Tag Archives: 1940

Considering the future

I miss blogging regularly. I enjoyed the process of selecting images, writing the text, editing the thing, and hitting Publish. What went wrong?

Well, for one thing, this WordPress installation is on the blink. I should fix it, but I don’t know how and really don’t have the time or inclination. I keep hoping each update of the back office stuff will improve things, but it never does. It’s been so long now I’ve forgotten what is actually broken and how to fix it if I try to make it work again.

So, I tend not to bother. And the blog languishes for lack of content.

Another thing has been the state of my mental health. Since that ruddy “B” thing, with the huge amount of commissioned work I foolishly took on and can’t cope with, I’ve been on the way down quite severely. Some days over the past year or so I’ve found it hard to even function. The first step was to acknowledge I had a problem, and the next step was to roll with it and find coping mechanisms. I think it’s under control, but occasionally it catches me off guard. There’s no point my adding to the general screaming that’s going on, even if it makes me feel better for a while. The blog, therefore, remains mute.

As a way of helping the mental health, I killed my Facebook account (again) at the end of 2018. I really don’t miss it. No, really. You ought to try it.

I’ve been trying to deal with the modelling work backlog. I think it’s beginning to make more sense again. Not a lot has been completed, but I have a lot on its way through the workshop.

7mm scale model locomotive of a GWR Collett goods tender engine

7mm scale model locomotive of a GWR Collett goods tender engine

This brute did emerge, finally in 2018. The model represents the preserved GWR Collett 2251 Class loco No 3205, with one of the tenders it runs with in preservation, but as it ran when new in 1946. All clear? Thought not! After a painful gestation, the model was finally shipped to its new home in Australia. While I like the finished model, I am very glad to see it go.

There are still umpteen commission builds being worked on and pending. I’ve closed my order book for another year in the vain hope I might get on top of things eventually.

Meanwhile, I cheer myself up by building plastic aeroplanes.

This thing is the Fairey Rotodyne. The prototype flew in the late 1950s, and was all set to take the world by storm until various mergers ended up with the project being scrapped. The model is built from an Airfix 1/72nd scale kit, the original moulds for which date to 1959. It really doesn’t fit into my themed collection, but I built it to join into a group build on a modelling forum. It was a lot of fun at a time when I was feeling particularly low.

This bizarre little contraption is an Avro C.30 Rota, built in the UK under licence from Cierva. It’s an autogyro, which works by having a free-spinning rotor that isn’t powered by a motor. A small rotary engine at the front of the aircraft provided thrust, and the rotor could be spun up to provide lift for take-off. This 1/72nd scale model is from an RS Models kit, and represents the type used by the RAF for calibrating the RDF stations. Part of my ever-growing 1940 collection.

Another RS Models kit, this time of a Marcel Bloch MB-152. As part of my 1940 obsession I’ve been acquiring examples of planes flown by air forces other than Britain and Germany. I’m working slowly through my French collection, starting with the single-seat fighters that operated during the Battle of France between May and June 1940.

Morane-Saulnier MS.406C-1, a 1/72nd scale kit from Azur.

From HobbyBoss, this is a 1/72nd scale Dewoitine D.520C-1

Finally, this A Model 1/72nd kit is of a Curtiss Hawk H-75A-2. All the French planes here were flown by aces credited with shooting down multiple enemy aircraft during the Battle of France.

So, there you are. A quick update on life at Snaptophobic Towers. I might decide to update more often, I might not. I might decide to move the blog to another platform—again. I might not. Who can tell. Equally, it’s entirely on the cards that a physical move of location from the lower right hand corner of Blighty to somewhere a bit more near the top might happen—but don’t hold your breath.

Late Spitfire pilot helps save Battle of Britain control tower

As a Battle of Britain nut, this is good news.

(Of course, the pedant in me must insist this isn’t a “control tower”. Such creatures didn’t exist in the RAF at the time, so this building is more correctly described as a Type 518/40 ‘Watch Office with Meteorological Section’. Happily, the linked story does mention this eventually. My inner pedant would also like to point out the building may not actually have existed in 1940, but was extant at the time the film was made in 1942.)

A unique wartime control tower where classic film The First of the Few was filmed has been saved from ruin thanks to the legacy of a Spitfire pilot.

More than 70 years after the movie starring David Niven and Leslie Howard was recorded at RAF Ibsley the dilapidated concrete building is to be restored to its former glory after wartime pilot Des Smith left thousands dedicated to the cause in his will.

via Late Spitfire pilot helps save Battle of Britain control tower where wartime classic The First of The Few was filmed by leaving thousands of pounds in his will. | Forces-War-Records.

BBC News – Churchill changed ‘finest’ speech in World War II

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It’s probably one of those defining moments in British history, when the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill – barely six weeks in the job, don’t forget – stood in the House of Commons to make this speech.

I knew the more famous broadcast version was subtly different, but it’s nice to know the man was fettling the original right up to the last minute in the House.

The things you learn

I am following a Twitter feed from the UK National Archives. The feed is literally a blow-by-blow account of the British War Cabinet meetings during 1940.

At this point in June 1940, we’ve been through the humiliation of Dunkirk, and we’re about to face the Battle of Britain. However, while the British were licking wounds and making snarling noises in the direction of Germany, France was fighting for her life.

In the Cabinet papers today, I learn that there was a proposal to make “an indissoluble union and unyielding resolution in defence of liberty and freedom”. The Declaration of Union would be put to the French government the next day.

The whole idea was as far-reaching as it was startling. While there would be no single currency, citizens of each country would become citizens of the other, and there would be a so-called Super War Cabinet which would direct the progress of the war for the two countries. The man behind this whole idea is none other than General de Gaulle – the very one who about thirty years later would categorically deny the UK entry to the Common Market!

Be that as it may, if things had worked out, by the end of June 1940, there would have been a Franco-British union. Sadly, no sooner than the British War Cabinet agreed to proceed with the idea, word came through that the French High Council was meeting to decide whether further resistance against the German invaders was possible. History tells us that the French surrendered to occupation shortly after, and Great Britain was left alone to continue the fight.

How different things might have been had the proposed union been considered earlier in the year, or even before the outbreak war in 1939.

BBC News – Audio slideshow: Rescue from Dunkirk

I “discovered” the Battle of Britain as part of a history curriculum subject at school. I became hooked, and over the years I’ve maintained my interest.

I’ve also become fascinated with the whole period leading up to the Battle, and as we’re now into a season of 70th anniversaries, various organisations are looking at Operation Dynamo, the evacuation of 330,000 Allied troops from Dunkerque and Calais. Today marks the first day of the operation itself, and I would like to share this audio slideshow with you.

BBC News – £80m Battle of Britain monument plan unveiled

Battle of Britain Beacon

Plans to erect a striking 116-metre beacon as a monument to the Battle of Britain have been unveiled.

The Battle of Britain Beacon will cost £80m and be taller than Big Ben.

The structure will be built at the Royal Air Force Museum in Hendon, north west London, and will house a permanent exhibition on the WWII air conflict.

The museum announced the scheme ahead of the 70th anniversary of the battle, which raged in the skies over Britain from July to October 1940.

Being a long-time Battle of Britain nut, I’m not sure what to make of this.

It’s just struck me…

With the news that our “unelected” prime minister, Gordon Brown, has fallen on his sword, and let the news vultures feed afresh for the rest of the evening in fevered speculation about all the hung parliament stuff, the thought struck me that it is 70 years ago this very day that another unelected prime minister took the helm.

Winston Churchill.

Now, he didn’t turn out so badly, did he?