…in 1940, Winston Churchill succeeded Neville Chamberlain as British Prime Minister.
… in 1835, the first installment of Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales was published in Copenhagen, Denmark. This was the first of three installments published between May 1835 and April 1837, and marked Andersen’s first venture into the fairy tale genre. Notably, this first collection contained The Princess and the Pea.
… 70 years ago, the NHS (National Health Service) was launched in the UK.
in 1917 – one hundred years ago – the Third Battle of Ypres began. It is also known as the Battle of Passchendaele. The battle lasted for 105 days, gaining the Allied forces just 5 miles, at the cost of at least a quarter of a million casualties (not including around 220,000 lost on the German side). 90,000 Allied bodies were never identified, with a further 42,000 never even recovered. Having recently been to see the graves of two of my Great Great Uncles who fought in the First World War, it is incredibly painful to imagine not being able to visit them, or to see them resting peacefully after enduring such horrors.
… in 1415, the Battle of Agincourt took place between the English and the French during the Hundred Years’ War. The result was a major English victory, despite the fact that the French troops vastly outnumbered the English. Their success is attributed to their use of longbows – an English weapon that was greatly superior to the French crossbow. A trained English archer could shoot six aimed arrows a minute, and these arrows could penetrate armour from 100 yards away (and kill from 200).
…in 1914, the first trenches were dug on the Western Front. As it became ever more apparent that the war would not be ‘over by Christmas’, both Allied and German forces began digging trenches. In total, if these trench systems were laid out in one long row, they would stretch for 25,000 miles. 12,000 of those miles belonged to the Allies; 13,000 to the Central Powers.