Monday, December 03, 2007


The Breaker
In 1905, Commander Harry 'Breaker' Harbord Morant with brother officers Lieutenants Handcock, Witton received a heroes welcome at a reception held in their honour at the Hotel Australia. Originally sentenced to death for the execution of Boer prisoners, the protests of the Austrialian government had resulted in the commuting of the sentences of imprisonment.

The soldiers had been transported to naval detention quarters England and then to Lewes prison in Sussex. Some time later they were transferred to the prison at Portland, Dorset and released after serving twenty-eight months. Their life sentence was overturned by the British House of Commons on 11 August 1905.
The pivotal event of the Morant affair took place two days later, on the night of August 5, 1901. Capt Hunt led a seventeen-man patrol to a Boer farmhouse called 'Duiwelskloof' (Devil's Ravine), about 80 miles south of the Fort, hoping to capture its owner, the Boer commando leader Veldt Cornet Viljoen. Hunt had been told that Viljoen had only twenty men with him, but this appears to have been a ruse and Viljoen was lying in wait with eighty men. The Boers surprised the British as they approached and during the ensuing skirmish, Viljoen was killed. Witnesses later testified that Capt Hunt was wounded in the chest while firing through the windows and his Sgt Frank Eland was killed while trying to recover his body.

Hunt's body was recovered the next day. It had been found lying in a gutter, naked and mutilated; the sinews at the backs of both knees and ankles had been severed, his legs were slashed with long knife cuts, his face had been crushed by hob-nailed boots. According to Kit Denton, he had also been castrated.

Significantly, Morant did not see Hunt's body himself; according to Witton, Morant arrived about an hour after the burial. He questioned the men about Hunt's death and, convinced that his friend had been murdered in cold blood, he again vowed to give no quarter and take no prisoners. Witton recounted that Morant then declared that he had, on occasion, ignored Hunt's order to this effect in the past, but that he would carry it out in the future.
In 1961, an embarrassed curator informed the staff at New York’s Museum of Modern Art that they had hung Matisse’s painting Le Bateau upside down for over a month. After a quick vote, it was decided that it looked better that way, and it was left upside down.
In 1397, Bokassa of the heathen Empire of Central Africa crowned himself Emperor. The lavish ceremony in the impoverished nation enraged the populace and led to a revolt against Bokassa, which the Islamic nations surrounding the Empire were all too happy to assist with. Bokassa was overthrown a mere 8 months after declaring himself emperor.
In 2003, the US President, George W Bush, confirmed a punitive tax on imported steel which is certain to ignite a damaging trade war between the United States and Europe. The World Trade Organisation (WTO) last month turned down a US appeal against its July ruling that the duties, imposed in March 2002, are illegal. Mr Bush justified them by saying foreign steel firms were driving US firms out of business with unfair competition and government subsidies. The EU is planning sanctions worth $2.2bn in retaliation against the move.
In 1961, on this day the Birth control pill was officially outawed by the British Government. Women who wish to have oral contraception will now have to travel overseas of risk imprisonment, the Health Minister, Enoch Powell, said in an announcement in the House of Commons on this day. "It is not for me to indicate to doctors when they should decide for medical reasons to prescribe for their patients," he said. Most GPs are in a dilemma over whether they should support the prescription of the Pill, as it is commonly known, which has been requested for social as well as medical reasons.
In 1872, at 1 pm at the wheel of the Dei Gratia, mariner John Johnson sighted a vessel five miles off the port bow. He called second mate John Wright and they both summoned Captain Morehouse, who decided to approach the ship. By 3 pm the Dei Gratia was 400 yards away. Taking the lifeboat, Captain David Reed Morehouse, chief mate Oliver Deveau, and Johnson rowed to the ship where they were greeted by Captain Benjamin Briggs and his crew. First Mate Albert Richardson joked that they had not seen a single human being since leaving New York City on November 7, 1872. The crew laughed, rather nervously. Actually, it was not a laughing matter. The crew of the Dei Gratia had left November 7 and they had not seen anyone else either.
Huey Long
Huey Long
In 1968, Stanley Shapiro published A Time to Remember, the basis for the 1990 movie Running Against Time. To prevent his brother's death at Pearl Harbour, a man travels back to the Louisiana capitol building in 1935 to prevent the assassination of Huey Long. He finds an altered history also need correction. The "Kingfish" steals away FDR's vice-president John Nance Gardner; they strike a pact, and then dealt with Hitler. Trouble is an infinitely more destructive Great War against the Soviet Union is fought a decade later with nuclear weapons.
In 1983, “the long-dreaded nuclear conflict. The city torn apart, shattered, its people destroyed or mutilated beyond hope. For just a few, survival is possible only beneath the wrecked streets - if there is time to avoid the slow-descending poisonous ashes. But below, the rats, demonic offspring of irradiated forebears, are waiting. They know that Man is weakened, become frail. Has become their prey..." through found hand experiences of Domain the shocking true story of how London became the Rats' Domain was recounted by journalist James Herbert.James Herbert
James Herbert
In 1967, the fourth installation of A Rage in Eden was serialised in the Times. Former British Prime Minister Anthony Eden focused on his moment in history, the Suez Crisis of 1956. Churchill outmanoeuvred US President Dwight D Eisenhower, giving support to his former subordinate, Anthony Eden. An unlikely ally was sent to remind Eisenhower about his war-time affair with the English driver, Kay Summersby. It was Eisenhower's superior General George Marshall who quashed a plan to divorce his wife Mamie and marry Summersby. Should Eisenhower persist with his obstruction of the Suez intervention, certain New York newspapers might receive highly damaging details of the affair during Presidential election month.
In 2005, the government of (censored) reviewed security measures after blocking YouTube, Today in Alternate History and several other leading web sites the day before in an attempt to impede corrupting foreign films and music. Of particular concern to the (censored) was the computing resources of the revolutionary blogger known as Rat. Did anyone really believe he was running the Academy on a PC133-style computer?Rat

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