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My History Blog

Who was the Real St Valentine

St Valentine's Day is on the horizon, so today I gave my talk on St Valentine for the first time this year, and for the first time on Zoom. The group of 40 odd folks were a lively audience. I've spoken to this group before, but again this was the first t

Hengist the First English King

Displaying guile, violence and astonishing ruthlessness, Hengist carved out a kingdom for himself – a lead followed by other warriors who together created England. Although he was such a pivotal figure in the founding of England, the facts about his lif

FILM REVIEW - Carry On Henry

Nobody ever watched a Carry On film expecting accurate history. Which is just as well because you don't get much of it in this offering. But I am being far too serious in looking for historical parallels. This is a bawdy, slapstick farce of the first orde

FILM REVIEW - the Private Life of Henry VIII

This is a great movie! Having now watched it, I can confirm that Laughton absolutely deserved his Oscar for his performance in this movie. The plot follows reasonably faithfully the life of Henry from 1536 to 1547.

FILM REVIEW - The Santa Fe Trail (1940)

Well, this is a cracking action adventure movie - though what it's got to do with the Santa Fe Trail is quite beyond me. They talk about it a couple of timees, but nobody ever actually goes to Santa Fe.

FILM REVIEW - Zulu (1964)

Made in 1964 to depict the Battle of Rorke's Drift, fought in 1879 as part of the Zulu Wars in southern Africa, this is one of the greatest war films ever made.

No.43 Squadron, RAF, become world famous

On 21 July 1940 the squadron performed a feat that made them world famous, though war time censorship meant that at the time the identity of the squadron concerned was not printed in the newspapers

FILM REVIEW - North West Frontier [1959]

I remember watching this film with my dad many years ago. As I recall it, the film was set on a train on which the heroes were racing to escape the villains. I suppose that way back then the subtleties of the plot and certainly I would have missed the re

The Kingdom of Sussex - a Talk

Today I gave my talk on the Kingdom of Sussex via Zoom to over 100 people from a U3A group in Sussex.

The Roaring Girl of Surrey

One of the few highwaywomen on record also robbed on the heaths of north Surrey.

The Real King Arthur - on zoom

I've just delivered my talk and presentation on "The Real King Arthur" to a U3A group of over 120 people via zoom. This is the first time I've done such a big group on zoom, and it worked surprisingly well. We took in Monty Python, Keira Knightly, Dark Ag

Attacking the Luftwaffe head-on

The 15 September 1940 again dawned bright and sunny, but this time the Luftwaffe were up early with decoys and feints. Then, around 10.40am, the radar picked up what was clearly a major formation gathering over Calais. At 11.15am No.253 and No.501 Squadro

Busting Stereotypes - Women at War

Yesterday I gave my talk on "Women at War" for a Women's Institute Group. I always enjoy this talk as it breaks through so many stereotypes - about women, warfare, Greeks, South America, the Royal Navy and more.