaning Month of Three Milkings) along with many Celtic traditions.

In Oxford, it is traditional for May Morning revellers to gather below the Great Tower of Magdalen College at 6:00 a.m. to listen to the college choir sing traditional madrigals as a conclusion to the previous night’s celebrations. It is then thought to be traditional for some people to jump off Magdalen Bridge into the River Cherwell. In recent years, the bridge has been closed on 1 May to prevent people from jumping, as the water under the bridge is only 2 feet (61 cm) deep and jumping from the bridge has resulted in serious injury in the past. There are still people who climb the barriers and leap into the water, causing themselves injury.

In the 20th century May Day has also become linked to International Workers’ Day in Great Britain, even though the holiday is not officially a “Labour Day”. In London the May Day march and rally, gathers in Clerkenwell Green near the Marx Memorial Library before marching to Trafalgar Square for a rally with speeches from representatives of local, national and international trades unions and campaigning organisations.

source = wikipedia