Is Hitler’s son alive and living in England?

Hitler and Unity Mitford. Did Adolf Hitler have a child with an English girl? And could that child still be alive? It sounds far-fetched, doesn’t it? But there are many historians who believe that this is the case and there is some evidence to show that the possibility exists. Unity Mitford was from an aristocratic English family. She and her sisters were the most colourful characters around in the pre-war era. They were fun...

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The Dionne Quintuplets

Who were the Dionne quintuplets? When Elzire Dionne discovered that she was pregnant in 1933, she already had five children. By May the following year, she had doubled the size of her family. And she was only twenty five She and her husband Oliva lived in a farming neighbourhood in a French-speaking area of Canada. During the early part of her pregnancy, Elzire thought she might have had a miscarriage (I won’t go into details)...

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The Montrose Ghost

The Irish Apparition. On 27th May 1913 Irishman Desmond Arthur was killed when his plane was flying over Montrose in Scotland. Three years later, his spirit returned to the scene to haunt it. The ghost disappeared in January 1917 and was never seen again. But why? First, let’s look at the fatal accident. Arthur was an experience flier and on his last flight he had taken his BE2 biplane to a height of 2,500 feet. People on the...

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Morrissey: Militant Vegetarian

I don’t eat meat. For various reasons. But my question is, does that give me the right to insist that others don’t eat meat too? My diet is my life choice and my own business, wouldn’t you say? After all, I wouldn’t want militant carnivores insisting that I eat meat. But Morrissey (pictured) doesn’t think that way. He believes he has the right to be as militant as he wants regarding vegetarianism....

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Michael Llewelyn Davies: The Real Peter Pan

Who was Michael Llewelyn Davies? There can’t be many people who aren’t familiar with the story of Peter Pan. But did you know that the inspiration for the book was a young boy called Michael Llewelyn Davies? And Davies, pictured on the right, suffered a mysterious death when he was only twenty years old. Michael was one of five Llewellyn brothers – he was the fourth son – and the boys first met the Peter Pan...

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Abraham Zapruder

Who was Abraham Zapruder? Abraham Zapruder filmed a 26.6 second movie clip on a nineteen sixties 8mm camera. That piece of film has probably been analysed more than any other in the world – ever. That is because it was the only live footage of the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. But who was the man who captured this tragedy on film?  Why was he there on that day and what happened to his short movie clip?...

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Alice de Janze & Raymund de Trafford

The day Alice de Janzé shot her lover. It was March 25th, 1927 and Alice had a date to meet her lover, Raymund de Trafford for lunch in Paris. Actually it would be more accurate to describe him as her ex-lover. This meeting, at the Maison Lapérouse restaurant overlooking the River Seine ended at the Gare du Nord, with a detour to Monsieur Guinon’s gun shop on the Avenue de l’Opera. When they arrived at the station, Alice...

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George VI: The Unprepared King

George VI: The Unprepared King. The problems of King George VI. George didn’t expect to be the king. He was the second son and therefore it was his older brother who was brought up to know that one day, he would be the sovereign. And just as expected, when their father died, Edward ascended to the throne and became King Edward VIII. Just as is the case with Prince Harry today, George had no desire whatsoever to become the...

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Ian Fleming, James Bond and … Bob Marley

Did Ian Fleming model James Bond on himself? Ian Fleming’s most famous creation was, of course, James Bond. And to some extent, the author was the character. He had been involved in espionage during the Second World War but there are certainly other similarities. The fictional James Bond enjoyed a drink (shaken not stirred, of course) and definitely his love of women was a great feature of the 007 persona. Fleming liked a drink...

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All the Queen’s … Pigeons

The Queen and her racing pigeons. It’s widely known that Queen Elizabeth II is extremely fond of horse racing but did you know that she’s also a pigeon fancier? She keeps a stable (if that’s the right word) of racing pigeons in the grounds of the Norfolk royal residence, Sandringham. She has over two hundred pigeons and is said to be extremely knowledgeable about the birds, their care and of course, about pigeon...

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The Hindenburg Disaster

Hindenburg Airship Disaster. 1937 When the British R101 Airship crashed in 1930, the public began to lose confidence in this supposedly luxurious mode of travel. Passengers were transported in a ‘gondola’ – a capsule fitted out to be somewhat like  luxury ocean liner. The R101 disaster sowed seeds of serious doubts about the safety of airships but the events of May 6th, 1937,confirmed them. The German Hindenburg...

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The Death of Napoleon

What killed Napoleon? It’s May 5th, 1821 and the former mighty conqueror of vast areas of Europe, Commanding General and Emperor of France, Napoleon Bonaparte’ lay dying. He’d been held captive on the Island of St. Helena in the Atlantic Ocean for a period of 6 years and in the past few months his condition rapidly deteriorated. He was housed in a place known as Longwood House, a drafty, unrepaired home that could...

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The Great Jacksonville Fire

Jacksonville fire: 1901. Friday, May 3rd, 1901 was a beautiful day in Jacksonville, Florida. The sky was blue and there was no wind – it was perfect Floridian weather. At the Cleveland Fibre Factory, workers were sitting outside enjoying their lunch and there was a delicious smell of food cooking on a wood burning stove from a nearby shanty. Unfortunately, it wasn’t just the smell that was floating through the air –...

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Today in history: May

What happened on this day in May? 1st Ayrton Senna died 1994 Joanna Lumley born 1946 Citizen Kane released 1940 Bobby Vee announced that he’s been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease 2012 The US government seizes the nation’s jukebox factories and puts them to work making war materials. 1942 Empire State Building opened 1931 Ben E King died 2015 Man removed own appendix 1961 Tour de Yorkshire 2015 2nd Anne Boleyn...

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You’ll Never Walk Alone – Justice for the 96.

Andy Royston remembers the 96. (originally published by Ayup Online Magazine, 2000). For English football fans it is a moment etched in the memory, something never to be forgotten. The moment we heard the news. 96 lives lost in a crush of people at an FA Cup Semi-final football match taking place at the Hillsborough Stadium, Sheffield. A moment we’ll never forget. The moment when the game stopped. The occasion was supposed to be...

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The Mysterious Death of Wallis Simpson

What happened to Wallis Simpson after the Duke of Windsor died? Wallis was of course, the Duchess of Windsor. Her husband the duke had formerly been King Edward VIII and famously he abdicated in 1936 so that he could marry her. Their affair and subsequent marriage had tongues wagging on both sides of the Atlantic and was the constitutional crisis of the twentieth century. They had a curious, scandalous and rather sad married life but...

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Fashion Revolution Day

What is Fashion Revolution Day? On April 24th, 2013, a garment factory in Bangladesh collapsed. Over 1100 people were killed and many more injured. Bangladesh is one of the countries that produces the most garments and many of the clothes that were being manufactured in the ill-fated factory were destined to be sent to the western world. In other words, they were making the clothes that you and I buyin our local stores. To mark the...

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Queen Elizabeth II: The world’s oldest serving monarch

Queen Elizabeth II: The world’s oldest serving monarch. Princess Elizabeth became queen on 6th February, 1952. Little did she know that she would become the oldest monarch in the world. On 23rd January, 2015, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia died at the age of ninety making the queen the oldest sovereign. She was born in 1926. Queen Victoria reigned for 63 years, 216 days, a record the queen topped in September 2015. Victoria lived...

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Electrophobia!

Andy Royston looks into the darker side of this newfangled electricity fad. I beheld a stream of fire issue from an old and beautiful oak . . . and so soon as the dazzling light vanished the oak had disappeared, and nothing remained but a blasted stump. . . . I eagerly inquired of my father the nature and origin of thunder and lightning. He replied, “Electricity.”- Victor Frankenstein 1880, New York City. The metropolis...

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Auschwitz: The Monster Within

Auschwitz: The Monster Within. And so, I’ve arrived. Polish bus PK97 gallops off into the distance. The old girl has delivered me to the location on my ticket – a place I’ve wanted to visit for quite a while. Like most people, I’ve got a wishlist: Elvis’ Graceland, The White House, The Grand Canyon, The Pyramids and possibly the Paris tunnel where Diana was killed. Half expectedly, a slow churning in the...

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Marthe Cohn & Jacques Delaunay

Love and tragedy in occupied France. In 1941 Marthe Hoffnung was living with her family in occupied France. Life was hard for them. It wasn’t just the hardships of the German occupation that made life so difficult – the Hoffnung family was Jewish. In April that year, Marthe had her twenty first birthday and her parents, who tried to make life as normal as possible for Marthe and her siblings, allowed her to have a small...

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The Guinea Pig Club

The Guinea Pig Club of the Second World War. This very exclusive club was started in 1941 during WW2. There were exactly six hundred and forty nine members. But there was an incredibly high price to pay for membership. Members were all airmen who had been badly burned and disfigured in action They had all been treated by pioneer surgeon, Archibald McIndoe. He pioneered plastic surgery, hence the name of this elite club. Read on to...

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The First and Last Voyage of the SS Gulfamerica

The sinking of the SS Gulfamerica. In 1942, the Second World War hardly seemed real to the many people who were enjoying their Friday evening in Jacksonville Beach. The restaurants and bars were busy, teenagers were enjoying riding the merry-go-round and sailors from the nearby naval air station were taking advantage of their weekend passes. But that Friday, April 10th, was a night they would remember. The east coast was busy with...

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Evelyn Waugh & Diana Guinness

Evelyn Waugh & Diana Guinness. Words by Lyndsy Spence. Evelyn Waugh had made up his mind to dislike Diana Guinness, the third-born and most beautiful of the six Mitford girls. As the young wife of the brewing scion Bryan Guinness, Diana had already established herself as a dazzling society hostess. She was the epitome of what Evelyn (at that time) despised: rich, frivolous and, as he privately imagined, not very bright. During...

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Did Lana Turner Murder Johnny Stompanato?

Eric Root claimed that Lana Turner murdered her lover. In a sensational and highly publicised case in 1958, it was claimed that small-time gangster, Johnny Stompanato, had been murdered my his mistress’ daughter. His mistress was the famous Hollywood actress Lana Turner. The court ruled that Lana’s daughter,Cheryl Crane – then fourteen years old – had been responsible for the fatal stabbing. It was ruled as...

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The Bethnal Green Tube Disaster

A wartime disaster in London. In 2013, two seventy year old women met for the first time. Although they were strangers, it was a highly emotional meeting. They had a common bond which involved tragedy and immense bravery. That same year, another women who was all of ninety seven years old, was interviewed about the same event – a disaster that had been covered up by the authorities for many years. March 3rd, 1943 It was the...

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Who Was Gertrude Ederle?

Gertrude, or Trudy as she was more usually known, was a sportswoman who should have been famous and remembered today but despite her achievements she faded into obscurity. In the 1920s she was seen as a pioneer in showing the world that women were not ‘the weaker sex’.  Strangely, women were still considered to be so. Gertrude was the first woman to swim the English Channel She was the first woman to do so and she...

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Who was Pancho Barnes?

Who was Pancho Barnes? She was no beauty, that’s for sure, but she was one of the fastest-living, hardiest partying girls of the last century. She was married four times, was a Hollywood stunt pilot and spent her way through several fortunes.   The girl who was destined to escape from Mexican rebels by dressing as a man, and who could out-party, out-drink and out-everything most men she met, was born with the demure name of...

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Harry Houdini

Who was Harry Houdini? Houdini was born as Ehrich Weiss in Budapest in 1974. As Harry Houdini, he became world famous as an escapologist and magician. He was best known for his daring and seemingly impossible escapes. Sometimes he was placed in a crate, in chains and submerged in water. Another famous escape act involved him being suspended high in the air in a straitjacket and handcuffs. Houdini never let down his audiences. His...

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Who was Brownie Wise?

You may not be familiar with the name of Brownie Wise but I imagine that you know about her products – and the sales method she devised. You see, it was Brownie who developed the Tupperware party. She started her career as a secretary for a company called Stanley Home Products and sold their goods at home as a sideline. But when she discovered the Tupperware products, she dropped them to concentrate on these new bowls and...

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Eva Braun: Mrs Hitler

Eva Braun: The woman who married Adolf Hitler. Who was the woman who married the fuhrer? Of course, it was probably one of the shortest marriages ever, ending with the couple’s death on April 30th 1945, but at that time, she had known Hitler for sixteen years. She was born to what was then known as a lower-middle class couple in 1912,one of three sisters. She was educated at the local catholic school and then at a convent. She...

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The Kidnapping of Princess Anne

The 1974 kidnapping attempt on Princess Anne. Princess Anne is the only daughter of Queen Elizabeth II and in March 1974, four people were shot by a man who was trying to kidnap the princess for ransom. Anne, or the Princess Royal as she is known today, is not one of the younger, more popular members of the royal family such as Harry, William and Catherine, but she’s widely acknowledged to be the most hard-working member with a...

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Who Was Maria Callas?

Maria Callas and Aristotle Onassis. One of the richest men in the world, Aristotle Onassis, was married twice. His first wife was Tina Livros, the seventeen year old daughter of a shipping tycoon. (Onassis was forty when he married her). His second wife was one of the most famous women in America at that time — Jackie Kennedy, the widow of the assassinated president JFK. But one woman was with him for longer than either of his...

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Man Removed his own Appendix

Leonid Rogozov: The man who removed his own appendix. Leonid had little choice. He was on a Russian antarctic expedition in the early nineteen sixties when he started feeling abdominal pain. Being a doctor Leonid, who was twenty seven years old at the time, realised that he had appendicitis. He had to decide what to do. The expedition was many miles from civilisation. The team were not due to be contacted or picked up until the next...

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Nicole Hughes Maxwell

Who was Nicole Hughes Maxwell?  Nichole Hughes Maxwell transformed herself from a Californian socialite into a South American explorer and ethnobotanist. She later said that the wild animals,the witch doctors and the swamps held no fear for her – not,that is, compared to her pre-expedition lunch with top executives of  pharmaceutical company.”I hate asking for money’ she said. But she did receive a grant to continue...

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Who was Mary Garden?

Who was Mary Garden? Her name is unknown today but had we been around in the earlier half of the last century, we’d definitely know it. She entertained kings and princes – indeed King George of Greece reportedly presented her with a necklace worth $100,000 Mary was born in Scotland in the 1870s – the exact year varies depending on the accounts you read. When she was just a girl, her parents emigrated to the United...

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Who Was Timothy Evans?

Who was Timothy Evans? Timothy Evans was twenty five years old when he died in London in 1950. He was hanged for the murder of his wife and their baby daughter. But it was later discovered that there was one big problem. Timothy Evans was innocent. Evans was illiterate. He had suffered various illnesses as a child and had hardly no education. When he was still a boy, his family moved from their native Wales to London.  When he was old...

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Atlas and Vulcana

Who was Vulcana? Vulcana was the stage name of a young woman from Wales. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, she performed in the music halls as a strong-woman. She was born with the more likely name of Kate Williams in 1875. She was interested in acrobatics and fitness and her father, a local preacher, encouraged her to become fit and strong. When she was in her early teens she started attending a gym. She soon...

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Who was Catalina de Erauso?

Who was Catalina de Erauso? Catalina was born into a highly-ranked Basque family in 1585. Like many girls of her day,she was expected to live the cloistered life of a nun. She entered the convent when she was just child. She was desperately unhappy and determined to escape from the dreary future she saw before her. It was arranged that she should take her vows when she was fifteen. As the date approached, she became even more...

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Today in history: February

What happened on this day in February? 1st Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction 2004 Clark Gable born 1901 Lettice Curtis b 1915 2nd Nathan Lane born 1956 Gisele Pascal died 2007 Arnold Hardy born 1922 Lux Interior died 2009 Robinson Crusoe rescued 1709   3rd Buddy Holly died 1959 Three parent bill passed 2015 Nancy Kulp died 1991 Norman Rockwell born 1894 Lord Lucan declared dead 2016 4th Liberace died 1987 Charles Lindberg born...

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1964: The Year of Royal Babies

Four royal babies: 1964. Today there is a media frenzy when a royal baby is born. This wasn’t always the case in the previous century because the media hadn’t become quite as intrusive and the general population was more inclined to allow the royal family more privacy than they do today. Yet imagine what today’s media would have made of the news in 1964 when four royal babies were born, including one to Queen...

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Frances Reynolds: Life on the Run

Frances Reynolds: Wife of Great Train Robber, Bruce. Frances was just sixteen years old when Bruce Reynolds started courting her. She knew that he operated on the wrong side of the law but she was in love. She understood his rebellious character. So when he went on the run, she was with him. After Bruce and his colleagues had pulled off the Great Train Robbery in 1963, the couple had no choice. They had a small baby, Nick, but Franny...

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Who Was Pablo Fanque?

Who was Pablo Fanque? There’s a question. But the chances are that you might well have heard the name before. There he is on the right. I imagine he looks unfamiliar to you but I think that you might have heard his name, especially if you’re a fan of the Beatles. So what on earth can a bloke who was born in England in 1796 possibly have to do with the Beatles? And how is it that you’ve probably heard his name? Read...

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The Leeds Dripping Riots

Yorkshire: The Leeds Dripping Riots of 1865 This is the true story of a bizarre riot that took place in Leeds in Yorkshire a hundred and fifty years ago. Although there was a death because of the riot, and hundreds of people took part, it started because of something incredibly trivial – two pounds of dripping. Here, I suspect that I have to explain to younger readers exactly what I mean by dripping <sigh>. In the north of...

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Who Was Lillie Langtry?

 Lillie Langtry’s royal illegitimate baby. At various times in her life,Lillie Langtry was an entertainer, a racehorse owner, an American citizen, a resident of Monte Carlo and most notably, a mistress of members of the British aristocracy and royal family. But what is often forgotten is that she had a royal illegitimate daughter whose descendants are related by blood to today’s heirs to the British throne. Lillie was born...

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John T Betsch & Bessie Coleman

John T Betsch & Bessie Coleman John T Betsch’s grandfather was the first black millionaire in Florida. John himself was, in his daughter’s words ‘a race man’ who promoted the black community in the area. In 1930 he, as a member of the Negro Welfare League, sponsored and promoted aviator Bessie Coleman who went to Jacksonville to appear in an air show. You can read about Bessie Coleman here. If you’ve...

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Lana Turner & Johnny Stompanato

Lana Turner & Johnny Stompanato. Lana Turner was a Hollywood actress and pin up girl. She had a tempestuous life – she was married eight times – but probably her most famous relationship was that she had with Johnny Stompanato. Between husbands number four and five, Lana took Johnny to be her lover. He had underworld connections. According to Lana, Johnny was desperate to marry her but she objected to his life on the...

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Elsie Frost: Fifty Years After Her Murder

On the afternoon of October 9th, 1965, fourteen year old Elsie Frost was walking along a country footpath not far from her home in Wakefield, Yorkshire. A few hours later her body was found, sparking off a huge police investigation. A man was arrested and accused of the murder but the court decided he was innocent. The murderer remains at large fifty years later. In the early months of 2015, as the fiftieth anniversary approached,...

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Alberta Vickridge – forgotten poet and printer

The Forgotten Bard. Alberta Vickridge? You’ve probably never heard of her. Which is a pity – because in her lifetime she was a poet of considerable talent, including poetry that won her a Bardic Crown and Bardic Chair at an Eisteddfod in 1924. She also ran her own printing press from her home in Yorkshire at a time when women in printing were uncommon. Her poetry was admired and praised by writers, such as Agatha Christie,...

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American Beach, Florida

American Beach, Florida American Beach is  located in Amelia Island in Florida. Of course, Florida is well-known for its wonderful beaches – so what’s so special about this one? It was founded in 1935 by a local millionaire. It was intended to be a resort for the people he employed in his Jacksonville insurance company – plus others, of course. But not everyone. This was an exclusive beach. Why? The photograph below...

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Zora Neale Hurston

Who was Zora Neale Hurston? The nineteen thirties were a strange time in the USA. When most people were struggling with the effects of the Depression, Zora Neale Hurston was travelling and living in Florida, Jamaica, the Bahamas and Haiti – studying voodoo. She is remembered today as a folklorist, anthropologist and writer, yet she came from a childhood which featured deprivation an segregation in the rural southern states. She...

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Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day We are fast approaching that day where some people either look forward to early signs of spring or they are dismayed by the forecast that they are about to hear. In North America, we have this February holiday called Ground Hog Day, falling on the 2nd and causing usually normal people to act in ways that are to say the least peculiar! Canadians wait for Wiarton Willy and our American Neighbors look for Punxsutawney Phil...

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Today in history: January

What happened on this day in January? 1st Blanche Barrow born 1911 First edition of the Time of London published 1788 Victoria became the Empress of India 1877 Alcatraz became a federal prison 1934 J.D. Salinger born 1919 Maurice Chevalier died 1972 R.T. James born 1914 Constipate goldfish’s operation 2015 R. T James born 1914 2nd Yorkshire Ripper arrested 1981 Robbie Gordon born 1969 Cuba Gooding Jr born 1968 Isaac Asimov born...

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Princess Vicky & Prince Frederick William: Royal Romance

Princess Vicky & Prince Frederick William: Royal Romance. Princess Vicky was the eldest child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. She was a lively and intelligent girl and was well-trained by her parents to occupy a regal position. They expected her to marry well into another European royal house. They didn’t exactly arrange her marriage but they tried their best to facilitate it. When the Great Exhibition took place in...

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Porfirio Rubirosa: The pepper mill playboy

Porfirio Rubirosa: The pepper mill playboy. Rubirosa was a well-known character in the nineteen fifties and sixties. He either married,or had affairs with, some of the richest,most beautiful women in the world. This charm was legendary. Amongst the women he attracted were heiresses and movie stars. He was something of a dare-devil, enjoying fast cars, skiing, flying,playing polo and having dangerous liaisons with married women. It was...

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London at War: Black Americans

Black American soldiers in London in the Second World War. During WW2, many American soldiers were stationed in London and there’s one curious aspect of this that is very rarely mentioned in history books – the treatment of black American soldiers. In the 1940s racial segregation was a fact of life in the USA but not in Britain. This caused various problems. These had been anticipated by Britain’s foreign secretary,...

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Dawn Langley Simmons

Gordon Ticehurst was born in England in 1922. He was the illegitimate child of a sixteen year old servant girl. The father was the household’s chauffeur and the pair were employed by homosexual author Harold Nicholson and his lesbian wife Vita Sackville-West. Now that is some start in life. But it was just the beginning of a remarkable life story. Gordon’s early life is something of a mystery. Although it seems that he did...

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Al Capone: The Man Who Created Scarface

How did Al Capone get his ‘Scarface’ nickname? Al Capone hated that nickname. And of course it developed because he had knife scars on his cheek but who did this and how did it happen? In fact, he was only eighteen when he received the injury that he would hate for the rest of his life. It was August 1917 and Capone was working at the Harvard Inn on Coney Island.  The place was owned by Frankie Yale, a minor mobster....

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Songs For Swinging London

Andy Royston takes a look at swinging London and picks out the songs (and videos) that defined the era. ” Suddenly life broke out in warm colors again, so young and beautiful that a lot of people couldn’t stand to look at it. For the first time ever, kids were teenagers. They had loot, however come by, and loot’s for spending. And where there’s loot, trouble follows.” – Absolute Beginners Colin...

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What Do Americans Think About Britain?

Raping nuns in the street, Muslim-only cities,vigilante police … The latest American to put his foot firmly in his mouth was a chap called Steve Emerson. You’ve probably never heard of him – I hadn’t either until recently. He is some sort of journalist or something. But apparently, this person went on Fox News and declared that the city of Birmingham in the UK is an entirely Muslim city and that non-Muslims...

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The Capsize of the Prinz Valdemar

The end of the Florida Land Boom: 1926. In the middle of the nineteen twenties, a single ship ran aground on a sandbar and capsized. No-one was killed; no-one was hurt but this simple accident brought about the end of the infamous Florida Land Boom. Since the beginning of the decade, investors had flocked to South Florida. They could buy land cheap and sell it again and make fabulous profits. How could they go wrong? South Florida had...

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Who is Aileen Getty?

Of course, if you guessed from her surname that she is one of the fabulously rich Getty family, you’d be correct. Has it often occurred to you that often the richest families are the ones who seem to have the most tragedies and disasters in their lives? The Onassis and Kennedy families come to mind. Aileen Getty was one of these people who suffered because of her family’s enormous wealth – yet she’s a survivor....

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George Harrison attacked at home

In 1999, Beatle George Harrison was attacked in his own home. We like to think that we are safe in our own homes but in the early hours of December 31st, 1999, George Harrison and his wife Olivia were brutally attacked by a man wielding a knife in the Friar Park home. George said later that he was sure that he would die. George and Olivia had been watching television that night and had gone to bed at about 2am. Their son Dhani was...

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Earth’s Amazing Meteorite Impact Craters

Why so few craters on Earth compared with the moon?   It’s well-known that the surface of the moon is covered with many thousands of impact craters. However, Earth appears to not have nearly as many. The reason for this is that the Earth’s weather and tectonic forces make most craters eventually disappear. Also, Earth’s surface is 71% water, and so many meteors, asteroids, or comets that have hit the Earth, have splashed into the...

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Keeping Safe: Is it a Choice?

Help me out – Can you remember a time in the recent past few years, that there were not so many acts of senseless violence and killing and gun shootings in the USA? I wish someone could tell me if these mass shootings and senseless acts of terrorism have become the “norm”. What’s happening in our world, that killing has become such a focus of sensationalism and a common topic in the daily television news...

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Was Thomas Ince Murdered?

The mysterious death of Thomas Ince. Thomas Ince was a pioneer of early Hollywood. Yet many people haven’t heard of him, largely because of the mystery of his death. Was he murdered or did he die of natural causes? The story itself is worthy of a Hollywood mystery film. The murder, if indeed it was, took place aboard a luxury yacht belonging to a super-wealthy newspaper mogul. Aboard were actors and actresses, writers, a ballet...

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Today in history: November

What happened on this day in November? 1st Abigail’s Party shown on TV for the first time Ricardo Rodriguez died 1962 L. S. Lowry born 1887 2nd George Bernard Shaw died 1950 3rd Bert Jansch born 1943 Lulu born 1948 4th Reg Dean born 1902 Marguerite Patten born 1915 Robert Mapplethorpe born 1946 5th John Fowles died 2005 Idina Sackville died 1955 John Alcock born 1892 6th SS City of Cairo torpedoed 1942 Charles McVay died 1968...

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Lady Ursula d’Abo

Lady Ursula d’Abo: The girl with the widow’s peak. Words by Lyndsy Spence Born into an aristocratic family in 1916, Lady Ursula d’Abo (née Manners) was interrelated with some of the most powerful and interesting figures of the 20th century. She counted the famous beauty and hostess Lady Diana Cooper as her paternal aunt, and among those famous aunts were Laura and Margot Tennant, part of the Victorian intellectual...

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Are You There God? It’s Me, Danny

Are You There God? It’s Me, Danny. No answer! He never answers me. I probably use His name more than I use my own, and always endearingly: “Oh my God”. “Good God”. “Dear God”. Yet still He stays away from me. Is it because I have done something in my life that has got up His nose? Then where is the forgiveness? And shouldn’t He at least let me know what it is so that I can apologise for...

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Who was J. Habakuk Jephson?

In December 1872, an American ship was found sailing off the Azores in the North Atlantic Ocean. It was in good condition, but its lifeboat was gone — and there was not a soul on board. The ship was called the Mary Celeste and for years there was speculation about what had happened to the ten people aboard. They had vanished into thin air. There was no sign of a struggle or fight. Other than the lifeboat nothing seemed to be...

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SS Mohegan

The Mohegan disaster The SS Mohegan sank off the coast of Cornwall in 1898. Although this maritime disaster has been largely forgotten, the cause remains a mystery and of course, there is a conspiracy theory regarding the loss of the ship. And it’s a mysterious story indeed. The ship was built in the Yorkshire port of Hull. Her original name was Cleopatra and she didn’t get off to a good start. On her maiden voyage, which...

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Who Was Bernarr MacFadden?

Bernarr MacFadden: Millionaire, eccentric and health nut. He fully expected to live to be a hundred and twenty. He often predicted that he would in his health magazine and his over one hundred books. He was a bodybuilder and chose to subsist, so he maintained,on a diet of nuts, carrots and beet juice. He also recommended exercise, relaxation and that sex should be performed only for the purposes of reproduction. (He was married four...

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Sometimes We Forget to Say Thank You

Here is a great true story of one man’s way of saying thank you. It happened every Friday evening, almost without fail, when the sun resembled a giant orange and was starting to dip into the blue ocean. Old Ed came strolling along the beach to his favorite pier. Clutched in his bony hand was a bucket of shrimp. Ed walks out to the end of the pier, where it seems he almost has the world to himself. The glow of the sun is a golden...

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Did Alice de Janzé murder her lover?

Did Alice de Janzé murder her lover? I’m inclined to think that she did. But read about the case below and let me know what you think. Alice was American and a wealthy heiress. She was born in 1899. She lived a scandalous life, which ended when she took her own life t the age of only forty two. She was incredibly beautiful. Surviving photographs of her do not do her justice. in those days, rich American families often arranged...

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Who Killed Elsie Frost: Latest News

In September 2015 there were further developments in the almost fifty year old case of the murder of this fourteen year old schoolgirl. Elsie’s brother and sister, along with the Wakefield police and aided by the BBC, have been looking into this unsolved case. (You can read the details here). Elsie was murdered in the middle of the afternoon on a Saturday in October in 1965. She was a quiet and happy young girl and despite...

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Who were the Duplessis Orphans?

From Orphanage to Asylum While I was reading Asylum recently, a fine mystery that incorporates the past and the present, it made me very curious to know the details of that terrible time.  Actually, the book included so much truth, that I wanted to know what was fiction and what was fact. The book is a work of fiction, a mystery that revolves around the Duplessis orphans in Montreal, Canada. My own memories of the 50’s were so mild...

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Royal Scandal: The Prince of Wales

The question on everyone’s lips; would the Prince of Wales be a good king? Everyone wondered. Of course, he was born with certain advantages like any member of the royal family but he had a strict and somewhat domineering father. His mother of course was  the Queen of England and concerned with her duty. Both parents seemed to expect so much from their eldest son. It’s said that his childhood wasn’t happy and went he...

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The Kennedy curse?

The Kennedy curse? Did Jackie Kennedy take the curse to the Onassis family? Many people believe that the Kennedy family was cursed. It’s certainly true that they suffered many tragedies. But only three of these alleged ‘curses’ took place before the nineteen fifties – on other words, before Jacqueline Bouvier married John Kennedy in September 1953. The first tragedy was actually brought about largely by the...

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What’s wrong with having red hair?

When did red hair become wrong? What’s wrong with having red hair? Truly, I want to know. In recent years, this has become something of a prejudice – since when did people start discriminating against people with lovely red locks? Of course,I’m biased. My maternal grandmother had red hair so therefore I, and four of my cousins, also do. So why is it now subject to phrases like ‘the red-haired stepchild’?...

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Tribute to Mum and Dad – Joan and Colin

Andy Royston celebrates his parents, Joan and Colin, Yorkshire born and bred. Inspired by Sam Monaco’s moving tribute to his own parents.   The older I get, and the more people that I meet, I’m beginning to realize that I must be the luckiest man in the world. I didn’t think so when I was a kid, growing up in a small farming village at the heart of the South Yorkshire coalfields. I didn’t think that I was...

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Miss Marple: Margaret Rutherford’s Family Murder

Margaret Rutherford as Miss Marple. Margaret Rutherford was a much-loved British actress and probably her best known role was that of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple. And yet because of a tragic murder in her own family, Miss Rutherford almost turned down the part of the famous elderly amateur detective. The public was almost denied from seeing her in  this most memorable role. MGM, the movie studio, was planning to make Murder...

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Best of British – Night Mail

Andy Royston celebrates Night Mail, one of the most influential documentary films of all time. “If you wanted to see what camera and sound could really do, you had to see some little film sponsored by the Post Office or the Gas, Light & Coke company.” J.B. Priestley For much of the time between the wars the General Post Office (GPO) was the largest employer in Britain. It was at the leading edge of business practice...

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Who Was Harriet Mordaunt?

The Harriet Mordaunt Scandal. A Royal Scandal: The Prince of Wales and Harriet Mordaunt. It’s not really unusual to hear of an older man marrying a much younger woman. But in the case of Harriet Mordaunt, it became a scandal that fascinated Victorian society. Harriet was young and attractive and her story involved British royalty and led to Harriet being locked up as insane for the rest of her life. Was a conspiracy at work?...

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The 2003 Northeast Power Blackout

Those who were there that hot, humid Friday still remember clearly what they were doing when the power failed on August 14th, 2003.  Especially those in the big cities.  Big cities such as New York City.   Affecting over 45 million people in the Northeast United States and over 10 million in areas of Canada, it was the second worst power outage in history. While some back up generators worked effectively, nearly all of New York City...

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Daft Historical Facts

From the first use of OMG occurring in a letter to Winston Churchill in 1917 to a Prussian Emperor kidnapping tall people to realise his dream of having a tall army; history is full of amusing, daft and fascinating facts. The less likely to turn up in history books the better and though they may be hard to slip into a general conversation, if the opportunity does arise, you’re sure to be able to entertain – so here are a few of...

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Yorkshire Day

Yorkshire. Yorkshire, as all right-thinking people know, is known as ‘God’s Own County’ and quite right too. We’re lucky here at JAQUO because we have several Yorkshire writers. (As you would expect from a magazine of such quality). This means that JAQUO has quite a few articles about God’s Own County – the people and the places, the history and the food – which you can see here in our...

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Prince Charles and Lady Diana tie the Knot!

For many years, the world was wondering when and if the Prince of Wales was ever going to marry and give the British People and the Monarchy some good news. Prince Charles was the most eligible bachelor in the world, and rumours were all around about who might be the “lucky” lady, that would be the next Princess to be and be with her husband the next in line to the throne. Well on this day in 1981, Prince Charles indeed had the whole...

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Parents’ Day

Tribute to my Dad. A special memory tribute of a dear man in my life, my Dad. He had a great love for sax music. He was a musical guy with various musical instrument talents but his favorites were the accordion and saxophone. He loved to play religious, jazz and polka music. He played the sax in his younger days right up until about 6 months before he passed in January 2002 with leukemia. He was 89 when he went. One of my most...

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Elsie Frost murder: Ian Spencer’s family

The family of the accused man, Ian Spencer. The latest news about the 1966 murder of Elsie Frost is encouraging, thanks to the investigations of the BBC and their reporter, Jon Manel. If this is the first time you have heard of this case, previous articles are linked below. Police reinvestigation The first news comes from the West Yorkshire Police. The BBC interviewed Detective Chief Inspector Elizabeth Belton who said that the case...

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Mitford Weddings: Diana Guinness & Oswald Mosley

Diana Mitford & Sir Oswald Mosley. Of the six somewhat scandalous Mitford sisters, possibly the most controversial wedding was that of Diana to Oswald Mosley. It took place in Germany in October 1936 – less than three years before the outbreak of the Second World War. The marriage service was conducted in the home of the Nazi propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels and the guest of honour was Adolf Hitler. Both Diana and her...

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So, Prince Philip swears

And this is news? In July 2015, the newspapers and the internet were full of the news that Britain’s Prince Philip had ‘appeared to use’ the f-word during a photo shoot.  Have they nothing better to report? Blimey. Royals today are no longer expected to don suits of armour and go jousting. Neither do they live in fear of being usurped and sent to the Tower to have their heads cut off.  But it does seem a little...

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Language Quiz: Test Your Knowledge

When the Voyager Space Probe set off into space on the ultimate adventure, it needed to say hello. So it was equipped with audio files etched onto a gold plated record intended to be heard by whatever form of life it might come across. This fascinating video is one of these files and it contains greetings and welcome messages in 55 different languages. How many languages did you identify? We will probably never leave planet Earth, but...

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Today in history: July

What happened on this day in July? 1st Olivia de Havilland born 1916 First day of the Somme 1916 Diana Spencer born 1961 Alice Guy Blanche born 1903 Last Ford Thunderbird produced 2005 George Sand born 1804 Peggy Sue recorded 1957 Nicholas Winton died 2015 2nd: Live Aid 2006 Helmut Marko accident 1972 Amelia Earhart disappeared 1937 Val Doonican died 2015 3rd: Sebastian Vettel born Carrie Buck born 1906 Hettie Green died 1916 Franz...

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Cooking in a foreign language

Cooking in a ‘foreign’ language – British and American. When I moved to America from England, I didn’t realize that I’d have to learn a whole new language. Yes, I’m English and Americans speak English too, don’t they? Well, as a keen cook, it struck me almost at once that the words I’d grown up with in recipes just weren’t going to work here because of language differences....

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The Life of the Princess of Wales

The Life of the Princess of Wales. She was incredibly unhappy. The Princess of Wales had only been married for a short period of time but she was fully aware that her husband, the Prince of Wales, was still seeing his long-time mistress. And what’s more, she rather suspected that he was seeing other women too. She knew that he’d had plenty of women when he had been single and now it seemed that he hadn’t changed in...

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Elsie Frost murder: Memorial service planned

Latest news from the BBC’s investigation into the murder of Elsie Frost. I was eleven years old and at school in Wakefield when fourteen year old Elsie Frost was murdered in that city in 1965. In recent months, as the fiftieth anniversary of Elsie’s murder approaches, BBC reporter Jon Manel has been helping Elsie’s brother and sister, Colin and Anne, try to discover more about this unsolved case. In previous articles...

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Royal Feud: Wallis Simpson and Elizabeth

The royal feud between Queen Elizabeth & Wallis Simpson. The great feuds of history usually involve the desire for power. What makes this twentieth century royal feud extraordinary is that this feud of over fifty years was brought about because of unwanted power and position. This battle royal persisted from 1935 until 1986 and its protagonists were Queen Elizabeth and Wallis Simpson (later the Duchess of Windsor). The two women...

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Royal Scandal: Prince Edward

Prince Edward: A virtually unknown member of the royal family. You might not have heard of Prince Eddy. It’s true that over the years he has been largely considered to be homosexual and, to put it nicely, mentally challenged. It’s true that his existence has been overshadowed by his the life of his brother but why did poor Eddy slip into obscurity? I say ‘poor Eddy’ because no-one seems to challenge the general...

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Victim culture: Cry-baby society

The victim culture: A disturbing part of today’s society? In Nazi Germany and Nazi-occupied countries free speech was censored by jack booted thugs. Today, we are censored by victim culture and the fact that we don’t want ‘to offend’. Offend others and they become the victim and you become branded as a racist, sexist or some other variety of ‘ist’. This was demonstrated in June 2015 when seventy...

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Elsie Frost murder: The police typist

Police typist Liz Weaver and the murder of Elsie Frost. The people of Wakefield in West Yorkshire were stunned and horrified when fourteen year old Elsie Frost was brutally murdered on the outskirts of the city. This terrible event took place on Saturday October 9th, 1965. The murderer was never found. Fifty years later her sister Anne and brother Colin discovered that the police files about Elsie’s death were sealed. Their...

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The Yorkshireman and the South Pole

On December 13, 2013, Major Ibrar Ali of the Yorkshire Regiment stood at the SouthPole. With him were eleven other service-men and -women, a handful of guides and organisers, oh – and Prince Harry from the British Royal Family. The entire team had trekked (although that’s far too mild a word) across 200 kilometres of punishing snow and ice, through brutally low temperatures for thirteen days, dragging their equipment...

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Lunatics

Lunatics. Lunatics. An ugly word now, but was the common description given in the 19th and early 20th century to people with mental illnesses. A few miles from my home stood a large psychiatric hospital. It opened in 1888 as ‘The West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum’ and housed a large population of people with mental illness. For many detained there, it was where they lived – and died – their bodies abandoned and...

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The Murder of Elsie Frost: Updates

Who murdered Elsie Frost? Elsie was fourteen when she was brutally murdered in 1965. This took place in Wakefield, Yorkshire. Although a man was arrested for her murder, he was released and in 2015, her brother and sister,Colin and Anne, found that they were denied access to the police files. In fact, the files have been locked until 2060. You can read the details here. If Colin and Anne have the good fortune to be alive in 2060, they...

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Batley Variety Club

Yorkshire entertainment: The Batley Variety Club It all started with two Yorkshiremen, James Corrigan and Peter Fleming. Both were from fairground families so they knew a thing or two about entertaining the public. James was married to a girl from Batley in Yorkshire and his new wife Betty and his friend Peter joined him in their dream – to bring Las Vegas-style entertainment to the sleepy Yorkshire town of Batley. Batley was...

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The Murder of Elsie Frost

Who murdered Elsie Frost? Although it happened in 1965, the murder of this fourteen year old girl hasn’t been forgotten in Wakefield, Yorkshire. There are still many people who remember it well. Her brother Colin and sister Anne will never forget, of course, but why are they – and the public – being denied access to her files after all these years? And why are these files closed and their contents unable to be...

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The Glass Delusion

Towards the end of the 14th century in the Parisian royal residence of Hôtel Saint-Pol, Charles VI, once ‘the Beloved’, became known as ‘the Mad’ due to his bouts of insanity. He suffered many delusions from forgetting his own name and title to, most unusually, wearing reinforced clothing as he believed he was made of glass so likely to shatter into millions of pieces. The curious condition spread through Paris to wealthier homes all...

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Bonnie and Clyde: Criminal Superstars

On a beautiful morning, May 23, 1934 the careers of a notorious criminal duo, the scourge of stores and banks across the country, came to an abrupt end. Six lawmen took them down in an ambush that’s still talked about today, marking the end of Bonnie and Clyde, criminal superstars. They were the best of the worst in their time, robbing any and everyone where they found an opportunity, and responsible for at least 13 deaths...

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Memorial service for cow

Memorial service for cow shot by police. Okay, I’m prepared to admit the the police might have over-reacted a little. When three cows escaped onto an English road, police were concerned for the safety of the public. I’ve researched this and oddly, cows escaping is not an unusual phenomenon. Cows being shot by the police is hardly unusual either. In the most recent case, two of the three escapees were successfully captured...

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Pirates, Treachery – and Murder: a true story

Pirates. In 1981 I was on holiday in Suffolk, England, when I found a commemorative stone with an intriguing story carved on it, in the churchyard of St. Edmund Church, Southwold. The inscription on it led me to a history trail that stretched from the coastal town of Southwold to the Gulf of Florida in America, and on to Charleston in South Carolina. It led to a tale of piracy, betrayal, murder – and eventually retribution for...

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The Tasaday Tribe

The Stone Age Tribe: A hoax or a hoax within a hoax? In the late sixties a beautiful and heartwarming story came from the Philippines. Reports told of a cave-dwelling tribe of people –  called the Tasaday – who lived in isolation in the rainforests.  It was said that they lived in the same way as they had done for thousands of years. They were unaware of the outside world. Indeed, the twenty six people in the group...

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Why Ghost Stories Snare Us

“Fear is a wonderful thing, in small doses” “Fear is a wonderful thing, in small doses”, asserts the prolific writer, Neil Gaiman, author of ‘The Graveyard Book‘. He says: “You ride the ghost train into the darkness, knowing that eventually the doors will open and you will step out into the daylight once again. It’s always reassuring to know that you’re still here, still safe.” Ghost stories have an enduring...

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Today in history: December

What happened on this day in December? 1st Jaco Pastorious born 1951 Lou Rawls born 1933 Woody Allen born 1935 Richard Prior born 1940 Margaret Whigham born 1912 2nd MariaCallas born 1923 Desi Arnaz died 1986 3rd Agatha Christie disappeared 1926 Oswald Mosley died 1980 Ozzy Osbourne born 1948 Charles Pillsbury born 1842 JAQUO.com purchased 2014 Princess Victoria died 1935 Renoir died 1919 4th Bert Lahr died 1967 Mary Celeste found...

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The Great Beer Disaster

The Great Beer Disaster of 1814. On Monday October 17, 1814, a huge vat of beer burst in the centre of London sending a tidal wave of black porter ale, 15 feet high, flooding into houses, drowning people, and demolishing property in its wake. At the heart of London’s retail centre today is a crossroads, where the Charing Cross Road, intersects with Oxford Street, New Oxford Street, and Tottenham Court Road. Just a few yards along...

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The Last Taboo

How do you tell someone they … stink? I think it must be as difficult today as it was for me 40 years ago. In the early 1970s I worked as a clerk in an East London Youth Employment Service. My job was to register young people under 18 for work and help them find a job. They had to sign on twice a week to get their unemployment benefit, which included checking with me to see what vacancies were on offer. At that time the employment...

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