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Sunday, December 28th 2014, 3:47pm

2 October
Piccadilly Circus tube station becomes the first in Britain to be lit by fluorescent light.

7 October
Formation of the Diplomatic Wireless Service (DWS) set up for the British Foreign Office by Brigadier Richard Gambier-Parry, the first Foreign Office Director of Communications at Whaddon Hall, Buckinghamshire. The primary role of the DWS is communications between British embassies and the Britain, but it also operates and maintains transmitters at home and abroad on behalf of the Foreign Office for the broadcasting of the BBC European Service and Overseas Service. [OOC knowledge: DWS operators are also involved in radio eavesdropping, the gathering of signals intelligence for GCHQ, from within the compounds of embassies.]

8 October
The Workers Committee for National Liberation – Political Organisation for the Working Class (WCNL) has published its programme. It is both nationalist and anti-capitalist and calls for the expulsion of all British troops from Egypt, land reform, and nationalizations. WCNL has distributed 15,000 copies of the programme, plus 25,000 copies of an accompanying statement.


Sunday, December 28th 2014, 10:14pm

7 October
Formation of the Diplomatic Wireless Service (DWS) set up for the British Foreign Office by Brigadier Richard Gambier-Parry, the first Foreign Office Director of Communications at Whaddon Hall, Buckinghamshire. The primary role of the DWS is communications between British embassies and the Britain, but it also operates and maintains transmitters at home and abroad on behalf of the Foreign Office for the broadcasting of the BBC European Service and Overseas Service. [OOC knowledge: DWS operators are also involved in radio eavesdropping, the gathering of signals intelligence for GCHQ, from within the compounds of embassies.]

It would most interesting to know where the Foreign Office hopes to establish such transmitting stations, insofar as one would expect reciprocal privileges to be granted to potential hosts...


Monday, December 29th 2014, 12:11am

8 October
The Workers Committee for National Liberation – Political Organisation for the Working Class (WCNL) has published its programme. It is both nationalist and anti-capitalist and calls for the expulsion of all British troops from Egypt, land reform, and nationalizations. WCNL has distributed 15,000 copies of the programme, plus 25,000 copies of an accompanying statement.

ALL RIGHT, BABY! Bring on that Suez Crisis! We'll kick their rears with more RESOLVE this time!


Tuesday, December 30th 2014, 3:10pm

They would be in other overseas territories of Great Britain, at least the transmitters used for BBC broadcasts. I would have assumed most major powers would have radios in their main embassies these days for quick communications. I thought that was a common thing by the late 40s? The DWS is indeed an OTL development. Of course I'm sure the counter-intelligence folks of all nations already evesdrop on this kind of information anyway where it exists.

Yeah, a Suez Crisis in WW would be very different in outcome. Luckily Nasser is still a non-entity in Wesworld, though I suspect history will much the same, although I'm not sure whether he will have an AU path to tread instead.


Tuesday, December 30th 2014, 3:31pm

They would be in other overseas territories of Great Britain, at least the transmitters used for BBC broadcasts. I would have assumed most major powers would have radios in their main embassies these days for quick communications. I thought that was a common thing by the late 40s? The DWS is indeed an OTL development. Of course I'm sure the counter-intelligence folks of all nations already evesdrop on this kind of information anyway where it exists.

I would not presume that diplomats have switched over to radio at this point, for a couple of reasons.

If I am the host country, would I really allow a foreign country to operate a transmitting station on my national territory? More than likely not. If I do so for one country, I am obligated (on general principles) to allow it for all, and that just creates too many potential headaches.

If I am the embassy operating in a foreign county, would I really want to broadcast so much of my traffic and gift it to enemy eavesdroppers? At least if I use a commercial cable company the potential snooper has to gain access to the traffic by some means - and it is in the cable company's interests not to allow that. Indeed, there may be laws prohibiting such. Of course, if I have anything really important, it would go by courier.

Of course, a nation with far-flung interests like Britain, resort to radio would be far more necessary than Germany or other nations with more circumscribed concerns. I can state with assurance that Germany does not have radio transmitters in its foreign embassies, and would think long and hard before permitting such to be established on German soil.


Tuesday, December 30th 2014, 5:57pm

Good points. Probably embassies' use is minimal then. Gambier-Parry is going to have a lot of time for the Times crossword and tiffin, but its still handy to have around just in case...


Tuesday, December 30th 2014, 6:33pm

Good points. Probably embassies' use is minimal then. Gambier-Parry is going to have a lot of time for the Times crossword and tiffin, but its still handy to have around just in case...

The outcome of the Second World War no doubt changed the outlook for communications. You had the US and Britain who were in a position to *need* faster communications and were able to dictate conditions with a far freer hand than the situation we are in in Wesworld. They had the money for good cipher systems to protect their communications. Their new enemies, the Soviets, had far fewer resources and much of what they had was probably underestimated by the Western Powers. Now days, of course, instant communications by sitcom is the norm. It does require a shift in mindset.


Wednesday, December 31st 2014, 5:25pm

1945 British Motor Show at Earls Court


Running between 1-15 October at Earls Court, this year at the British Motor Show, Britain’s car manufacturers are showing off their latest models released this year and new cars for 1946. Following soon after the Berlin show, the best of British products are on show for the home market.

The Allard Motor Company, founded in 1936 by Sydney Allard have been building specials to compete in Trials (timed events somewhat like rallies but through much worse terrain, almost impassable by a wheeled vehicle) powered by a variety of Ford-sourced engines, including Lincoln-Zephyr V12 engines. Volume production began in 1943 and this year using Ford parts and mechanicals and bodywork of Allard's own design, three further models were introduced; the J, a competition sports car; the K, a slightly larger car intended for road use, and the L, with four seats.

Allard K

The Alvis Car and Engineering Co. Ltd. this year has been acquired by the NEE group. A new model planned for next year is the TB 14 two-seat open-top sports car based on the running gear of the TA 14 saloon. Alvis has contracted AP Metalcraft, a Coventry coachbuilder, to produce the body featuring heavily cut away door tops on the rear hinged doors, very long sweeping front wings, a fold down windscreen and a pear-shaped radiator grille with the bottom side bulges concealing the headlights. The 1892 cc engine of the TA 14 is modified to produce 68hp by fitting twin SU carburettors, the non-independent leaf springing suspension is retained and the car will reach 80 mph.

Alvis TB 14

The Austin Motor Company celebrated the production of its millionth car, an Austin 16 family saloon, this year. The new Austin A40 series has been expanded beyond the four-door Devon and two-door Dorset to include a new Countryman estate for 1946 with further commercial van and pickup truck models based on this design also to be released next year.

A40 Pickup

A40 Countryman

The Ford Motor Company displayed the new 1946 Model Anglia which features styling updates but retains the same mechanicals and 933 cc straight-four side-valve engine for home markets and an 1172 cc straight-four engine for some export markets. The price is £309 including taxes.

Ford Angila

Frazer Nash introduced its new High Speed BMW-powered sports car this year for the racing market. A new model for 1946 is the Fast Tourer, a full width body variant of the High Speed with identical engine and transmission.

Frazer Nash Fast Tourer

This year a new company introduced itself to the public with two exciting new sports cars. The Donald Healey Motor Co. Ltd. was formed this year by Donald Healey, a renowned auto engineer and successful racing driver. It was formed after Healey discussed sports car design with Achille Sampietro, a chassis specialist for high performance cars and Ben Bowden, a body engineer. The cars will use a tuned version of the Riley twin cam 2.4 litre four cylinder engine in a light steel box section chassis of Healey design using independent front suspension by coil springs and alloy trailing arms with Girling dampers. The rear suspension uses a Riley live axle with coil springs. Advanced design allows soft springing to be combined with excellent road holding. Lockheed hydraulic brakes are used. The two new models for 1946 are the two-seat Healey Westland Roadster and the Healey Elliott saloon, which will be the fastest production closed-body car in the world, being timed at 104.7 mph over a mile. The body has been tested in a wind tunnel to refine its aerodynamics.

Healey Westland

Healey Elliott

Humber’s display stand included the new Super Snipe Mk II for 1946 with an updated body with the headlights fitted into the wings and running-boards re-introduced and transverse-spring independent suspension continues to be used as des the 65hp six-cylinder engine. A drophead coupé made by Tickford will appear in 1947. The Humber Hawk Mark II version which went on sale in September has a very mild facelift, the main difference being a column gear change. The new Humber Pullman Mark II for 1945 features a lengthened chassis and headlights now fitted into the wings. The Pullman is now available with or without a partition between the front and rear of the cabin. The version with a division retains the Pullman name, those without are badged Humber Imperial.

Humber Snipe MkII

Jowett Cars Limited, founded in 1901 by brothers Benjamin and William was bought by property developer Charles Clore this year. With increased investment the firm has launched its new Jowett Javelin. The Javelin has a 50hp flat four overhead valve engine of 1486 cc with an aluminium block and wet cylinder liners giving the car a maximum speed of 77 mph and a 0-50 mph time of 13.4 seconds. Two Zenith carburettors are fitted. A four-speed gearbox with column change is used. Design features include aerodynamic styling with the headlights faired into the wings and a steeply sloped, curved windscreen. The body is of pressed steel incorporating a box-section chassis is made by Briggs Motor Bodies. The suspension use torsion-bars on all wheels (independent at the front) and internal gear-and-pinion steering. PA and PB models have mixed Girling hydraulic brakes at the front and mechanical braking at the rear. Later versions will be fully hydraulic. The car has a wheelbase of 102 inches and a track of 51 inches. The Javelin costs £819.

Jowett Javelin

The Morris Motor Company launched its new Oxford MO which will go on sale in 1946.
The Oxford MO replaces the Ten Series. Designed by Alec Issigonis, the Oxford, introduces unit construction techniques and torsion bar front suspension to Morris. Another new feature is all-round hydraulically operated 8 inch drum brakes. The engine is a side-valve straight-four engine with a single SU-carburettor displacing 1.5 litres and an output of 40.5hp. Top speed is 72 mph. The four-speed gearbox has a column gearchange and steering is by rack and pinion. The MO will be sold as a 4-door saloon and a 2-door Traveller estate with exposed wood. The price will be £805 including taxes.
A commercial vehicle version of the Oxford MO will be produced as a van, pickup, or chassis cab model marketed as the Morris Cowley MCV.

Morris MO

The Rover Car Company had a new concept on show this year. The Land Rover was conceived as a new niche product for export markets abroad. Maurice Wilks, Rover's chief designer came up with a plan to produce a light agricultural and utility vehicle with military potential. The first prototype had the steering wheel was mounted in the middle of the vehicle and was built on a new chassis and uses the engine and gearbox of the Rover P3 saloon. The 4-speed gearbox is used with a new 2-speed transfer box which incorporates a 4-wheel drive system with a freewheel unit (as used on several Rover cars). This disengages the front axle from the manual transmission on the overrun, allowing a form of permanent 4WD. A ring-pull mechanism in the driver's footwell allows the freewheel to be locked to provide more traditional 4WD. The bodywork is made from an aluminium/magnesium alloy called Birmabright. The first pre-production Land Rovers were developed in late 1944 and tests showed the prototypes to capable and versatile. The PTO drives from the front of the engine and from the gearbox to the centre and rear of the vehicle allowed it to drive farm machinery, exactly as a tractor would. It was also tested ploughing and performing other agricultural tasks. However, as the vehicle was readied for production the steering wheel was mounted off to the side as normal, the bodywork was simplified to reduce production time and costs and a larger engine was fitted, together with a specially designed transfer gearbox. The Land Rover will enter production in 1946.

Land Rover Advert for production model

The Standard Motor Company’s stand focused on the newly introduced Vanguard family car. The Triumph 1800 (also called the Town & Country Saloon) is the first car to carry the Triumph badge following the company's takeover by the Standard Motor Company and will be sold next year. The car is distinctively styled with Razor Edge coachwork which is a six light (three side windows on each side) design, the thin C pillars offer increased window areas and the car's side profile resembles that of the Bentley saloons. The aluminium body is built by Mulliners of Birmingham. The 1776 cc, 65hp engine and the gearbox is from the Standard Flying Fourteen. The chassis is fabricated from tubular steel and is a lengthened 108 inch Roadster chassis, the transverse leaf spring front suspension also coming from the Roadster. The cars will feature leather seats and a wooden dashboard and the price will be around £1,425 including tax.

Standard Vanguard


Friday, January 2nd 2015, 4:32pm

14 October
The magazine Wireless World contains an article by British Interplanetary Society member Arthur C. Clarke which puts forward the idea of a geosynchronous communications satellite in outer space.

15-21 October
The Fifth Pan-African Congress held in Manchester. It follows the foundation of the Pan-African Federation in Manchester in 1944. This Congress is widely considered to have been the most important yet held. It was attended by 60 delegates, 18 from Africa and 27 were from various British organizations, including the West African Students Union. They included many scholars, intellectuals and political activists, including the Kenyan independence leader Jomo Kenyatta, American activist and academic W. E. B. Du Bois (who had organised the First Pan-African Congress in 1919), the prominent Jamaican barrister Dudley Thompson and Obafemi Awolowo and Jaja Wachuku from Nigeria. It also led partially to the creation of the Pan-African Federation, founded in 1946 by Nkrumah and Kenyatta. A number of resolutions were passed, among them the criminalization of racial discrimination and the main resolution decrying imperialism and capitalism.
The Pan-African Federation is a multinational Pan-African organization. Participating groups include; Negro Association (Manchester), Coloured Workers association (London), Coloured Peoples Association (Edinburgh), African Union (Glasgow), United Committee of Colonial and Coloured Peoples' Associations (Cardiff) and the Kikuyu Central Association (Kenya) represented by Jomo Kenyatta.


Saturday, January 10th 2015, 11:13am

21 October
News of events in Ubangi-Shari reached Manchester in the late edition of the papers, reports were sketchy but it appeared that a coup was underway. Word reached the Pan-African Congress just before it broke up and journalists were eager to hear the delegates views. The Kenyan independence leader Jomo Kenyatta reflected that independence by peaceful means should be the aim of all African nations and that tyranny under any armed force, whether white or black controlled, was not freedom. The prominent Jamaican barrister Dudley Thompson also spoke to journalists saying that violence was not acceptable and adding that until all the facts were know it would be unfair to speculate as to the motives. He was lately overhead saying "Typical, the press barely give a paragraph to the entire congress, yet when there is trouble and violence they swarm like bees."

23 October
An emergency Cabinet meeting has been called by the Prime Minister Clement Attlee to discuss the situation in Ubangi-Shari.

27 October
Colonial Office reports on the Moro situation in British Borneo was not encouraging. Reports from Manila indicated that since the arrest of the Sultan of Sulu clan warfare had broken out between the hardline Suluk and the more moderate Yakan groups of the Moro in the Philippines. It was clear the Philippine government hoped to use this opportunity to advance its program of assimilation and conversion of the Moro. Reports indicated the joint efforts of the Philippine, British and Dutch navies were making several successful interceptions of Suluk refugees heading for Borneo and Sabah. The Sarawak Coastal Marine Service had some problem with the Suluk craft and at least one motor boat was badly damaged by ramming. Two makeshift camps that have sprung up on the coast are probably the tip of an iceberg and the he Sarawak Rangers, an elite unit utilising native tribesmen and hunters, and the Sarawak Armed Police have been called in to clear these settlements and round up the Suluk for deportation or resettlement elsewhere. The Admiralty has detached the sloops HMS Blencathra and Ben Lomond and the destroyer HMS Encounter for a four-month period to patrol the waters and provide support for the local motor torpedo boat squadron. All Fleet Air Arm units in Borneo are now flying extensive patrols and extra crews and aircraft have been sent.

28 October
In Anglo-Egyptian Sudan the security situation was unclear with potential for Ubangi rebels to easily cross the border and set up camps there. Accordingly Cabinet approval was given for the War Office to begin patrols. The new G.O.C (Western), General Cunningham, in Cairo issued orders that units of the Eastern Arab Corps and the Equatoria Corps of the Sudan Defence Force should begin patrols, supported by the RAF, along the border with Ubangi-Shari and the villages near the border.
The situation in Chad is more precarious. Chad falls under the jurisdiction of East Africa HQ, Nairobi, under the command of Lt. General K. Anderson and the only forces are a battalion from the 1st Brigade King's African Rifles in the capital Ndjamena. General Cunningham gave approval for units of the 2nd Sudan Defence Brigade of the Sudan Defence Force to move to Chad, but it will take some time to plan and complete the move.


Saturday, January 17th 2015, 3:53pm

4 November
The prototype de Havilland Vampire F.Mk.III, TG275, has flown for the first time today. This latest version of the jet-fighter has a 3,100lb thrust de Havilland DGo.2 Goblin II turbojet for an estimated maximum speed of 540mph. It is hoped the mark will enter RAF service from mid-1947 as a fighter-bomber.

6 November
The Trade Union Congress (Burma) has been founded by the Socialist Party. Ba Cho has been elected the President of the TUC(B).

7 November
A Gloster Meteor F.Mk.III jet-propelled fighter flown by Group Captain H.J. Wilson has achieved a record speed of 606mph whilst being flown on speed trials at Herne Bay.


Saturday, February 7th 2015, 11:53am

14 November
Harold Macmillan begins his third term as a Conservative MP after winning the by-election in Bromley, Kent.

22 November
In the South China Sea HMS Eagle turned into the wind, on her deck was a brand-new de Havilland Sea Hornet. It was painted light blue and as soon as the wind was over the deck and the carrier had steadied her course, the launch officer dropped his arm and the hydraulic catapult shot forwards. The sleek twin-engine fighter soon climbed away.
The pilot circled as he climbed, the carrier turning away below him. He set course due east and continued to climb. Two hours later he was cruising at 37,000ft, he opened his throttles to reach the maximum permitted at this altitude. Below him passed the island of Lan Yu. As he flew over he pressed the toggle on his control column, this time not releasing a deadly salvo of cannon shells, but instead the lens shutter of two cameras. He altered course to the north-east in a single arc, he looked around for fighters but he knew at this height and speed, no fighter could scramble and reach his altitude to intercept him. Another two and a half hours and he would be safely back aboard the Eagle.

26 November
Today the prototype Handley Page HP.77 airliner made its maiden flight at the company’s Radlett works. Developed to meet Spec P.8/44 for a 32-seat airliner for BEA, the HP.77 seats 34-24 passengers four-abreast with three flight crew plus cabin crew. The prototype is powered by two 2,200hp Bristol Theseus II propeller-turbines for an estimated maximum cruising speed of 337mph and a range of 1,000 miles. It is the first propeller-turbine civilian aircraft to fly in the world. The competing Vickers design to Spec P.8/44 has yet to fly before BEA can make a selection.

28 November
A magnitude 8.1 earthquake has struck Baluchistan. The earthquake's epicentre was 97.6km south-southwest of the coastal town of Pasni and a tsunami caused damage along the Makran coastal region. Smaller waves struck the Omani peninsular and large waves were noted at the harbour of Muscat, but no major damage was caused. Larger waves and more damager were caused further south.

29 November
In response to yesterday's earthquake, the RAF has sent aircraft of the Arabian Peninsular Reconnaissance Flight based at Masirah to reconnoitre the Omnai and Balochi coastlines. The latter region is thought to be badly affected. Bristol Beaufort and Vickers Wellington aircraft made numerous sorties. Early reports indicate several Balochi fishing villages have almost ceased to exist.

30 December
The sloops HMS Annan, Avon and Awe of the 11th Sloop Flotilla have left Muscat with aid supplies. They hope to be able to moor offshore of what remains of Pasni and Gwadar and ferry supplies ashore using their own whalers and whatever local craft have survived.
It is thought several gunboats of the 7th Gunboat Squadron will also aid in these efforts. The gunboat HMS Qatar entered the harbour at Sur (Oman) and offloaded supplies and her medical officer treated several casualties mainly broken limbs and lacerations).
Two Airspeed Envoy transports of the Oman Communications Flight attempted to land at Pasni airport but found the ground still waterlogged.

1 December
Alexander Fleming and Ernst Boris Chain win the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine jointly with Howard Florey for the discovery of penicillin and its curative effect in various infectious diseases".

243 Squadron equipped with Vickers-Supermarine Sea Otter flying boats based at Muharraq, Bahrain, have deployed to Muscat. There they will aid 228 Squadron Short Sunderlands in relief missions. A Sunderland made a successful landing at Ormarma where they offloaded an RAF medical officer, two medical orderlies and some supplies and in return flew twenty-six injured survivors to Muscat.
Aid has also been offered to India, whose neighbouring coast has also suffered.

2 December
Deaths from the Baluchistan are estimated form early reports to be at least 300 and perhaps as many as 4,000 people. The situation is very unclear as many coastal areas are isolated.
A Sunderland of 228 Squadron was lost today, attempting to land off a small devastated village, the aircraft struck floating debris ripping off the port wing float, the wing dipped and the wingtip clipped the surface. One crewman went down the with the aircraft, but the others managed to get clear before she sank.
Handley Page Hastings of 216 and 117 Squadrons based in Egypt are making routine flights to Oman with further aid supplies and a steamer, the SS Almeda, has been charted to deliver foodstuffs and tents and survival equipment to Muscat for onward transfer. An Iraqi Sunderland has flown more supplies southward too. The harbours at Pasni and Gwadar are largely destroyed, but a small engineering party from the Royal Navy is now ashore.

4 December
Until Pasni airport can be made serviceable again, a flight of six Hastings detached at Muscat have begun paradropping supplies at Gwadar and Pasni to complement the coastal operations by RAF Sunderlands and Sea Otters and efforts by Royal Navy sloops and gunboats. The seaplane carrier HMS Engadine is now also moored in Pasni harbour, her generators supplying a limited amount of power for the Navy-built shore camp and hospital and her sick quarters serving as an operating theatre. Her aircraft are also active along the coast in ferrying refugees and Red Crescent aid workers.

6 December
Pasni airfield is now re-open to limited numbers of flights. The death toll now clearly numbers in the thousands and the devastation to coastal communities is clear. An Iraqi destroyer, HMIS Al Bahi, has also joined relief operations.
Two RAF BCAC Wayfayer transports have also arrived at RAF Muscat, following a staged flight from Brize Norton in England. It is hoped to base these at Pasni within the next few days.

7 December
The prototype Weir W.11 Air Horse, registered G-ALCV, made its first flight today. This is the world’s biggest rotary-winged aircraft which is a development of the Weir W.6 dual transverse rotor helicopter but with three rotors. Work on the W.11 commenced in 1942. The W.11 uses two 47 feet diameter three-blade wooden rotors transversely mounted either side of the rear fuselage and another identical rotor mounted on the centreline at the nose. A Rolls-Royce Merlin piston engine in the fuselage provides the power. The blades, made of resin-impregnated wood which provide enormous strength, were manufactured by the Glasgow woodworking engineering firm H. Morris & Co., Ltd. The W.11 rotor control system is hydraulically powered, being the second rotary-winged aircraft ever to fly using such a system, the first being the Cierva W.9. Roles envisaged for the W.11 include passenger transport, air ambulance and as an aerial crane.

9 December
Supplies of quicklime have arrived at Oman for onward shipment to Balochistan.

10 December
Alexander Fleming and Ernst Boris Chain have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine jointly with Howard Florey for “the discovery of penicillin and its curative effect in various infectious diseases”.

The Jodrell Bank Observatory has been officially founded today by Bernard Lovell, a member of the University of Manchester’s cosmic ray research team. The three fields at Jodrell Bank were purchased by the University of Manchester's Department of Botany in 1939. Lovell has been using a government-supplied GL II gun-laying radio direction finder to investigate cosmic rays. Lovell originally intended to use the equipment in Manchester; however electrical interference from the trams running down Oxford Road prevented him from doing so. Consequently, the equipment has been moved to Jodrell Bank, 25 miles south of the city. Lovell's main topic of research is transient radio echoes. It is hoped to turn on the equipment on the 14th when the Geminids meteor shower is at its maximum. Future plans include constructing a 66 m Transit Telescope on the site.

11 December
A textile workers strike in Shubra El-Kheima has been broken up. The government accused the Workers Committee for National Liberation – Political Organisation for the Working Class (WCNL) of leading the strike. Around 600 workers were arrested as police tried to break up the strike.


Sunday, February 8th 2015, 10:52am

I thought I had posted this earlier on, but obviously not...

Politics in 1945


The Motherwell by-election was held on 12 April 1945, following the death of Labour Party Member of Parliament for Motherwell, James Walker in a road accident. The by-election was won by the Scottish National Party’s Party Secretary Robert McIntyre, who became the first SNP Member of Parliament. However, the Labour Party candidate Alexander Anderson won the seat from McIntyre in the general election a few months later.

The Caernarvon Boroughs by-election was held on 26 April 1945. The seat had become vacant when the constituency's Liberal Member of Parliament, David Lloyd George had been elevated to the peerage as the 1st Earl Lloyd George of Dwyfor in January 1945. Lloyd George was first elected as the constituency's MP in 1890. The Liberal Party candidate, David Richard Seaborne Davies fought off tough opposition from Plaid Cymru to retain the seat. Davies was defeated by the Conservative candidate during the General Election three months later.

The Middlesbrough West by-election was held on 14 May 1945. The seat had become vacant when the constituency's Liberal Member of Parliament, Harcourt Johnstone died on 1 March 1945, aged 49. Johnstone had held the seat since a by-election in 1940. Johnstone had previously been MP for Willesden East from 1923 to 1924 and for South Shields from 1931 to 1935. The Liberal Party candidate, the noted pilot Donald Clifford Tyndall Bennett won the by-election but only served in Parliament between May and June 1945. Bennett was defeated by a Labour candidate in the general election.

The Neath by-election, was held for the constituency of Neath in South Wales on 15 May 1945. Neath was considered a safe seat for the Labour Party and had been held by William Jenkins since the 1922 general election. Jenkins died on 8 December 1944. Plaid Cymru stood Wynne Samuel, its South Wales organiser. The party's main strengths were in North Wales. Samuel was not expected to be a strong contender, but the party hoped this would launch a new strategy of winning over industrial workers in the south of the nation. The Revolutionary Communist Party stood Jock Haston, its General Secretary. This was the first time they had stood a candidate in a British Parliamentary election. The party had only been established the previous year, but had been leading supporters of strikes by coal miners which had occurred in the area in 1944, for which efforts some of its members had been imprisoned. Several local miners' lodges had supported their defence, and the party had sent a prominent member, John Lawrence, as a full-time organiser for the area, recruiting some activists in Merthyr Tydfil, Llanelli and Swansea. The Communist Party offered its full support to the Labour candidate, local miner D. J. Williams, and campaigned against the Revolutionary Communist Party. Williams comfortably won, maintaining the seat for Labour.

The Newport by-election was held on 17 May 1945 for the constituency of Newport in Monmouthshire. The seat had become vacant on the death of the constituency's Conservative Member of Parliament Sir Reginald Clarry, on 17 January 1945, aged 62. He had held the seat since the 1922 general election; with a two-year gap after his defeat at the 1929 general election (he was re-elected at the 1931 election). The Conservative Party candidate Ronald Bell, an Oxford-educated barrister who had been heavily defeated at the Caerphilly by-election in 1939, held the seat for the Conservatives on a reduced turnout with a majority of 2,702 votes. Bell was heavily defeated by the Labour Party candidate, Peter Freeman, in the general election.

The Smethwick by-election was held on 1 October 1945. The by-election was caused by the death of the town's newly elected Labour Party Member of Parliament, Alfred Dobbs, who was killed in a car accident on 27 July 1945, only one day after his election at the general election. There were only two candidates in the by-election, Labour and Conservative; the Liberal Party had not fielded a candidate in Smethwick since the 1929 general election. The result was a victory for the Labour candidate Patrick Gordon Walker, who held the seat comfortably with a slightly increased majority on a slightly reduced turnout.

The Ashton-under-Lyne by-election was held on 2 October. The by-election was triggered by the elevation to the peerage of the town's Labour Party Member of Parliament William Jowitt, who was ennobled as Baron Jowitt. The result was a victory for the Labour candidate Hervey Rhodes, who held the seat with over 50% of the votes.

The Edinburgh East by-election was held on 3 October 1945, caused by the ennoblement of the incumbent Labour MP Frederick Pethick-Lawrence. The result was a hold for the Labour Party, with their candidate George Thomson.

The Monmouth by-election was held for the constituency of Monmouth in Wales on 30 October 1945. The seat had become vacant on the death of the sitting Conservative Member of Parliament Leslie Pym. Leslie Pym had held the seat since a by-election in 1939 and died at the age of 61 on 17 July 1945, only 5 days after polling in the general election. The Conservative candidate was 36-year-old Peter Thorneycroft, who had been the MP for Stafford from a 1938 by-election until his defeat at the general election. The Labour Party candidate was A. B. L. Oakley, who had been the unsuccessful candidate at the general election in July. On a slightly reduced turnout, Thorneycroft held the seat for the Conservatives, a narrowly-increased majority of 2,139.

The Tottenham North by-election was held on 13 December 1945. The seat had become vacant when the sitting Labour Co-operative Member of Parliament, Robert Morrison, had been ennobled on 16 November 1945 as Baron Morrison. The Labour Co-operative candidate was William Irving. The Conservative Party candidate was barrister Petre Crowder. On a much-reduced turnout, Irving held the seat for Labour, with a swing of 8.2% to the Conservatives.

Maltese General Election
General elections were held in Malta between 10 and 12 September. The Labour Party was the only party to contest the elections and won nine of the 10 seats. An independent candidate won the remaining seat. The elections were held using the single transferable vote system, whilst suffrage was limited to men meeting certain property qualifications. 25,672 voters out of the registered electorate of 61,203 turned out to vote (41.9%).

Egbé Ọmọ Odùduwà, a Nigerian political organization established when Chief Obafemi Awolowo along with Dr. Oni Akerele, Chief Akintola Williams, Professor Saburi Biobaku, Chief Abiodun Akinrele, Chief Ayo Rosiji and others met in London. Their stated aim in setting up the organization was to unite the Yorùbá in a manner similar to the tenets of the Ibibio State Union and the Ibo Federal Union; which are political action committees of the Ibibio and the Igbo respectively.


Sunday, February 22nd 2015, 2:40pm

14 December
Vickers has flown an improved prototype of the Windsor heavy bomber powered by four Rolls-Royce Clyde propeller-turbines. With the intended production engines the cruising speed is estimated to be 390mph at 20,000ft, service ceiling 37,000ft and range 2,415 miles with 3,580gal of fuel. A second prototype will fly next year.

16 December
The Royal Navy have gifted four unarmed ex-MTBs of the BPB-01 Class to Baluchistan to aid in the ferrying of supplies along the coast.

26 December
Admiral of the Fleet Roger John Brownlow Keyes, 1st Baron Keyes, one of Britain’s most celebrated Admirals has died at his home in Buckingham today.


Roger Keyes was born on 4 October 1872, in Burma where his father commanded the Burmese Frontier force. He spent his first five years here but, despite being far from the sea, he told his parents "I am going to be an Admiral". Keyes remained in Britain and attended a preparatory school at Margate. After some discussion and, against his father's wishes, Roger was permitted to join the Royal Navy, joining the training establishment HMS Britannia in the autumn of 1884, at the age of 12.
In August 1887, Keyes was appointed to the full rigged sailing frigate HMS Raleigh, which was flagship of the West Africa Station. In 1890, Keyes transferred to HMS Turquoise, a barque rigged corvette, operated from Zanzibar on slavery suppression missions. There was much opportunity for action as small naval launches under junior officers were sent out for weeks at a time to patrol the coast, probing the estuaries and creeks where Arab slavers hid with their cargoes of young women and children, seized from coastal regions. He participated in the 1890 expedition against the Sultan of Wituland. Keyes returned to England and was attached to various ships in the Channel Fleet, including a service aboard the royal yacht HMY Victoria and Albert. He met Queen Victoria and the future King George V. In October 1892, Keyes went to South America for service on HMS Beagle, remaining in South American waters until 1896. This was a very happy time in his life, as he had plenty of opportunity for polo and shooting in Argentina and Grand Uruguay, where he was made very welcome by the local British residents. He thought of settling in Argentina, but the lady of whom he was enamoured chose another. The early part of Keyes' tour was spent mostly in Brazil where a Royal Navy squadron was busy protecting British shipping and residents during an 1893–94 naval insurrection against President Floriano Peixoto. During the course of his duties, he became friendly with a rebel leader, Rear Admiral Saldanha da Gama.

After his return home, Keyes served on a training ship for new recruits. He was then given command of HMS Opossum, a new destroyer. Keyes was then posted out to China to command another destroyer, HMS Hart, soon transferring to a newer ship, HMS Fame. In April 1899, he went to the rescue of a small British force which was attacked and surrounded by irregular Chinese forces while attempting to demarcate the border of the Hong Kong New Territories. Keyes went ashore, leading half the landing party, and, while Fame fired on the besiegers, he led the charge which routed the Chinese and freed the troops. Reports soon started to come in to British authorities of disturbances throughout North China, aimed particularly against Chinese Christians, missionaries and European merchants. The anti-foreign agitators were called Boxers, and soon were threatening the foreign legations in Peking (Beijing) and the European settlement at Tientsin (Tianjin). Local British naval forces were sent to the aid of these two threatened communities. Both cities were inland, Tientsin some 30 miles up the shallow river Pei Ho (Hai River), and Peking some 60 miles further inland and only destroyers could, at high tide, get over the bar and into the Pei Ho. The mouth of the river was defended by three modern Chinese forts (the Taku Forts), whose gunners were trained by Europeans.

Keyes arrived off Taku in HMS Fame on 31 May 1900, with the whole squadron coming in two days later. Since Fame drew only 8 feet of water and could cross the bar into Taku during four hours of high tide twice per day, she was used to take messages and passengers back and forth to the railhead. As a result, Keyes became familiar with navigation on the lower stretches of the river. At this point he was able to pass the forts unmolested, though the Chinese gunners trained their guns on his ship. The British commander, Admiral Edward Seymour, visited Tientsin on 3 June, and alarmed, ordered a small naval brigade to its aid. Fame was busy ferrying the troops upriver, past the forts. At the same time, a desperate message arrived from Peking requesting immediate help. Admiral Seymour took a huge gamble and set out by train for Peking from Tientsin in June with 1,000 British sailors and marines. Naval ships of other countries whose nationals were besieged in Peking contributed sailors as well, and soon the Admiral commanded a mixed force of 1,990 British, German, French, Russian, American, Italian, and Austrian sailors. Then the telegraph line to Peking went dead, and Boxers began tearing up the railway track in front of and behind the train well before Peking. Seymour was now in a dangerous situation. Keyes, though a junior officer, began to show once again the foresight and leadership which so characterized his career. He determined that the capture of the Taku forts and the seizure of the Chinese destroyers was the key to the relief of Tientsin and Peking. With another junior officer, Commander Christopher Craddock, he made a land reconnaissance of the forts on 13 June to discover the best line of attack. On 15 June, Keyes was sent by Admiral James Bruce, acting commander, overland to Tientsin to find out the state of defences and what had happened to Admiral Seymour and his force. He reported to the local British commander, Captain Bayly and his second in command, Commander David Beatty. Bayly reported Seymour's precarious situation and urged Keyes to make it back to Admiral Bruce as quickly as possible to persuade him to seize the Taku forts. Keyes borrowed a revolver and commandeered a locomotive, bribed the engineer and fireman and set off. When they approached a station en route, they saw that the platform was covered with Chinese soldiers. The railway men lost courage and slowed down, until Keyes put his revolver to the engineer's temple, and they steamed through the trouble. When returning to the ship, he learned that the Chinese had laid mines in the river channel that afternoon. With some difficulty, Keyes persuaded Bruce of the need to seize the destroyers and the forts.

At an international naval gathering next morning, it was agreed to issue an ultimatum to the Chinese commander to hand over the forts temporarily to the Europeans. Should the demands not be agreed to, Keyes was given the task of seizing the destroyers at 2 am the next morning with an attack on the forts to follow at daybreak. Keyes scouted the Chinese ships in a lighter before the ultimatum expired, and developed a detailed plan to storm the ships and seize them intact. The plan was simple. Each British destroyer had a boarding party on its forecastle armed with pistols and cutlasses, led by its captain, to seize the first and third destroyers and another boarding party in a whaler towed behind, led by the executive officer to seize the second and fourth ships. But at 1 am the Chinese forts opened fire. Keyes immediately put his plan into action and, under the cover of nightfall, all went off like clockwork. He then led a sortie ashore and captured the dry dock, dispersing snipers. His orders were to take the captured ships to Tongku, which he did. Keyes then escorted a river tug with stores and ammunition for the besieged troops in Tientsin pas the fort at Hsi-cheng armed with six modern 6 inch, quick-fire guns. By the time he got back to Taku, the three forts had been taken. Keyes led the attack against Hsi-cheng, loading the Fame with as many armed men as he could, anchored on an ebb tide off the fort and sheered into the bank. He sprang ashore, followed by a landing party of 32, armed with rifles, pistols, cutlasses and explosives. Surprise was complete, the main door of the fort was open, and a party of Chinese inside was scattered. The sailors quickly destroyed the gun mountings, and blew up the powder magazine, fleeing back to the ship in the nick of time. The same day, 25 June 1900, Admiral Seymour managed to fight his way back into Tientsin. After all his exploits, Keyes still managed to get himself into the thick of fighting throughout the rest of the campaign. He managed to obtain leave from the Fame for two days to run a tug and lighter with stores to Tientsin. While there, he joined an attack on some Chinese batteries at the Tientsin race course, being very impressed by the Japanese troops who led it. Keyes also accompanied an old friend of his father, General Sir Alfred Gaselee as a naval aide-de-camp on Gaslee’s military expedition. So it came to be that Keyes was the first man over the Peking walls, planting a Union Jack on the top. He was also the first to break through to the legations. For his bravery during the Boxer Rebellion, Lieutenant Keyes was promoted to the rank of Commander.

After some time to convalesce from diphtheria, Keyes resumed command of HMS Fame, and returned to Hong Kong through a dreadful typhoon. He was transferred home. After a few months leave Keyes was appointed to command a new destroyer, HMS Bat, stationed at Portsmouth and was second in command of the Devonport Destroyer Flotilla. The ships under his command did very well in naval exercises leading to an appointment at the Admiralty in the intelligence section. The time back in England enabled Keyes to pursue his passion for polo, a recreation at which he made the acquaintance of Winston Churchill. In early 1905, Keyes took up an appointment as naval attaché at Rome, Vienna, Constantinople and Athens, with his office at the British Embassy in Rome. On 10 April 1906, he married Eva Bowlby. They honeymooned on the Dalmatian coast and the Greek Isles. In January 1908, Keyes took up command of HMS Venus, a second class cruiser serving with the Atlantic Fleet. In 1910, Keyes was looking forward to command of an armoured cruiser, when he was offered the appointment of Inspecting Captain of Submarines which he accepted. Though the position was initially regarded as a training role, Keyes's energy led it to become an operational command in 1912. Keyes saw the worsening international situation in late July 1914 and cancelled all leave for his men. He moved his vessels and headquarters to Harwich to be closer to Germany and was ready for war when it broke out on 4 August 1914.

When Great War broke out, Keyes took command of the submarine force at Harwich. These submarines were involved in the first Battle of Heligoland Bight, in August 1914. As Naval Chief of Staff to Vice-Admiral Sackville Carden, commander of the Royal Navy squadron off the Dardanelles during early 1915, Commodore Keyes was heavily involved in the organisation of the Dardanelles Campaign. He volunteered to take charge of a minesweeping operation intended to clear the way for the bombarding ships more than once. After the heartbreak of the Dardanelles operation, Keyes applied for a transfer back to the Grand Fleet. He was in Salonika finishing up when news arrived of the Battle of Jutland. He returned to England immediately and took command of the battleship HMS Centurion assigned to the 2nd Battle Squadron. He was promoted Rear-Admiral on 10 April 1917. In June he was made second in command of the 4th Battle Squadron, under Admiral Sir Doveton Sturdee. He flew his flag aboard HMS Colossus, who’s Captain was Dudley Pound.

On 1 January 1918, Keyes took over command Channel Command. In 1919, he was given command of the Battlecruiser Squadron, hoisting his flag at Scapa Flow in HMS Lion. By 1920, he was flying his flag in the new HMS Hood. In 1921 Keyes became Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff. His war services were rewarded by making him a baronet and giving him an award of £10,000. In May 1925, Keyes took up a three-year appointment as Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean Fleet. Many commentators hold that this fleet achieved its peak of efficiency under the restless direction of Keyes. In May 1929, Keyes took up the position of Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth, the most important Home Command, but he was very disappointed not to be made First Sea Lord in 1930. His appointment as Admiral of the Fleet came on 8 May 1930. He hauled down his flag at Portsmouth on 9 June 1931 which ended his last naval command. Keyes and his wife bought a country home at Tingewick, near Buckingham, close to good fox hunting. Sir Roger Keyes was elected Member of Parliament for North Portsmouth as a Conservative in January 1934. He served in the House of Commons until raised to the peerage as Baron Keyes of Dover in January 1943.
Sir Keyes funeral will be held at Westminster Abbey.

27 December
There have been several reported terrorist attacks at several British Army bases in Palestine overnight, including several explosive devices. It is not yet clear who is behind the attacks.


Sunday, February 22nd 2015, 6:09pm

The German Government expresses its condolences upon the death of Admiral Keyes. If acceptable, the Kriegsmarine will send a small delegation to the funeral to honor a most valiant and honorable opponent.