SS Richard Montgomery
The American ship SS Richard Montgomery sank and split in two off the coast of Sheerness in August 1944 with around 1,400 tonnes of explosives on board. The munitions were never removed meaning that they could still potentially explode. If that were to happen, Sheerness and much of coastal Medway would be devastated. By Angus Wright During World War Two several...
“One day, this will be yours.” That infamous phrase used by generations of parents and grandparents whenever we make the fatal mistake of hinting that we like something in their house. Whenever we hear this, we have one of two reactions: excitement at the notion of inheriting a precious family heirloom or hesitation as we ponder where in the...
It is one of the most iconic photos of the Pacific War. But the identity of the 'naked gunner' remains a mystery to this day. By Bev Cleary He put his own life on the line to save fellow servicemen from the blazing waters of Papua New Guinea but, it seems, the identity of the ‘Naked Gunner’, may never be known. A...
Shebeen Scotland
Shebeens are a phenomena that have lasted centuries. These illegal, secretive places were kept under wraps. Knowledge passed on by word of mouth, friend to friend. Yet where did these Shebeens come from? And are they still around today? By Andrew Cook It’s typical of humanity. We created alcohol, we set restrictions around drinking alcohol, then we kept drinking anyway, regardless...
Hanns Scharff
The Nazis had a well-deserved reputation for brutality but one officer Hanns Scharff seems to have taken the opposite approach to interrogations – baking for Pows and inviting them to go on country walks. His approach was successful – and emulated by the CIA. Who was Hanns Scharff, how did his techniques work, and what is his legacy? By James...
Runrig Loch Lomond
The Runrig farming system was once common system of land tenure across Scotland, especially in the Highlands. It was a fair system that sustained large populations in an adverse climate. So why did it end? By James McKean Runrig, sometimes referred to as rig-a-rendal, was a form of rotational land tenure that once dominated farmlands in the Scottish Highlands and Islands,...
According to the Tale of Ragnar Lodbrok, Ivar's bonelessness was the result of a curse. But he was not an imaginary character in a viking saga; he was a real man who won real battles. History Channel's 'Vikings' recently portrayed him as a cruel, disabled leader. What is myth and what is truth in the tale of Ivar the...
Soviet Calendar
For 11 long years, weekends did not exist in the Soviet Union. Like today’s dystopian novels, manufacturing ran, machines processed, and labour continued non-stop in order to create an industrial powerhouse. But what was the secret design behind this idea?  By Andrew Cook 29th September 1929. For many of the Soviet Union’s working class, it would be the last day...
The story of the Lewis Chessmen and why Igor Radulovic believes they do not just represent Scottish history but also a shared European history By Igor Radulovic When we look at the history of humankind, and all the civilisations that have existed over thousands of years, we can create a conclusion that there has been no social game with the same...
President Abraham Lincoln is known for many things such as his signature stovepipe hat, his great height, and the Emancipation Proclamation,. But his early life as a champion wrestler comes as a surprise to many - he is even honoured in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame! By Phil Taylor Abraham Lincoln might be known for being one the greatest Presidents...