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Sunday, April 25th 2021, 6:11pm

British Empire News 1950

This is the BBC Home Service...

3 January
The prototype Bristol Type 173 tandem rotor helicopter designed to meet Specification E.4.46 first flew today after six months of ground tests. It is powered by two 575hp Leonides radial engines and uses two Type 171 rotor systems. Both rotors are linked and can be driven by one engine in case of engine failure.

10 January
The Prime Minister today announced to the House of Commons that a General Election will take place on 23 February. This is the first Labour government that has made it to the end of a full Parliamentary term, which has surprised many political commentators, especially given some of the radical policies enacted and the very small majority which has often been down to single digit numbers and reliant on the goodwill of the Independent Labour Party.
Significant changes have taken place since the 1945 general election. These include the abolition of plural voting by the Representation of the People Act 1948 and a major reorganisation of constituencies by the House of Commons (Redistribution of Seats) Act 1949. Eleven new English seats have been created with six abolished and over 170 major alterations to other constituencies across the country.


Sunday, April 25th 2021, 6:59pm

Berlin will be watching the run-up to the elections with great interest. It will be interesting if Labour can manage to hang on, or whether the Tories will regain their ascendency. There are some who might argue that Labour has been too soft on Germany. ;)


Sunday, April 25th 2021, 7:01pm

Eyup, living up to the terms and conditions of "Ugly Aircraft, Inc."! :D


Wednesday, April 28th 2021, 6:43am

So that is why the nickname


Sunday, May 2nd 2021, 11:12am

Yep, the nickame goes back years when I designed some very ugly (to some people) aircraft for Wes.


Sunday, June 6th 2021, 11:13am

British Infrastructure and Transport Projects in 1950

New Sections of Motorway opening this year (labelled by prospective Junction numbers):
J18-24 Crick - Kegworth section of the M1
J9-11 Stockbury - Faversham section of the M2
J1-5 Chiswick – Slough section of the M4
J3-4 Quinton - Lydiate Ash section of the M5
J32-33 Preston – Lancaster section of the M6
1950 J4-5 Harthill Bypass section of the M8
J25-26 M3 - Feltham & Ashford section of the M16 ‘D-Ring’ motorway
J26-27 Ashford- Heathrow Airport section of the M16 ‘D-Ring’ motorway
J27-28 Heathrow - M4 section of the M16 ‘D-Ring’ motorway
J56-59 Darlington Bypass, upgrading of the A1 to motorway standard, A1(M)
J7-9 Sprucefield – Moira section of the M1 in Northern Ireland

New sections of Motorway beginning construction this year (labelled by prospective Junction numbers):
J24-25 Kegworth – Sandiacre section of the M1
J25-26 Sandiacre – Nuthall section of the M1
J4-5 Brockley – Berrygrove section of the M1
J2-4 Westhorne - Bexley section of the M2, J3 is a planned future junction to the Ringway 2 Eastern Section
J18-20 Tormarton – Almondsbury section of the M4
J20-21 Almondsbury – Aust section of the M4
J39-41 Port Talbot Bypass which will form a section of the M4
J10-11 Darlaston – Shareshill section of the M6
J11-13 Shareshill – Dunston section of the M6
J28-29 M4 - Hayes & Southall section of the M16 ‘D-Ring’ motorway
J5-8 Bothwell -Hamilton section of the M74, the first section of this Gretna to Glasgow motorway which will eventually link with the M6 at Gretna and is a major upgrade of the current A74 primary route

The Great Western railway company is introducing its new 97650 Class diesel shunter for departmental duties. Five have been ordered from Ruston & Hornsby and all are powered by a 165hp Ruston 6VPHL diesel engine.

The London Midland & Scottish Railway have completed the Glasgow Suburban Lines electrification programme which has been underway since 1945. Work will now begin on electrifying the North Clyde Line, which should be completed during 1952.

On the Metropolitan Line of the London Underground, the quadrupling of the tracks between Harrow-on-the-Hill and Rickmansworth was completed this year, along with the complete re-signalling of the line north of Rickmansworth.


Tuesday, June 15th 2021, 12:38pm

12 January
After gaining a majority of 94 seats in the Parliament elections (after gaining 196 seats) the Wafd Party have regained political power in Egypt. Today Farouk I confirmed Mostafa El-Nahas as Prime Minister, the fifth time he has held the position since 1928.

In Nigeria the colonial authorities have issued to London a report on the attempted assassination of the Kongolese Defence Minister. Further investigations into the conference has revealed some suspicious connections behind the organisation of the venue and Interpol have been requested to trace the funding behind it. The Foreign Office has issued a statement to the Dutch government, cautioning them to investigate the matter thoroughly themselves and asking them to make the Kongolese government comply with their requests for further information. The fact the situation in the latter nation is currently uncertain with a rumoured coup taking place, London has a dim view of the goings on but had declined, so far, to make a formal complaint about the activities that took place in Lagos. Meanwhile in the Sudan, border patrols have been stepped up by the Army supported by RAF units.

14 January
Fairey has flown the Jet Gyrodyne for the first time today. The Jet Gyrodyne is a development of the Gyrodyne which first flew in 1947. The third Gyrodyne airframe has been modified to create the Jet Gyrodyne with the addition of tip jets on a new large two-bladed rotor fed by compressed air from the Leonides radial engine that also powers two propellers on two stub wings for extra thrust. There has been official interest in the type as an air ambulance, but so far no orders have been made. Avions-Fairey in Belgium are developing military versions of the Gyrodyne and have secured orders from the Belgian military.

15 January
The Labour party is campaigning on not letting its hard-won successes being dismantled by the Tories. The main policy aims are to increase economic productivity, reduce the costs of living and its main policy overseas is to increase self-government in the Empire. Commentators have noted no further nationalisations are specifically mentioned, although the option seems to be left open.

16 January
The Conservatives under their leader, Anthony Eden, are campaigning on accepting some of the nationalisation that has occurred but are determined to reverse other cases (iron and steel in particular), but the main economic theme is a mixed economy. The Conservatives have wisely got behind the Welfare State and the National Health Service and planning to keep all welfare services at present but with a large council house building plan as well added on top of Labour's plans.

17 January
The Liberal Party under Clement Davies essentially is viewing the Labour and Conservative efforts to win the mass vote as a class struggle. Their own policies are rather similar, but more leaning towards capturing the conservative vote. The Party aims to field 475 candidates, more than at any general election since 1929 to ensure they are strong enough in depth to form a government.


Thursday, July 1st 2021, 6:44pm

Mrs Irene Dudley of 74 Ypres Avenue, Leamington Spa, was asked by our roving reporter what she thought were the most important issues of the election; "Well, I don't know, I mean we pay our rates and we don't get the services we used too, only last night I told my Bert that the bins never seem to get emptied on Tuesdays anymore. Mine you that nice Mr Bevin did give us the health service and my mother, bless her soul, got her gallstones sorted without any fuss. Mind you that Mr Eden does dress nicely, a smart suit. Now if you excuse me my washing machine is on..."

In Chorley, Lancashire, we asked Mr Harold Purvis what he felt the main election issues were for him; "We need to keep those bleedin' Tories' hands off the new Welfare State, they never have respected the working man and they would soon have us shackled again. Mind you the price of beer has gone up these past few years, exploitation I calls it."

Mrs Martha Cludgeon of 12 Lemon Tree Passage, St Albans, was asked about her views of how Mr Attlee and Mr Eden compare; "Oh well we are all pretty political around here of course, but one can't simply let it interfere with everyday life can they?"


Friday, July 2nd 2021, 4:23pm

20 January

The defending Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Woodford in Essex, the Right Honourable Winston Churchill, gave a speech at Oxford University last night on the political position in Europe. The text of speech has sparked a wider debate within the country and raises questions of whether the Conservative Party are in danger of being accused of war mongering, or at the very least, of whipping up public opinion in favour of an arms race with the major European nations.

"Great Britain stands at this time at the pinnacle of world power. It is a solemn moment for British democracy. With primacy in power is also joined an awe-inspiring accountability to the future. As you look around you, you must feel not only a sense of duty but also feel anxiety lest you fall below the level of achievement. Opportunity is here now, clear and shining, for our country. To reject it or ignore it or fritter it away will bring upon us all the long reproaches of the after-time. It is necessary that constancy of mind, persistency of purpose and the grand simplicity of decision shall guide and rule the conduct of the British people. We must and I believe we shall prove ourselves equal to this severe requirement.

A shadow has fallen upon the scenes once lighted by the Allied victory. Nobody knows what the Grand Alliance intends to do in the immediate future or what are the limits if any to their expansive and proselytizing tendencies. I have a strong admiration and regards for the industrious Teutonic people and for my wartime comrades in France. There is sympathy and goodwill in Britain towards the peoples of all of Europe and a resolve to preserve through many differences and rebuffs in establishing lasting friendships. We understand the German need to be secure on her frontiers by the removal of all possibility of continental aggression. We welcome Russia to her rightful place among the leading nations of the world. Above all we welcome constant, frequent and growing contacts on both sides of the Channel. It is my duty however, for I am sure you would wish me to state the facts as I see them to you, to place before you certain facts about the present position in Europe.

From Saint Petersburg in the Baltic to Bordeaux on the Atlantic coast an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Continental Europe. Moscow, Berlin, Vienna, Paris, Prague, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia, all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Germanic sphere, and all are subject in one form or another, not only to German influence but to a very high and, in some cases, increasing measure of control from Berlin. Rome alone, with its immortal glories, is free to decide its future. The German-dominated Russian Government has been encouraged to make enormous rearmament preparations and mass expenditure of millions on a scale undreamed-of are now taking place. The Socialist parties have been raised to pre-eminence and power far beyond their numbers and are seeking everywhere to obtain totalitarian control. Hungary and Czechoslovakia are both profoundly alarmed and disturbed at the claims which are being made upon them and at the pressure being exerted by the Berlin Government. An attempt is being made by Berlin to build up an economic zone by showing special favours to groups of pro-German leaders. If now the French Government tries, by separate action, to align with Germany in these areas this will cause new serious difficulties in Britain and will give the Germans the power of putting themselves up to rule over the Western Democracies. Whatever conclusions may be from these facts- and facts they are-this is certainly not the Europe we fought to build up a generation ago. Nor is this one which contains the essentials of permanent peace.

From what I have seen of our French friends and Allies during the war, I am convinced that there is nothing they admire so much as strength, and there is nothing for which they have less respect than for weakness, especially military weakness. For that reason the old doctrine of a balance of power is unsound. We cannot afford, if we can help it, to work on narrow margins, offering temptations to a trial of strength. If the British stand together in strict adherence to the principles of democracy, their influence for furthering these principles will be immense and no one is likely to molest them. If however they become divided or falter in their duty and if these all-important years are allowed to slip away then indeed catastrophe may overwhelm us all."


Friday, July 2nd 2021, 4:57pm

Mister Churchill is rather out of touch with reality! I seriously doubt that either the French or Russian Governments would consider themselves under German domination.


Friday, July 2nd 2021, 5:56pm

Yeah he should probably stop drinking a decanter of port as his nightcap...

Doubtless Eden will politically distance himself from Churchill's comments, though the Conservatives have a manifesto that loosens the defence spending purse strings a bit.


Saturday, July 3rd 2021, 5:56pm


The Socialist parties have been raised to pre-eminence and power far beyond their numbers and are seeking everywhere to obtain totalitarian control.

Mmm, yeah, the Russian socialists are currently... stagnant, is I think the best word for it.


The German-dominated Russian Government has been encouraged to make enormous rearmament preparations and mass expenditure of millions on a scale undreamed-of are now taking place.

Cough cough China.


If now the French Government tries, by separate action, to align with Germany in these areas this will cause new serious difficulties in Britain

Only a fool passes up a business opportunity, and peace is good for business. :)


Really, more of what's happening is that France is competing with Germany economically, but focusing in different geographic areas (Africa, Russia) given their longer international reach, whereas the Germans are focusing on Eastern Europe. But even outside of those very... informal boundaries, they're still competing.

...competition is also good for business, in the French view. ;)


Thursday, July 29th 2021, 5:33pm

The Campaign Trail in Scotland

"Ladies and gentlemen, I'm now going to call upon the speaker of the evening."

The audience roars, "Speak up!"

"There's no need to say who he is or to speak of his brilliant record as a soldier and a statesman. He's a son of Scotland who has crossed the border and conquered England. He is now one of the foremost figures in the diplomatic political world in the great city of London. I'm, therefore, going to ask him to tell you something."

Someone in the audience shouts, "It's about time, too!"

"How important it is to this constituency that at this crucial election our candidate should be returned by an adequate majority. I now ask for Captain Fraser.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I apologise for my hesitation in rising just now, but I'd entirely failed while listening to the chairman's flattering description of the next speaker to realise he was talking about me. As for you, may I say from the bottom of my heart and with the utmost sincerity how delighted and relieved I am to find myself in your presence at this moment. Delighted because of your friendly reception and relieved because so long as I stand on this platform I am delivered from the cares and anxieties which must always be the lot of a man in my position. When I journeyed up to Scotland a few days ago , traveling on the Highland Express over that magnificent Forth Bridge — that monument to Scottish engineering and Scottish muscle — that is to say, on that journey I had no idea that in a few days time I should find myself addressing an important political meeting. I had planned a very different program for myself. A very different program. You'd be for the moors to shoot something. Or somebody. I'm a rotten shot. Anyhow, I little thought I should be speaking tonight in support of that brilliant, young statesman. The gentleman on my right, already known among you as one destined to make no uncertain mark in politics. In other words, your future member of Parliament, your candidate, Mr. McCrocodile."

The audience laughs, one of them stands up, "He doesn't know the candidate's name."

"I know your candidate will forgive my referring to him by the friendly nickname by which he's already known in anticipation, mark you, at Westminster. Now, ladies and gentlemen, we'll discuss some topic. What shall it be?

The audience clamours, "The herring fisheries! Unemployment! What about the idle rich?"

"That's an old-fashioned topic, especially for me because I'm not rich and I've never been idle. I've been pretty busy all my life, and I expect to be much busier soon. Have you ever worked with your hands? Indeed I have. I've known what it is to feel lonely and helpless and have the whole world against me. Those are things that no man or woman ought to feel. I ask your candidate and all those who love their fellowmen to set themselves resolutely to make
this world a happier place to live in. A world where no nation plots against nation, where no neighbour plots against neighbour where there is no persecution or hunting down, where everybody gets a square deal and a sporting chance, and where people try to help and not to hinder. A world from which suspicion and cruelty, and fear have been forever banished. That is the sort of world I want! Is that the sort of world you want? Fine! That's all I have to say. Good night!

The audience goes wild.

In England two candidates have a friendly discussion on the topics of the day

"Don't you fall for that soft soap. When a deal's fair for him, you can bet your life it's a wet and windy one for the rest of us."

"Sit down, Stanley, you're making a fool of yourself."

"You and your talk of country! You're waving a great big Union Jack, so nobody can see what you're up to behind it."

"What the devil are you playing at?"

"Not your little game. You've cheated everyone. You're a bounder, a streamlined, chromium-plated, old-fashioned bounder."

"You cad!"

"You humbug!"

"You traitor!"

"You twister!"



The referee steps forward, "Gentlemen! Gentlemen, please...What we want to get at are the facts."

Meanwhile a political meeting in Wales...

"We are all governed by dead ideas but, when it comes to political programmes, an idea has not merely to be dead but to have lost all meaning before it has any chance of being adopted with real enthusiasm."


Sunday, August 8th 2021, 1:02pm

The Admiralty had met to discuss the intelligence reports of increased construction of amphibious assault vessels in Germany and what that might indicate and how best to respond to the threat.

The Second Sea Lord, Admiral Sir William Jock Whitworth, began by outlining the current construction and strengths, highlighting Germany now possessed 16 large transports and around 230 landing craft of various types, a force probably twice that of the Navy's capability, which of course was spread amongst three fleets globally. More worrying was the sign this construction was not slowing.

The Director of Naval Intelligence, Rear-Admiral Eric Longley-Cook, added a little detail from the latest reports by the naval attaché to Germany, Captain Alfred Burcough and other sources, such as MI6. This was mostly technical detail, it fell to the First Lord of the Admiralty, A. V. Alexander, to outline the political aspects; "Gentlemen, for some time past it has become clear through political channels from Paris, that the build up of auxiliary support forces was a conscious effort by the Grand Alliance partners to divide their resources, the main aim being the sending of a large fleet to the Pacific if war broke out with China. Germany would supply a repair and resupply organisation along with a taskforce to support the Russian Pacific Fleet. Now its probable this amphibious programme is for the same aim, even so it is evident that such a force would be used to attack the British Isles, most probably from harbours in France along the Channel, with perhaps some larger units crossing the North Sea."

Longley-Cook added his summing up, "the fleet is mostly short-range craft, transporting it to the Pacific would be difficult, the threat to our security cannot be ignored. Most of the fleet are short-range craft, at most a strike across the North Sea, the Channel more likely but those harbours would be closer to our airfields and of course Germany would need to secure superiority in the North Sea. Even so, 230 landing craft are probably not sufficient to make a serious invasion possible, especially if the Army was already mobilised, the German strength suggests at present sufficient for an intervention task force but not a serious invasion of any magnitude."

The meeting then discussed ways and means. Much of the coastal defences built during the early 1930s was still operational though only partly manned and at any rate only a line of last-ditch defence. Alexander pointed out that the government would hardly fund a radical fortification programme, even modernising the forts would be unlikely. One suggestion was to build a line of Maunsell Forts as had been constructed by the Philippines along the east coast, again cost was an issue. The Third Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay, pointed out the success of the Seaward Defence Programme overseas, it seemed possible to adapt those designs for inshore defence of the British Isles, manpower would be an issue but several older destroyers and minesweepers were already being replaced. The Fifth Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Denis William Boyd, responsible for the Fleet Air Arm wondered in RAF Coastal Command could be interested in covering the inshore area with dedicated maritime patrol, indeed would it be possible to now lobby Whitehall to turn over Coastal Command to the Fleet Air Arm to form a striking and reconnaissance force. Alexander thought that was unlikely at present, but with a new government likely soon, anything might be possible.

The First Sea Lord, Admiral of the Fleet Bruce Fraser, summed up the feelings of the Imperial General Staff, that any chance of neutralising the threat was deterrence by seapower and threat of direct action. He noted Bomber Command had already a list of naval targets in its bombing lists, not all the targets the Navy wanted destroyed but certainly strength at home seemed the best option. The Commander in Chief Home Fleet, Admiral Edward Neville Syfret, quipped that the best defence would be to get China to invade Russia and let them siphon off German seapower to the Pacific to be minced up there. Alexander would feed back the need to apply gentle diplomatic pressure following the election, assuming Labour was returned to power. If not, the Tories would have to pick up the baton.


Sunday, August 8th 2021, 4:02pm

Interesting... :thumbsup:


Sunday, August 8th 2021, 4:37pm

The Commander in Chief Home Fleet, Admiral Edward Neville Syfret, quipped that the best defence would be to get China to invade Russia and let them siphon off German seapower to the Pacific to be minced up there.

Well, that would put a damper on our relationship...


Monday, August 9th 2021, 3:47pm

The Commander in Chief Home Fleet, Admiral Edward Neville Syfret, quipped that the best defence would be to get China to invade Russia and let them siphon off German seapower to the Pacific to be minced up there.

Well, that would put a damper on our relationship...

Only a quip, the RN doesn't have that high opinion of the Chinese Navy. Its competent enough from what we've seen in WW wars but it has no doubt they would get stomped on facing the kind of quality the GA could muster. Now if Japan was involved - that would be a different ballgame and a much closer fight, but Japan seems to have fallen out with China so we see no need to worry.
In fact Britain probably sees the GA's obsession with China as even more over the top than Britain's obsession with Germany.

Did that story arc with Chinese frogmen messing about with ships in Indochina ever get bottomed out?


Monday, August 9th 2021, 3:51pm

Interesting... :thumbsup:

Yes, its got me thinking about some organisational changes, there might just be enough time left to do some reforms of how the Navy is based.
The Coastal Command/FAA conundrum is interesting, as it was OTL, I can always think of a dozen good reasons to merge them, then a dozen good reasons not to!


Friday, August 20th 2021, 6:14pm

22 January
Armstrong-Siddeley today announced a deal signed with the Curtiss-Wright Corporation in the USA which covers a licence-production agreement for the Sapphire turbojet. Both companies hope to cooperate on the development of a turboprop derivative capable of over 6,500shp during the next few years.
The news comes as reports have leaked that the American manufacturer Convair is in talks with BCAC about a potential licence-production agreement for the Britannia 110 and 210 series of turboprop airliners given interest from several US Airlines, including Capital Airlines and Northeast Airlines.

24 January
Attlee had reasons to be confident, Churchill's outburst sounded more like ravings rather than a sound policy and he felt able to hammer on the economic and social policies. For Eden, Churchill had rather shot his defence and foreign policies and discreet orders went out the muzzle the old backbencher and swiftly moving topics to attack nationalisations and the need balance the books for a vibrant economy.


Friday, August 20th 2021, 8:02pm

I feel rather sorry for Mr. Eden. Churchill seems to have backed him into a corner. Should the Tories win, I have to wonder who will occupy Number Ten...