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The Sinking of HMS Ark Royal

The Sinking of HMS Ark Royal

Launched in 1937, the British aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal would see much distinguished service during the Second World War. She found herself involved in some of the earliest sinkings of German U-boats, supporting operations in Norway and the hunt for the mighty German battleship Bismarck. As the war progressed, she took part in the…

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Hearts of Steel: The Sword of Stalingrad

Hearts of Steel: The Sword of Stalingrad

On 29th November 1943 during the Tehran Conference, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill presented Soviet leader Joseph Stalin with a ceremonial longsword. King George VI had asked for the sword to be commissioned in recognition of the defenders of Stalingrad, who had courageously fought for their city between August 1942 and February 1943. Apart from…

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The Rafwaffe: No.1426 (Enemy Aircraft) Flight, Royal Air Force

The Rafwaffe: No.1426 (Enemy Aircraft) Flight, Royal Air Force

No.1426 (Enemy Aircraft) Flight of the Royal Air Force was formed on 21st November 1941 to test and evaluate captured enemy aircraft of the German Luftwaffe. The idea was to gain intelligence on the capabilities and characteristics of these aircraft. As a result, the Flight gained the nickname ‘the Rafwaffe’, although it also evaluated an…

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The ‘Immortal’ Osman Digna

The ‘Immortal’ Osman Digna

Demonised by some but highly respected by others, Osman Digna (sometimes spelt ‘Uthman Diqna) was a Mahdist leader who remained a thorn in the side of the British in Sudan for almost two decades during the late Victorian period. He was, perhaps, the ablest commander of the Ansar – the Mahdist army – who, despite…

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The Five Shilling Rebellion

The Five Shilling Rebellion

After over two and a half years of bitter fighting, the British finally prevailed over their resilient Boer adversaries in South Africa in 1902. Defeated, the Boers commandos of the Transvaal were asked to sign a pledge that they would adhere to the newly agreed peace terms. Many did, some refused. For those unable to…

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Operation Catapult: A Most Disagreeable Task

Operation Catapult: A Most Disagreeable Task

It was midnight on 25 June 1940 when the armistice, signed three days earlier by French and German representatives at Compiègne, came into force and ended the Battle of France. In a mere six weeks the Germans had conquered much of western Europe, including France, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. These unfortunate countries would remain…

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