When Grandkids Visit






1759 – A momentous year


Hawke’s fleet at Spithead in ‘The Year of Victories’, 1759, by Mark R. Myers (born 1945-)

Annus Mirabilis, 1759, during the Seven Years’ War, was possibly the most significant year in British history since 1066. It was immortalized by the playwright David Garrick in “ Heart of Oak”.

In August Admiral Boscawen engaged the French fleet at Lagos, off the southern coast of Portugal. After his flagship was disabled he shifted his command to another ship. When the boat taking him there was hit by a round shot and a strake was stove in, Boscawen calmly plugged the whole with his wig. He continued the chase all night and captured three French ships and destroyed two, returning to Spithead with his prizes and 2,000 prisoners. The victory prevented France from sending an invasion force from Brest.


The Battle of Lagos, 18 August 1759, by Thomas Luny 1770–1779

On the other side of the globe, Quebec, the key to conquest of upper Canada, was captured by General Wolfe and Admiral Saunders in the autumn. The superb charts of the area produced by James Cook enabled the fleet to bring formidably sized ships up the St. Lawrence River. Seamen landed guns ashore and hauled them up to an area overlooking the city. While Wolfe took Quebec, the fleet lay off the city, denying supplies and reinforcements to the defenders.


This 1797 engraving is based on a sketch made by Hervey Smyth, General Wolfe’s aide-de-camp during the siege of Quebec. A view of the taking of Quebec, 13th September 1759

In November Admiral Edward Hawke caught up with French Admiral Conflan’s fleet at Quiberon Bay, where they planned to embark an army of 20,000 men and invade England. Hawke hoisted the signal for “ general chase”. His crowed on sail to pursue the enemy into the bay as darkness was falling, using the French ships as markers to try to keep clear of the treacherous rocks in the shallow waters of the bay. Hawke’s master urgently warned him of the peril ahead, to which Hawke replied, “ You have done your duty in pointing out me the danger. Now lay me alongside the enemy flagship.” The French did not believe the British would follow them on to a lee shore, but they did. In a fierce action, the French lost seven ships of the line with 2,500 dead. Two British ships ran aground and were wrecked, but it was a decisive strategic victory which one again averted the threat of invasion.

This glorious year, which became known as “ the year of victories”, also saw a keel laid in Chatham Dockyard for a new warship called Victory– and the first birthday of the man who would lead her at Trafalgar.


An Early WW2 View (Italian African Campaign)

Mussolini wanted a colonial Empire for Italy. The conquest of Ethiopia in 1936 revealed the true face of Italian colonialism: bombing civilian targets, use of poison gas, etc.


In Israel

Last Tuesday, Israel held its fourth election in two years. PM “Bibi” Netanyahu’s coalition of his own party, Likud, and 3 ultra-orthodox parties lost the popular vote by 5.78% to the broad anti-Bibi coalition, and Bibi underperformed in central and northern Israel.


The Homicide Rate of US States and Canadian Provinces compared with the world


2020 Social Mobility Index. 

How much equality and economic opportunity do people have around the world?


One Last Historical Note

An A‐20 from the 3rd Bombardment Group comes off the mast of a Japanese freighter after a low‐level skip bomb attack. This photo was taken during an attack on Japanese ships in the harbor at Rabaul.


    • Israeli politics is brutal and divisive.

      Israel’s political system is based on proportional representation and allows for a multi-party system with numerous parties represented in the 120-seat Knesset.

      A typical Knesset includes many factions represented. This is because of the low election threshold required for a seat. In the 2015 elections, for instance, ten parties or alliances cleared the threshold, and five of them won at least ten seats. The nationwide party-list system, makes it all but impossible for a single party to win the 61 seats needed for a majority government. Likud (Bibi’s Party) is powerful but even then they need to form a coalition to govern.

      There are somewhere around three dozen parties in Israel that don’t have a seat in parliament, and as I recall somewhere around a dozen that do. It’s difficult to compare Israeli politics and its parliamentary system of government with that in the US.

  1. Not just shanks. Once upon a time, there was a inmate riot in the Missouri State Penitentiary and the inmates got into the armory. A Thompson submachine gun disappeared and officials were never able to find it – until they built a new prison, moved the inmates over to it under controlled conditions, and started tearing down the old one.

  2. 1759. A remarkable year. Respect and honor to the Royal Navy, and Wolfe.

    Wasn’t aware of the tactical wig application and I’m not saying the DLC should adopt them, RHSM. But still, interesting.

    • As the DLC transitions to a space force militia, some things (like sabers) need to be left behind. Yes, there is always the promise of a light saber in the future as life imitates art.

  3. General Electric, makers of Lexan, used to sponsor a shoot-out up in “The Valley” somewhere, and you could blaze away at various types of Lexan products to see for yourself what kind of bullet resistance it had. The interesting side note to “Applications for Lexan” was that they also made flourescent light fixture cover panels that were shatterproof out of it. Turns out that the typical styrene or acrylic plastic cover for the fixtures were a prime #1 source of material for shivs, as it shattered to shards easily, and they had very sharp edges.

    Might only be good for a few stabs, but hey, there’s plenty of it!

    • Computer circuit boards make very good knives, sharpened with sandpaper or any other abrasive handy. At one point they were issued to US Naval Special Forces in packs of 3. Unattributed by manufacturer, they could be left in the target as disposable products.

  4. Funny, the people that occupy the Canadian area that is all in black are mostly the peaceful First Nations people. Nah, couldn’t be. We are told the First Nations people are all peaceful, Mother Gaia worshiping pacifists.

    Must be either Amish or Chicago Youths going on fieldtrips or something.

    • The First Nations peoples are all one with the Earth. Rumors of murders are just that, compounded by the racist, white, RCMP. Of course.

  5. re:
    Italian empire hopes/dreams in Afrika

    Capital city — Addis Abada?
    Just completed celebrating the fourth annual ‘2017 downtown garbage-dump collapse killed several hundred’ celebrations?

    And the flying pyramids of yesteryear?
    And Tanquanisha and Tyshydylya, alleged suspects in an alleged series of alleged assaults on Korean hair-stylists?

    The Ethiopia between Chad (in perpetual warlord disagreements) and Somalia (in perpetual warlord disagreements)?

    Ethiopia ranking ninety-eighth (0.000% of the global total) on the global list of petroleum reserves?

    Benito, garsh, I wish you the best with your expansion dealy-bobber.
    Keep in touch, let me know how it works out!

    • I think that Italy, 1930’s, looked for something that they could conquer with what they had at hand and Africa came to mind. It’s not the question of whether it was worth conquering, or worth the cost of maintaining an army in the field to keep what you killed…it obviously wasn’t. They couldn’t conquer north because the Swiss wouldn’t stand for it.

    • My dad flew Avengers in the Pacific War.

      He always said his biggest regret was that he never got to see the bombs go off, because he was too busy dodging flak and getting the hell out of dodge to look back.


  6. The A-20 didn’t get a lot of press but may have been the best ground attack airplane of the war. Good ordnance load, long range, and able to absorb at lot of damage and still make it home.

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