Whither Great War Live?

World War 1 Live

Readers will have noticed that I stopped updating this blog on 28 June 2019, the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. That was always the end point I had in mind for this project, even though much at that point still remained unresolved – notably the future shape of Turkey, the fate of Russia, the status of Ireland (my own country) and indeed whether the United States would join the League of Nations. I could have continued the blog further but the Treaty’s signing on the anniversary of Franz Ferdinand’s murder was too convenient a stopping point, and any continuation beyond that point would have meant a dissipation of focus away from the First World War itself.

So is that the end of this blog? Basically, yes. I had hoped to occasionally treat readers to reviews of Great War related books, but…

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April 20, 1949 Ship’s Cat

Today in History

Mankind first crossed the line from hunter-gatherer to farmer, some ten thousand years ago. The earliest civilization known mainly for agricultural subsistence is the naturally well-watered region around Jericho, circa 8000BC. From that day to this, grain stockpiles and domesticated livestock have attracted vermin.  With that came the wild ancestor of the common house cat, Felis silvestris catus.


From the earliest times when man took to the sea, food stores were an attractive free ride, for rodents.

Rats reach sexual maturity in as little as four to five weeks and complete the act of procreation, in the blink of an eye. Litters average 8 to 14 “kittens” and run as high, as 21. With an average gestation period of only 21 to 23 days, rat infestations get out of hand with shocking rapidity.

Left uncontrolled, rats and mice can destroy ship’s stores in a matter of weeks. The “ship’s cat”…

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European Parliament Elections in the UK: A Guide

Interesting post on the mechanics of the European Parliament elections in the UK. It is written from the perspective of one seeking to maximise the numbers of Remain-supporting candidates elected but I think would be instructive regardless of your view on that particular question.

Europe Votes

As the UK sails past one ‘Brexit Day’ after another, it looks increasingly certain that the country will take part in this year’s European Parliament elections. Now it’s still not a guarantee – Parliament could pass and ratify a deal in theory before 22nd May. However, given the state of cross-party discussions between the Conservatives and Labour, that outcome does not look particularly likely. So, how will these elections work and what is the best approach for those who support the UK’s place in the EU?

First, the basics.The UK elects 73 MEPs to the European Parliament. This places the UK joint-third with Italy in the size of its representation. There is therefore no doubt that the political direction of the UK can have a significant impact on the political shape and direction of the Parliament. If this has been less obvious in recent years, it has only been…

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13/4/1919 The Amritsar Massacre

World War 1 Live

As you’ve probably noticed, this blog has fallen a bit behind and is a few weeks behind events from a hundred years ago. I project that I will catch up with by late April or early May and then will be on track until the conclusion in June.

I am breaking sequence now to mention a terrible event that happened a hundred years ago today, the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar, India. India at the time was experiencing an upsurge in nationalist agitation, with Indians hoping to secure the kind of self-governing status that the white dominions of the British Empire had already achieved. Some disturbances had occurred in Amritsar and Colonel Reginald Dyer decided on extreme measures to restore order.

On the morning of the 13th Dyer proclaimed a ban on all public meetings in the city. In the afternoon crowds were gathering in the Jallianwala Bagh square in…

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