Sunday, December 25, 2005

Just Think of England

The way we think of England and the English is determined, it seems, by where we're from. For those in India, England is the Raj and Empress. For the Irish, they are the people of Bloody Sunday and The Famine, the people across the Irish Sea who preferred fat baby horses, to fat baby Irish. For the Aussies, it's Botany Bay, and their great-greats being exiled for stealing bread.

But the Americans? Is it 1776? Lexington and Concord? Nay, it is Churchill. When we Americans think of England, it's through the prism of Churchill in 1940. The British Bulldog, daring Hitler to try to break them in their Island Fortress. London can take it and we shall fight them on the beaches.

It's funny that in the turn of oratorical phrases, the Empire of over half the globe became for America the little shire of hobbits, set upon by the Hun, who were battling to the death for King and Country. And in America, old men can still tell you of those days, where England looked like it was going to sink under the weight of Yankee men and machines, and together, we won the war.

So, you can bear your grudges against the Raj or Bloody Sunday, but we here in the States remember Churchill, and "The Finest Hour."


At 9:20 PM, Blogger Alan_McDonald said...


Happy Christmas, old chap!

Did I ever tell you about my Grandfather Harry who was born in London or my Uncle Archie who was killed in the Blitz? Long stories those, best saved for later.

For now, I wanted to invite you over to my blog ( where I referred to you in the post "Day 8 and Counting."

At 11:29 PM, Blogger MonicaR said...

Churchill is one of the greats. You are right CH - when I think of England that's what I think of.

At 10:58 AM, Blogger City Troll said...

Good read Chas that summed it up right on the money, hope you had a good christmas

At 1:51 PM, Blogger Alan_McDonald said...

And a Happy Boxing Day to you, Chas!

Now for part 1 of that family trivia:

My grandfather, Harry Frost, born in London, migrated to Carrickfergus and finally settled in Belfast in time to sign the Ulster Covenant on Ulster Day, 28 September 1912.

For proof, go to:
Ulster Covenant Search and type in:
Surname: frost
Forename(s): harry
Then click on Find.

Pop Quiz: What was his street address?

At 4:11 PM, Blogger Chas said...

Alan, 52 Newport St! Very interesting, tho I'm gonna havta read up on what the Ulster Cov. is.

At 7:31 PM, Blogger Alan_McDonald said...

Chas, you get an A!

Now for part 2 of family trivia:

My uncle Archie McDonald was a young firefighter in the Belfast Fire Brigade. During the first German Blitz of Belfast (the night of April 7-8, 1941), Archie was among the detail sent to put out fires in a lumber yard started by incendiary bombs. It was then that the Luftwaffe dropped a parachute mine that killed Archie and another young fireman.

To see a statue with a plaque inscribed with Archie's name, go to Honoring Fallen Firefighters.

For more background information, see A HISTORY OF BELFAST FIRE BRIGADE
By Bill Broadhurst and Harry Welsh.

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