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December 2018: A West Country Christmas – Dorset in December

Thomas Hardy’s celebration of Christmas in Dorset in his early novel Under the Greenwood Tree is perhaps second only to A Christmas Carol (a version ...More
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Joshua Leakey

To say the Victoria Cross is not given lightly is an enormous understatement. Since it was initiated in 1856 only 1363 have been awarded, the latest to Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey of the Parachute Regiment. It speaks volumes of the level of courage and valour required to qualify for the medal that the only other awards from the Afghanistan campaign were both posthumous. Lance Corporal Leakey’s actions during a fire-fight with Taliban forces in August 2013 were extraordinary for the bravery shown – crossing open ground under machine gun fire several times to rescue a wounded US Marine Captain, and to site not one but two machine guns where their fire turned the course of the fight. They were also amazing physically, carrying the heavy weapons 200m up a steep slope while weighed down with a 60lb pack. In spite of his junior rank he took control of the situation and turned what could have been a defeat into victory. For this he will have to get used to all ranks saluting him, the tradition for VCs – a tradition followed at the ceremony to decorate Lance Corporal Leakey by Chief of the General Staff General Sir Nicholas Carter, and rightly so. An astounding hero.

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Brit Quote:
Asparagus inspires gentle thoughts. - Charles Lamb
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On this day:
England’s Worst Mining Disaster - 1866, Marconi sends 1st transatlantic wireless message - 1901, Marples Hotel Tragedy - 1940, Peace Women Embrace Greenham Common - 1982, Clapham rail disaster - 1988
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