Saturday, June 25, 2016

Any Port in a Storm


By Captain George Livingstone One of the great ‘maritime’ authors of the 20th century is Jan de Hartog, born in Holland, his seagoing career spanned the glory years of Dutch ocean towing. Thankfully for those of us who love a good sea story, he turned to writing. One of my favorite quotes from him – […]

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US Marines admit one of the men identified in Iwo Jima photo was the wrong man - as details emerge of real hero who took story to his grave

The US Marines have resolved a longstanding question mark over the identities of the men in an iconic photograph from Iwo Jima, revealing the story of a Midwestern Private who went to his grave without ever claiming his role.

The Marines on Thursday concluded an investigation that found Harold Schultz, a private first class with the Marines, was almost certainly one of the men seen raising the flag atop Mount Suribachi during a fierce battle between American and Japanese forces in 1945.

They said John Bradley, who was initially identified in the photo, and whose son wrote a book about the flag-raisers that became a basis for a film directed by Clint Eastwood, was not one of the men in the image.

Schultz died in 1995, and his stepdaughter said he only once mentioned that he was one of the six men in the photograph.

Harold Schultz, the man now recognised to be among those in the iconic Iwo Jima photo
Harold Schultz, the man now recognised to be among those in the flag-raising photo

“My mom was distracted and not listening and Harold said, ‘I was one of the flag raisers,’” his stepdaughter, Dezreen MacDowell, told the New York Times. “I said, ‘My gosh, Harold, you’re a hero.’ He said, ‘No, I was a Marine.’ ”

“After he said that, it was clear he didn’t want to talk about it,” she said. “He was a very self-effacing Midwestern person. He was already sick, and died two or three years later.”

The photograph was taken by Joseph Rosenthal of the Associated Press on February 23, 1945, during one of the most brutal battles of the war in the Pacific. Some of the confusion arose because of a very similar image taken at the same event.

The first flag raised by the Marine Corps at Iwo Jima
The first flag raised by the Marine Corps at Iwo Jima

Nearly 7,000 Americans died on the island of Iwo Jima during the five week long battle.

It became one of the enduring images of the war, and is now immortalised in bronze at the Marine Corps War Memorial at Arlington Cemetery.



Royal Navy lieutenant groped colleague's breast on tour of a nuclear submarine | Daily Mail Online

World | Thu Jun 23, 2016 5:18pm EDT Related: U.S. U.S. Navy mulls punishment for sailors seized by Iran


United States Navy officials are reviewing potential punishments against the American sailors who were briefly held by Iran in January and are close to a decision, a Navy official said on Thursday.

Ten U.S. sailors, who were aboard two patrol craft, were detained by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on Jan. 12 when they inadvertently entered Iranian territorial waters. They were released the next day after being held for about 15 hours.

The U.S. military said the Americans were intercepted after the diesel engine in one of their boats developed a mechanical problem.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the investigation also found the incident was caused by communication failures and not enough oversight and training.

Findings of the five-month long investigation will be presented by Admiral John Richardson, the chief of U.S. Naval Operations, at a briefing in the Pentagon on June 30 where he will give more details on the incident, the official said.

If any punishments will have been decided by then, they will be announced by Richardson, the official added.

"The investigation is complete, and is being referred to appropriate commands for adjudication," said U.S. Navy spokesman Commander Mike Kafka.

In May, the U.S. Navy said it had fired the commander of the 10 American sailors. At the time, a Navy statement said that it had lost confidence in Commander Eric Rasch, who was the executive officer of the coastal riverine squadron.

(Reporting by Idrees Ali; Editing by Chris Reese)


Rescue Wing Airmen celebrate a hero’s life; a beagle who stole their hearts

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla.- 920th Rescue Wing members Maj. Robert Haston (left), Capt. Michael Brasher (center), and Senior Master Sgt. Pete Callina (right) pose with the brave beagle that aided their rescue efforts in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina operations. Renamed "Katrina", the canine was reunited with the crew after Captain Brasher and his wife conducted their own search and rescue mission Dec. 3, 2015. (U.S. Air Force file photo/Senior Airman Heather L. K


As Orlando slowly begins the healing process from the devastation of terror, a celebrity shooting and the loss of two-year-old Lane Graves to an alligator, another loss is on the mind of Airmen here, the passing of a rescue hero, Katrina the beagle.

Fifty miles east, at Patrick Air Force Base, the beagle came to be known as the 920th Rescue Wing’s mascot. On Saturday, she passed away in her Orlando home in the arms of her adoptive dad, Lt. Col. Mike Brasher, 920th rescue helicopter pilot. He and his wife, Melanie, cared for Katrina for 11 years since rescuing her from Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath in 2005. She was 16-and-a-half.

After the Category 5 twisted through New Orleans flooding everything in its path, it left behind the beagle mom who had just given birth to pups, and was left to fend for herself. Like so many New Orleaners, she was a survivor. Her cage was without a roof allowing her to swim out with the rising waters making it to that 1-10 overpass made famous by so many media outlets showing it half underwater.

Through the windshield of their rescue helicopter is when Brasher and his crew of Air Force rescuers first laid eyes on the beagle. With the rotor wash blowing her long ears back and her body resisting the strong downwind, they were surprised that instead of running away, she was happily wagging her tail at them.

“The entire crew was just amazed with how this little beagle kept running up to the massive helicopter,” said Brasher. With her floppy ears and wagging tail, she would greet them and go back and hang with the pararescuemen. She stayed by their side the minute they would land helping them with the formidable task of evacuating hundreds like her off the causeway to higher ground.

At every turn, the beagle would wag swiftly and gently nudge at the heels of the passengers as they boarded onto the chopper to speed their delivery to safety. She also plunged into the arms of pararescueman retired Chief Master Sgt. Pete Callina as he assessed and directed survivors.

After getting everyone to safety, the Airmen scooped up the beagle and hatched a plan to ensure their furry helper would be cared for as they moved on to the next rescue endeavor. However, they needed gas. As the HC-130 King refueling aircraft positioned for an air-to-air refuel in front of the chopper, the C-130 crew saw an eager beagle peeking through the windshield wagging at them.

The beagle left everyone she wagged at smiling and thinking about her, taking their minds off their own weariness and the horrific devastation.

Finally, the beagle bundle was delivered to a female medic who they made swear her allegiance to safekeeping. Later that night as the rescuers were bedding down, they watched the news of what they were living through. The cameras panned flooded streets, tears and more devastation. Then, it panned a group of displaced pets in an animal shelter. There was their furry friend, same collar and heart-shaped spot over her own big heart.

While she was safe, Brasher felt bad that she was all alone. He called his wife and told her about the beagle and the bond she forged with him and his chopper crew. “Why didn’t you keep her?” questioned Brasher’s wife Melanie. With four other dogs, he didn’t realize he’d be cleared to bring home another. Her question set the wheels in motion on a search and rescue to find that beagle.

Brasher called the animal shelter, but the beagle was swept away and cast from shelter to shelter with hundreds of other displaced pets making the search odds seem impossible.

After flying 24/7 for 21 days straight to rescue 1,043 people and an untold number of pets, the operation drew to a close. The Airmen were sent back home to Florida. While they were called heroes, through it all, there was no question who the real hero was. The bond that formed among the chopper crew and the beagle, kept them going. That bold wag and those floppy wind-blown ears touched their hearts.

Brasher kept on his tedious personal journey to find that little beast and give her a home. After a month into the search and many false leads, he finally had some promising news through There was a beagle that ended up in a shelter in Arizona. She suffered some health problems, literally an enlarged heart from heartworm, but she would be all right now that she was getting rescued.

“I remember that first time seeing her again how amazed I was that several miracles came together and she was actually in Orlando. Even though I knew there was a chance that her owners could be found and we would have to return her, I also knew right then and there that I wanted her to be a permanent part of our family,” said Brasher.

The Brashers met their new family member at the Orlando airport and the rest is her story. Her previous owner eventually surfaced, but they agreed it would be best for the beagle if she stayed in her new home with the Brashers. The couple couldn’t be happier.

Through the years, she made regular visits to Patrick Air Force Base putting smiles on everyone’s faces.

Although passed, her huge heart and heroism will never be forgotten. She is survived by a Wing of Airmen who agree that heroes can come in all shapes in sizes in the midst of devastating events.

In the end, “she may have rescued us by teaching us to keep life simple; enjoy it - because life is all about milk bones-apparently; and during these years, we’ve always been amazed at her resilience,” said Brasher.


Friday, June 24, 2016

July 4 fireworks, live bands canceled at US bases in Japan | Stripes Okinawa


Photos: Atlas 5 rocket positioned on launch pad for Navy satellite deployment By Justin Ray


The United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket was rolled to the pad today at Cape Canaveral’s Complex 41 in preparation for Friday’s liftoff. The flight will deliver the Mobile User Objective System satellite No. 5 into orbit, fulfilling a five-launch, four-year effort to assemble the military’s secure smartphone mobile communications network. Launch is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. EDT (1430 GMT).

Photos by United Launch Alliance









See earlier MUOS 5 coverage.

Our Atlas archive.


U.S., Britain Developed Plans to Disable or Destroy Middle Eastern Oil Facilities from Late 1940s to Early 1960s in Event of a Soviet Invasion

Washington DC, June 23, 2016 –Recently discovered British documents posted today by the National Security Archive provide a new and revealing account of the CIA’s role in a top-secret plan to ravage the Middle East oil industry. It’s been 67 years since President Harry Truman approved NSC 26/2 to keep the Soviet military from using Middle East petroleum if it invaded the region. This denial policy called for American and British oil companies in the Middle East to disable or destroy oil facilities and equipment, and plug the region’s oil wells. The policy evolved during Eisenhower’s presidency and lingered at least into the Kennedy administration.

Documents stashed at Britain’s National Archives show for the first time the CIA’s dominant role in turning the oil companies into a paramilitary force ready to execute the denial policy. (This posting’s author has written a separate article on these materials published today by Politico.) The intelligence agency’s oversight included inserting undercover operatives into oil-company jobs to spy on some of the companies. The CIA created – with an American oil company’s assistance – an ambitious denial plan for Saudi Arabia and exported similar plans to Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar where Britain was the governing authority. The CIA also assisted British denial plans in Iran and Iraq.

British documents also reveal discussions about using nuclear weapons in Iran and Iraq. State-controlled refineries emerged in both countries and were not covered by existing denial plans which depended on cooperating oil companies. British military officials believed nuclear bombs were an option to destroy these facilities until a plan using ground demolitions with conventional explosives was possible.

The denial policy has grudgingly given up its secrets. NSC 26/2 was mistakenly declassified in 1985 by an archivist at the Truman Presidential Library which is part of the National Archives and Records Administration. A library official in a legal deposition deemed it the worst security breach in the National Archives’ history. A furious CIA demanded the archivist be fired, but he remained a library employee after losing his top-secret clearance. NSC 26/2 was reclassified top secret, but by this time Research Publications, a Connecticut company, had sent it along with other microfiched documents to libraries across the country. The microfiche weren’t recalled after a government decision – it’s not clear by whom – that it would arouse attention. NSC 26/2 became public in 1996 in a story by this writer and Charles Crumpley in The Kansas City Star.

The denial policy even today is partially cloaked by classification restrictions. But American and British documents now available allow the most complete account yet of the murky mix of the CIA, Big Oil and national security injected into the most oil-rich piece of real estate on earth. This account goes beyond revelations about the CIA and nuclear weapons to show a determined effort – replete with successes and setbacks – to organize the denial policy while keeping it secret from targeted countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq.

James Terry Duce, an Aramco executive integrally involved in the oil denial planning. (Credit: DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University, Robert Yarnall Richie Photograph Collection.)

NSC 26/2 was replaced in 1953 by the Eisenhower administration with NSC 176, later renamed NSC 5401, which put more emphasis on plugging oil wells to “conserve” Middle East oil for later use by the West. But the policy still called for oil companies to disable or destroy facilities and equipment to stall the Soviets. Concerns about security leaks to host governments and the denial policy’s effectiveness forced a restructuring in 1957. The new policy, NSC 5714, dealt mainly with protection and conservation including well plugging and passive defenses for oil facilities against airstrikes and sabotage. This would be done by the oil companies in cooperation with Middle East governments. Plans for the companies to disable or destroy facilities and equipment were shelved. Instead, the military as a last resort would destroy them with “direct action” if they were about to be seized by the Soviets. The Kennedy administration in 1963 asked the State Department if NSC 5714 was still U.S. policy. A response is not in the file.

Source note: The Ministry of Defence and British Foreign Office documents provided interesting details about the denial policy. But the Ministry of Fuel and Power, an ally of British oil companies, was an unexpectedly valuable source, especially about the CIA’s involvement. This government agency participated in meetings about the policy and routinely received relevant memoranda and other documents. Ministry of Fuel and Power files about the Middle East denial policy included POWE 33/1841 which is closed to the public, but POWE 33/1899 is open at Britain’s National Archives.

U.S. documents have some references to the CIA, but not with the detail found at the British archives. But National Security Council files do offer an increasingly insightful account of the overall denial policy. These documents are at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library, Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and the National Archives and Records Administration in College Park, Maryland.

* Steve Everly is a journalist formerly with the Kansas City Star. He first broke the story of Western oil denial plans in the Star in 1996, basing his reporting on documents discovered in U.S. archives. This posting also features British archival discoveries uncovered and donated by the author.


The Foreign and Commonwealth Office documents in this collection are Crown copyright material and are published with the cooperation of the United Kingdom's National Archives. To meet the National Archive's concerns about unauthorized commercial reproduction of copyright material, the British documents are published with watermarks.

Document 1

National Security Council, NSC 26 report, “Removal and Demolition of Oil Facilities, Equipment and Supplies in the Middle East,” August 19, 1948, Top Secret

Source: Truman Presidential Library, President’s Secretary’s Files, Box 117

This report set the stage for the denial policy during what the CIA called an “atmosphere of emergency.” The Berlin Blockade crisis was two months old and a Soviet thrust into the Middle East seemed possible. The Joint Chiefs of Staff believed it unlikely the United States and its allies could stop the invasion, but a stop-gap measure could stall the Soviet military by denying it Middle East petroleum.

NSC 26 was a collaboration of the CIA, NSC, State Department and SANACC, also known as the State-Army-Navy-Air force Coordinating Committee. Most of the report’s recommendations found their way into the denial policy that landed on President Truman’s desk for approval in early 1949. American and British oil companies would provide the manpower and expertise to plan and execute the denial policy. Training company employees and stockpiling supplies including explosives in advance would ensure denial plans were ready to execute.

NSC 26 also singled out the issue that bedeviled the denial policy. Destroying a friendly country’s main industry could produce “unfavorable political and economic consequences” against the United States. This report grapples with what to tell Saudi Arabia, which at this stage was the only country the United States expected to be responsible for in the denial policy. It was of the “greatest importance” to tell King Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia or his government about the abandonment and demolition program to minimize these negative consequences. The U.S. secretary of state would disclose the denial policy’s existence at his discretion. But Saudi Arabia wasn’t told because of an expected negative reaction, and the State Department again in 1952 refused to disclose the denial policy because it could interfere with planned negotiations to form a military pact in the Middle East. In 1956, the State Department claimed conditions were still not right to tell Saudi Arabia.

King Abdulaziz ibn Saud ruled Saudi Arabia from 1932 to 1953. It is not known whether he was aware of the oil denial plans drawn up for the Kingdom. (Credit: DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University, Robert Yarnall Richie Photograph Collection.)

Britain, which had responsibility for the policy elsewhere in the Middle East, also didn’t want to disclose the denial policy to host governments. But fears of a security leak haunted the denial policy. Anglo-Iranian Oil, later renamed British Petroleum, believed it would be subject to economic blackmail or worse if Iran’s government learned of the policy. Aramco, the Arabian American Oil Company, jointly owned by a number of American oil concerns, eventually believed that not consulting Saudi Arabia about the denial policy risked the company’s economic survival.

Document 2

National Security Council, (NSC 26/2) report, “Removal and Demolition of Oil Facilities, Equipment and Supplies in the Middle East,” December 30, 1948, Top Secret, with cover note for the President, January 6, 1949

Source: Truman Presidential Library, President’s Secretary’s Files, Box 118

President Harry Truman approved the Middle East denial policy on January 10, 1949. NSC 26/2 called for high-level conversations with Britain, a crucial step since Britain was the governing authority in Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain, and British companies controlled Iran and Iraq’s oil industries. The military would help with U.S. denial plans when possible. In fact, a Marine task force was initially assigned, but it was pulled in 1950. Britain believed some troops were necessary to at least assist British oil companies in executing denial plans. But NSC 26/2 was basically conceived as a covert civilian operation. The State Department provided overall supervision and had already brought in the CIA to work with Aramco on the denial plan for Saudi Arabia. Aramco, owned by predecessor companies of Exxon, Chevron, Mobil and Texaco, controlled Saudi Arabia’s oil industry.

IMO Gearing Up for ‘Day of the Seafarer’ By gCaptain

Day of the seafarer

The International Maritime Organization is getting ready to celebrate its sixth annual international Day of the Seafarer on June 25th. The theme of this year’s celebration is “At Sea for All”, a reminder to the world of how and why seafarers are indispensable to everyone and not just for the shipping industry or for their […]

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nsurer Says MV Benita Grounding a Medical Issue, Not Mutiny By Mike Schuler

The MV Benita aground in  Mahebourg, Mauritius.

The insurer of a Liberian-flagged bulk carrier which ran aground last week in Mauritius following an apparent brawl on board says that the incident was the result of a serious medical episode suffered by one of the vessel’s crew members, and not the result of a wider conflict. The circumstances of the grounding have led the […]

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Marine returns home after 74 years

FORT DODGE, Iowa (WOI-TV) - Marine Private Palmer Haraldson returned to his home state of Iowa.

He was killed during battle in the Pacific Islands, fighting the Japanese during World War II and was buried in a mass grave with other U.S. Marines.

Haraldson's remains weren't found until last summer, and finally were identified using advanced technology.

Haraldson wil be buried tomorrow in his family's plot in Fort Dodge.

The Patriot Guard will be outside the Bruce funeral home starting at noon.

His great nephew Mark Ellsbury said, "His mom, dad, brothers, sisters, never really knew what happened to him. I hope they're watching, Thank God for the marines bringing him home."

Source and Video


Remains of Ancient Greek Naval Base Discovered Near Athens By Sarah Pruitt

Some 2,500 years ago, a severely outnumbered Greek naval fleet managed to halt a force of invading Persians in a decisive clash fought in the narrow strait between the Greek mainland and the island of Salamis. Essential to the Greek victory were some 200 three-banked warships, known as triremes. When not in battle, these all-important vessels were housed in a massive naval facility in Athens’ seaport, Piraeus. As part of a recent excavation of Piraeus Harbor, a team of Danish and Greek marine archaeologists discovered the remains of an ancient naval base estimated to date to between 520 and 480 B.C., the year the Battle of Salamis took place. With six sheds, each designed to hold hundreds of vessels, the complex would have been one of the largest structures in the ancient world.

In 2001, a team of marine archaeologists led by Bjørn Lovén of the University of Copenhagen launched the Zea Harbor Project, a major land and underwater investigation in search of the ancient Athenian naval bases of Zea and Mounichia. They got a huge break in 2010, when a local fisherman guided them to a site on the northern side of Mounichia, in an area now used for fishing and yachting.

After searching through a tangle of anchors, chains and modern-day debris, the archaeologists eventually uncovered six ship-sheds, the structures that housed and protected the ancient Greek war vessels known as triremes. As Lovén announced recently in a press release: “Based on pottery and carbon-14 dating from a worked piece of wood found inside the foundations of a colonnade, we dated the ship-sheds to around 520-480 BCE, or shortly thereafter.”

The team’s discovery of the remains of the ancient naval base built at Piraeus, Athens’ harbor city, represent a window into a pivotal moment in Greek history: the triumph of an alliance of Greek city-states over an invading Persian force in the Battle of Salamis, in 480 B.C. A few years before the battle, the Athenian statesman Themistocles had predicted a future attack by Xerxes, the powerful emperor of Persia. He determined that a strong navy would be Greece’s best defense against such an invasion, and pushed for the construction of a fleet of triremes, three-banked war vessels, to be based in Piraeus. In order to protect this vital naval defense system, the ancient Athenians built a massive facility at Piraeus that would rank with the Acropolis and the Parthenon among the most formidable structures in the ancient world.

Triremes would prove to be the key to building Greece’s naval power, both before and after the Battle of Salamis. The vessels were exceedingly vulnerable to damage, not just when at sea or in battle, but also while moored in the harbor. Excessive exposure to the punishing summer sun would dry out and shrink the timbers of the ships’ hulls, creating leaks, while exposure to rain would cause swelling and fungal decay in the wood. Ship-sheds, like those found by Lovén and his colleagues, were used to protect the vessels from these risks, as well as from damage by the wood-eating mollusks known as shipworms, or woodworms.

By the late fourth century B.C., the complex of naval bases built at Piraeus could house more than 350 triremes. The ship-sheds, long parallel buildings measuring some 6 ½ meters wide and up to 80 meters long, had ramps along each side sloping up from the water. According to “The Wooden Wall,” a short film produced by Lovén about the Battle of Salamis and the Athenian naval bases, it took some 140 men to pull a trireme along the ramp and into a shed. A superstructure of stone collonades, walls and tiled roofs covered the sheds, and a sophisticated fortification system of walls protected the entire base.

At the Battle of Salamis, Themistocles’ vision of a strong naval fleet for Greece would end up saving the young democracy and changing the course of history. Despite being severely outnumbered, with fewer than 400 warships against some 1000 Persian vessels, the Greeks managed to win decisively, halting the second Persian invasion of Greece. Two thirds of the ships that took part in the battle came from Athens, and were likely housed in the base Lovén’s team found.

“It is difficult to predict what would have happened if the Greek fleet had lost at Salamis, but it is clear that a Persian victory would have had immense consequences for subsequent cultural and social developments in Europe,” Lovén put it in the press release. “The victory at Salamis rightly echoes through history and awakens awe and inspiration around the world today.”


The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity | The Royal Alfred Seafarers Society

The Royal Navy Warship That Almost Started A War With America | Forces TV

Website remembers First World War fallen (From South Wales Argus)

Battle Of The Somme centenary: World War 1 movies to watch, Feature | Movies - Empire

The vital role of a Tyneside radio station in WWI U-Boat struggle By David Morton

BBC local radio stations across the country will launch the final collection of stories from the landmark project World War I at Home, run in partnership with Imperial War Museums.

BBC Newcastle looks at the vital, though secret, role that Cullercoats Coastal Radio station in North Shields, played during World War One.

The station intercepted radio messages sent to and from German ships and U-boats and passed them to Admiralty Headquarters in London.

Although they were encrypted, a number of German code books had been seized during the war, allowing many messages to be interpreted.

The station had been built in 1908 when it was used by the inventor Guglielmo Marconi to send test signals to a station in Denmark.

It continued to operate as a maritime radio station after the two world wars before it was closed in 1998.

Over the past two years around 1400 powerful stories about people and places on the home front of Britain and Ireland during World War One have been broadcast and all are linked to specific places across the country. The final stories will be broadcast from this Saturday.

The project has uncovered surprising stories about familiar neighbourhoods where soldiers trained, the wounded were treated, women worked in factories, crucial front line supplies were produced, major scientific breakthroughs were made, prisoners of war were held and where heroes and heroines are buried.

Diane Lees, Director-General of IWM, said: “The World War One at Home project has inspired countless people across the UK to engage with and uncover stories about the impact of the First World War.”

All BBC Local Radio stations across England will broadcast five World War One At Home stories, from June 25 to June 29

All the final World War One At Home stories and many more will then be available online on a dedicated website at


Battle of the Somme: Archbishops begin pilgrimage of peace to WWI battlefield By Shane Harrison


Archbishop Eamon Martin and Archbishop Richard Clarke with some of the people accompanying them on the pilgrimage to the Somme
Image captionThe archbishops say they want the pilgrimage to emphasise the importance of peace

The Catholic and Church of Ireland archbishops of Armagh have started a three-day pilgrimage from Ireland to the site of Battle of the Somme.

Archbishop Eamon Martin and Archbishop Richard Clarke were at Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin on Wednesday.

They were joined by bishops and lay people who will accompany them on the pilgrimage for the battle's centenary.

The archbishops said they hope the battle shows the futility of violence and the need for peace.

Soldiers at the Battle of the SommeImage copyrightPA
Image captionMore than one million people on all sides were killed or wounded in the Battle of the Somme

The Battle of the Somme saw about 500,000 casualties, and all to move the frontline about four miles in four-and-a-half months.

Fighting for the British were both Ulstermen opposed to Home Rule and former Irish Volunteers fighting for Home Rule, all in the shadow of the 1916 Easter Rising that would eventually pave the way to Irish independence.

The group going to the Somme started their pilgrimage of peace at Glasnevin Cemetery, where many of those who fought in the Easter Rising are buried.

They were given a guided tour that included a visit to the graves of some of those who died fighting in World War One.

A memorial at Glasnevin Cemetery to the soldiers who died in World War One
Image captionMany of those who fought in the Easter Rising are buried at Glasnevin Cemetery

For both archbishops of Armagh, their voyage is not just political and spiritual, but also personal.

Dr Martin, the Catholic primate of All-Ireland, hopes to find the grave of a granduncle who is buried in Flanders fields, while Dr Clarke's late wife also had a granduncle buried there.

"It really cemented within me the sense of the futility of war, where hundreds of thousands of young people had their lives uprooted and destroyed," Dr Martin said.

"And for me as a religious leader it re-affirms my commitment to peace, reconciliation and healing."

Graves in France of soldiers who fought at the Battle of the SommeImage copyrightPA
Image captionBoth archbishops have personal connections to the battle, with family ties to some of the victims

The Church of Ireland primate, Dr Clarke, said: "Overall, you look back at nearly 20,000 dead after one day at the Somme and you just think to yourself: 'No, it could not be worth it.'

"And that's why I hope and say with Archbishop Eamon that peace has got to be the priority for all of us."

Young people accompanying the two archbishops and Bishop Denis Nulty, the Catholic bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, and Bishop John McDowell, the Church of Ireland bishop of Clogher, said it is hard to believe the scale of casualties at the Somme.

Ciaran McManus, a history teacher from Naas in County Kildare, said: "We now regard a small number of deaths as catastrophic and terrible, but for over 200,000 to lose their lives at one time seems very hard to fathom."

Caitriona McCann
Image captionCaitriona McCann says it is interesting to her that people her age fought at the Somme

Caitriona McCann, from County Armagh, agreed.

Members of her family fought in World War One and she said it is interesting to see that "people my own age fought in this battle and that interests me a lot".

The pilgrims from both parts of the island and from two different political and spiritual traditions said they hope their journey through past battlefields will emphasise how much is shared between them and how peace, as an end in itself, must be valued. New Paper Craft: WWII Essex-class Aircraft Carrier USS Bennington (CV-20) Free Paper Model Download

BDB: Trolling SpaceX, Halloween comes early and Autobots roll out in PSJ

Land and Lives Turned to Dust By Jeff Bridgers - Library of Congress

In the 1930's, agricultural practices that replaced native prairie grasses with cash crops such as wheat and corn, combined with overgrazing cattle by ranchers, turned out to have devastating consequences for farm families, centered initially in Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle. An extended multi-year drought prompted wind erosion that sent topsoil blowing black-dust clouds across the unobstructed plains as far east as New York and Washington, DC.

Today’s post features four black-and-white photographs each by Arthur Rothstein and Dorothea Lange from the Library’s Farm Security Administration – Office of War Information Photograph Collection. Rothstein’s four, from March 1936, capture the blowing dust and the stark desolation on abandoned farms in Texas and Oklahoma. Lange’s four show the migrant refugees encamped in California, having fled their farming lives, looking for work, shelter, and a second chance to make a go of it. Rothstein and Lange’s photos, augmented by their captions — his brief and simple; hers longer, detailed, and descriptive – tell the Dust Bowl story clearly, concisely.

Heavy black clouds of dust rising over the Texas Panhandle, Texas. Photograph by Arthur Rothstein, March 1936. //

Heavy black clouds of dust rising over the Texas Panhandle, Texas. Photograph by Arthur Rothstein, March 1936. //

Dust storm. Oklahoma. Photograph by Arthur Rothstein, March 1936. //

Dust storm. Oklahoma. Photograph by Arthur Rothstein, March 1936. //

Dust storm damage. Cimarron County, Oklahoma. Photograph by Arthur Rothstein, March 1936. //

Dust storm damage. Cimarron County, Oklahoma.Photograph by Arthur Rothstein, March 1936.

Sand dunes in orchard, Oklahoma. Photograph by Arthur Rothstein, March 1936. //

Sand dunes in orchard, Oklahoma. Photograph by Arthur Rothstein, March 1936.

Squatters along highway near Bakersfield, California. Penniless refugees from dust bowl. Twenty-two in family, thirty-nine evictions, now encamped near Bakersfield without shelter, without water and looking for work in the cotton. Photograph by Dorothea Lange, November 1935. //

Squatters along highway near Bakersfield, California. Penniless refugees from dust bowl. Twenty-two in family, thirty-nine evictions, now encamped near Bakersfield without shelter, without water and looking for work in the cotton. Photograph by Dorothea Lange, November 1935.

Four families, three of them related with fifteen children, from the Dust Bowl in Texas in an overnight roadside camp near Calipatria, California. Photograph by Dorothea Lange, March 1937. //

Four families, three of them related with fifteen children, from the Dust Bowl in Texas in an overnight roadside camp near Calipatria, California.Photograph by Dorothea Lange, March 1937.

Auto camp north of Calipatria, California. Approximately eighty families from the Dust Bowl are camped here. They pay fifty cents a week. The only available work now is agricultural labor. Photograph by Dorothea Lange, March 1937. //

Auto camp north of Calipatria, California. Approximately eighty families from the Dust Bowl are camped here. They pay fifty cents a week. The only available work now is agricultural labor. Photograph by Dorothea Lange, March 1937. //

Example of self-resettlement in California. Oklahoma farm family on highway between Blythe and Indio. Forced by the drought of 1936 to abandon their farm, they set out with their children to drive to California. Picking cotton in Arizona for a day or two at a time gave them enough for food and gas to continue. On this day, they were within a day's travel of their destination, Bakersfield, California. Their car had broken down en route and was abandoned. Photograph by Dorothea Lange, August 1936. //

Example of self-resettlement in California. Oklahoma farm family on highway between Blythe and Indio. Forced by the drought of 1936 to abandon their farm, they set out with their children to drive to California. Picking cotton in Arizona for a day or two at a time gave them enough for food and gas to continue. On this day, they were within a day’s travel of their destination, Bakersfield, California. Their car had broken down en route and was abandoned. Photograph by Dorothea Lange, August 1936.

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