Monthly Archives: October 2014

Evacuation from Sierra Leone

Evacuation - My 'bubble'

Evacuation – My ‘bubble’

The Ebola epidemic in west Africa is the largest outbreak of the disease since its identification in 1976. The region is also afflicted with other viral hemorrhagic diseases, most of which will lead to death if untreated. One of these is Lassa fever, first ‘discovered’ in the town of Lassa, Nigeria in 1969.

In 2000, while serving with the British Army in Sierra Leone, I succumbed to malaria. During my stay in the Indian Army hospital supporting the United Nations force I developed an unusual fever and throat infection, which the doctor looking after me diagnosed as the early stages of Lassa fever. Continue reading

5 iconic sites added to this year’s Heritage at Risk Register | Heritage Calling

5 iconic sites added to this year’s Heritage at Risk Register | Heritage Calling.

Steven Paul Ainsworth QGM

Steven Paul Ainsworth QGM

English Heritage ‘champions historic places and advises the Government and others on how to help today’s generation get the best out of our heritage and ensure it is protected for the future‘.

In the blog post above the photograph, English Heritage describes five sites added to the ‘at Risk Register’. One of those sites is Geevor Tin Mine at Pendeen in Cornwall. This was the site of an underground accident on 15 January 1980, when two miners were buried alive at the bottom of a narrow cavity. For their gallantry in the subsequent rescue attempt, Mr Stephen Ainsworth, a shift boss, and Mr Alan Brewer, a mine captain, were awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal.[1] Continue reading

SOLDIERS – An Exhibition by Tom McKendrick

SOLDIERS by Tom McKendrick

SOLDIERS by Tom McKendrick

In For Exemplary Bravery, the history of the Queen’s Gallantry Medal, I wrote:

In a book such as this it is relatively easy to outline the events that prompt gallant and selfless action.

It is much harder to convey the horror or terror or sense of danger inspired by a raging fire, a furious storm at sea, the actions of an armed and violent person or war at its most personal and bloody.

It is impossible to convey adequately the long-term mental and physical consequences to many of those who have acted so gallantly.

I could not have had a better illustration to help make that point than the emotive portrait of Corporal David Timmins QGM by the Scottish artist Tom McKendrick. Continue reading


This essay is part of the the Antoni Paszkiewicz project.

Szeregowiec (Private) Toni Paszkiewicz (right) with an unknown Polish starszy szeregowiec (Lance Corporal).

Szeregowiec (Private) Toni Paszkiewicz (right) with an unknown Polish starszy szeregowiec (Lance Corporal).

2014 saw the 70th anniversary of the attack at Monte Cassino and the airborne attack at Arnhem, in both of which Polish troops played an important and memorable role.

Less well known, the 1st Polish Independent Parachute Brigade Group had suffered a number of deaths and injuries prior to the attack at Arnhem in September 1944. Among Toni’s papers is a newspaper cutting that commemorates four of his fellow soldiers who died preparing for an—then unknown—airborne attack in occupied Europe. 2014 is also the 70th anniversary of their death.[1]

Continue reading

The Evolution of the Regular and Service Battalions of Princess Victoria’s (Royal Irish Fusiliers) 1914-1918 – Part 2, The 1st Battalion

Here may be found the background to this work and links to similar studies of the other Battalions of the Regiment.

Pioneer Sergeant A L W Steele and his sons

Pioneer Sergeant A L W Steele and his sons

For a history of the 1st Battalion during the First World War see: Burrowes, A R. (1926). The 1st Battalion Faugh-a-Ballaghs in the Great War. Aldershot: Gale & Polden.

For a general history of the Regiment see: Cunliffe, M. (1952). The Royal Irish Fusiliers 1793-1950. London: Oxford University Press.

When war broke out the 1st Battalion was stationed at Shorncliffe in Kent. The Army Reserve (those who had finished their period of regular service) had been mobilised by Royal Proclamation on 4 August 1914 and the men were ordered to report directly to the 1st Battalion or to the depot in Armagh.[1] The 1st Battalion was part of 10th Brigade, 4th Division, which had not deployed with the British Expeditionary Force in case of a German landing in Great Britain. It was dispatched in early August and the 1st Battalion landed in France on 23 August 1914. Continue reading