There may be some occasions where a bit of publicity or protest is order…
Remembrance Day events are clearly NOT one such occasions.
The as-yet unnamed creep, and coward, picture below decided it would be a good idea to hide his face and skateboard through the events being held to mark Remembrance Day in Bristol.
Hidden by his mask and wearing horns, he was described as being dressed in a pink frilly corset and striped stocking.
After he gatecrashed the march through the town, police tackled him as members of the crowd shouted their disgust at him.
He tried to get away, but was outnumbered. A witness said he put up a lot of resistance and they had to use quite some force to restrain him, and that people were shouting “rip his head off”.
After being arrested on suspicion of an offence, Avon and Somerset officer stood guard around him, as a number of people from the crowd were threatening to attack him.
Guess he was lucky they did not have to leave him… as they went for a tea-break.
Later, Jose Paulo Da Silveria, 38, was charged under the Public Order Act, police said.
An Avon and Somerset Police spokeswoman said: ‘Police arrested a 38-year-old man at the Remembrance Sunday service in Bristol city centre.
‘He was taken into custody.
‘Jose Paulo Da Silveria has been charged under the Public Order Act and will appear at Bristol
Magistrates’ Court on December 4.’
As he was bundled into a police car yesterday, officers had to forcefully remove several males who approached him and shouted obscenities and ‘death’s too good for you’.
Poppy Burning has also become an issue
See this story which appeared around the same time, and has raised similar emotions, especially after earlier poppy burning events:
A teenager who drunkenly posted a picture of himself burning a poppy on Facebook was in police custody last night.
Officers arrested Linford House after they received a complaint about the image that was published in the early hours of Remembrance Sunday.
When police called at his parents’ home that evening, the 19-year-old had already taken down the image on a friend’s advice..
A man, named locally as Linford House (pictured right), 19, was arrested yesterday after the image (left) appeared online. The words on the right image have been written on by a third party, who posted it online
It showed a cigarette lighter with a flame catching light to the bottom of a poppy, allegedly with the words: ‘How about that you squadey [sic] ****s’.
The student was questioned by detectives for several hours yesterday afternoon and last night he was still in custody facing a second night behind bars.
The mention of the poppy appeal has become something of an annual reminder in SeSco, and I had thought I had managed to get it into my head and mention it sooner rather than later, but this year has seen it slip again, as my attention was diverted.
However, the almost belated mention comes not from my somewhat dubious memory and its ability to forget the obvious, but due to current events, and some pondering about how to mention them.
Last year, as I made the Poppy post, I was pleased to observe that there had not been (to my knowledge at the time) any thefts relating to collection boxes. Sadly, that is not the case this year, and I noted one such incident reported in Scotland, so this scum is still moving amongst us:
Police in Dunfermline have described as ‘despicable’ the thieves who stole a charity collection tin from a leisure centre.
The fundraising can was collecting donations for the Scottish Poppy Appeal ahead of Remembrance Day.
The tin was taken from the front counter of the Dell Farquharson Centre on Dunfermline’s Nethertown Broad Street at around 2.20pm on Saturday.
Fife Police want to talk to two men who were seen at the centre shortly before the theft was discovered, one of whom was described as white, around 30 years of age, with short brown hair, and wearing a navy puffed-style jacket.
Inspector Thomas Barratt described the theft as “particularly despicable” given the causes which the Poppy Appeal supports.
Next, an apparent increase in the incidence of vandalism to memorials seems to be apparent in the media, with the most recent in Inverness, only days before Remembrance Sunday:
VANDALISM to a war memorial, just days before Remembrance Sunday, has been branded as “unforgivable” by the city leader.
Police are appealing for information after a section of the sandstone memorial in Cavell Gardens, which faces the River Ness, was targeted.
Words including ‘aim’ and what appears to be the name ‘Julia Mia’ have been etched onto the sandstone memorial.
“This is a disgrace, said Ian Brown, the city leader.
“I am appalled at this a deliberate action, in the run up to the weekend of Remembrance. It is unforgivable. I would urge anyone with information about the perpetrators to contact the Police or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”
And finally… there has to be mention of the apparent increase in thefts from memorials, specifically the plaques carrying the names of the fallen, or events leading to their deaths. These are generally made of non-ferrous metals which provide a good return for the thieves, since they pay nothing for what they steal. However, the cost is high in terms of distress for relatives, and councils/taxpayers, who have to foot the bill for repairing and restoring memorials damaged as the metal plaques and fixings are torn from without any consideration, causing damage many times the value of the metal removed.
Again, this seems to have become a growing problems within which one has to include unscrupulous scrap metal dealers, since it should be fairly obvious that the plaques and similar are not legitimate scrap. Yet they will apparently happily hand over a few pound for the metal, choosing to ignore its appearance, or what it engraved on it.
The Scottish Government proposed changes to the rules for scrap metal trading, removing the option of cash-in-hand payments in casual transactions, but there does not appear to have been any further mention of this by the media, so I am not aware if this is progressing, or has stalled for some reason.
Perhaps there will be something different to mention in a year’s time.
One of the intriguing threads in the SeSco Forum has grown out of the subject of lasers being used as non-lethal defences. And now we get to mention a small specialist Glasgow company.
In the right hands and used responsibly (something that computers can now take care of), lasers can be used to dazzle various types of attacker on the battlefield and at sea (in the case of pirates) to deter and repel the attackers. Unlike bullets and missiles, such actions tend not to result in deaths – even though the attackers generally arrive sporting firearms of various types.
The problem with laser dazzle is that even low-powered hand-held lasers can cause the effect, and temporary blindness even at long ranges – long enough to reach from the ground to low flying aircraft, especially around airports and near town and cities. And that mean criminals (by any name) can use these for their own amusement, and dazzle pilot of aircraft, or police helicopter crews. The good news is that a number of such aircraft are now equipped with kit that can pinpoint the ground area where such attacks are made from, and police can be despatched.
However, this does not remove the danger of the dazzle itself.
Part of the problem in dealing with this in the past has been that glasses and goggles designed to protect against such dazzle are only effective at one frequency, which means that they only defend against one colour or wavelength of laser light. Needless to say, there are many colours of laser now available, so this defence, although effective, has limited practicality.
Until now that is, with news of developments made by the MoD (Ministry of Defence) that the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) has been working with Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) to evaluate and assess the specially designed spectacles. The new type of laser eye protection (LEP) for pilots is being tested and developed to address the increasing number of incidents of lasers being used to distract pilots.
The new LEPs can filter out different wavelengths of light from the spectrum, including those used in various laser weapons and laser pens which are becoming increasingly available via the internet.
While existing LEPs generally filter out and block only one wavelength from the colour spectrum, the prototype spectacles, made by Glasgow-based company Thin Film Solutions, can filter out a range of different laser wavelengths, allowing greater operational benefits and flexibility for pilots.
The work has been undertaken with the US, and has benefited from an established partnership between Dstl and the United States Air Force. Testing took place in May.
Dr Craig Williamson, Principal Scientist at Dstl, said:
“The bilateral work at the United States Air Force Tri-Service Research Laboratory in San Antonio proved to be invaluable. The results from this human performance testing on spatial detection and colour perception have set the benchmark for future work, and we’re hoping that further bilateral funding will be available to research the next generation of eye protection in the coming years.”
Further testing is to be conducted later this year, including optical performance and environmental testing by Dstl, and laser dazzle and performance testing at defence contractor QinetiQ.
Saturday, August 4, 2012, marks the opening of a display in Castle House Museum, Dunoon, to mark the 70th anniversary of Operation Frankton, probably better known by the name of the Cockleshell Heroes.
The display is scheduled to remain on show until October 2012.
This raid involved the submarine HMS Tuna and 10 men from the Royal Marines and 5 canoes (Cockles). The targets were merchant ships lying in Bordeaux harbour – ships that were successfully breaking the Allied blockade particularly between Japan and Germany. Conventional methods such as bombing had been discounted. Operation Frankton was an unorthodox, imaginative and daring solution. At the end of the first night only 2 canoes and 4 men were still operational. Four nights later they inflicted damage to 5 ships lying in the harbour. Only two men survived and returned to the UK.
More details can be found here: Operation Frankton on the Combined Operation web site
Background to the display
It was only a couple of months’ ago that it came to our attention that this year marks the 70th Anniversary of the above raid. What was not known by us was the fact that the contingent of Royal Marines Boom Patrol Detachment made their final training and preparation round about the Holy Loch and left from there on board HM Submarine Tuna on 30th November, 1942. This fact was made known to us by Adrian Hunt and David Neill of World War 2 Presentations who requested that a display of the original model canoe, together with a replica of one of the canoes and related memorabilia be staged within Castle House Museum, Dunoon until October, 2012.
We will be holding an Official Opening on Saturday, 4th August, 2012 from 10.30 a.m. until 2p.m. when the young local Fiddle Group and some of the Dunoon Grammar School Pipe Band will entertain. There will be short speeches from Adrian and David as well as the local Councillors etc. Teas, Coffee and Home Baking will be available in the nearby High Kirk. A few of the descendants have expressed a wish to attend. Also, I have asked the local RBLS to come along. In addition, the local Cinema will be screening the film ‘Cockleshell Heroes’.
It appears that there is no commemoration of this raid within Scotland and Adrian & David’s aim is to get permission (presently being sought) to place a wooden seat with commemorative plaque near to the present War Memorial at Lazaretto Point overlooking the Holy Loch. It is hoped this would be dedicated during the usual Service at the War Memorial on Armistice Sunday.
Information provided courtesy of Margaret McVicar of the Dunoon & Cowal Heritage Trust.
We have mentioned MAEE (Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment) Helensburgh before, just to make sure it was in the system, and that information about it could be found.
This time, the mention is slightly different, and is in the form of a specific appeal.
The photograph (click for a slightly larger version) below shows some of the staff posted to the establishment, and is thought to date from 1942-1943.
It comes from the collection of Robin Bird, whose father was the photographer for MAEE. Robin has written one book about the facility (now out of print) and is working on a second, which he would like to publish with the names of the staff. Unfortunately, the picture has no further information to offer. Although many such pictures had the names of those present on the back, the rear of this photograph is blank.
Any information regarding the personnel shown would be most gratefully received, and forwarded to Robin.
The appeal is also being made on the Helensburgh Heritage web site: Who were these MAEE staff? where Robin added:
Do you recognise anyone in this Second World War photo, taken about 1942-3 at the Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment at Rhu, which was officially known as RAF Helensburgh for security reasons?
The man seated centre in the front row would appear to be the head of department, and he is surrounded by RAF and WAAF personnel and civilian trades people.
MAEE at Rhu was a mix of RAF and civilians carrying out research on seaplanes, anti-submarine weapons and air sea rescue until in 1945, at the end of the war, the establishment returned to Felixstowe where it was disbanded in 1953.
Unfortunately there are no names on the back. MAEE does not have an old comrades branch or an RAF Squadron association to keep people in touch.
Perhaps someone may recognise a face — many MAEE people had digs in local houses — I know it is a long shot!
The important point to glean from this note is that the facility was not generally known as MAEE, and was in Rhu (a little way along the road), but was referred to as RAF Helensburgh – so it may be that there are records to be found, but that searches need to be done under a variety of heading, or important facts may be missed,
It’s almost a year to the day since we reported Former Cold War Regional Government Headquarters in Crieff goes up for sale.
The BBC reports that “The complex went on the market nine months ago” – which means someone there can’t count, since we referred to its own story of the sale dated January 28, 2011.
Oh well, not my problem, I’m not paying their wages. Oh – wait a minute – I pay my TV license, so that means I do.
Anyway, the bunker has been sold to Lincoln-based communications firm GCI Com Group Ltd, and will be used to store confidential computer files.
The Comrie Development Trust took ownership of the site containing the bunker back in 2007, as part of a community buy-out from the MoD for £350,000 . When the bunker was completed in 1990, it cost in the region of £30 million. When it went on sale, offers of around £400,000 were invited.
While the data centre itself will not really create any new jobs in the area – it is a technical facility full of hardware – it is seen as making the area more attractive to investors, and has been described as bringing high-speed broadband to an area lacking such a resource. The lack of technology was given as one reason why local businesses have been held back to date.
Wayne Martin, chairman of GCI Com, said: “This will bring Comrie and the camp into the national spotlight for a best-in-breed hosting and disaster recovery centre, along with the camp benefiting from access to high-speed data that’s only really available in key cities within the UK.”
I was a little surprised to read of a depressing end to the year for Russian rocket launches.
While I don’t follow such things avidly, I do pay attention to their occurrence, and to the stories around them.
One phrase that had been rolling around in the vast spaces of my mind compared Russian failures to those of America and Europe, and implied that Russia was failure free, while the others ‘dropped things’ regularly. While I didn’t necessarily accept this at face value, the lack of publicity of Russian launches makes it more than a 5-minute exercise to check, however someone has done this (see below), and the record is not quite as glowing as some would have us believe.
News of a Soyuz rocket failure was particularly notable, because I am sure the phrase I recollect suggested that the Soyuz rocket had not suffered a single failure to date, and that the design had changed little over the years, enhancing its reliability – it would seem that this impressive record no longer stands.
At the moment, Russia has completing new launch facilities on the equator – launching from there boosts the take-off speed, meaning less fuel is needed, or larger payloads can be carried – and is currently trying to launch a number for the European Space Agency (ESA), while the first launch (back in October) carried two Galileo satellites, for Europe’s GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) which will ultimately free it from dependence on America’s NavStar GPS.
Fragments of a Russian satellite that failed to launch properly have landed in a street named after cosmonauts in a remote Siberian village, reports say.
The Meridian communications satellite failed to reach orbit on Friday.
Parts crashed into the Novosibirsk region of central Siberia and were found in the Ordynsk district around 100km (60 miles) south of the regional capital, Novosibirsk.
The loss of the Meridian satellite ends a disastrous 12 months for Russian space activity with the loss of three navigation satellites, an advanced military satellite, a telecommunications satellite, a probe for Mars and as an unmanned Progress supply ship.
Earlier this month, Russia also failed to launch a Soyuz rocket
It looks as if the woes of the Russian space industry are growing – and the bad timing is going to let new starts get a foot in the door:
A campaign has begun in Scotland to raise awareness of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
The organisation is responsible for 20,000 war graves in the UK and cemeteries abroad.
It’s hard to believe that yet another year has passed since I made our traditional mention of the annual poppy appeal, in particular our own Poppyscotland local variation on the national theme.
I make this small contribution to maintaining awareness of this appeal, since so many of the secret, or lost, items which can be identified around Scotland have a basis somewhere in the two great conflicts, and even today, we are discovering formerly unknown links to that past, as archives are trawled, and sealed records opened.
Sadly, the chances of discovering any new revelations from survivors are now dwindling rapidly, and we can only hope that those who have remained silent will share their knowledge, before it is perhaps lost forever.
This year, at least as I make this post, it is not tarnished by some tale of bottom-feeders having stolen donations – although I suspect that is more likely to be my failure to detect this, rather than its absence somewhere in the land.
There is however, an act of disrespect and desecration to past heroes and their memorial, with the increasing occurrence of theft of statues, plaques, and other metalwork from memorial (and not just war memorials) by metal thieves, and scrap metal dealers with no scruples, who are happy to part with untraceable cash in exchange for items which the seller obviously can have no right to be disposing of. BOTH deserve to be caught and dealt with harshly by the authorities. The crime is bad enough, and the addition of insult needs to be dealt with similarly.
On a more positive note, Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory celebrated its 90th anniversary this year:
A Scottish Government minister has paid tribute to veterans who work at the country’s only poppy factory.
On Tuesday, Transport and Housing Minister Keith Brown, who is responsible for veterans’ issues, visited Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory in Edinburgh.
The factory employs disabled veterans to hand-assemble the poppies and wreaths which form a key part of Armistice Day ceremonies.
Every year more than five million poppies and 8000 wreaths are produced for the annual Scottish Poppy Appeal, which is marking its 90th year.
The 40 former servicemen employed at the factory have just finished making the poppies for this year’s appeal, and are now starting on next year’s consignment.
Mr Brown said: “The Scottish Poppy Appeal run by Poppyscotland is a fantastic example of the respect and pride we bestow on our war veterans. Without the funding raised by the appeal, many simply would have nowhere else to turn for support.
“In many respects, the issues facing our armed forces as they return from battle are similar to what they would have been 90 years ago when the poppy appeal was established.
“Over the years there has been a tremendous amount of money donated and, as our military involvement continues to grow, so too does the need for us to support our ex-servicemen and women.”