Family, History, Military, Truth, War

In Memory, Thomas Herbert Mapson

Thomas Herbert Mapson was my Auntie Betty’s father.  (Strictly speaking, she wasn’t my auntie–being my great-grandmother’s niece–and her given name wasn’t Betty–they were Jenny Alice May–but “close enough for gubmint work,” as they say. He was born and baptized in Bilston, Staffordshire in the UK, on July 4, 1878.  Given what I’ve found out about my… Continue reading In Memory, Thomas Herbert Mapson

Plain Speaking, USMC, War

What About The Draft?

The United States of America abolished the draft (most recently) in 1973.  Subsequent to that date, all the forces have been all-voluntary.  Previous to that date, conscription had been an on-and-off sort of thing, occurring between the Revolutionary War and the Vietnam War, as convenient and as required. In these most recent days, as we… Continue reading What About The Draft?

Entertainment, History, War

Sweet-Sounding Saturday: Eighty Years Ago Today

Oh, Gosh. Eighty years ago today, Glenn Miller and his Orchestra made their last live radio broadcast: https://youtu.be/xQY3Qc_CM7E I'm a bit younger than many who might remember this (I was 68 this past week).  But I grew up in the British West African colonies, and we were a bit behind the eight-ball when it came… Continue reading Sweet-Sounding Saturday: Eighty Years Ago Today

Life, Military, Plain Speaking, Quote of the Day, War

“He deserves the gratitude of all of his countrymen”

Thus spoke President Harry Truman of Ernest Taylor Pyle. Ernie Pyle was born 122 years ago today, on August 3, 1900 in Dana, Indiana. He died not quite 45 years later, on April 18, 1945, in the Iejima Okinawa Prefecture of the Empire of Japan, killed in action while doing what he loved. Having missed… Continue reading “He deserves the gratitude of all of his countrymen”

Family, History, War

“His Holiness Will Receive You in a Few Moments. I could Have Dropped Dead!”

One of the touchstones of my life has always been the story of how my dad met the Pope, in Rome, on June 5, 1944. Truth be told, my mother always pooh-poohed the whole thing a bit (not unusual for Mum to do something like that, especially for an event in which she wasn’t the main… Continue reading “His Holiness Will Receive You in a Few Moments. I could Have Dropped Dead!”

Culture, Plain Speaking, Politics, War

The Simple Things

More than five years ago (November 2016, just before the election), I wrote this post on Ricochet.  I've not posted it here yet, but today I do. A headline in today's Telegraph: "A Shell Crushed the Family Next Door." Memories. For Ukraine.  And the glory of the simple things.   I spent several hours this… Continue reading The Simple Things

Quote of the Day, War

Russian Soldiers: “We were deceived and used like meat shields”

Unlike many these days, I don’t pretend to know exactly what’s going to happen in Ukraine over the short and long term.  My own position is that Russia has invaded a sovereign country that has just as much right to make its own way as does any other, and that that fact in and of… Continue reading Russian Soldiers: “We were deceived and used like meat shields”

Culture, Family, History, Life, Plain Speaking, Quote of the Day, War

Rosyjskie Diabły

I learned that little Polish phrase from the late Mr. She, not very long after I met him, on a day when we were swapping stories about our eccentric and (in wholly different ways) exceptional families. It’s one of the few (SFW) bits of Polish I know, and I say it with great determination and… Continue reading Rosyjskie Diabły

Culture, Military, USMC, War

An Update on (Former) USMC LtCol Stuart Scheller

LtCol Stuart Scheller’s service in the United States Marine Corps came to an end on December 23, 2021 when he was separated from that service with a General Discharge Under Honorable Conditions.  Having served only seventeen of the requisite twenty years in order to qualify for a pension, he will not receive one.  In addition,… Continue reading An Update on (Former) USMC LtCol Stuart Scheller

History, Literature, War

“Theirs But To Do and Die”

Some things never change. On 25th October 1854, during the Battle of Balaclava, 670 British soldiers under the command of Lord Cardigan, launched an ill-fated attack upon a well-defended Russian artillery battery and sustained 40 percent casualties in the form of approximately 120 killed, and at least 160 wounded. Fifty were taken prisoner. Also killed… Continue reading “Theirs But To Do and Die”