Tag Archives: heroism

An Interesting Day

Tonight, I beat an Oxford College on University Challenge. I can’t remember which one it was, but it was one of the proper old ones. They had a shocker tonight and managed to get down to zero after interrupting with wrong answers several times. I, on the other hand, hit a good run of questions and my one aging brain defeated the four fresh young brains. It was a moment to treasure. Pardon my glee, but some nights I watch it I don’t even understand the questions. I didn’t actually understand them all tonight, to be honest.

We had a good day in the shop and bought in a nice modern collection. It has some very rare coins in it. This is unusual, because despite what you may read in the papers or on the internet, there are not many rare modern coins. The seller walked out with slightly surprised expression. It’s always nice when you can surprise someone with more money than they were expecting.

I continued my research on the silver prize medallion we found in one of the trays. It had been there for years – a prize for the Mediterranean Fleet Water Polo Championships in 1934. IT is named on the edge and I have been able to put together an interesting, though sad, story. The officer in question was decorated with the DSC for his part in the Battle of Narvik, serving aboard HMS Havock. The battle took place in the middle of a snow storm and the leader, Captain Warburton-Lee, was awarded the first VC of the war. Lieutenant Bruce, the recipient of the water polo medal, would go on to gain three Mentions in Despatches, the final one being posthumous when HMS Somali broke up whilst under tow after a torpedo attack whilst escorting a convoy to Murmansk. According to a newspaper report he refused rescue until his men had been taken off the life raft he was on, and died when his raft capsized.

In a world where the word “hero” is often used rather loosely it is good to see it used properly

I love my job, and I do enjoy the research, but there are some terribly sad stories out there.

A Rant at Modern Life

I’ve just been watching the news. It seems that “news” is a report of Dame Judy Dench eating 100 Maltesers as part of the Captain Tom 100 Challenge, a report from a woman who nearly died of Covid, but didn’t, and a report about a Covid memorial at St Paul’s Cathedral.

None of that, to me is news. It’s entertainment or current affairs.

Sport pulling out of social media is news, though I’m cynical about how it will work out. And someone drowning in the Thames whilst attempting to save a woman who fell in, is also news. It’s very selective news though, with a narrow focus on the man who drowned, and not on the man who also jumped in but didn’t drown.

There are plenty of options for rewarding this sort of bravery, including medals of the Royal Humane Society. In 1882 the Assistant Manager of London’s Lyceum Theatre dived into the Thames in an attempt to save a man from drowning. He was given the bronze medal of the society, though he’s better known for something else. He wrote Dracula.

Sorry if I seem a little cynical at the moment but I’ve just been dealing with some paperwork relating to my dad’s probate. I have just seen a life reduced to numbers and his wife of  62 years described as a tenant in common. As the icing on the cake there is a monitoring form at the end, asking if I, amongst other things, am black or white and whether I consider myself to be disabled. There are questions about gender too. I didn’t understand them.

It’s a waste of time effort and trees. Even if you do find that Death is racist, homophobic and doesn’t like cripples, what are you going to do about it?

And who thought it was appropriate to attach the questionnaire to the probate papers?