2,000 years on Bath Abbey is set to use the famous hot water that the Romans did!

Long before the Romans, it was the ancient Celts who lived across the British Isles who first noticed the hot waters spewing forth from deep beneath the the surface of the Earth,  In fact, they used to pray there.  When the Romans arrived, they built a complex of baths and steam rooms to harness the power of the sacred springs.  They would bathe here, use the hot and healing waters rich in minerals to treat medical ailments, worship here and conduct business deals.

Modern day tourists still flock to the famous Baths and though the water still is rich in minerals and literally scorching hot, health and safety regulations and issues related to mass-tourism mean our contact with the waters is nothing more than a swig of the waters at the end of the tourist route which as one little boy told me two years ago, rather tastes of smelly socks.

Now 21st century engineers are to use the water from the same hot springs beneath the city of Bath to heat its medieval abbey.  Builders will shortly begin work on an underfloor heating system using the waters from the springs which supply the historic Roman baths.

Roman Drains

Part of the Roman drain that carries excess hot water under the streets of Bath.

As part of the £19.3 million project heat exchangers will be installed in the Great Roman Drain running beneath the city’s streets – through which 250,000 gallons of hot water flow from the Sacred Spring beneath the baths to the River Avon each day – to capture the heat and direct it to the abbey.

The scheme, being funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, envisages 1.5 megawatts of continuous energy being produced, enough to heat the church and surrounding buildings, as well as the Romans Baths and Pump Room complex itself.

Charles Curnock, director of Bath Abbey’s Footprints project, said on Wednesday: “This has really captured the public’s imagination – it’s an innovative project potentially using Bath’s famous hot springs to harness natural energy in order to heat two of Bath’s famous landmarks.”

Bath Abbey

Bath Abbey early on a monday morning with the exterior to the Roman Baths just to left of the photo.

The new system would allow the abbey to replace the creaking Victorian pipes and gas fired heating system currently keeping worshipers and visitors warm.

During building work archaeologists will be on hand to ensure any artifacts that are uncovered are recorded and preserved.

The project got the go-ahead after Bath and North East Somerset Council granted the abbey authorities a lease of rights to use four hot springs, which bubble up through fissures in the limestone on which the city is built.

The water falls as rain on the nearby Mendip Hills before percolating down through limestone aquifers to a depth of between 8,900 and 14,100 ft (2,700 and 4,300 metres). Here geothermal energy raises the water temperature to between 156.2 and 204.8 °F (69 and 96 °C), before it rises under pressure to the surface.

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Cross-section of the Mendip Hills and the route of the water to Bath. (Andrews et al., 1982)

Mr Curnock said: “This is a truly exciting and inventive way of tapping into Bath’s most famous resource to create sustainable energy. As far as we know, it has never been done before on this scale.”

Although the waters of the original Roman baths are out of bounds to the public a series of more recently drilled boreholes direct some of the water to the newly built Thermae Bath Spa and the refurbished Cross Bath.

What could be better than the two most iconic attractions to be heated by the famous thermal waters to which the city owes its existence?

 

The Roman Baths and Bath Abbey

The Roman Baths and Bath Abbey

If you fancy feeling some geothermal energy for yourself in very historic surroundings, why not come on a tour with me at Ye Olde England Tours and visit Bath and Stonehenge in a day trip from London!

 

 

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Egypt and the building of a new Capital City

 Though Egyptians have lived in and around the Cairo area since time began, the modern city itself is ually traced to the year 968 AD and the newly arrived Fatimid dynasty.  For centuries the city prospered and grew to become the largest city in Africa and one of the largest in the world.  Later French and British periods gave much of the central city a distinctive and beautiful architectural appearance that merged local traditions with western sensibilities.

However in recent decades Cairo has continued to grow to such a degree that it is almost out of control and certainly unrecognisable to someone of an earlier period.  I have visited Cairo several times and really love the city and its tired buildings and streets, drowning in a mixture of sand, pollution, detrius, people and cars.

It’s well known that breathing in the Cairo air for a day is just as good for you as breathing in a packet or two of cigarettes and for better or worse a few years ago the Egyptian government decided action had to be taken and a new capital city was to be built a few dozen miles from one of the greatest cities in the world.

Billboards promising another way of life have long clustered alongside the clogged highways of central Cairo. Advertisements for gated housing developments that sounds like they might be in Britain or the USA called “Regent’s Park”, “Beta Greens” or “Uptown” promise “360-degree greenery” and open spaces. One, on a busy and polluted central road, invites onlookers to “just breathe”.

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The promise of escape from the congestion of central Cairo to a new life 40km away on the city’s outskirts is a dream come true for those able to afford it. Nowhere is this more clear than on the billboards advertising real estate in “Entrada”, a housing and commercial property development in Egypt’s new administrative capital, which is currently without a name. “Welcome to a supreme community,” proclaims one. The development is touted  as “the entrance to a new city, a new lifestyle, a new community and a new worldwide centre of attraction”.

At almost 700 sq km, the new and still nameless capital would be almost as large as Singapore, and is intended to house a total of five million people. The plan shows an expanse of high-rises and residential buildings as well as a “government district” all stationed around a central “green river”, a combination of open water and planted greenery twice the size of New York’s Central Park.  There will be the tallest buildings in Africa at around 345 metres in height.

 

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The tallest buildings in Africa

 

The project is designed to wipe clean the problems of Cairo, and build a glistening new future. Most government buildings, as well as those occupied by the Egyptian president, Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, are scheduled to move there in June 2019. Foreign embassies are also encouraged to relocate, and businesses will be lured to a central business district of 20 Chinese-built skyscrapers. But what will happen to the old city once the new capital becomes established?

If the government’s plans are successful, the move will leave behind a network of empty buildings, all owned by the same umbrella company as the new capital, and for which there is currently no plan. For the government, the new administrative capital represents a fresh start – but one that will draw wealth from the existing capital.

“Cairo’s already-existing desert ‘cities’ mostly serve the much higher end of the spectrum economically,” says Mohamed Elshahed, an Egyptian urbanist and the editor of the Cairo Observer. “All of these include social housing as part of their developments. But that doesn’t mean it won’t be a tiny per cent of a much larger speculative real estate project, which is what this new capital is really about.”

Workers unable to afford to move to the new capital may be able to use the proposed electric train and monorail to get to work, but there are no guarantees that these will be competitively priced either. “In order for the new capital to succeed, if the goal is to reduce congestion, it doesn’t come simply by moving a few thousand employees,” says Elshahed. “Most government employees don’t own private cars, so it’s not like it’s them congesting downtown Cairo.”

 

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Map of the proposed transport links between Cairo and the New Capital

 

El-Husseiny, however, is determined that his vision alone will entice enough new residents, including foreign embassies and those working there. “We will give them benefits not available in the old Cairo, wide streets and a smart city,” he says, going on to outline something quite dystopian: “A smart city means a safe city, with cameras and sensors everywhere. There will be a command centre to control the entire city.” A spokeswoman for the British Embassy in Cairo says that while the Egyptian government has located space for embassies, they are currently “assessing the move”.

“Cairo isn’t suitable for the Egyptian people,” says El-Husseiny. “There are traffic jams on every street, the infrastructure can’t support the population, and it’s very crowded. Without any specific masterplan, it has started to become ugly … there’s no humanity.”

There is no doubt that Cairo’s congestion makes residents fantasise about escape, although wide streets, double-glazed windows, open water and pruned topiary seem more like the dreams of suburban London than ideas well-adapted to the desert plain.

But El-Husseiny is adamant. “We need a landmark, a new capital. We have the right to have a dream and this is our dream.”

Some might think that it is merely an attempt to separate the government from the people, making it harder for Egyptians to hold another successful revolution when the levers of power are far away in a modern city with broad streets well suited for defensive military vehicles and equipment when faced with thousands of rioting civilians.

Egypt is far from the only nation to move it’s capital city.  Though the United Kingdom has never changed the capital, the earlier home nations of England, Scotland and Wales have  each done so with England having several capitals such as Bamburgh, Colchester, Dorchester, Rendlesham, Winchester and York before London came to pre-eminence.

Abuja, Nigeria

Initially, Lagos was the capital city of Nigeria before Abuja was made the capital of the country. Although it was the most populous city, Lagos was not the ideal seat for the Nigerian government since it was muggy, crowded, hot and politically divisive. The Nigerian government officials started making plans on establishing a new capital in Abuja about 300 miles northeast of Lagos throughout the 1980s. Abuja was preferred because it had a sparse population density, higher elevation, and was centrally located. The capital city of Nigeria was moved from Lagos to Abuja in 1991, but some of the functions remain in Lagos.

Brasilia, Brazil

The capital city of Brazil was moved from Rio de Janeiro to Brasilia in 1960. The move to change the country’s capital had been under negations for decades because Rio de Janeiro was overcrowded and was far from the other parts of the country. To encourage the move, the establishment of Brasilia as the country’s new capital began in 1956. Brasilia experienced a very rapid growth making the change a successful one that inspired other countries to alter the locations of their capital cities.

Canberra, Australia

During the 19th century, Australia comprised of two of the country’s largest cities which were Melbourne and Sydney. Both cities were contesting to be the capital of Australia, and neither would give up. To keep the peace, the government of Australia opted to establish a new capital city altogether. Following extensive survey and search, a piece of land in New South Wales was grafted, becoming the country’s new capital. Canberra became the new capital city of Australia in 1913 and is situated midway between Melbourne and Sydney. However, Canberra is not a coastal city.

Washington DC, United States

The US Congress held meetings in eight different cities which included New York, Baltimore, and Philadelphia during and after the American Revolution. The US constitution highlighted the construction of the nation’s new capital in a separate federal district. The former US President George Washington selected the new site for the country’s capital near the Potomac River. Both Maryland and Virginia donated land. In 1800, a new capital was designed and established in Washington, DC. The main reason Washington, DC was chosen as the US’s new capital is that the site was a compromise involving the northern states that were advocating for the repayment of war debts and the southern states that had economic interests on slaveholding. Initially, New York served as the capital of the United States from 1785 until 1790.

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Harry, Meghan and the £32 million wedding!

Today’s couples spend an average of £17,913 on their big day, with the average wedding size being 78 guests for the ceremony and 83 guests for the evening.

However, Harry and Meghan aren’t like today’s average couples. They’re having everything from bespoke silver plated fanfare trumpets to a “drone destroyer”, so it’s safe to say they will be adding a few extra zeros to their bill.

800 guests are attending the church and then the formal lunchtime reception, followed by a private evening reception for family and friends of about 600 people. However, in a surprise twist, Harry and Meghan invited 2,640 members of the public to celebrate with them at Windsor Castle.

Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle, just 45 minutes from The City

With this in mind, the highest expenditures are likely to be the catering, the dress and the decor. Bridebook.co.uk has calculated that the overall cost (excluding security costs) is expected to be over 100 times as much as the national average, at £1,969,873. That’s not including a £120,000 honeymoon or the £30 million expected security costs involved on top!

With a total of 4,040 guests, 17,000 glasses of champagne and wine, 28,000 canapés and an 8-tier banana cake, welcome to the royal wedding!

Total – £31,969,873

 

Venue – £350,000

Luckily for Harry and Meghan, they won’t need to worry about securing a venue like royal budget infographic2-01_previewmost couples. The ceremony will take place at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle and following receptions are expected to be held St. George’s Great Hall, within the castle, and later in a luxury marquee in the Upper Ward grounds of Windsor.

The average UK wedding venue cost is £5,819, and while they don’t need to pay for the venue, they will need to cover a luxury marquee for the reception in the grounds. A luxury glass marquee – like the one Pippa had in her wedding, – will cost £300,000, plus the catering, security and staff adjoining marquees that will be required.

Catering – £286,000

The catering costs will mostly be split between the formal lunch reception for state guests and the following dinner reception for close family and friends. Top luxury London caterers will charge at least £100 per guest for a lunch reception and £300 per guest for a dinner reception, including all food, chefs, staffing and crockery hire.

Add the 2,640 members of the public who will be invited to Windsor and give each one a hot tea and a snack (sausage rolls anyone?). At £10 per head, that’s £26,000 on sausage rolls! All in all, this will likely amount to one of the most costly aspects of the wedding.

Drinks – £193,000

 The drinks will likely come from the Royal Palace cellars, but that doesn’t mean they’re not worth a hefty amount. Based on the wedding standard of serving one glass of champagne for every 30 minutes of the reception, plus half a bottle of wine per guest per dinner, means they’ll have to provide at least 2,300 bottles to keep their guests happy. We expect roughly 1,700 bottles of vintage champagne to be served throughout the day and at least 650 bottles of wine, whiskey and cocktails to accompany dinner and dancing. Serving such quality drinks to over 800 guests throughout the day doesn’t come cheap, whether you have access to a Royal cellar or not.

A bottle of Bollinger, the Royal Family’s Favourite Champagne, goes for £80 a pop, that means spending £136,000 on champagne alone. Top that with a few bottles of Prince Charles’ favourite 15-year-old Laphroaig Scotch and the multitude of bottles of Tignanello Wine (Meghan’s personal favourite according to her old lifestyle blog, “The Tig”) and the bill certainly adds up. Thankfully Prince Harry’s favourite drink, the exquisite Vodka Redbull, should be the least expensive drink of the evening.

Dress – £300,000

Meghan is expected to spend a whopping £300,000 on fashion, with most of the budget going towards her first dress. Meghan has a very distinctive sense of style, oozing confidence and pizzazz. She is therefore likely to opt for a completely bespoke wedding dress so she can have full control over the design from start to finish.

If Meghan sticks to her usual fashion sense, we should expect to see a classic, clean, simple design (which means no beads, embroidery or embellishments) with a high neckline and a signature modern twist. A completely bespoke haute couture wedding dress plus a second dress for the evening could cost  £300k+.

  • 70% of dressmakers predicted that Meghan will wear a silk dress with a sheath cut. Alexander McQueen was the most popular choice for the designer.
  • 91% of dressmakers said that Meghan will most definitely start a new wedding dress style trend, no matter what she chooses to go with.

Floristry – £110,000

Floristry is often much more costly than expected, and with at least two locations for the day will also be one of the heftiest costs for the couple. Marquee weddings always require a higher floristry budget as they act as a very large blank space that relies on flowers and decor to build the environments for the big day, with our estimates landing flowers for the marquee alone to cost approximately £70,000. The church will also need to be decorated accordingly, which we expect to be a slightly smaller £40,000 Luxury UK florists such as Lavender Green Flowers (who worked on Pippa Middleton’s wedding) and Nikki Tibbles of Wild at Heart (London’s most sought-after luxury florist based in Belgravia) are the top contenders. The florist of choice is likely to use seasonal, British flowers to decorate both St George’s Chapel and Buckingham Palace with elaborate displays.

 

  • The star flower at the Royal Wedding will be the Peony. Matching bridesmaids bouquets will also be a must on the big day, with a white and green colour theme throughout.

Photography & Videography- £17,000

Hiring one of the top wedding photographers will cost around £4,500. Dorset-based Millie Pilkington, the private wedding photographer for the William and Kate’s wedding and Pippa Middleton’s, is most likely to be the primary person behind the lens, however, we expect Hugo Burnand to also be involved for official photos, doubling the price to ensure every moment is beautifully captured. Add to that the multiple costly wedding photography books Meghan and Harry will likely request and this price goes far above the £1,600 the average couple spends.

Although the world’s media will be filming every moment of the ceremony, Harry and Meghan are likely to also have a videographer there to capture the day from start to finish. Luxury videographers have teams of cameramen to capture all angles, plus a drone or two.

Inside Windsor Castle

This long hall can be converted into a large eating hall when required.

Cake – £50,000

A stunningly-decorated cake from a top cake maker will start from £4,000 and need to be at least 8 tiers to give a slice to each of the 800 guests. Cakes made with fresh fruit are more expensive and we can safely assume this will be the case for Harry and Meghan’s banana wedding cake, which will certainly be topped with other fresh fruits and berries. The couple is also expected to have a second cake at their wedding which will surely bump up the cost.

As for who will be making the cake? Our guess is London-based Fiona Cairns (the royal baker behind the reportedly £80,000 Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding cake) or the society favourite Rosamund Miller.

Stationery – £20,000

The wedding will require a number of stationery elements from save-the-dates, to the invitation, the Order of Service, the menus, and the stamps! Invitations from a top stationer will cost around £20 each before the other items are included. However, the bride-to-be used to be a professional calligraphist for celebrity weddings, so if the couple decides to go DIY on this one, they could save a couple of pounds for their luxury honeymoon!

Kensington Palace has announced that Barnard and Westwood made the beautiful bespoke invitations for the Royal Wedding (which have now been sent to guests). A 200 piece Bespoke Stationery set from Barnard and Westwood exceeds the £10,000 mark. This means that the invitations, featuring the Three-Feathered Badge of the Prince of Wales printed in gold ink, could cost a total of £200,000 for the circa 4000 invitees, including members of the public, or £50,000 for the VIP guests alone.

Music –  £300,000

From bell ringers to the organist and choirs in the church, to musicians for the reception and a top wedding band and DJ, music will be the center of the entertainment. It’s also likely that a world-famous performer will be flown in to surprise the guests – Prince William and Kate had Ellie Goulding sing their first dance song. Our experts predict one of Harry’s close friends such as Chris Martin from Coldplay or a mutual friend of Meghan’s such as Rihanna could make an appearance.

There have also been rumors that the Spice Girls or even Elton John will be performing at the Royal Wedding. Elton John has been known to charge £80,000 per song at private events, so hopefully, he’ll throw in “Tiny Dancer” for free.

Trumpets – £90,000

A royal event wouldn’t be complete without the classic Royal Announcement “dun dun-dun-dun-duuun”. The Ministry of Defence has made a request for 20 silver-plated fanfare trumpets stamped with the Royal Coat of Arms. Made in the same workshop where Will & Kate’s wedding and the London Olympics’ trumpets came from, each bespoke trumpet costs between £3,000 and £6,000. That’s a lot of £££ for trumpets with fancy flags.

 

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The Royal Coat of Arms

 

Decoration and Production – £130,000

For spectacular lighting and production between the Church, Windsor Castle and the marquee, a top London agency such as HRP Production Solutions will likely be taking on the job of adding the absolute wow-factor. From estate wide lighting to furniture and bar hire and amazing dance floors, production is key to transforming venues into something truly jaw-dropping.

Wedding Rings – £6,000

Since 1923, it has been a tradition in the Royal Family to use Welsh gold for the wedding ring of the bride. The Queen holds a small amount of gold that is kept in the royal vaults. Royal warrant holder Wartski, with ties to Wales, created Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge’s ring, so could be the same choice of Meghan’s.

Although Prince Phillip and Prince William have never worn wedding rings, Bridebook.co.uk believes Harry will take after his Father and an increasing number of millennial grooms and wear a single gold band. Though Prince Charles wears a ring on the little finger on his left hand, we predict that Harry will choose to wear a band on his fourth finger proving again that he is intent on doing things his own way, proudly showing the world that he has tied the knot with Meghan. This Prince is taken!

Bridesmaids Outfits – £5,000

The average cost of a designer bridesmaids dress is £1,000, plus add the custom tailoring Meghan will likely request. The average number of bridesmaids a bride in the UK has is 3.4, and though the Duchess of Cambridge didn’t have any adult bridesmaids, we predict that Meghan will want to have 3 of her close friends as bridesmaids, especially considering it’s a trend in the U.S.

Flower Girls and Page Boys Outfits – £1,698

With Prince George and Princess Charlotte due to be center stage as flower girls and page boys, Nicki Macfarlane, who provided the flower girls outfits for the Royal wedding, will likely be back on hand. A page boy outfit will cost around £226 each, and flower girl dresses £340.

Church Fees – £175

St. George’s Chapel is the place of worship at Windsor Castle where the nuptials will take place, and Harry and Meghan will need to pay their marriage fees just like everyone else. The most important part of the day is by far the cheapest!

 

 

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St. George Chapel inside Windsor Castle

 

Groomswear – £8,000

 As a qualified Apache Helicopter Commander, Prince Harry is likely to be wearing a tailor-made Royal Air Force uniform to his wedding. The completely bespoke uniform won’t be cheap! Knowing Harry’s sense of style (all the more improved since meeting Meghan) he won’t be satisfied with just one outfit. A custom tuxedo or suit from Savile Row will be sure to push up the costs.

Hair and Makeup – £10,000

No doubt a top team will be on hand to ensure Meghan and the whole bridal party will be looking absolutely radiant. Belgravia’s Neville Hair & Beauty is a favourite of Meghan’s, or she may opt for Hannah Martin of Bobbi Brown and Richard Ward, who did Kate and Pippa’s wedding makeup and hair.

Entertainment – £55,000

We expect the Royal Air Force to be involved in at least some part of the wedding day, as well as more traditional wedding entertainment. Whilst guests taking photos is expected to not be allowed at the wedding, a photobooth will be an ideal opportunity to capture the guests at their best. Luxury children’s entertainers, like London’s based Sharky+George who did Prince William and Catherine Duchess of Cambridge wedding, are expected to be on hand to give parents the night off. London can also certainly expect to see some top quality fireworks to close the night.

Wedding Favours – £3,000

These lovely little gifts for every wedding guest should not break the bank. We expect something low-key and personal, such as handmade trinkets from Botswana.

Toilets – £35,000

Luxury guests require luxury toilets! For all of the church attendees, and the following receptions, luxury toilet rental for at least 800 guests does not come cheap. And let’s not forget those extra 2,640 guests which will likely add £20,000 to the toilet budget!

Transport – Free

The Queen has a State fleet which consists of three Rolls-Royces, three Daimlers and two Bentleys, all of which are kept in the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace. She also happens to have a lovely collection of rare vehicles at her country estate in Sandringham, so the couple will have more than enough to choose from for the very short journey.  And, as a happily married couple for the first time, might adopt a drive in his father’s Aston Martin Volante DB6, from the church to the reception, just like Prince William did.

And Finally… The Honeymoon £120,000

Traditionally the groom organises the honeymoon to surprise his new wife whisking her off the day after the wedding, however, more and more couples are choosing to plan their trip of a lifetime together, as well as not always jetting off on day one as husband and wife. Our honeymoon experts predict that Harry and Meghan will break all traditions and escape the frenzy for some alone-time together before they tie the knot, and that they will then whisk a group of party-loving friends away with them to celebrate afterwards, either on safari in Africa or to long-standing friend Sam Branson’s private Caribbean island, Neckar. Sources have also revealed that Meghan will be the one paying for the honeymoon as gift to the Prince and that the cost will be upwards of £100,000. We can’t wait to see where they escape to!

BONUS! Security – £30 million

Separate from the wedding are the security costs. A whopping £30 million was spent for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding in 2011. This year’s Royal Wedding will not take place in central London, however, but considering the number of members of the public attending this year’s Royal Wedding and the threats that have been made against the bride-to-be, the security is sure to still be tight, with the expected cost being upwards of £30 million.

Besides the usual snipers on every rooftop and undercover police on the streets, the wedding will be fitted with the latest military technology, including a British counter-UAV system, which will cost at least £1 million. The system will be used to deactivate intruders and sneaky paparazzi drones. Add another £1 million to the budget for the “Drone Destroyer”.

Windsor Castle at Sunset

Windsor Castle from The Long Walk

Of course, you can come and follow in the footsteps of this great event and visit Windsor Castle and St George Chapel with Ye Olde England Tours

Information for this post was taken from Bridebook.co.uk, the UK’s number one wedding planning  app!

 

 

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The Royal Wedding – Harry and Meghan by the numbers

A few days ago, the Queen signed the Instrument of Consent which gave official approval for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, you can see her signature at the top right of the document.  So I thought I would do two posts looking at the Royal Wedding from a different perspective using facts and figures!

 

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The Instrument of Consent

 

As the whole world eagerly awaits the wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, Bridebook.co.uk, the number one wedding planning app in the UK, has compiled the Royal Wedding by numbers. The party of over 4,000 guests will be treated to 28,000 canapés and billions of champagne bubbles, but they won’t be the only ones celebrating the wedding. Thousands of tourists will be travelling to London to see the newlyweds, and thousands more will be partying in their honour. The celebration of the century will require millions of flower petals, miles and miles of bunting, and enough cucumber sandwiches to feed the entire British population.

With 3 billion global viewers and an expected £280 million boost to the British economy, this is the Royal Wedding by the numbers!

16,000 glasses of champagne

With 4,040 guests, each expected to have at least 4 glasses of champagne throughout the day and evening, that will be at least 16,000 glasses filled with 250 billion bubbles!

8 million flower petals to make 1 million handfuls of confetti

There will be 1 million handfuls of confetti in Windsor on the big day, eagerly awaiting to throw 8 million flower petals in the air to celebrate the newlyweds.

3 million kettles boiling after the service

The National Grid will see a staggeringly high demand for power following the wedding service, as the Brits go straight for the kettle for a relaxing cup of tea. 3 million kettles are expected to be boiled to celebrate the newlywed couple!

Meghan is getting 42% more search traffic than Brexit

Meghan Markle is currently getting 12 times more search traffic than British Prime Minister Theresa May, and on peak days has received 42% more searches than “Brexit”… and 32% more than “Jesus”.

£90,000 for trumpets

20 silver-plated fanfare trumpets stamped with the Royal Coat of Arms have already been requested, and they each come between £3,000 and £6,000 a piece/toot! That will be £90,000 for trumpets!

 

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The Royal Coat of Arms which translates to ‘God and my right’

 

500,000 people at Windsor

500,000 people are expected to visit Windsor for the Royal Wedding. They will get to witness the most Disney moment of the day: the Royal Carriage procession!

 

200,000 flowers and 60 florists

With a budget of £110,000 on flowers, from larger stems to buttonholes and delicate bouquets, more than 200,000 flowers will be styled by around 60 florists across all three venues for the big day.

A banquet hall 10 times the size of the average British home

At 5381 square feet, the size of St George’s Hall will ensure no guests are stepping on each other’s toes during the reception. The hall is 10 times the size of the average British home!

28,000 canapés

28,000 canapés will be needed to keep the Royal Wedding guests happy throughout the day and evening events.

£35,000 for luxury toilets

If this wedding lives up to Pippa Middleton’s, there will be luxury mobile toilets for the guests at the 3 different events. With a guest list this big, it comes down to at least 40 super luxury mobile units with a likely price tag of £35,000.

 

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On Patrol within Windsor Castle

 

1,000 waiters and staff for the day

Alongside the 500 people team who work at Windsor Castle on a daily basis, another additional 500 are likely to be on duty on the day. From waiters to chefs to porters to florists, a Royal army will be ensuring the day runs like clockwork. Plus the 5,000 police which will be on duty.

28,000 wedding photos

Although most won’t be revealed, Meghan and Harry’s wedding photographer, and the team to support him will make their flashes go off at least 28,000 times throughout the day and evening!

16,000 engaged couples signing up to British wedding planning app Bridebook

Since US media claimed Harry and Meghan have been using UK wedding planning app Bridebook.co.uk under a secret account, more than 16,000 couples have signed up to plan their wedding on the app!

3 Royal stag do’s

Harry has been rumoured to have enjoyed 3 stag do’s (bachelor parties) with different groups of friends. Including a skiing trip, a classic Scotland stag-do with his closest mates, and to celebrity hotspot Hedsor House, near Windsor.

52,750 British pubs with extended opening hours

Pubs all over the UK will extend their curfew to 1 AM for the Royal Wedding celebrations! That’s two more hours of toasting to Harry and Meghan, and an extra 10.5 million each drink served!

8,000 street parties in the UK

After 5,500 street parties were thrown for William and Kate on a Thursday in April, there are expected to be a lot more for Harry and Meghan. Councils will be busy managing the requests to allow over 8,000 street parties all over the UK.

London is where the most street parties will be planned

London is the council with the most street party requests, with over 900 submissions.

More than 100 million drinks in celebration in the UK

With at least 24 million people expected to watch the Royal Wedding in the UK, plus the FA Cup Final and extended pub opening hours, the whole of the UK is going to be toasting Harry and Meghan!

1.4 million cucumber sandwiches (and other fillings) at UK street parties

Start cutting off those crusts, as the UK public will likely munch through over 1.4 million sandwiches at their street parties alone! M&S are already stocking up.

330 miles of bunting

With 8,000 street parties along with endless garden parties, there will be a British bunting bonanza, stretching 330 miles of bunting across the UK. (In 2011, Tesco alone sold 120 miles of bunting for William and Kate’s wedding).

More than 200,000 bin bags of rubbish, weighing 2,500 tons

More than 200,000 bin bags of rubbish, weighing 2,500 tons, are expected as a result of royal wedding street parties and family get-togethers which will happen all over the UK.

£26,000 for sausage rolls

With 2,600 members of the public attending the wedding, we are hoping they each get a cup of tea and a sausage roll while they cheer on the happy couple.

Greggs sausage rolls

Sausage Rolls from Greggs… much better than any other fancy tupes.  You can get 4 for the price of 3!

8,500 journalists

8,500 journalists were in London alone to cover William and Kate’s big day, and the same number will be back to cover the momentous occasion of Harry and Meghan.

5,000 police on duty

From grenadier guards to armed police to snipers and undercover officers, 5,000 officers are expected to be on duty on the day to keep everyone safe.

£100,000 to rent a view

American tourists are hiring out homes that overlook the Royal Wedding route for six-figure values so that they can get the perfect view.

 

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I met Prince William here once with a very happy tourist from California.

 

£268 million boost to the British economy

After 350,000 tourists came to the UK for William and Kate’s wedding, we are now expecting 450,000 flying over to see the beloved Meghan get married to Prince Harry. The average national spend of a tourist in the UK is £596 per visit, that is a tidy quarter of a billion boost to the British economy.

5,901 couples getting married on May 19th

5,901 couples will be getting married the same day as Meghan and Harry in the UK according to the Bridebook.co.uk – the UK’s leading wedding planning app – which plans over 100,000 UK weddings per year.

3.3 million web pages about the Royal Wedding

From lifestyle blogs about Meghan’s wedding dress to online betting sites predicting the odds of rain on May 19th – there are already over 3.3 million pages online about the Royal Wedding!

The hashtag #RoyalWedding has been used 730,000 times

Since their engagement was announced, the hashtag #RoyalWedding has been used 730,000 times on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Twitter takes the cake with the most discussions, with an average of 1,200 tweets using the hashtag every day.

460 Royal Wedding dedicated Instagram hashtags

Instagram has over 460 Royal Wedding hashtags. However, not everyone has the #RoyalWeddingFever, with some couples tagging their photos as #HarryandMeghanStoleMyDate.

3 billion global viewers

After more than 2 billion people watched William and Kate’s wedding, and the global rise of the smartphone and social media since then, more than 3 billion people are expected to watch this Royal Wedding, which is expected to be the most viewed event in history.

 

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On Sentry Duty

 

1.5 billion tissues to mop up global teary eyes

With a total audience of 3 billion viewers, and half expected to shed a tear, that is a distance of tissue almost enough to get you to the moon! 300,000 kilometres of tissue to be precise, or a mere 7.5 times around the Earth.

Half a million bets on the wedding

The Royal Wedding is going to be one of the most significant non-sporting events of 2018 for betting sites. With over half a million bets expected on the Royal Wedding.

 

More than 5,000 baby Meghans to be born next year

If the name Meghan is as predicted expected to become the top baby name of 2018, we can expect more than five thousand baby Meghan’s to be born in the next year in the UK, knocking “Olivia” off the top spot.

£1 million in donations

Continuing the tradition started by Kate and William, Meghan and Harry have asked guests to donate to their chosen charities. If they are as successful at the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the newlyweds should get at least £1 million in donations.

Of course, you can come and follow in the footsteps of this great event and visit Windsor Castle and St George Chapel with Ye Olde England Tours

 

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Where the wedding will take place.

 

Posted in Cool Britannia, Heritage, Life, London, News | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Is the Queen descended from the Prophet Muhammad?

It is said that most of us have hundreds or thousands of living relations, if only we knew who they were.  On one line of my family tree I have found to be descended from such people such as the brother of King Harold of 1066 fame, Robert The Bruce and various old Saxon and Viking kings such as Æthelred the Unready and King Canute going back to the 2nd century BC. (Why not check out two old blog posts on the character Æ The Ædifying use of Æ and also The Terrible Tale of Ælfheah – Archbishop of Canterbury)

Few people have a better researched family tree than Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II but on top of all those we all know about at school, by various lines she is also a descendant of, among others, Vlad the Impaler, Robert the Bruce (hello Cuz!), Alfred the Great, a London plumber called John Walsh, and if some would say, the Prophet Muhammad and founder of the Islamic faith.

Unlike myself, the Queen has a quite recent ‘foreign’ blood-line from 1066 and the Normans so given how large empires can get and just how far people travelled and intermixed then it isn’t that much of a leap to think that a European in the 11th century might have some Arab blood in them.  The Queen though, as supporters of the claim would say, goes much better as of course she would have to.

This spring across the Muslim world, newspapers and websites have been discussing the ‘fact’ that the Queen not only has Islamic ancestors, but is directly descended from the founder of Islam himself. It seems the current spate of reports emerged from Morocco but I remember reading about them myself 10 or 20 years ago.

 

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There has been a broadly positive reaction to the claim that the Queen is a direct descendant of the founding father of Islam via Edward IV, Pedro the Cruel of Castile and a Spanish princess called Zaida.

Zaida

Zaida

If this is confirmed, some Islamic scholars have even suggested that an extra title should be conferred on the Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England. New honorifics suggested so far include ‘amir al-mumineen’ (leader of the faithful) and ‘sayyida’ (literally, a ‘commander’ descended from the Prophet’s daughter Fatimah) whilst no doubt targetting a different audionce, one Arab blogger has asked whether the national anthem might become ‘Allah Save The Queen’.

This news suggests the Prince of Wales was very prescient when he professed an aspiration to be crowned as a multi-denominational ‘defender of faith’ come his coronation. He has spent a quarter of a century promoting greater understanding between Islam and the West and established his own Oxford School of Islamic Studies.

How much heed should we pay to these claims?  As it happens they are certainly not wholly untrue.

If we take the past few centuries for granted then the leap from established  history and along the road to the Prophet Muhammed starts with Richard, Earl of Cambridge, the grandfather of Edward IV. His mother was Isabel of Castile, daughter of Pedro the Cruel, king of Castile. If we follow that line back through assorted kings of Castile and Portugal, we come to Alfonso VI, also known as Alfonso the Valiant, of Castile — who was born in 1072, just six years after William the Conqueror was turning England upside down.

Alfonso’s wife, and the mother of three of his children, was Zaida. She was apparently a Muslim princess who fled the collapsing regime of her father Mohammet II, King of Seville. She sought refuge at Alfonso’s court, became his mistress and converted to Christianity when she married him.

It is from her, so it’s said, that the line goes all the way back to the Prophet Muhammad via her father. That is because Islamic scholars can connect Mohammet II (also known as Al-Mu’tamid ibn Abbad), King of Seville, directly to the Prophet via his grandfather Al-Qasim, King of Seville, and straight back to Muhammad’s daughter Fatimah.

According to the author of last month’s original Moroccan report, Abdelhamid Al-Aouni, the Queen’s link to the Prophet has been verified by one of the most senior scholars in the mainstream Islamic world, Ali Gomaa, the former Grand Mufti of Egypt.

The same theory was also propogated over 30 years ago in the UK by the eccentric editor of Burke’s Peerage, the late Harold Brooks-Baker but for some reason his theory was seen to be unsubstantiated by Buckingham Palace

However, Mr Al-Aouni is standing by his story and believes it comes at a fortuitous moment. ‘It builds a bridge between our two religions and kingdoms,’ he says.

Buckingham Palace has no comment to make on the matter. But royal officials cannot entirely pooh-pooh the reports, as the Palace’s very own reference book confirms the link between the Queen and Zaida. The Royal Encyclopaedia, edited by the Queen’s former press secretary Ronald Allison, is accepted as received wisdom within the Royal Household.

At the back, Appendix 2 contains lists of ‘The Queen’s Antecedents’. One traces the Queen’s ancestry over more than a millennium back via kings of France and a Ukrainian saint to Rurik, Grand Prince of Novgorod, 9th-century founder of the Russian monarchy.

The other line follows the direct lineal connection from the Queen to Edward IV, various Iberian monarchs and all the way back to Zaida. So the strength of the Queen’s connection to the Prophet all depends on this mysterious Muslim princess.

Some scholars say Zaida was not the daughter, but the daughter-in-law, of Mohammet II, in which case she was not a direct descendant of the Prophet. Others say she was not the mother of Urraca, Queen of Castile, who succeeded Zaida’s husband, Alfonso VI. In which case the link to the Queen is not clear.

‘We will never really know,’ says the distinguished historian Hugh Kennedy, Professor of Arabic at the London School of Oriental and African Studies. ‘It is conceivable but improbable that the Queen descends from Zaida, let alone from the Prophet.’

However, he is confident that the Queen has some very illustrious Muslim blood, pointing out that her lineal ancestor is Caliph Haroun al-Rashid, the great ruler who would become a central figure in classic Eastern tales including the Arabian Nights and Sinbad.

His descendants married into the Bagratid kings of Georgia, from whom the Queen is directly descended on her Russian side.

All this focus on the Royal Family’s Muslim antecedents is certainly interesting with the recent Commonwealth Summut week’s Commonwealth summit in London. For the Queen is Head of the Commonwealth and its principal religion is not Christianity but Islam, since it includes some of the world’s most populous Muslim nations including Pakistan, Bangladesh and Malaysia.

Over the years, historians and genealogists have enjoyed unearthing unexpected royal ancestry. Thanks to the Queen Mother, for example, the Queen is the most Scottish monarch since James I and VI (and also descended from John Walsh, a London plumber whose granddaughter married the 11th Earl of Strathmore, the great-great-great-grandfather of the Queen).

And the Duke of Edinburgh has some equally interesting lineage. His maternal uncle, Lord Mountbatten, not only claimed that the family were descended from the Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne, but had a personal theory that he was connected to the Native American princess Pocahontas.

Given that the Duke is also a direct descendant of Queen Victoria, and thus of Edward IV, he can claim the same direct descent from the Prophet, too.

It is relatively safe to assume that St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle is not likely to become a mosque, if only due to planning permissions on what is a Listed Building. Nor will the Queen be making a habit of going on television after Ramadan each year though perhaps Prince Charles might.

‘As-salamu alaykum’ peace be upon you dear readers and for those of you who might be interested, here is the supposed line of succession between The Queen and hte Prophet Muhammad.   You might like to check out my much visited post on the destruction of Mecca by Saudi Arabia too.The destruction of historic Mecca by Saudi Arabia.

Elizabeth II, Queen of the UK – daughter of
George VI, King of the UK – son of
George V, King of the UK – son of
Edward VII, King of the UK – son of
Victoria, Queen of the UK – daughter of
Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn – son of
George III, King of Great Britain – son of
Frederick, Prince of Wales – son of
George II, King of Great Britain – son of
George I, King of Great Britain – son of
Sophia, Electress of Hanover – daughter of
Elizabeth of Bohemia – daughter of
James I/VI, King of England, Ireland & Scotland – son of
Mary, Queen of Scots – daughter of
James V, King of Scots – son of
Margaret Tudor – daughter of
Elizabeth of York – daughter of
Edward IV, King of England – son of
Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York – son of
Richard of Conisburgh, Earl of Cambridge – son of
Isabella Perez of Castille – daughter of
Maria Juana de Padilla – daughter of
Maria Fernandez de Henestrosa – daughter of
Aldonza Ramirez de Cifontes – daughter of
Aldonza Gonsalez Giron – daughter of
Sancha Rodriguez de Lara – daughter of
Rodrigo Rodriguez de Lara – son of
Sancha Alfonsez, Infanta of Castile – daughter of
Zaida (aka Isabella) – daughter of
Al-Mu’tamid ibn Abbad, King of Seville – son of
Abbad II al-Mu’tadid, King of Seville – son of
Abu al-Qasim Muhammad ibn Abbad, King of Seville – son of
Ismail ibn Qarais – son of
Qarais ibn Abbad – son of
Abbad ibn Amr – son of
Amr ibn Aslan – son of
Aslan ibn Amr – son of
Amr ibn Itlaf – son of
Itlaf ibn Na’im – son of
Na’im II al-Lakhmi – son of
Na’im al-Lakhmi – son of
Zahra bint Husayn – daughter of
Husayn ibn Hasan – son of
Hasan ibn Ali

The Grand Mosque in Mecca

Home of the Kaaba, the Holiest place for Muslims

 

Posted in history, Life, Religion and Faith | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

London VE Day Photos from 8th May 1945

Today is VE Day and I wasn’t going to post anything in particular but a quick search came across countless incredible photos and so I thought, why not!

VE Day is a public holiday in several European countries such as France though incredibly not in the UK as though the 8th May 1945 saw the end of war in Europe, the fighting continued in the Pacific and the war wasn’t going to be over until it was over.

Happy VE Day everyone!  Enjoy your freedom and remember those whose lives made it possible.

PM Sir Winston Churchill giving one of his many V gestures to the assembled crowds.

PM Sir Winston Churchill giving one of his many V gestures to the assembled crowds.

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A Street Part in Albert Street, East London

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Too young ladies celebrating amongst their ruined home

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Most men were overseas but there were plenty of women in uniform ready to celebrate

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London goes into party mode 1945 style

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The King, Queen and Prime Minister on the balcony of Buckingham Palace

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Up to no good?

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One of the famous photos of Churchill celebrating along with his youngest daughter

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Lest We Forget

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A rare colour photo of a London VE day street party

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Before the days of Health and Safety

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I’ve seen crowds at Picadilly but nothing like this!

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Congregating at Whitehall, near The Cenotaph

Posted in history, London, WW2 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The lonely Isle of Islay and the doomed American soldiers who died there in 1918 in 2 naval disasters.

The Scottish Isle of of Islay is best known these days for its world famous peaty single malt whisky but a century ago, this normally tranquil place which sits on the western coast of the U.K and facing the fierce north Atlantic was for just a few short months at least, anything other than tranquil.

Rather unexpectedly, one hundred years ago, Islay was on the frontline in the battle at sea during World War One as it found itself indundated with casualties and death from two major shipping disasters in 1918.

The island coped with mass casualties from two major troopship disasters just eight months apart. Between them, the sinkings of the SS Tuscania in February and HMS Otranto in October, claimed the lives of about 700 men in the last year of the war.

San Francisco Chronicle

 

As with most of Britain by 1918, Islay was already suffering from the most horrendous death toll in the Western Front in WW1 with around 150 men and boys being killed out of a total population of only 6,000.   The grief of households for the loss of men killed far away was to be supplanted by the death and carnage of strangers and on a terrible scale.

 

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The American monument on Islay’s bleak Mull of Oa

The Tuscania had almost completed its transatlantic voyage amidst a convoy of ships that travelled together for safety and it was carrying American troops on their way to WW1.  As the ship turned into the narrow channel between Scotland and Ireland on the 5th February 1918, it was unaware that danger was near.  A German U-boat was stalking the convoy and when the moment was right, fired two torpedoes at the Tuscania with one of these ripping a huge tear in its side.

 

The SS Tuscania was carrying more than 2,000 US troops
The SS Tuscania was carrying more than 2,000 US troops when it was torpedoed off Islay

The Tuscania was carrying almost 2,500 US soldiers and British crew and its appearance above shows how before the war it had been a luxury ocean liner but had been converted to aid the war effort.

It wasn’t long before the Tuscania disappeared beneath the waves but incredibly the majority of those on board were resuced by the Royal Navy but sadly for many of those who escaoed on lifeboats their ordeal was not over for they were  swept towards the cliffs and rocks of Islay’s Oa peninsula and shipwrecked for a second time.

The troops were shipwrecked off the island's Oa peninsula
The troops were shipwrecked off the island’s Oa peninsula

Private Arthur Siplon was thrown into the sea when his lifeboat capsized and his son remembers his account of the event.

“He thought he was going to die but at last he grabbed hold of a rock and when the sea receded he managed to hang on and climbed to the shore.”

Arthur Siplon was rescued from the sea by two Islay farmers
Arthur Siplon was rescued from the sea by two Islay farmers

Private Siplon was rescued by one of two Islay farmers who risked their own lives pulling men to safety.

Robert Morrison and Duncan Campbell gave food and shelter to dozens of survivors and were later awarded the OBE or Order of the British Empire.

Even today Islay is remote, hard to reach and on the periphery of these islands but back then with no electricty, few motorised vehicles and no air aircraft, it was an incredible disaster to cope with and would rival a disaster like 9/11 today.

Funeral of 199 American soldiers, victims of the Otranto disaster, at Kilchoman, Islay, Scotland. Coffins seen in the foreground were made by local workmen. American army and Red Cross officers in foregroundThe funeral on Islay of 199 American soldiers who were victims of the Otranto disaster

Then as now, the island of Islay was virtually crime free and the only civil authority to speak of was Malcom MacNeill who was a police sergeant who relied on his bicycle to get around.   Sadly Sgt MacNeill and his three constables had to recover, identify and bury the remains of almost 200.  It must have been an unimaginably grim job for a policeman in the remote community of Islay,

Sergeant Malcolm MacNeill was the police sergeant on the almost crime-free island
Sergeant Malcolm MacNeill,  the police sergeant on Islay

 

Despite their trauma, the islanders worked tirelessly to bury the dead with dignity.  They did not have an American flag for the funerals, so a small group of locals worked late into the night and hand-stitched one from the materials they had to hand.

That flag has been preserved by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC, which is sending it home on loan to Islay for the centenary.

The US flag made by Islay locals is in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC
The US flag made by Islay locals is in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC

The Smithsonian’s Jennifer Jones is impressed by the care the islanders showed for the American soldiers washed up on their shores.

“It was very heartfelt, that people went out of their way to respect those who had recently lost their lives” she said.

Islanders pulled together to respond to the Tuscania sinking.

What they could not know is that this was only a preparation for a much bigger disaster to come.

Like the Tuscania, HMS Otranto was carrying US troops across the Atlantic in a convoy when disaster struck.

But it wasn’t an act of war that sank the Otranto on 6 October 1918, within weeks of the armistice. It was a navigational error in a storm.

The HMS Otranto was carrying US troops across the Atlantic when disaster struck
The HMS Otranto was carrying US troops across the Atlantic when disaster struck

As the convoy approached the west coast of Scotland in near hurricane conditions, there was confusion over their exact position and the Otranto was rammed by another ship in the convoy, HMS Kashmir.  The collision resulted in the hill of the Otranto being ripped wide open.

The Kashmir and the rest of the convoy sailed on, under orders not to give assistance for fear of U-boat attack which could have resulted in a disaster many times greater than the one that was unfolding.

HMS Kashmir rammed into the Otranto and ripped its hull wide open
HMS Kashmir rammed into the Otranto and ripped its hull wide open

Despite the ferocious weather, the Royal Navy destroyer, HMS Mounsey came to the rescue under the command of Lieutenant Francis Craven and despite trechaerous seas and danger above and below the waves, succeeded in rescuing hundreds of men.

 

The Otranto disaster of the Coast of Scotland. Funeral of the victims at Kilchoman, Islay, ScotlandFuneral of the victims of the Otranto at Kilchoman on Islay

But HMS Mounsey wasn’t able to rescue everyone and when the ship was forced to leave the scene, there were still hundreds of men aboard the sinking Otranto and their only remaining hope was to be swept towards one of the beaches of Islay.

Their best hope was to be swept towards one of the beaches on Islay’s Atlantic coast. But that wasn’t to be.  However it was only to be a hope as the Otranto was seized by a massive wave that lowered it onto a reef that broke the back of the ship and shred it into a million pieces.

Searching in the wreckage for bodies of victims of the U.S. troopship Otranto which was wrecked off the coast of Islay, Scotland. Nearly 450 lives were lostSearching in the wreckage for bodies of victims of the US troopship Otranto
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Only 21 men made it ashore alive.  Some were pulled from the sea by shepherds who used their crooks to reach survivors.  A distance more then their traditional wooden staff would likely condemn a man to his death.

Victims of the Otranto disaster. American soldiers laid out for burial in the churchyard at Kilchoman, Islay, Scotland. The church was used as a temporary morgueAmerican soldiers laid out for burial in the churchyard at Kilchoman
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In reality the it was largely a  recovery operation with bodies washing up along the shoreline.

Sergeant MacNeill who woke up on a normal peaceful morning finished his day with hundreds of bodies laid out before him.  He painstakingly recorded the details of every body washed ashore, in a notebook which now has pride of place in the Museum of Islay life.

Sergeant MacNeill painstakingly recorded the details of every body washed ashore
The log book of Sergeant MacNeill who painstakingly recorded the details of every body washed ashore.

The majority were buried on Islay though some bodies were never found.  It as decided after the war that the remains of the American soldiers should be exhumed and repatriated with the grave of only one man remaining, his family having decided he should lay where the people of Islay buried him.

After the war, the remains of the American soldiers were exhumed and returned home.

Grave marker
Only one US serviceman is buried on Islay

 

Despite being amongst the biggest losses of life at sea in WW1 for the Americans, the events are largely forgotten.  Many of the victims were from the US state of Georgia, which is planning its own commemorations later this year.  However on Friday 4th May, Princess Anne led commemorations on Islay to mark the centenary of these twin tragedies; to honour those who lost their lives at sea and also those islanders of Islay who did so much to help them.

To read about other naval events of WW1 why not check out The Battle of Jutland  and the remarkable events in the lakes of East Africa When WW1 came to East Africa.

If you enjoyed this post, please do have a look at my WW1 history book, Lest We Forget which is published by Endeavour Press.

Lest We Forget

My easy to understand but comprehensive history of WW1 in Kindle and Paperback.

 

Posted in Heritage, history, WW1 | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment