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Exploring Medway: Epicentre of a battle that changed the globe

350 years to this day, the Dutch finally withdrew from their daring raid on the Royal Navy’s fleet at Chatham. Also known as the Battle of Medway, the raid resulted in one of the most humiliating defeats the British have ever suffered in domestic waters. The Dutch suffered only minimal losses, capturing and towing away HMS […]

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The Royal Navy’s Darkest Day: Medway 1667

Patrick Boniface recalls one of the most humiliating defeats in the history of Britain’s Royal Navy. To the people of Chatham the approaching ships on the River Medway must have looked impressive. Under full sail a Dutch flotilla was racing towards the Royal Navy stronghold intent on causing maximum damage. The June 1667 raid on […]

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The myth of the invincible Vikings

The Vikings have a formidable military reputation. But much of this, argues Martyn Whittock, is hype. We need some serious analysis.   In AD 866 there were four independent Anglo-Saxon kingdoms in England. By 874, there was just one. A ‘blitzkrieg’ of Viking attacks had obliterated three kingdoms. In eight short years, the Vikings had […]

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Interwar policy and the disaster at Dunkirk, 1940

Outgeneralled, the British Army crashed to defeat before the German Blitzkrieg in May 1940. The greatest defeat in British imperial history, it was the price of interwar conservatism. But the soldiers had fought with gritty determination and most of them were rescued from the beaches of Dunkirk. So Britain would survive to fight again.   […]

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Prince Albert and reform of the Victorian Army

Queen Victoria’s husband was not a military man. But the Crimea turned him into a zealous army reformer. As an armchair strategist, Prince Albert displayed an acute insight into the basic realities of the Crimean conflict. ‘Russia is not to be conquered,’ he wrote to his brother Ernest in Germany, ‘but financially she can be […]

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What is the significance of the Dambusters legend?

MHM Editor Neil Faulkner analyses the RAF’s controversial strategic bombing campaign. What is the real significance of the Dambusters legend? James Holland and I clashed on this question on the BBC radio air-waves on 17 May 2013, the 70th anniversary of Operation Chastise, the famous bouncing-bomb raid on the Möhne, Eder, and Sorpe dams. We both agreed […]

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Churchill: ‘Blood, toil, tears, and sweat’

What’s that quote on the new £5 note? The phrase ‘I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat’ is featured under the portrait of Winston Churchill, and it is a quote from Churchill’s first speech to the House of Commons, which he gave on 13 May 1940. Delivering his speech during the Battle […]

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Theatre: The Wipers Times by Ian Hislop and Nick Newman

‘The War is not funny, Sir.’ – Colonel Howfield. ‘I’ve a feeling that may be the point.’ – General Mitford. Seema Syeda reviews Ian Hislop and Nick Newman’s hit sensation, The Wipers Times. Lovers of satire, puns, and slap-stick comedy will delight in this new gem of a play from writers Ian Hislop and Nick Newman, The Wipers […]

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WWII Berlin in photographs

The Battle of Berlin, fought between 16 April and 2 May 1945, was the last major European offensive of the Second World War. The 17-day Soviet assault centred on the German capital, which suffered a total of 363 air raids during the war. By May 1945, 1.7 million people had fled the city. Here, MHM takes a […]

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10 things you didn’t know about the Norman conquest of Ireland

Most people are familiar with the tumultuous events of England in 1066, but how much do you know about ‘the other Norman conquest’, launched a century after the Battle of Hastings? In spring of 1169, a small band of Normans set sail from South Wales bound for Ireland, landing in May of that same year. This […]

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