Category Archives: Military

A bit ‘o Barbados history: Walter Tull, first black British Army officer died at Somme Valley, France 1918

Walter_Tull

“There were military laws forbidding ‘any negro or person of colour’ being commissioned as an officer, despite this, Walter was promoted to lieutenant in 1917.”

Royal Mint to issue coin to honour the first black British Army officer

Walter Daniel John Tull was born on April 28, 1888 in Folkestone, Kent, England – the son of Barbadian carpenter Daniel Tull and Kent-born Alice Elizabeth Palmer. Orphaned at about seven years old, he was raised in an orphanage. The start of World War I found Tull doing quite well as a professional footballer, but he volunteered to serve and in 1916 fought in the Battle of the Somme, rising to the rank of Sergeant.

You have to understand that a negro/person of colour was not allowed to command white soldiers, but because of the need and Tull’s talent and earned respect, he was placed in charge of white soldiers and eventually promoted to lieutenant.

Tull was machine gunned to death on March 25, 2918. According to reports, several of his men (white soldiers all) tried to recover his body but could not due to the battle. His body was never found and Tull remains on the field of battle with thousands of his comrades.

There are efforts to recognize Walter Tull with a statue or a belated medal, but perhaps the best recognition is for Bajans to tell his story to others.

For the interested, here is where you can find a little more depth and details…

Wikipedia: Walter Tull

Walter Tull Sports Association: Who is Walter Tull?

The Guardian: Walter Tull, the first black officer in the British army, to feature on £5 coin

Our thanks to our old friend Christopher for reminding us of Walter Tull.

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Filed under Barbados, Culture & Race Issues, History, Military, Race

Model airplanes master builder discovered!

Battle of Britain Bf109E

The Art! The Art!

Okay, okay, so I’ve gone overboard on the title, but the fellow who runs the Amateur Airplanes blog does some fine fine work.

Look at that battle weary Bf109 Emile above and the detail on the F100 Super Sabre cockpit below.

You know I love airplanes – big, small, real, homebuilts, warbirds and models – so when I stumbled onto Amateur Airplanes I lost a half an hour just flipping through the projects and comments. There’s no word on who this chap is, but you can see the dedication and talent – and he has over 1,500 followers.

I don’t see a DC-3 like the old one I learned to taxi with at Druxford, but this modeller could duplicate every ding and oil streak. All I’d need would be the smell of air petrol, oil and metal – and to hear the tinks as the big old P&Ws cooled. The only additions I’d like to see on his blog would be a search function in the menu, and perhaps a tag list of aircraft types and model kits.

If you enjoy airplanes, you’ll enjoy a tour of Amateur Airplanes.

10/10

Robert

F100 Super Sabre Cockpit

click photos for larger

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Island Life, Military

Saint Vincent’s very own Gestapo: The Vincention Mongoose Gang

m16-barbados-cotton

“Why would heavily-armed men who are dressed for jungle warfare, be used to carry out police functions in a metropolitan city?”

“Just a political force carrying out its political orders to cause as much panic and fear as possible, while showing the regime’s might to opponents.”

by Peter Binose

Are men dressed in army jungle warfare dress – men who carry no identification on their tunics or jackets, no numbers, no names, no ranks – considered police officers?

Or, are they military officers? Whatever they are called they are a political army, answerable only to this current Marxist led regime.

Why would such men, carrying loaded weapons by way of automatic pistols in hip holsters under their tunics, be used to carry out police functions in a metropolitan city when they are dressed for jungle warfare?

Why?

Why does Saint Vincent need an armed paramilitary force, a force who frighten and brutalise Vincentian people if not physically, certainly mentally? Clad in military uniform, sometimes carrying armed assault rifles, ready to fight a jungle war in Kingstown. What are we coming to? What has this communist led regime done to us? Continue reading

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Filed under Human Rights, Military, Political Corruption

Afghanistan: America’s and Britain’s latest Vietnam

As the West prepares to ‘Exit with Honour’ from Afghanistan, it is difficult to remember why we were there

Can anyone tell me what has been accomplished by over ten years of American and British boots on the ground in Afghanistan? The Taliban is poised to retake control where they don’t already run things and by all accounts the Afghanistan government and people are ready to let it happen. Women are still treated like dirt – with child brides being bought and sold as a normal practice. According to Medica Mondiale and UNICEF, 57 per cent of Afghan females are married under the age sixteen without their consent, with girls as young as eight and nine being taken as wives by 50 year old men.

And the west is not even talking about the resurgence of Bacha Bazi – the infamous tradition of dressing boys as girls for use as ‘entertainment’ by older men. Sexual abuse of children is a cultural norm that our leaders seem to tolerate – just like they tolerate other Afghan cultural norms such as child brides, the mutilation of women and the continuing abuse, rape and murder of non-Muslims living in Islamic societies.

Islam is enshrined as the state religion in the ‘new’ Afghan constitution. Bibles and other non-Muslim religious texts are forbidden in the country and people have been sentenced to death under the ‘new’ government for leaving Islam, or insulting Islam or the Muslim prophet Mohammed. Anyone who converts to Christianity is sentenced to death by the government courts.

What outcome were we looking for? What is the definition of ‘victory’ in this war? How will we know it is time to leave? Why not now? What will change in another six months or two years?

Last weekend as I dug through an old box of Dad’s things, I came across a thirty-five year old softcover book: A Rumour of War by Philip Caputo. A “Hatchards, Piccadilly, London” card was inside, I presume as a bookmark. I smiled and started reading. Three hours later when I looked up the sun was gone and I hadn’t moved.

From the first page, all I could think about was Afghanistan. I’ve typed out the first page and a bit for you – if you want more you’ll have to buy the book…

In thy faint slumbers I by thee have watch’d And heard thee murmur tales of iron wars…
~ Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 1

This book does not pretend to be history. It has nothing to do with politics, power, strategy, influence, national interests, or foreign policy; nor is it an indictment of the great men who led us into Indochina and wholes mistakes were paid for with the blood of some quite ordinary men. In a general sense, it is simply a story about war, about the things men do in war and the things war does to them. More strictly, it is a soldier’s account of our longest conflict, the only one we have ever lost, as well as the record of a long and sometimes painful personal experience.

On March 8, 1965, as a young infantry officer, I landed at Danang with a battalion of the 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, the first U.S. combat unit sent to Indochina. I returned in April 1975 as a newspaper correspondent and covered the Communist offensive that ended with the fall of Saigon. Having been among the first Americans to fight in Vietnam, I was also among the last to be evacuated, only a few hours before the North Vietnamese Army entered the capital.

Although most of this book deals with the experiences of the marines I served with in 1965 and 1966, I have included an epilogue briefly describing the American exodus. Only ten years separated the two events, yet the humiliation of our exit from Vietnam, compared to the high confidence with which we had entered, made it seem as if a centre lay between them. Continue reading

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Coastal Dawn: New book features Bajan RAF ace Aubrey Richard de Lisle Inniss

‘Coastal Dawn’ also includes Battle of Britain Jamaican Pilot Officer Herbert Capstick

by Andy Bird, author ‘Coastal Dawn’

Dear Barbados Free Press,

Pilot Officer Aubrey ‘Sinbad’ Inniss – of No 236 Squadron in 1940 will feature in a forthcoming book entitled “Coastal Dawn” to be published this July 2012, by Grub Street Publishing, London.

“Coastal Dawn” will also feature the only Jamaican to take part in the Battle of Britain, Pilot Officer Herbert Capstick also flying with No 236 Squadron.

From Amazon.com booksite

In 1940, the defence of Great Britain rested with a handful of volunteer aircrew, Churchill’s ‘few’. Overshadowed in later folklore by the more famous Spitfire and Hurricane pilots, there were other pilots, observers and air gunners – just as courageous – flying the Bristol Blenheim MKIV-F. The future of the country and arguably that of the free world depended also on their skill, morale and sacrifice. Remarkably little has been chronicled of these men and their aircraft – the ‘Trade Protection’ squadrons formed by Hugh Dowding – allotted to 11 Group in October 1939. The aircraft’s range and endurance made it suitable for defence of coastal shipping against attack on the southern and eastern shores of Britain, and for operations further afield. Indeed during bitter fighting casualties among Numbers 235, 236, 248 and 254 Squadron Blenheims were high on operations over Norway, Holland, France, Dunkirk and then the Battle of Britain where the Blenheims were completely outclassed by Messerschmitt 109 and 110 fighters and fell easy victims, scythed from the sky. But the record of the aircraft and their crew was an immensely proud one. Drawing on contemporary diaries, periodicals, letters, logbooks, memoirs and interviews with survivors, lauded historian Andy Bird reassesses the vital role they played and repositions it in history. In doing so, he justifiably embraces the heroes we have left behind.

About the Author,  Andrew D. Bird

Born in Berkshire, England in 1962 , like many of his friends, Andrew had only one ambition during his school years, and that was to fly fast jets with the Air Force. At the age of 13 he was enrolled into the Air Cadets during which time he became friends with MRAF Sir Arthur ‘Bert’ Harris C-in-C RAF Bomber Command 1942-1945, leaving the Air Cadets in 1980. Andrew then served with the TAVR before joining the RAF Regiment. Andrew is an aviation artist as well, exhibiting his work at the Guild of Aviation Exhibition, London, his work has been shown in galleries in London, the Home Counties, and Toronto, Canada.

His first book ‘A Separate Little War’ reached the number three position in The Top Ten Best Sellers List in 2003 (Glasgow Herald & Daily Mail Weekend Magazine) it was reprinted twice in hardback. The author up-dated ‘A Separate Little War’ for the paperback edition 2008.

Further Reading

BFP: Battle of Britain 70th anniversary – Remembering Bajan RAF ace Aubrey Richard de Lisle Inniss

Blenheim Mk IV photo courtesy of Wikipedia

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados, History, Military

Jim Bailey: Battle of Britain fighter pilot and anti-apartheid warrior

(click photo for large)

The wondrous life of James R. A. Bailey, DFC – founder of DRUM Magazine, South Africa

Anybody who has spent any time at all in South Africa knows DRUM Magazine, a publication that has had its ups and downs in the past six decades but was always on the front line of the struggle for freedom. Since I spent some time in Jo’burg in the early 1990’s, DRUM has turned into more of a black urban lifestyle publication but there was a time when the tabloid told stories that no one else could without getting banned.

What I didn’t know before now, and only just discovered this past week, is that DRUM was started and financed for decades by a white ex-Royal Air Force fighter pilot named Jim Bailey. To my great delight an old friend presented me with a birthday gift of Bailey’s wartime biography The Sky Suspended – A fighter pilot’s story. That led me to looking up the author online and there I found the story of Jim Bailey and DRUM. Isn’t the Internet a wonderful thing?

As near as I can discern from the online stories, Bailey poured much of his inherited wealth into starting DRUM as a “black” publication in 1950. It was a true tabloid with girls, crime and violence to keep the readers titillated and the numbers up but it developed a reputation for coming right up to and crossing the line about freedom issues. I think BFP’s readers will understand our appreciation of that marketing philosophy. 🙂

When the police beat Steve Biko to death in 1977, DRUM showed the activist in his coffin. When Desmond Tutu wanted to tell the people why he met with the South African apartheid government, he did so in the pages of DRUM. When the bodies piled up on the streets in the townships, DRUM showed them beside the photos of the white police who shot them down. These were dangerous stories to cover, but DRUM did so and made a difference.

Jim Bailey died in early 2000 but he left a legacy of books and poetry that I’ve yet to read. I’m only 40 pages into The Sky Suspended, but other than writing this post I doubt I’ll do any work for the next few days until I finish the book.

Later this week I’ll put up a few more posts on Bailey and his role in Sooth Africa at the time, but for now here’s what he says about what it takes to be a fighter pilot…

It became a study of mine, one I pursued meticulously at this time, to discover what type of man makes the best fighter-pilot. I found, for example, that only children, pilots without brothers or sisters, were particularly helpless. When a new pilot came to us, I would try to guess after a day or two whether he came from a large family or not and then go and ask him. If he did, he had a better chance to survive.

Good pilots are common, good fighter-pilots were rare. It is as with polo: many can ride, but few play polo well; and among those who play well, many ride in a crude and efficient way, without good hands or precision. I arrived at a few conclusions. The qualities that made for success in a fighter-pilot seemed to be just those sturdy qualities that made for success in other professions; observation, initiative, determination, courage, including the courage to run away.

Battle of Britain veteran Jim Bailey on what makes a great fighter pilot

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Filed under Africa, Aviation, Culture & Race Issues, History, Human Rights, Military, Race

What is the definition of “Victory” in the Afghanistan war?

“The war in Afghanistan has no purpose, no definition of victory.”

US Navy SEAL Team 6 Helicopter shot down by Taliban – 38 warriors dead.

“But these boys are dying for the jihad. That’s all the war in Afghanistan is about. If there were no jihad, we would not be there. If jihadis had not taken down the Towers, we would not be there. But Obama won’t say it, Petraeus won’t say it, the NATO commanders won’t say it, no one will say it. And what do they say instead? Nothing. The war in Afghanistan has no purpose, no definition of victory. Obama is sending these boys to die for nothing. Nothing. The jihadis are killing them for jihad, and they are dying for no cause, no objective, no mission, no end in sight.”

Pamela Geller has a point at Atlas Shrugs

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