Saturday, May 16, 2015

15 stunning photos that show how Paris has changed since World War II

15 stunning photos that show how Paris has changed since World War II

May 15 at 3:30 AM

Seventy years ago this month, the Allied forces defeated the Nazis. How have things changed since then?
Parisian-based artist Julien Knez spent two months trying to answer that question. After assembling a number of historic images of the liberation of the French capital, he tried to find the places and angles from where the photos were taken.
"It was very intense to imagine the fights in the streets I know as a Parisian," Knez wrote in an e-mail. He allowed WorldViews to republish some of his collages. You can go to his blog Golem13 to view more photos.
The battle for Paris
One historic photo shows Parisian police officers preparing for a fight with German soldiers, close to the Notre Dame cathedral in 1944.
Barricades, like this one on Rue de la Huchette, were erected all over the French capital. Since then, the building visible on the photo has been turned into a book store.
The battle between the Allied forces and the Germans was still raging in August 1944 on place Saint-Michel in Paris.
In front of today's Orsay museum, resistance fighters were searching rooftops for German snipers.
A liberated Paris
On Aug. 25, German General Dietrich von Choltitz surrendered.
Parisians celebrated and civilians climbed tanks. This photo shows a boy sitting on an armored vehicle on Rue du Montthabor.
The same day, the senate was taken over by French resistance fighters and the Allied forces.
The liberating troops paraded the streets of Paris which attract millions of tourists each year today.
On Aug. 26, a victory celebration was held on Place de la Concorde.
The celebration was briefly interrupted by sniper shots, coming from rooftops.
Street celebrations resumed shortly afterward. This photo shows the Champs Elysees.
General Charles de Gaulle, accompanied by officers and troops, marches down the famous road.
Sitting behind barbed wire, a couple enjoyed newly won freedom in the Tuileries park.
Celebrations continued until September -- for instance, in front of the Notre Dame cathedral in the city center.
U.S. soldiers set up roadblocks to prepare for renewed attacks by the Nazis. The war officially ended months later.

Pulling Their Weight: Anchor and Chain Nimitz Sailors

Nimitz Sailors prove their mettle

The Boatswain's Mates of USS Nimitz (CVN 68) are making history, as they become the first team of Sailors to remove the anchor and chain of an aircraft carrier rather than contracting the work out to civilians.

Fifty-seven links, each weighing 350-pounds, make up just one 90-foot shot of chain that weighs a total of 20,500 pounds. Twelve shots of chain collectively hold a 60,000-pound anchor. Considering the average person weighs less than 200 pounds, it's safe to say the task of removing Nimitz' anchors and chain is no small feat.

"This is the first time something like this has been done," said Boatswain's Mate Second Class Jacob Brill, petty officer in charge in the ships foc'sle for the lowering of the anchor. "Usually this is a job for the contractors. They would normally be in the foc'sle and down on the barge and they would be the ones doing all the sandblasting."

The Deck Department had the daunting task of removing the 60,000-pound anchors from both starboard and port sides of the ship in order to perform preventative maintenance and ensure the ship is ready to return to the fleet sometime next year.

"We pay out the anchors down onto a barge that has two tug boats attached to either side to ensure it is in the right spot," said Brill. The anchor has to lay a certain direction so that there is no risk of it falling over.

The process of laying down the anchor happens very slowly and with many more precautions than what many Deck Sailors are used to.

"Working with the anchor is intense," said Seaman Jordan Fondon. "You can get a lot more injuries doing this than compared to when you're going around doing small maintenance."

After the anchor was removed it was time to slowly and monotonously lower the anchor chain, one shot at a time.

"Each shot weighs 20,500 pounds, so there is absolutely no way to be able to man-handle it. The tug boats were a necessity for positioning the barge," said Brill. "We do one shot, then stop, tie it off, detach it, make sure it's secure, move the barge the other way, and lay down another shot."

Once the anchor chain is removed, the work to preserve it can be started. The detachable links must be taken apart, greased, reassembled and then sanded. Once this is done, the Sailors can check to make sure they have not been worn down and there is not too much movement in between them.

"It's for the overall preservation of the anchor and chain, and to make sure it's not getting rusted up," said Brill. "Whenever we anchor out at sea the anchor is sitting on the ocean floor getting dirty and soaking in salt water. Once it goes back into the chain locker it just sits and allows rust to build up."

There was very minimal contractor involvement, which originally worried some of the Sailors in Deck Department, who have been talking about and planning the evolution well before coming to the yards.

"When you're doing it, you're stressing because you're scared to mess up and don't want anyone to get hurt," said Fondon. "I feel confident, but not complacent. The more you do it, the less stressed you get. But I think that anxiety and worry will always be there."

Despite the stress brought on by this new task to many of the Sailors involved, the chance to get to do something so important with very little help from outside workers was appreciated.

"It's pretty cool," said Brill. "This is a real big pride thing. Boatswain's Mates are a very proud rate to begin with, but to be able to actually be the very first carrier to do this type of thing is a big deal to us. It's a lot of fun and good training."

Sailors new to Deck's Sea and Anchor Detail receive training almost every week in order to ensure that they know the proper procedures to raise and lower the anchor safely. This maintenance allows them to learn even more.

"There is no better training than hands on," said Brill. "To be able to see it and get in there and work with it all is the best way to learn something, and that's what we are getting the opportunity to do."

This process is not only helping Nimitz be prepared to answer the nation's call of duty, but is also benefiting junior Sailors currently serving on Nimitz and will continue the cycle of training.

"There is a chance I'll be here for the next maintenance period, so now I'll be able to train others on how to properly do this with the chain," said Fondon. "I got to learn, and I can pass it on to them. Hopefully I'll have the opportunity to train other Sailors."

The excitement the Boatswain's Mates have about removing the anchor and chain is being reflected by their work ethic as they continue to fix for the fight.

"It's moving along pretty well right now. They didn't expect us to have the detachable links off for another week, and we had them done yesterday," said Brill. "We are expected to be done by June, but I think we'll be done with it well before then."
Navy Photo

Friday, May 15, 2015

World War One objectors added to digital archive

World War One objectors added to digital archive

  • 3 hours ago

  • From the section UK

  • A crowd of conscientious objectors to military service during World War I at a special prison camp
    Many of those who refused to fight were sentenced to hard labour

    The records of more than 16,000 conscientious objectors who refused to fight in World War One will be added to an online database of those who served in the conflict.
    The Imperial War Museum's Lives of the First World War features the details of 7.6 million servicemen and nurses.
    Now the digital project will also tell the stories of those who rejected the war on ethical or religious grounds.
    Museum director Diane Lees said the men had "risked so much".
    William Harrison, a pacifist and Christian, is one of the objectors who will now be remembered on the website.
    He was court-martialled and sentenced to hard labour for refusing to fight and was not released until 1919.
    Joseph Alfred Pearson, a Baptist from New Brighton, gave up his conscientious objection after he was ill-treated at Birkenhead barracks.
    He was sent to the frontline and killed outside Ypres in Belgium.

    A photo of William Harrison (R)
    William Harrison (R) was a lifelong vegetarian, teetotaller and pacifist
    Postcard by Frank Holland from First World War period depicting a conscientious objector
    Postcards from the time depicted conscientious objectors as lazy

    The names of the objectors were collated by Cyril Pearce, a former lecturer at the University of Leeds, over the course of 20 years.
    His records feature documents, letters and images of 16,500 men who opposed service.

    'Such hardship'

    Ms Lees said the public was now welcome to add their own information to the permanent digital archive.
    "We are grateful to Cyril for sharing his work with us and we hope many more people will contribute to the unique and fascinating life stories of the conscientious objectors," she said.
    Those who refused to fight will also be remembered at a ceremony in Manchester city centre on Friday to mark International Conscientious Objectors Day.
    Organiser Lydia Meryll, from Friends of Manchester Peace Garden, said the objectors had suffered "such hardship" for believing that it was "morally wrong to kill, even in war".
    The Lives of the First World War database was launched in 2014 to coincide with the centenary of the conflict and more than 67,000 people have now contributed 600,000 facts, photographs and personal stories.
    Broadcaster Dan Snow, who is an ambassador for the project, said the objectors had stood up to politicians and generals and rejected their call to arms.
    "Their inclusion is vital if we're to get a real snapshot of society as a whole," he said.

    Ruling the Waves: 10 Interesting Facts and Figures about Britain’s Royal Navy You Might Not Know

    Ruling the Waves: 10 Interesting Facts and Figures about Britain’s Royal Navy You Might Not Know

    Formed in 1660, the Royal Navy was the first branch of the British armed forces created and thus known as the “Senior Service”. Over 355 years, the Royal Navy has distinguished itself amongst its contemporaries across the globe, winning battles across the high seas and turning its sailors into national heroes. With so much history, so many stories, and so many prominent figures, it’s not hard to find interesting facts about the Senior Service. There is a lot to learn about the Royal Navy and many fascinating tidbits to pique your interest.

    What’s in a Nickname?

    Navy Chaplains are a vital part of the service and nicknames are an endemic part of military culture. As such, even the holiest of holy men can’t escape the nicknames they get in the service, which include: Padre, Bish, Bible Puncher, Bible Basher, Devil Dodger, Dodgy Deacon, God Botherer, Maker’s Rep, Holy Joe, and Sin Bosun.

    Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

    During the Falklands War in the 1980s, HMS Sheffield and HMS Coventry were sank by Argentinian forces on different days in May 1982. On both occasions, as the ships’ crews awaited rescue, the sailors began to sing Monty Python’s “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”.

    Harsh Punishments?

    If you watch most films featuring the Royal Navy in the 17th and 18th Centuries, it can seem like a brutal life full of floggings and lashes for any number of punishments. However, the legal system onboard ship was actually more lenient than it was in civilian courts. This is because sailors were a valuable commodity and while discipline had to be kept, death was a punishment reserved for only the most serious of crimes.

    Why’s the Rum Gone?

    Clean water was hard to get out in the middle of the ocean, so sailors’ supply of rum wasn’t a luxury, it was a necessity. Sailors received a daily ration of rum, known as “grog”, that was pretty high in alcohol content at 70-80%. Eventually, the Navy started to dilute it with water and citrus, the latter helping to combat scurvy. There was legend that when Admiral Nelson was mortally wounded in battle, he asked for his body to be brought back to England in a rum cask. Occasionally, the sailors would partake of rum from the cask, leading Royal Navy rum to have the nickname “Nelson’s Blood”.
    The first time ships were used by English forces in combat dates back to Alfred the Great, who used ships to repel a Viking invasion. Used mostly to transport soldiers, England didn’t arm ships with guns and use them in naval battles until Henry VIII. His daughter, Elizabeth I, built the Navy into one of the most formidable defensive forces in the world and ultimately put an end to the might of the Spanish Armada.


    Another Royal Navy nickname is “The Andrew” and its origin is subject to speculation. Some say the name comes from Andrew Miller, seen as an over-zealous officer of the Impress Service, or the “press gang”, that forced sailors into service. Other suggested origins are that Andrew was also a name of a Man O’ War ship or that Miller was such a huge supplier of provisions to the Navy that it was said between those and the sailors that he owned the Navy.

    A Toast

    Toasting is an old tradition in the Royal Navy wardrooms. Following the Loyal Toast to the monarch by the most junior officer, a toast is offered depending on the day of the week. The toasts are as follows: Sunday = Absent Friends, Monday = Our Ships at Sea, Tuesday = Our Sailors, Wednesday = Ourselves (as no one else is likely to be concerned for us), Thursday = A Bloody War or a Sickly Season (and a quick promotion), Friday = A Willing Foe and Sea-Room, and Saturday = Our Families. Tuesday and Saturday toasts were changed officially in 2013 from “Our Men” (to reflect female members of the service) and “Our Wives and Girlfriends (may they never meet)”. Despite the change, many personnel still prefer the traditional toasts and they are still widely used.

    Rate Class

    A ship’s rate class was typically determine by the number of guns it had. “First Rate” ships tended to be the largest and had the most guns and thus were the flagships. Second Rate, Third Rate, and Fourth Rate ships were progressively smaller. Fifth and Sixth Rate ships were the frigates.

    Royal Ship of the Royal Navy

    HMY Britannia, more than just a Royal Navy vessel, was also the yacht for the Royal Family. Larger ships have a Catering Branch specialist whose title is Supply Officer. On the Britannia, that officer’s title is Keeper and Stewart of the Royal Apartments. The Britannia was also the only ship where plimsolls were a standard part of a sailor’s uniform, in order to keep noise down and not damage the timber boards of the deck. Since the 1990s, sailors have worn deck shoes on the yacht. HMY Britannia was retired in 1997 and is now a museum in Edinburgh.

    Second and Third

    Following World War II, the Royal Navy was second in size only to the United States, but after the Cold War began and the Soviet Union bolstered its own naval power, the RN fell to being the third-largest against the two superpowers.

    Never Let a Crisis Go to Waste: Extreme Makeover, the Chinese Coast Guard Edition

    USNI Blog / by LTJG Shane Halton
    "Never let a serious crisis go to waste.
    And what I mean by that is it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before."
    Rahm Emanuel
    We are living in a time of crisis. From the ongoing conflict in Iraq to the lingering threat of a Greek bond default, the American-led global order is confronted daily with multiple threats to its stability. These threats are occurring at a time when the resources required to manage these challenges are stretched increasingly thin. The US methodology for dealing with geopolitical crises remains largely unchanged since the end of World War II – scramble the diplomats, rally our allies, convene the UN Security Council, and reposition the aircraft carriers. Rarely have policymakers actually resolved the crisis. Rather, they work to restore the status quo ante crisis, or at least avoid the worst possible outcome.
    There is, however, an equally valid alternative approach to managing the periodic occurrence of systemically destabilizing events, an approach that has been utilized successfully by other countries, if not by the United States. In the above statement Mr. Emmanuel was, consciously or not, paraphrasing a piece of popular Chinese wisdom; when written in Chinese, the word ‘crisis’ is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity.
    The Chinese have had ample opportunities to operationally deploy the "crisis-as-an-opportunity" philosophy since their reintegration into the global system in the early 1980s. Several crises have threatened China’s unique system of one-party rule; notably the 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstrations and the 1997 Asian financial crisis. In both cases, the Chinese Communist Party was able to adjust, if not necessarily reform, the institutional responses of its parent state. In order to ward off the threats to stability, it leveraged the conditions created by the crisis to the advantage of the ruling Communist Party.
    Associated Press Ships of China Marine Surveillance and Japan Coast Guard steam side by side near disputed islands, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, in the East China Sea on Oct. 25.
    Associated Press: Ships of China Marine Surveillance and Japan Coast Guard steam side by side near disputed islands, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, in the East China Sea on Oct. 25, 2012.
    But nowhere has this quintessentially Chinese view been on display more than in the reconstitution of the Chinese Coast Guard during the Senkaku Islands dispute. The Chinese were skillfully able to leverage the dispute to improve inter-service coordination, refine their operating doctrines, and energize the bureaucracy of the Chinese maritime services to make critical reforms. This piece will not examine the broader geopolitical context of the current dispute, nor will it attempt to guess when or how the dispute, which began to flare up in September 2012, will end. Rather, the focus will be solely on how China’s maritime services have not only benefited from constant, low-level military operations other than war from a training and funding perspective, but also how the coast guard agencies fundamentally restructured themselves and become a more potent paramilitary force.
    Eliminating Duplication of Effort
    Prior to July 2013, the Chinese ‘coast guard’ was an amalgamation of six different agencies, subordinate to five different ministries, all ultimately operating under the aegis of the State Council, the all-powerful Chinese Interior Ministry headed by the nation’s Premier. These agencies were guided by notionally separate but often overlapping law enforcement functions. For example, China’s Fisheries Law Enforcement Command (FLEC) was established in May 2000 by the Agricultural Ministry to enforce China’s fishing laws, to coordinate fishery disputes with foreign nations, and to cope with major fishery contingencies both in rivers and lakes inside China as well as in China’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). How did the FLEC’s mission differ from that of the China Maritime Surveillance (CMS) agency? The CMS was responsible for "patrol and surveillance work in sea areas and coastal areas under China’s jurisdiction" as well as preventing illegal acts such as violations of China’s marine rights and the damaging of the sea environment and maritime resources. As the Senkakus crisis (a territorial dispute with a fishing dimension) unfolded in 2012, both the FLEC and CMS deployed their respective flotillas to uphold their missions.
    These were not small duplications of effort. Both of these agencies were capable of deploying huge materiel and personnel resources – estimates of the vessels in their inventories range into the several hundreds. Each agency had tens of thousands of personnel. These redundancies were further mirrored in the operation of the four other maritime law enforcement agencies –the Maritime Safety Administration, Rescue and Salvage Bureau, the Chinese Coast Guard (more on this agency later) and the Anti-Smuggling Bureau. Clearly, a lack of resources to manage disputes was not China’s problem.
    Even before the acute phase of the Senkakus crisis began in late 2012, Chinese maritime experts noted that mission duplication and bureaucratic infighting were eroding operational effectiveness. In a piece written for the Guangdong Province Party news organ in May 2012, reporters Fang Kecheng, Zeng Huiping and Zhai Man cited the longstanding need for "a leader" among China’s competing coast guard-like agencies. They went on to recommend a "ministry of the ocean" be created to coordinate China’s maritime law enforcement policies and responses to foreign infringement of its sovereignty along its littoral regions. Though the authors acknowledge that the lack of administrative leadership reaches back to at least the 1980s, today "weak maritime law-enforcement is responsible for the current situation: Islands and reefs are encroached upon; resources are ransacked; and national dignity is infringed upon (Kecheng et al)." The article goes on to cite the need for force that can go toe to toe with the "Japan Coast Guard" which is held up repeatedly as a model of superior administrative practices and material superiority.
    As the Senkakus crisis dragged on into 2013 it became clear that among all the competing coast guard agencies that China Maritime Surveillance (CMS) was the organization best equipped to assert China’s sovereignty in the region. For starters, the CMS has boundary enforcement as one of its core missions. Given the degree to which all coast guard vessels had been required to coordinate closely with the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) since the start of the crisis, the ascendancy of the CMS is perhaps less than surprising. When formally established in the 1960s, the CMS was headed by the deputy commander of the PLAN South Sea Fleet and continued to be administered by the PLAN until its 1981 transfer to the State Council. This history of operating with traditional naval units likely helped the CMS distinguish itself from the also-rans during the bureaucratic turf battles that have undoubtedly raged quietly since the start of the crisis.
    In July 2013, the CMS’s position as China’s premier paramilitary coast guard force became official and the organization was rechristened as the Chinese Coast Guard, superseding the organization which had previously held that name. The new Chinese Coast Guard, under the aegis of the State Oceanographic Administration (SOA), was given the lead role in drafting and upholding the law enforcement regulations and coordinating the efforts of all ‘coast guard’ forces. The Chinese state press began to immediately trumpet the importance of this consolidation and praise the efforts of the new Coast Guard units to "sternly declare the Chinese government’s stance on its sovereignty over the Diaoyu (Senkaku) Islands."
    During the acute phase of the Senkakus crisis, new Chinese maritime operating patterns were observed and commented on by Japanese and Chinese press. Though the crisis was largely a duel between coastal patrol forces, the Chinese and Japanese navies also played a critical role. Destroyers and frigates of the PLAN and Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) conducted overwatch of the coast guard skirmishes. Typically, the PLAN and JMSDF operated out of visual range of the Senkakus themselves, at approximately 40-70 nautical miles from the islands, monitoring the tactical situation via long range sensors. Several times a month from 2012-13, Chinese Coast Guard ships entered into the territorial waters of the Japanese-administered islands waters. The Japanese Coast Guard then sortied and attempted to intercept the Chinese vessels.
    These incursions occurred at the time and location of China’s choosing, forcing the Japanese to assume a permanently defensive posture. During these incursions, the PLAN and JMSDF ships also drew closer to the Senkakus, ‘backing up’ their smaller compatriots – the nautical equivalent of relying on your bigger cousin to back you up in a bar fight. These tactics required both Coast Guards to coordinate closely with their respective navies. Both nations’ Coast Guard and Navy ships had to share tactical information and intelligence on enemy units and force distribution. This allowed China’s Coast Guard and its Navy to develop and modify joint tactics and doctrine in a simulated combat environment without risking sinking – vital training for a force seeking to increase its professionalism and effectiveness.
    China was able to use the Senkakus crisis as an impetus for much needed administrative reforms while simultaneously improving joint operability between its coast guard force and the PLAN. The CMS ultimately overshadowed its competition and assumed the mantle of the Chinese Coast Guard. The leaders of the former CMS certainly have much to celebrate, but in the final analysis, it is the Chinese government that is the real winner. With a consolidated, streamlined and increasingly professional Coast Guard, the Chinese are more easily able to challenge Japanese sovereignty of the Senkakus. China likely transferred these lessons learned to other areas where it feels its maritime sovereignty is being threatened, including the South China Sea.

    Naval Search Engine

    Total Pageviews

    Find-A-Grave Link

    Search 62.2 million cemetery records at by entering a surname and clicking search: