Sunday, March 7, 2021

Katharine Bushnell: Doctor, Author, and Activist

By Michelle Shocklee

I love reading about strong, courageous women. Back in December, I blogged about Josephine Butler, a 20th century English woman who took up the fight for women who found themselves forced into prostitution. Not only did she help hundreds of women throughout her lifetime, she was instrumental in changing laws regarding the age of consent, police brutality against the women, and other social justice issues in her day. One of the characters in my upcoming 2022 release, tentatively titled Hold on to This Moment, is inspired by Josephine. 

Katharine Bushnell

Katharine Bushnell was Josephine's American contemporary. 

Born in Illinois in 1855, Katharine was a bright student with a hunger for learning. She attended Women's Northwestern College, studying under Frances Willard, the Dean of Women who would become the long-time president of the Women's Christian Temperance Union. Willard took an interest in Katharine, seeing in her a likeminded woman of faith and determination to help women live to their fullest God-given potential. 

After receiving a degree from WNC, Katharine went on to study medicine at Chicago Women's Medical Collage. A determined and driven student, she finished three years ahead of her peers. Upon her graduation, her church persuaded her to take a position in China as a medical missionary. For the next three years, Katharine and a colleague, Dr. Ella Gilchrist, would treat hundreds of patients. While there, she began a lifelong study into Bible translation, especially passages pertaining to the role of women. She felt that "a meticulous examination" of the English translations revealed "male bias" that had corrupted the text. This would set her on a path that would eventually lead her to write numerous books and papers on the subject, including God's Word to Women, published in book form in 1921. She also became involved in investigative reporting of the opium trade and the sex slave trade of Chinese girls in Singapore and Hong Kong.

In 1882, Katharine and Ella both fell ill, most likely from China's hot, humid weather, and returned to the United States. Katharine especially saw this as a failure, yet she continued her work. Under her former mentor's tutelage, Katharine accepted the position as head of a new department within Willard's Women's Christian Temperance Union. As the National Evangelist of the Department of Social Purity, Katharine focused her energies on issues regarding family, women, and the campaign to outlaw the sale of alcohol, believed by the WCTU to be the root of evil. 

Katharine went on to lead a crusade against forced prostitution in Wisconsin lumber camps, despite local authorities denial that the problem existed. In 1888 she testified before the Wisconsin legislature that women and girls had been forced to work as prostitutes in the camps, calling the situation a kind of "white slavery." The attention that came from her involvement was not all good, with slanderous things said about her. She wrote to Josephine Butler for guidance, who by this time had become internationally known as a reformer. Butler encouraged Katharine to go to India where the problem of forced prostitution existed within British military camps in colonial India. Accompanied by her friend Elizabeth Andrew, the two women set out to investigate the issue, culminating in their published work titled The Queen’s Daughters in India, a comprehensive account of their travels throughout India, in 1899. The inspiration for the title came from the missionaries' belief that “the Queen herself must not approve of the measures, for she has daughters of her own; and she cares for her daughters in India also."

Katharine passed away at the age of 91, but her work and writings continues to inspire women today. 

Is there a strong woman in your life who inspires you? Tell me about her.  

PS. Thank you to my friend Author Tracie Bateman for bringing Katharine to my attention!



Michelle Shocklee is the author of several historical novels. Her work has been included in numerous Chicken Soup for the Soul books, magazines, and blogs. Married to her college sweetheart and the mother of two grown sons, she makes her home in Tennessee, not far from the historical sites she writes about. Visit her online at michelleshocklee.com.






UNDER THE TULIP TREE
*2021 Selah Awards Finalist*

Sixteen-year-old Lorena Leland’s dreams of a rich and fulfilling life as a writer are dashed when the stock market crashes in 1929. Seven years into the Great Depression, Rena’s banker father has retreated into the bottle, her sister is married to a lazy charlatan and gambler, and Rena is an unemployed newspaper reporter. Eager for any writing job, Rena accepts a position interviewing former slaves for the Federal Writers’ Project. There, she meets Frankie Washington, a 101-year-old woman whose honest yet tragic past captivates Rena.


As Frankie recounts her life as a slave, Rena is horrified to learn of all the older woman has endured—especially because Rena’s ancestors owned slaves. While Frankie’s story challenges Rena’s preconceptions about slavery, it also connects the two women whose lives are otherwise separated by age, race, and circumstances. But will this bond of respect, admiration, and friendship be broken by a revelation neither woman sees coming?

https://www.amazon.com/Michelle-Shocklee/e/B01MYD4TRE/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1486004955&sr=8-1

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Canal City: Bruges, Belgium


Today marks our third visit to a European canal city: Bruges, Belgium. Last month we enjoyed a virtual tour of Delft, Netherlands.

Nestled between Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, France, and the North Sea, Belgium covers an area of 11,849 square miles and is home to two main linguistic groups: the Dutch-speaking Flemish community which constitutes about sixty percent of the population, and the French-speaking community which constitutes about forty percent of the population. There is a tiny German-speaking community that exists in the East Cantons. Brussels, the country’s largest city and capital is officially bilingual in French and Dutch. 
 
Belgium is comprised of ten provinces, and Bruges is the capital of the province
of West Flanders in the Flemish region. The seventh-largest city of the country by population, its fifty-three square miles are actually oval in shape. Bruges originated on the banks of the river Reie. Often referred to as the Venice of the North, the name Bruges is thought to be derived from the Old Dutch word for bridge: brugga. An appropriate moniker considering there are eighty bridges within the city limits. 
 
The history of the city reaches back several hundred years when it received its charter on July 27, 1128. As it developed, canals were built connecting it to the deeper branch of the North Sea, the Zwin. Important because of its tidal inlet known as the “Golden Inlet” and strategic location at the crossroads of the trade routes, Bruges used its wealth to construct new walls and additional canals. Castles too. Of the 470 castles in the Flanders region, nearly fifty are found near Bruges. 
 
By the beginning of the 13th century, the city was on the circuit of the Flemish and French cloth fairs. A short time later, the first merchant fleet from Genoa arrived, linking Bruges to trade in the Mediterranean. As a result of its wealth, Bruges opened the Bourse in 1309. Considered the first stock exchange in the world, the Bourse developed into the most sophisticated money market of the Low Countries in the 14th century. 
 
One hundred years later, Philip the Good (Duke of Burgundy) set up court in Bruges and attracted artists, bankers, and other prominent and influential people from all over Europe. By 1400, Bruges was home to 200,000 residents, and the city’s weavers and spinners were thought to be the best in the world. 
 
In the 1500s, the “Golden Inlet” began silting up, and prosperity began to wane. The lace industry did well, and Charles II of England lived in the city during his exile in the 1650s, but Bruges continued to fade. Antwerp soon became Belgium’s economic leader. The population declined until the 1900s when Bruges began to attract wealthy British and French tourists. 

Occupied but undamaged during both world wars, Bruges experienced a bit of a renaissance in the 1960s. Restoration of residential and commercial structures, monuments, and churches produced a flood of tourism, and the city was designated “European Capital of Culture” in 2002. Eight million tourists visit annually to enjoy the medieval architecture, miles of canals, and cobblestone streets. 
 
What do you find most intriguing about this beautiful city’s history? 
 _________________

Linda Shenton Matchett
writes about ordinary people who did extraordinary things in days gone by. A volunteer docent and archivist for the Wright Museum of WWII, Linda is also a trustee for her local public library. She is a native of Baltimore, Maryland, and was born a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry. Linda has lived in historic places all her life and is now located in central New Hampshire where her favorite activities include exploring historic sites and immersing herself in the imaginary worlds created by other authors. 



Rayne’s Redemption

Will she have to lose her identity to find true love? 

Twin sisters Rayne and Jessica Dalton have been swapping places their whole lives, so when Jessica dies on the eve of heading west to become a mail-order bride, Rayne decides to fill her sister’s shoes. The challenge will be faking Jessica’s faith in God. Can Rayne fool her prospective groom without losing her heart...or her soul? 
 
Flynn Ward fled England to escape his parent’s attempts at marrying him off, but locating a woman to love in the Wyoming mountains is harder than finding a hackney in a rainstorm. Then the Westward Home & Hearts Agency offers him the perfect match. But when his prospective bride arrives, she’s nothing like she seemed in her letters. Is he destined to go through life alone? 
 
Can two desperate people overcome their differences to find common ground...and love?

Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/3pGWKJE

Friday, March 5, 2021

Snowballs for All

 by Anita Mae Draper

Postcard from California postmarked St. George, Brant, (Ontario) May 18, 1908. Public Domain, Courtesy of South Dumfries Historical Society

The month of March is known for winter making a last blustery stand before its power wanes and the warming sun melts snow. This provides the perfect temperature for making sticky snowballs. The postcard featured above was sent from Los Angeles, California on May 13, 1908 to St. George, Ontario. The reverse starts off by saying that the sender is leaving California with regret and will be home soon by way of Chicago. Although the snow should be gone by May, one never knows when it comes to our weather.


Children Snowballing Near Observatory, St. Louis (Shaw's) Botanical Garden, [Mo.] c1905. Public Domain

This 1905 stereograph taken at the St Louis Botanical Garden in Missouri shows a snowball exchange between children on the site of the observatory. I had thought the person with an armload of snowballs might have been an adult, but considering the year, the short length of her outfit appears to negate that guess.



Did you know that many communities have bylaws concerning the throwing of snowballs? It is usually necessitated and enforced when the act hurts others, whether children or adults. The article from the Newmarket Era shows a good example of a bylaw to stop bullying. If only it was that easy the rest of the year.


Imperial Oil's office staff snowball fight, Burrard Inlet, Vancouver, BC. 1915-1916.  Courtesy Glenbow Archives, Alberta

An interesting photograph from 1915-1916 found at the Glenbow Archives in Alberta shows a snowball fight at noon between office staff members at Imperial Oil's refinery (Ioco), Burrard Inlet, Vancouver, British Columbia. The body language in this candid shot seems to imply the male is threatening to throw the snowballs, although we don't know if he completed the action. 

Hans Dahl -  Snowball fight and snowman, by 1937. Public Domain

On the other hand, the women in this Hans Dahl painting have chosen to direct their snowballs at a snowman. Are they aiming for his hat, face, or the club-like stick in his hands? 


A Republican-Democratic snow battle at the Capitol. Page boys. December 14, 1923. Public Domain


Does it seem natural to anyone else that a snowball fight would occur between Republican and Democratic page boys at the Capitol? This became an annual snow battle on the Capitol grounds until at least 1930, as long as good snowball making material was available.

Snow scenes. Snowballing on Jaffa Road. January 1942. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

Although Jerusalem isn't known for its snowy scenes, the city does experience it every three or four years in varying amounts. Back in 1942, an overnight snowfall brought the community, including soldiers, out along the Jaffa Road to try their hand at target practice. 

Have you ever been hit by a snowball? How did you respond?

This closes my series on snowball throwing, an activity to be enjoyed for all if done responsibly. Follow the links for other posts in this series:

Jan 5, 2021: Snowballs Go Way Back

Feb 5, 2021: Snowball Fights in War and Play

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Anita Mae Draper served a 20-year term working on air bases in the communication trade of the Canadian Armed Forces before retiring to the open skies of the prairies. She uses her experience and love of history to pepper her stories of yesteryear's romance with realism as well as faith. Anita Mae Draper's published stories appear in Barbour Publishing, WhiteFire Publishing, and Guideposts Books. Readers can enrich their story experience with visual references by checking out Anita's Pinterest boards. All links available on her website at www.anitamaedraper.com 


Thursday, March 4, 2021

The First Residents at Geneva Lake Wisconsin Were Not Displaced Fire Refugees From Chicago

 

By Pamela S. Meyers
Sculpture of Chief Big Foot that sits at the
shore of Geneva Lake in Fontana WI
by Jay Brost, Walworth WI 


For several years now, my posts here have spotlighted my hometown area of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, and Geneva Lake, the glacier-formed lake the town sits next to. Many of my posts have centered on the beautiful estates that began populating the shoreline soon after the Great Chicago Fire in 1873. But before Chicago’s movers and shakers built those magnificent homes, the Potawatomi called the area home. And, over the next several months, I plan to highlight Lake Geneva's rich history that occurred in the 19th Century before the Great Fire. Growing up, I often heard about the Potawatomi that lived on the shores of Geneva Lake, but it wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized that for the United States to expand westward, the Potawatomi and other Native American Tribes had to agree to move farther west. The realization gave me a jolt in the same way as when I first learned my southern ancestors once owned slaves. 

I’m not going to delve into whether it was right or wrong to force the Potawatomi to leave the only home they had known, but I am going to share about Chief Big Foot (also known as Maun-Suk), the last Indian Chief to live on the lake before his tribe moved west. I’ve read how he stared out at the lake for several minutes as if trying to memorize the view before, with tears in his eyes, he turned and started his trip. I can certainly feel his pain to some degree. Most of us who have been blessed by living near beautiful Geneva Lake have come to love it as much as Big Foot did. It may be many centuries since Big Foot walked the lakeshore path that he and his tribe helped to create, but his legacy remains. 

Source: Friendly Fontana, a Pictorial History of the West End of
Geneva Lake, Edition 2.0, Arthur B. Jensens, publisher; 2005

The Potawatomi occupied the wooded shoreline at the west end of the lake and traveled between their two encampments on the shore path. One was near what is now called Fontana, a small village at the west end of the lake, and another was where the town of Williams Bay sits today. Some of Big Foot’s family is buried in Williams Bay, some having died during a pandemic. They lived in homes similar to tepees, but with rounded roofs, where they raised their families. When the men went out to hunt, they took the footpath mentioned earlier to the east end of the lake (where the town of Lake Geneva is now) to fish and hunt. Chief Big Foot’s people were mostly peaceful and they wanted to live out their lives next to the beautiful spring-fed lake they called Kishwauketoe, which means “clear water.” 

When they came upon the lake while migrating south and west from the area now called Michigan, they knew they’d found where they wanted to settle. Not only because of its natural beauty but also for the game and fish the lake supplied and the rich soil that produced berries, nuts and fruit. The Potawatomi grew corn, tobacco, and vegetables during summer, and in winter, they kept warm in their rounded roof wigwams on floor mats made from the grass that grew nearby. 

Chief Shabbona
Picture Courtesy of
WHS 23929



When white men first appeared at the lake in the early 1800s, Big Foot and his band had probably already heard about the new settlement of white people living at Fort Dearborn (now called Chicago) to the south. Other Native American tribes such as the Sioux, Sauks, Foxes, and Winnebago, were much more combative and in 1827, the Winnebago encouraged Big Foot to join the fight to keep the interlopers away. At the request of a U.S. Indian Agent, Chief Shabbona, one of the chiefs of the Illinois Potawatomi bands, was instrumental in helping convince Big Foot to not fight, and he agreed. I have often wondered how the area would have been if Chief Big Foot had warred with the white invaders. 

Today, the area honors Chief Big Foot, mostly through his name which is connected to various landmarks. As you travel south out of the town of Lake Geneva on South Shore Drive, you’ll come to Big Foot Beach, which is across the road from Big Foot Beach State Park. Or if you prefer golfing to swimming, you might want to golf at Big Foot Country Club. And if you live on the southeast side of the lake, your children might attend Big Foot High School. I wonder what Big Foot would think about all these things named after him. I kind of wish he did know that his name is connected to where people enjoy the lake and its natural resources and their children are educated in a building that bears his name. 


Big Foot High School with a copy of
Big Foot's statue in its "front yard."
Source Lake Geneva Regional News














Next time, I’ll introduce you to the Kinzies, a pioneer couple who were among the first white people to see Geneva Lake. 

How much do you know about the history of where you grew up or live now?


 The information for this article can be found in Shawneeawkee—Friendly Fontana, a Pictorial History of the West End of Geneva Lake, Edition 2.0, Arthur B. Jensens, publisher; 2005, unless otherwise noted.


Pam Meyers grew up in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, and is blessed to only live about an hour away, just over the state line in northern IL. She makes her home with her two rescue cats, Jack and Meggie, who are named after her characters in the book Surprised by Love in Lake Geneva. 

She loves writing stories set in her home area that depict the rich history of the area. Rose Harbor, the fourth and final book in her Newport of the West Series releases on May 18, 2021.








Wednesday, March 3, 2021

First Amendment of the Constitution

By Elaine Marie Cooper My recent blog posts for Heroes, Heroines, and History have turned into a series. Why? Because never before in my lifetime, have the Amendments of the United States Constitution been teetering on the precipice of a cliff. It has become both alarming and anti-American. I have covered the passage of the 12th, 13th, and 15th Amendments so far in my previous posts. Today, I’m going back to the First Amendment. Here is what it says: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. The right to freedom of religion—whether Christianity, Judaism, or any other group—was the whole basis for the founding of this country. When the Pilgrims escaped England in 1620, it’s because they were being persecuted for holding services contrary to the Church of England.
Many of the Pilgrims were members of a Puritan sect known as the Separatists. They believed that membership in the Church of England violated the biblical precepts for true Christians, and they had to break away and form independent congregations that adhered more strictly to divine requirements. This did not sit well with the state religion (Church of England) that considered such “insurrection” as treason. Hence, the Separatists were willing to face a dangerous ocean voyage to start life anew in an unknown land. The Pilgrims followed the Geneva translation of the Bible. They took seriously the words of the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 6:16-18: (16) And what agrement hathe the Temple of God with idoles? for ye are the Temple of the living God: as God hathe said, I wil dwell among them, and walke there; and I wil be their God, and shalbe my people. (17) Wherefore come out from among them, and separate your selves, faith the Lord: and touche none uncleane thing, & I wil receive you. (18) And I wil be a Father unto you, and ye shalbe my sonnes and daughters, saith the Lord almightie. One does not need to look far in the news to see the horror of persecution based on one’s religious beliefs. The First Amendment was written to protect this God-given right. The Amendment also ensures the right to free speech. This includes speech that may be considered offensive to some, which can include everything from religious sermons to vile programs filled with foul language. It does not, however, protect someone from yelling “Fire!” in a crowd, which could obviously cause pandemonium and even death. Freedom of the press ensures the right to publish and/or proclaim news that some believe but some may not. That is our right. The right to petition government for redress of grievances is the right to make a complaint to, or seek the assistance of one's government, without fear of punishment or reprisals. For example, if a law comes up for a vote, U.S. citizens have the right to call their congress person representing their district to complain about the contents of said legislation.
One may ask why the United States Constitution was drafted in the first place. If you think back to U.S. History classes from long ago, you may remember an event called Shay’s rebellion that occurred in 1786 and 1787. The newly formed United States was reeling from the huge debt incurred by the American Revolution that had ended in 1783. In order to head off a monetary crisis, the state governments raised taxes to the point that many lost their farms and businesses. The rural citizens made efforts to petition their state governments for help but to no avail.
In desperation and anger, the citizens of Massachusetts began attacking government buildings such as courthouses to rebel against these laws. It heated up to a full-blown rebellion in Springfield, MA led by Daniel Shays, the leader of the farmers’ cause. Shays was also a Revolutionary War veteran. Before the smoke cleared, 4 Americans were killed and 20 wounded. These were men who had just a few years before, had fought for this country. The revolutionaries were arrested and two were hanged. Most were eventually pardoned from their crimes. But the threat posed by these events led to the retired General George Washington returning to public service and eventually, he was elected President of the United States. In order to strengthen the federal government, the Constitutional Convention was called in 1787. Their work established the specific powers of the federal government, including the separation of powers into three branches of government.
The Constitution was ratified in 1789 and these became the law of our land ever since. They are as alive today as when they were ratified. You can read this article for more info about Shay’s rebellion: https://www.history.com/news/how-shays-rebellion-changed-america
Elaine Marie Cooper’s novel, Love’s Kindling is the second-place winner in Historical Romance for the 2020 Selah Award contest. Her most recent release is Scarred Vessels, which involves the slave trade in the Northeast during the Revolution. Like many of Cooper’s books, it focuses on the era of the American Revolution. She has authored several historical novels, a non-fiction memoir, and has been published in numerous anthologies and magazines. Although not a current resident of New England, Cooper’s heart for history was birthed there and continues to thrive. You can visit her website at www.elainemariecooper.com

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

History of the Aquamarine: March's birthstone

Amber Schamel Christian Author
Blogger: Amber Schamel


Aquamarine
Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com – CC-BY-SA-3.0
March is associated with the coming of Spring, so it is very appropriate that their birthstone would be the shade of blue skies and clear water. Although, aquamarine can vary in shades from light blue, to dark blue, to a green-blue. This is one of my personal favorites, because it is the birthstone of my husband, and the gem he gave me for our anniversary.

This gem is a blue form of the beryl stone, whereas emeralds are green hues of the beryl, so they are essentially the same stone, in different colors.


Aquamarine is a name derived from two Latin words meaning "water" and "of the sea". It was named such for its color that reminds us of the peaceful waters of a clear beach, but probably also because of the beliefs associated with the gem.

This stone has been admired for thousands of years. The Ancient Egyptians buried their kings with beads of aquamarine. The Hebrews used the stone in the garments of the High Priest and in their temple. Ancient Romans believed the stone had the power to grant protection to fishermen and luck in their catch. Roman bridegrooms would gift the stone to their betrothed, believing that it had the ability to absorb the atmosphere of young love.

During the middle ages, this belief was expanded to include rekindling love in a marriage. Also during this era, aquamarine was believed to hold mystic powers. Many famous mystics used the gem for their crystal balls in which to divine the future, including Dr. John Dee who cast the horoscope for Queen Elizabeth I's coronation. It was also believed that aquamarine could be an antidote for poison.

For centuries, aquamarine has been a favorite of sailors, and the legends and tales surrounding the gem are vast. One of the many tales is that mermaids keep this gem in treasure chests beneath the sea and give them out to their favorite sailors to protect them against storms and other dangers of sea life.

The Dom Pedro aquamarine. Photo by Karen Neoh.
Licensed under CC By 2.0.



There are many famous pieces of aquamarine. One of the most well known is a massive fourteen-inch tall obelisk named the Dom Pedro. The stone was found by prospectors in Brazil during the 1980's, and the original piece was over three feet long, and weighed over 100 pounds. The prospectors dropped it, breaking it into three pieces. The two smaller chunks were sold and made into smaller pieces of unknown jewelry, however the largest of the three became infamous and was named after the first emperor of Brazil. The sculpture was crafted by a German artist, Bernd Munsteiner, to reflect the depths of the sea and is truly a stunning piece of art. It is currently the world's largest cut aquamarine and is housed at the National Museum of Natural History. 


The Roosevelt Aquamarine
Public Domain from the US National Archives.


Another famous piece is the Roosevelt Aquamarine. In 1936, the Brazilian President gifted a whopping 1,298-ct aquamarine to the first lady, Eleanore Roosevelt. At the time, it was the largest cut aquamarine, however it fell to second place after the discovery of the Dom Pedro mentioned above. It was never mounted into jewelry, but now belongs to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library.

This beautiful gem is coveted for its tranquil and calming color and is a lovely tribute to all the people lucky enough to be born in March.


*****

Two-time winner of the Christian Indie Award for historical fiction, Amber Schamel writes riveting stories that bring HIStory to life. She has a passion for travel, history, books and her Savior. This combination results in what her readers call "historical fiction at its finest".

She lives in Colorado Springs near her favorite mountain, in a small “castle” with her prince charming. Between enjoying life as a new mom, and spinning stories out of soap bubbles, Amber loves to connect with readers and hang out on Goodreads with other bookish peoples.

Amber is a proud member of the American Christian Fiction Writers Association. Visit her online at www.AmberSchamel.com/ and download a FREE story by subscribing to her Newsletter!

Monday, March 1, 2021

The V-1 Flying Bomb: A WWII Terror Weapon

by Cindy K. Stewart


A V1 flying Bomb which is on display at the Muckleburgh Collection in North Norfolk, United Kingdom

In an effort to terrorize and demoralize British civilians, the Germans unleashed a new weapon on England just one week after Allied troops landed in France on D-Day in 1944. The V-1 flying bombs were launched from ramps on the northern coast of France until the Allies overran the launching sites. The last one left France on September 7, 1944. Later the Germans launched the V-1's from other locations, including from special mounts attached to bombers, although this proved dangerous to the German airmen.

A German Crew Rolls out a V-1
Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1973-029A-24A / Lysiak / CC-BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Each V-1 was twenty-five feet long with a wingspan of about twenty feet. The bombs, resembling small airplanes, traveled at a speed of 400 miles per hour and crossed the English Channel in five minutes. They had a range of 150+ miles and were capable of reaching London from northern France. The Germans launched 25,000 V-1's at targets in England and later Belgium, but only about 2,400 hit the capital city and its environs. Because the bombs flew straight and level, gun batteries posted along the southern and eastern coasts of Britain, Allied fighter planes, and barrage balloons successfully stopped thousands of V-1's from reaching their targets. 


Barrage balloons on the south-eastern approaches to London to combat V-1 flying bombs, 1944 
Courtesy of Bellamy W (Flying Officer) Royal Air Force Official Photographer via IWM


A Bofors gun battery fully manned, situated on the South Coast of England
Courtesy of O'Brien (Lt.) War Office Official Photographer via IWM
 

Powered by a jet engine, the V-1 could be heard ten miles away, and it was nicknamed "doodlebug" and "buzz bomb" because of its noise. An air-driven gyroscope and a magnetic compass controlled the bomb's course, and a barometric altimeter controlled its altitude. Once the V-1 reached its programmed target, a device mounted in the rear caused it to pitch nose-down and the engine quit. Once the buzzing engine died, those on the ground knew they had twelve seconds to seek shelter. The warhead exploded on impact. 

Back in Germany, the Nazis called the V-1 a wonder weapon (Wunderwaffe) and tried to convince the German people that it along with other weapons could turn the war in their favor. Although Hitler was advised to launch the V-1 at southern England where the Allies were gathering ships and equipment to invade France, he was intent on targeting London. 

In an effort to fool the Germans, the British publicized inaccurate information and recruited double agents to send back false reports on where the V-1's had landed. The Germans believed the reports and adjusted the flight patterns, causing the bombs to fall short of their targets.


Searching for belongings in the rubble of a home
Ministry of Information Photo Division via IWM


Civil defense rescue workers dig survivors out of collapsed buildings
Ministry of Information Photo Division via IWM


In all, fifty-five hundred people were killed, sixteen thousand were injured, and more than a million were forced to evacuate due to the V-1 flying bombs.

Have you known anyone who was personally impacted by the V-1 bomb?


*********

Sources:

"The Terrifying German 'Revenge Weapons' of the Second World War" -https://www.iwm.org.uk/history/the-terrifying-german-revenge-weapons-of-the-second-world-war 

"V-1 Missile" - https://www.britannica.com/technology/V-1-missile

"Hitler's Buzz Bombs" - https://www.airforcemag.com/article/hitlers-buzz-bombs/

"V-Weapons" - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V-weapons


*********


Cindy Stewart, a high school social studies teacher, church pianist, and inspirational historical romance author, was a 2020 finalist for the Georgia Romance Writers Maggie Award of Excellence, placed second in the 2019 North Texas Romance Writers Great Expectations contest, semi-finaled in the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Genesis contest, and won ACFW’s First Impressions contest in the historical category. Cindy is passionate about revealing God’s handiwork in history. She resides in North Georgia with her college sweetheart and husband of thirty-nine years. Their married daughter, son-in-law, and four adorable grandchildren live only an hour away. Cindy’s currently writing a fiction series set in WWII Europe.