Gone with the Wind, a novel written by Margaret Mitchell, first published on June 30, 1936.
The solar eclipse of June 19, 1936
Queen Elizabeth II has died
Queen Elizabeth II, the United Kingdom’ s longest-serving monarch, has died at Balmoral aged 96, after reigning for 70 years.
Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; 21 April 1926 – 8 September 2022) was Queen of the United Kingdom and 14 other Commonwealth realms from 6 February 1952 until her death on 8 September 2022.
Her reign of 70 years and 214 days was the longest of any British monarch and the second longest recorded of any monarch of a sovereign country.
Elizabeth was born in Mayfair, London, as the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth). Her father acceded to the throne in 1936 upon the abdication of his brother, King Edward VIII, making Elizabeth the heir presumptive.
She was educated privately at home and began to undertake public duties during the Second World War, serving in the Auxiliary Territorial Service. In November 1947, she married Philip Mountbatten, a former prince of Greece and Denmark, and their marriage lasted 73 years until his death in April 2021. They had four children together: Charles III; Anne, Princess Royal; Prince Andrew, Duke of York; and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex.
When her father died in February 1952, Elizabeth—then 25 years old—became queen regnant of seven independent Commonwealth countries: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan, and Ceylon (known today as Sri Lanka), as well as Head of the Commonwealth. Elizabeth reigned as a constitutional monarch through major political changes such as the Troubles in Northern Ireland, devolution in the United Kingdom, the decolonization of Africa, and the United Kingdom's accession to the European Communities and withdrawal from the European Union.
The number of her realms varied over time as territories have gained independence and some realms have become republics. Her many historic visits and meetings include state visits to China in 1986, Russia in 1994, the Republic of Ireland in 2011, and visits to or from five popes.
Significant events include Elizabeth's coronation in 1953 and the celebrations of her Silver, Golden, Diamond, and Platinum Jubilees in 1977, 2002, 2012, and 2022, respectively.
Elizabeth was the longest-lived and longest-reigning British monarch, the oldest and longest-serving incumbent head of state, and the second-longest verifiable reigning sovereign monarch in world history, only behind Louis XIV of France.
She faced occasional republican sentiment and media criticism of her family, particularly after the breakdowns of her children's marriages, her annus horribilis in 1992, and the death of her former daughter-in-law Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1997.
However, support for the monarchy in the United Kingdom remained consistently high, as did her personal popularity. Elizabeth died on 8 September 2022 at Balmoral Castle, Aberdeenshire.
“The Queen is dead, Long live King Charles III”
The Duchess of York with Princess Elizabeth, 30 June 1927 by Marcus Adams (The Royal Collection Trust),
Princess Elizabeth in uniform (1942) by Cecil Beaton (The Royal Collection Trust),
Princess Elizabeth and The Duke of Edinburgh on their wedding day, 20th November 1947 by Sterling Henry Nahum ‘Baron’ (The Royal Collection Trust),
Queen Elizabeth II poses on her Coronation Day on June 2, 1953, in London (Photography by Cecil Beaton),
Queen Elizabeth II with Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and family - 16 Mar 1960 by Cecil Beaton (From the Collection of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother),
Queen Elizabeth II and her son, the Prince of Wales, out riding at Windsor Castle I May 18, 1961 (PA),
The Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom used outside of Scotland,
Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee 2022 - Platinum Party At The Palace. The Queen Elizabeth II and Paddington Bear having cream tea at Buckingham Palace (BBC Platinum Party at the Palace),
Portrait of Queen Elizabeth II released by The Royal Windsor Horse Show on April 20, 2022 to mark the occasion of her 96th birthday.
This is beyond frightening. Extreme heat over the Pacific Northwest and in Siberia, Moscow and parts of Europe (Separate articles about Siberia, Moscow and Europe linked below.) Are the politicians paying attention? Nope, or if they are, they are ignoring it.
Excerpt from this story from Earther/Gizmodo:
The West hasn’t totally cooled off, but the region has gotten a slight reprieve from the heat that has dried up reservoirs, curtailed hydropower, and otherwise wrought havoc on the megadrought-afflicted region. Unfortunately, all good(ish) things must come to an end.
The National Weather Service is warning of a “Record-Breaking and Dangerous Heatwave” hitting this weekend and early next week. Weather models are also coalescing around blistering heat. If the forecasts come to fruition, we’re not just talking about a few daily records falling here and there. We’re talking about a heat wave for the ages that could absolutely destroy all-time records from Washington to California as well as parts of Canada.
In what’s becoming an all-too-familiar pattern for those in the western half of the U.S., high pressure is expected to move in and park itself over the region in the coming days. That will usher in sunny skies and allow heat to start to build. By Sunday, a region from the Yukon to Southern California could see temperatures well above normal. The bullseye of heat will center on the Pacific Northwest where temperatures could be an eye-watering 40 degrees Fahrenheit (22 degrees Celsius) above normal.
The Euro and GFS weather models, essentially the two gold standards for forecasters, are in agreement that the magnitude of this event will be extreme. While there are some slight differences of a few degrees up or down, the overall alignment is generally a sign something very rare and serious is about to go down. Among the more disturbing numbers coming out of the models are Portland cracking 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 degrees Celsius), a threshold the city has never breached.
Because weather doesn’t just stop at the border, the record run of heat will continue in British Columbia. There, forecasters are already anticipating that the warmest-ever June temperature for the entire province of British Columbia will likely fall.
Overnight temperatures will also remain elevated throughout the region, and all-time hot low temperatures could also be toppled as well. That’s particularly worrisome since nighttime usually offers a reprieve. In a region where air conditioning isn’t as widespread as, say, Southern California, the relentlessness of the heat coupled with a lack of cooling options could unleash a wave of heat-related illnesses.
And then, Siberia, in this story with the caption, “Ground Temperatures Hit 118 Degrees in the Arctic Circle” from Earther/Gizmodo:
Newly published satellite imagery shows the ground temperature in at least one location in Siberia topped 118 degrees Fahrenheit (48 degrees Celsius) going into the year’s longest day. It’s hot Siberia Earth summer, and it certainly won’t be the last.
While many heads swiveled to the American West as cities like Phoenix and Salt Lake City suffered shockingly hot temperatures this past week, a similar climatological aberrance unfolded on the opposite side of the world in the Arctic Circle. That’s not bizarre when you consider that the planet heating up is a global affair, one that isn’t picky about its targets. We’re all the target!
The 118-degree-Fahrenheit temperature was measured on the ground in Verkhojansk, in Yakutia, Eastern Siberia, by the European Space Agency’s Copernicus Sentinel satellites. Other ground temperatures in the region included 109 degrees Fahrenheit (43 degrees Celsius) in Govorovo and 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius) in Saskylah, which had its highest temperatures since 1936. It’s important to note that the temperatures being discussed here are land surface temperatures, not air temperatures. The air temperature in Verkhojansk was 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius)—still anomalously hot, but not Arizona hot.
Now Moscow and Europe, with this story with the caption, “Records crumble in Europe, Russia amid scorching heat wave” from the Washington Post:
As temperatures approach 115 degrees in the Pacific Northwest this weekend, a second regime of top-tier heat will scorch Europe amid a record-breaking heat wave. Monthly records have already fallen as highs climb to near 100 degrees in some areas, with temperatures in the Arctic Circle spiking close to 90.
Moscow and St. Petersburg soared to their highest June temperature on record Wednesday, reaching the mid-90s, while Estonia and Belarus established new all-time highs for the month this week. On Thursday, Hungary and Malta also set new June temperature records, hitting 104 degrees and 104.3 degrees.
Highs some 20 degrees or more above average currently wrap across central and Eastern Europe, with the greatest anomalies centered on Scandinavia and parts of western Russia. A second lobe of intense heat is parked over eastern Russia along the shores of the East Siberian Sea.
Exceptional heat waves, which are becoming disproportionately more significant and frequent due to human-induced climate change, are the leading cause of weather-related fatalities in most of Europe and Asia.
Complete Umineko Timeline
I recently finished my first readthrough of seminal 2007 murder mystery doujin visual novel Umineko: When they Cry. While I was reading I kept detailed notes on both my solutions to the murder mystery puzzles and the backstory timeline that led up to the game. I'm sure plenty of other people have gone over the solutions before but the timeline itself is likely to be interesting so I've cleaned it up for publication. This includes the following
Calculations for how we can derive dates that are never given explicitly but have enough evidence to constrain them to a narrow range (this applies to the years most of the adults were born)
Backstory events stretching out behind the catbox into the past
Post-1986 events stretching out in front of the catbox into the future
For the contents of the catbox itself you'll want to take a look at the solutions (or maybe if there's a demand for it I'll write mine up too)
Krauss, Eva, and Natsuhi
Umineko never directly states how old Krauss, Eva, and Natsuhi are. However we have the following pieces of evidence we can use to pinpoint things
Eva mentions that Natsuhi is three years younger than her during one of the parlor scenes in Legend
Eva’s narration refers to Krauss as her older brother of two years during her flashback at the beginning of Banquet
Natsuhi was childless for 12 years before having Jessica 18 years ago, placing her marriage 30 years ago in 1956
The Ushiromiyas moved to Rokkenjima in 1952. Eva’s flashback at the beginning of Banquet takes place while she’s living on Rokkenjima and at the tail end of high school demanding to go to college (ages 15-17)
Eva’s birthday is October 21
This places limits on their possible ages in both directions. The school year in Japan begins in April and students begin elementary school at age 6. Therefore, to have been attending high school in 1952, Eva must have been born somewhere in the range 1936-1938. Since Natsuhi is three years younger than her and got married in 1956 this means she was married somewhere between age 15 and age 17. There’s nothing I would put past Kinzo but the older end of that range seems most likely so for this timeline I chose to make Krauss born in 1934, Eva born in 1936, and Natsuhi born in 1939
Rudolf, Asumu, and Kyrie
Like his siblings we’re never given Rudolf’s exact age but we can get a good estimate from the available evidence
The Ushiromiyas moved to Rokkenjima in 1952. When the siblings discuss the stories of wolves on the island in Banquet, we’re told that Rudolf was in elementary school (ages 6-11) at the time
Kinzo’s flashback in the manga version of Requiem establishes visually that Krauss, Eva, and Rudolf were all born before he enlisted in 1944
Rudolf’s birthday is September 29
Just like for Eva, this constrains the possible years Rudolf could have been born to between 1941 and 1943. Of these 1941 is the most likely because the age difference between him and Eva doesn’t seem particularly large
All we can say about Asumu and Kyrie’s ages is that they went to college with Rudolf and are therefore close in age to him. As a side note Asumu’s family name Akinaka is never given anywhere in Umineko but Ryukishi specified it on twitter in 2013 so I’ve chosen to use it here
In a recurring pattern Rosa’s age is never stated exactly but it’s easy to infer
Rosa met the girl who was imprisoned in Kuwadorian in 1967 and was in middle school (ages 12-14) at the time
Rosa had Maria in 1977
Rosa’s birthday is June 3
The possible years she could have been born are then 1953-1955 which means she had Maria somewhere between age 22 and age 24. I’m again most inclined to pick the early date since it makes her have Maria at a slightly more reasonable age.
Unfortunately, this age doesn’t completely make sense with the stories we’re told about her childhood. Her siblings would all have been essentially full adults by the time she was old enough to spend much time interacting with them so the stories we hear about them tormenting her are reframed as adults hurting a six year old. Not exactly impossible in Umineko but it casts everything in a very different light
The Kuwadorian Girl
Requiem refers to Kinzo raping the Kuwadorian girl when she was the same age Bice was when he first met her. For the sake of intergenerational parallels across the three Beatrices, this age is almost certainly 19, placing both her birth and Bice’s death in 1948, but all we know for certain is that she was older than Rosa but not a full adult when she met her
Erika is described as a few years younger than Jessica. Her backstory sounds like it takes place in college but we should probably chalk this up to the anime tendency to pretend high schoolers are independent adults and treat it as taking place in high school. With nothing else to go on, the best we can do is fall back on Higurashi parallels - Erika is a double for Bernkastel who most closely resembles a 16 year old Rika
At the beginning of Legend Battler says that George is "five years older than me so he's probably turning 23 this year". George's birthday is March 19 which is before October so at first glance this might seem like a logic error but the answer is just that Battler doesn't remember his cousins' birthdays and George is already 23
This one’s an actual logic error. We are given the following three pieces of evidence which cannot simultaneously be true
Ange’s birthday is June 17 and she’s six years old therefore she was born in 1980
Battler made a promise to Sayo six years ago at the 1980 family conference in early October
Asumu died, Rudolf married a pregnant Kyrie, and Battler left the Ushiromiya family after that promise
As June comes before October this situation is impossible. We could try to resolve it by saying that Ange was born six months before Asumu died but the narrative is clear that Kyrie was pregnant when she got married, not already raising an illegitimate child. Similarly we could claim that Battler actually made his promise at a non-family conference visit to Rokkenjima in early 1980 but Requiem clearly shows us the first, second, and third family conferences after Battler leaves and has Kanon be created at the third one three years ago so this throws off the entire timeline. The only remotely reasonable solution is to decide that Ange was actually born on June 17, 1981 and is just the kind of little kid who likes to say she’s six when she’s really five and a half (and then keeps doing this for the rest of her life so she calls herself eighteen when she’s really seventeen and a half)
Nanjo Terumasa is born (April 5)
Ronoue Genji is born (June 10)
Kumasawa Chiyo is born (July 19)
Ushiromiya Kinzo is born (August 17)
Genji and Kinzo grow up in Taiwan together. They are both the sons of rich families and they become close friends
The great Kanto earthquake destroys the Ushiromiya family. The surviving family elders pick Kinzo (20s), a distantly related branch family member to be the new family head ostensibly because he has polydactyly but really because they want to use him as a puppet
Beatrice Castiglioni is born (September 14)
Hideyoshi is born (November 25)
Kinzo (20s) is forced to marry a woman he does not love and spends twenty years as a living corpse, enduring life without really living. His only solace is his love for reading foreign books
Ushiromiya Krauss is born (February 26)
Ushiromiya Eva is born (October 21)
Natsuhi is born (July 30)
Krauss (6) begins elementary school
Ushiromiya Rudolf is born (September 29)
Sumadera Kyrie is born (November 8)
Sumadera Kasumi is born (September 10)
Akinaka Asumu is born
Eva (6 going on 7) begins elementary school
Kinzo (40s) volunteers to fight in WWII. He is assigned to a secret submarine base on Rokkenjima as engineering staff. No Japanese submarines ever actually dock at the base and eventually the navy decides to store an enormous quantity of explosives on the island so it can be strategically blown up if necessary
An Italian submarine carrying ten tons of secret gold docks at the Rokkenjima base and Kinzo (40s) meets Beatrice (19) who is serving as the Italian translator. Kinzo incites a shootout over the gold which kills everyone else on the island and the two run away together as lovers. He meets Nanjo (40s) as the doctor on Nijima who treats Beatrice’s wounds
Natsuhi (6 going on 7) begins elementary school
Krauss (12) begins middle school
Kinzo begins living a double life, spending as much of his time as possible with his mistress Beatrice while maintaining appearances with his family
Kinzo forsees that Genji’s family will meet a horrible fate if they stay in Taiwan during the post-war chaos. Unfortunately he is only able to convince Genji to leave and the rest of them perish. In gratitude for saving him, Genji decides to dedicate the rest of his life to serving Kinzo as his butler
Kinzo takes a trusted business contact, the president of the Marusoo company, to see the gold. He gives him physical possession of one ton of the gold as collateral and has him take back a single ingot to be appraised. With this level of verification he is able to take out massive loans from the business community. He uses his foreign language skills to get in extremely close with the post-war occupying forces and makes vast amounts of money providing supplies for the Korean War. Finally he repays his debts and retrieves the collateral from his friend, leaving him with a single ingot as a commemorative gift
Hideyoshi is left orphaned by the war. He decides to build a company from the ground up, starting with stealing supplies from the occupying forces. Slowly but surely he becomes a powerful businessman
Rudolf (6 going on 7) begins elementary school
Beatrice (23) dies in childbirth. Kinzo (40s) is heartbroken and decides to treat her daughter as her reincarnation, giving her the name Ushiromiya Beatrice
Krauss (15) begins high school
Eva (12 going on 13) begins middle school
Kinzo (50s) constructs a secret mansion on Rokkenjima known as Kuwadorian and uses it to house his new daughter. At the same time he builds a secret underground VIP room to store the gold. He comes up with an elaborate riddle to hide its secret and builds a complicated mechanism to open the door. Finally, he repurposes the explosives on the island to build a special clock that will blow up the entire island at midnight if a switch is set. He uses this doomsday device to gamble his life by setting time limits for problem solving and is able to achieve short bursts of brilliant madness that drive enormous business success
Kinzo (50s) finishes construction of his new home on the other side of Rokkenjima from Kuwadorian. He moves his entire family to live there and frequently disappears for long periods of time to visit Beatrice. The two mansions are linked by a secret underground passageway left over from the island’s days as a military base
Krauss (18) begins college
Eva (15 going on 16) begins high school
Natsuhi (12 going on 13) begins middle school
Ushiromiya Rosa is born (June 3)
Kinzo uses some of his wealth to create Fukuin House, an orphanage for children with nowhere else to go. He begins taking ambitious teenagers from the orphanage as young servants in order to give them practical experience and money to start their lives with
Kinzo violently abuses his children and constantly screams and insults them
Kinzo’s wife becomes extremely suspicious that he’s cheating on her with a blonde but is never able to find evidence
Krauss frequently beats and insults his younger siblings to compensate for his complex about not being able to live up to his father’s expectations
Eva becomes obsessed with earning her father’s respect and works as hard as possible to become a good student and achieve great things, even becoming class president when Krauss never became more than vice-president. She loathes Krauss for automatically being the successor simply because he’s a man. In order to fuel her work ethic she creates an alternate self representing her childhood dreams that lives inside her as a witch
Rudolf constantly sneaks off into the shadows for sexual liaisons with the maids
Rosa grows up extremely lonely with no friends anywhere near her age and no one who is willing to pay attention to her. She retreats into a world of playing with dolls and stuffed animals until eventually her older siblings rip up her most treasured friend U-tan the rabbit and declare that she’s dead
Natsuhi grows up in an extraordinarily strict environment, kept isolated from the world as a princess
Kinzo collects a number of Winchester rifles and practices shooting them in the woods
Rudolf (12 going on 13) begins middle school
Eva (18 going on 19) graduates high school and manages to go to college against her father’s wishes through sheer hard work
Natsuhi (15 going on 16) begins high school
Krauss (22) graduates from college and begins working as a real estate investor
Kinzo (50s) crushes Natsuhi’s (17) family and as a prize forces her to marry Krauss (22). It is not clear whether she is given the chance to complete high school. She is unable to bear a child for a very long time despite trying
Rudolf (15 going on 16) begins high school
Eva (22 going on 23) graduates from college
Rudolf (18 going on 19) graduates high school and goes to college. While there he begins perpetrating elaborate fraud schemes and seducing women. He acquires a large harem of hangers-on but eventually ends up splitting most of his time between Kyrie who is his business partner and Asumu who provides him with emotional support
Rosa (6 going on 7) begins elementary school
Eva (26) marries Hideyoshi (40s). Due to Natsuhi’s (23) failure to bear a child she is able to have him transferred into the Ushiromiya family register
George is born to Eva (26 going on 27) and Hideyoshi (40s) (March 19)
Rudolf (22 going on 23) graduates from college and partners with Kyrie (20s) to found a new company
Rosa (12 going on 13) begins middle school
The Kuwadorian girl (19) has an incestuous child with Kinzo (60s) (May 25)
Rosa (14) runs away from home and encounters the Kuwadorian girl (19). She helps her escape but while attempting to get back to the mansion she falls off a cliff and dies. After this incident Kuwadorian is shut down for good
Kinzo (60s) gives the child he had with the Kuwadorian girl to Natsuhi (28) to raise. She treats this as an insult due to her inability to have a child and is so disgusted that she pushes the servant carrying the baby off a cliff. The servant dies but Genji covers up the incident and police rule it an accident. Kinzo is driven deeply into madness and begins to isolate himself and spend all of his time studying the occult
Kinzo’s child survives the fall but Genji (60s) sends them to Fukuin House and conceals them from Natsuhi and Kinzo. They are given the name Yasuda Sayo. Although the child was assigned male at birth, the fall severely damages their genitals and afterwards it is decided to raise them as a girl. Nanjo performs the surgery that saves their life and at the same time he amputates their polydactyly sixth toe. He ‘carelessly’ leaves a scar, ensuring that Kinzo will one day be able to recognize them
In an alternate timeline where Natsuhi (28) does not attempt to kill the child, they are given the name Ushiromiya Lion and raised as the successor to the Ushiromiya headship with the new birthday November 29
Kyrie (20s) and Asumu (20s) get pregnant at the same time. Asumu discovers the pregnancy first and convinces Rudolf to have a shotgun marriage. Their delivery dates are on the same day. Asumu miscarries, Kyrie has Ushiromiya Battler, and then while they’re both barely conscious Rudolf (26 going on 27) swaps the babies so that his legal wife will be the one who gives birth (July 15). Asumu almost certainly figures out what has happened but resolves to love Battler as her own son regardless
Kyrie (20s) manages to use Rudolf’s (27) influence to completely escape from the Sumadera family. Kasumi is forced to take on her responsibilities as the successor and marry a man she does not love
At long last Natsuhi (29) is able to bear a child and Jessica is born (August 25)
Rosa (15 going on 16) begins high school
George (6) begins elementary school
Furudo Erika is born (October 4)
Rosa (18 going on 19) graduates high school and begins college. Presumably the battle Eva fought with Kinzo to secure her own education allows Rosa to do the same as Rosa certainly doesn’t have the guts to fight for it herself
Genji decides to fake Sayo’s age and claim that she is three years younger than she really is to avoid Natsuhi and Kinzo realizing her identity. In order to make this work he ensures that she grows up completely isolated within the orphanage. She spends all of her time locked inside and is never allowed to make friends who might notice that she’s not the age she’s supposed to be
Rudolf and Kyrie build a powerful company together, constantly skirting the law and committing serious fraud. Many of their rivals are driven so far into debt that they commit suicide
In the alternate timeline where Natsuhi raised Sayo as Lion (6 going on 7) they begin elementary school
Jessica (6 going on 7) begins elementary school
Battler (6 going on 7) begins elementary school
George (12) begins middle school
Rosa (22 going on 23) graduates college and begins creating a fashion company
Genji (70s) arranges for Sayo (9 pretending to be 6) to begin working at the mansion under the name Shannon. In order to hide her existence from Natsuhi (36) and Kinzo (70s) he claims she is three years younger than she actually is. She treats the Shannon identity as a sort of imaginary friend representing the ideal servant girl she would like to become
Lunon, Sanon, Lenon, and Leion begin working at the same time as Sayo (9 pretending to be 6). They are significantly older than her and do not treat her very well
Sayo slowly acclimates to life as a servant. After repeatedly losing things she invents a witch who she calls Beatrice but will later call Gaap as an imaginary friend who takes her possessions. Kumasawa teaches her a series of tricks to not lose things which she frames as rituals to keep the witch at bay
Sayo breaks a vase which is particularly dear to Kinzo. Kumasawa helps her avoid punishment by claiming the vase was broken by a stray cat, teaching her the concept of magic that matches a result
Due to being thrown off a cliff when she was a baby, Sayo does not have normal hormone production and does not go through puberty, remaining waifish and androgynous. She is extremely disturbed by her boyish appearance and lack of periods and begins to hate mirrors. In order to look more feminine she begins padding her chest
Sayo learns that she shares a deep love of mystery novels with Battler and begins to fall in love with him over repeated visits. He tells her about his ideal girl with a description broadly taken from porn magazines. Asumu watches over and supports their relationship
Ushiromiya Maria is born (March 29). Her father tricks Rosa (23 going on 24) into taking out a giant loan for him and then flees the country, leaving her a single mother
Erika (6 going on 7) begins elementary school
Sayo (9 going on 10 pretending to be 6 going on 7) begins elementary school
George (15) begins high school
Lunon, Sanon, Lenon, and Leion graduate from being Ushiromiya servants. Asne, Belne, and Manon begin working as replacements
Sayo (12 pretending to be 9) trains the new servants. Belne doesn’t take the stories of the witch seriously so in order to teach her a lesson, Sayo begins conducting a series of pranks on her. She hides her master key in Belne’s locker, waits for Belne to unlock a room and put her keys down, swaps her keyring without the master key with Belne’s, and then asks Belne to lock the door. This makes it appear as though the key was moved from Belne’s ring to the locker by magic while giving Sayo a strong alibi for stealing it. After many similar experiences, Belne repents and believes in the witch
Sayo (12 pretending to be 9) abandons the desire to become an ideal servant which Shannon represented and instead begins planning to become a witch. She revises her imaginary scenario so that now she is the witch Beatrice and Gaap is a demon who is her close friend. Her witchsona with long greenish-blonde hair and a white dress will later be known as Clair Vaux Bernardus
Battler (12) visits Rokkenjima for the last time before leaving the family. He promises Sayo (13 pretending to be 10) that when she’s ready to leave the island he’ll come for her on a white horse and whisk her away. He gives her until the family conference next year to decide whether to take him up on his offer
George (17) watches Battler (12) and Sayo (13 pretending to be 10) talking and gets extremely jealous
In the alternate timeline where Natsuhi raised Sayo as Lion (12 going on 13) they begin middle school
Jessica (12 going on 13) begins middle school
George (18) graduates from high school and begins college
Battler (12 going on 13) begins middle school
In the alternate timeline where Natsuhi raised Sayo as Lion (13 going on 14) they are elected vice president of their middle school class
Kyrie (30s) gets pregnant with Ange and finally gains the certain determination to kill Asumu (30s). However before she can act Asumu dies for unrelated reasons. Rudolf (39 going on 40) marries Kyrie immediately, and Ange is born shortly afterwards (June 17). Battler (12 going on 13) is so offended by this series of events that he leaves the Ushiromiya family and goes to live with Asumu’s parents for the next six years, taking the family name Akinaka. When Sayo (14 pretending to be 11) learns that he has left the family she convinces herself that this is a trial of love and if only she waits for him while believing hard enough he will come for her next year
Battler (13) does not attend the family conference. Sayo (14 pretending to be 11) is heartbroken but tells herself that he’ll come next year
A number of important pieces of media come out earlier in the Umineko timeline than in our world. Touhou becomes popular, and Pretty Cure style magical girl shows begin airing on TV including one that stars Bernkastel
In the alternate timeline where Natsuhi raised Sayo as Lion they begin playing badminton and achieve great success at tournaments
Maria meets a priest who tells her about Jesus. This experience convinces her that she too is a child of god with magical powers and she undertakes intense occult self-study
Sayo begins meeting with Maria as her witchsona every time she visits the island. She convinces her that she is a witch by showing her small magic tricks and becomes her best friend
Battler wins a set of cheap plastic hair ornaments for Ange at a fair. They become one of her most treasured possessions
Erika goes out with a boy who is living some sort of double life. She collects circumstantial evidence and becomes convinced he’s cheating on her. It’s unprovable but the core themes of this narrative suggest that the secret is probably actually crossdressing
Rosa gives Maria a cheap department store plushie and pretends she made it herself. Maria names him Sakutaro and loves him with all her heart
Sayo begins actively building the legend of the golden witch by telling ghost stories and playing occult themed pranks on people. Through her hard work she combines the existing ghost stories about the evil spirits of Rokkenjima with the story of Kinzo’s mistress to create an environment where all unexplainable phenomena will be blamed on a witch
A servant falls down the stairs and quits after being seriously injured. This is quickly incorporated into the legend of the golden witch as Beatrice punishing those who don't believe in her
Sayo begins to invent more OCs, creating Ronove as a double for Genji, Virgilia as a double for Kumasawa, and the seven sisters of purgatory as anthropomorphizations of Kinzo's occult paperweights. Maria gives them all names. In exchange Sayo creates the Chiesters and Sakutaro for her as anthropomorphized versions of her rabbit figures and her favorite stuffed animal
Sayo becomes close friends with Jessica
Jessica begins practicing playing guitar secretly at school and wishes she could get away from her family and play in a band
Rosa rips Sakutaro apart and smashes one of Maria’s rabbits, permanently killing the corresponding furniture
The president of the Marusoo company dies and Krauss manages to obtain the ingot he was given, acquiring physical proof that the Ushiromiya gold exists
Krauss makes a series of bad business investments and is repeatedly defrauded. He attempts to turn Rokkenjima into a resort but the project falls apart leaving him with a newly built guesthouse and no visitors. In his desperation he begins to embezzle Kinzo’s money and makes shady backroom deals offering up ownership of the island itself as collateral
In the alternate timeline where Natsuhi raised Sayo as Lion (14 going on 15) they are elected president of their middle school class
Asne, Belne, and Manon graduate from being Ushiromiya servants
Battler (14) does not attend the family conference. Sayo (15 pretending to be 12) begins to doubt whether he ever made her a promise at all or whether she merely misinterpreted him
Maria (6) begins elementary school
Erika (12 going on 13) begins middle school
Sayo (15 going on 16 pretending to be 12 going on 13) begins middle school
In the alternate timeline where Natsuhi raised Sayo as Lion (15 going on 16) they begin high school
Battler (14) does not attend the family conference. He sends letters to his cousins but not to Sayo (16 pretending to be 13). She buries her grief by externalizing her feelings and pushing them onto her witch persona Beato. At the same time she begins experimenting with dressing as a boy and creates the Kanon persona with cooperation from Genji and Kumasawa. By pushing her love for Battler onto Beato and all of her negative emotions onto Kanon she is able to keep Shannon as a purely positive persona
George (20) has a marriage interview with a girl Eva (47) wants him to marry named Ayumi. Eva taunts Sayo (16 pretending to be 13) with the fact that the two of them can never be together
Sayo (16 pretending to be 13) accidentally spills soup on herself while serving Kinzo (80s) and removes her kneesock in front of him. He sees the scar from the amputation of her polydactyly and realizes that she is his child who survived the fall after all. Afterwards he begins to try to get closer to her and teaches her to shoot his guns
Jessica (15 going on 16) begins high school
Battler (15 going on 16) begins high school
In the alternate timeline where Natsuhi raised Sayo as Lion (16 going on 17) they are elected vice president of their high school class
Kinzo hangs a portrait of Beatrice with the witch’s epitaph in the main hall of the mansion in April. Sayo (16 going on 7 pretending to be 13 going on 14) revises her witchsona so that it is now a blond haired beauty matching both the woman in the portrait and Battler’s image of an ideal girl
George (21) and Sayo (17 pretending to be 14) begin to get closer and go on a few outings together. They are not quite dating yet but the possibility of romance is there
Jessica (16) becomes disturbed by the way Maria (7) talks about Beatrice and starts to investigate. Sayo (17 pretending to be 14) tells her a ghost story about the golden witch appearing in the VIP room at 2 in the morning. She then places a creepy doll on the bedside table in the room, gives instructions to Genji and Kumasawa to act as accomplices, and hides under the bed in the dark waiting. At 2 am when Jessica enters the VIP room an accomplice places a phone call to the room and plays a recording of Maria singing. Afterwards another accomplice in the basement shuts off the lights on the circuit breaker. Under the cover of darkness Sayo climbs out from under the bed, grabs the doll, cackles loudly, and leaves the room. After this experience Jessica decides to stop investigating
Genji gives Sayo (17 pretending to be 14) a hint regarding the epitaph by telling her that Kinzo’s beloved hometown is in Taiwan. Over the course of many months she works her way through the entire riddle and eventually on November 29 she finds the hidden gold. Genji dresses her in the witch dress, takes her to Kinzo, and finally tells him the truth about their relationship. Kinzo apologizes for everything, gives her the head’s ring and keels over dead. Afterwards Sayo orders Genji, Kumasawa, and Nanjo to keep these events secret and decides to continue working as a servant while waiting for Battler’s return
Sayo (17 pretending to be 14) is utterly horrified at learning the truth about herself. Her incestuous heritage, her body that cannot bear children, the bloodstained wealth of the Ushiromiyas seized with betrayal and murder, and her unwitting romantic relationships with her blood relatives all drive her to despair
Natsuhi (45) discovers that Kinzo is dead. Krauss (50) confesses to embezzling his father’s wealth and tells her that he may face criminal charges for it. She decides to maintain the illusion that he is alive until Krauss can fix their financial situation
George (22) graduates from college. He begins working at his father’s company to gain business experience
In the alternate timeline where Natsuhi raised Sayo as Lion (17 going on 18) they are elected president of their high school class
Gohda is dismissed from his job working at a high end hotel due to a dispute between the staff and the management and his involvement in an affair. He has difficulty finding work in the restaurant industry and decides to apply to work for the Ushiromiyas. Natsuhi (46) hires him
Gohda tells Sayo (18 pretending to be 15) that witches do not exist. In order to force him to believe she sets up a situation where he and Genji are the only two people on the island. After Gohda finishes cleaning the kitchen and leaves, Genji creates an occult sculpture using paint and kitchen supplies then summons Gohda, pretends to have discovered it, and asks for help cleaning it up. Afterwards Gohda does not disrespect the witch out loud again
Jessica (17) asks Sayo (18 pretending to be 15) whether Kanon is single. Sayo is simultaneously overjoyed to be loved and disgusted at the incestuous nature of that love. Despite herself she begins to fall in love with Jessica as Kanon
Maria (8) attempts to teach Ange (4) about magic but Ange rejects her, driving her further into isolation
Natsuhi (46) manages to get through the family conference without anyone noticing that Kinzo is dead with the help of Genji (80s), Nanjo (80s), Kumasawa (80s), Sayo (18 pretending to be 15), and Krauss (51)
Sayo (18 going on 19 pretending to be 15 going on 16) completes middle school. In her complete despair she does not bother advancing to high school and chooses to drop out
Erika (15 going on 16) begins high school
Jessica (17 going on 18) runs for class president at her mother’s insistence and wins the election. She does not enjoy the position
In the alternate timeline where Natsuhi raised Sayo as Lion (18 going on 19) they graduate high school and begin college
Jessica (18) gives Sayo (19 pretending to be 16) a mixtape containing songs that she likes to try to get closer to her as Kanon
George (23) takes Sayo (19 pretending to be 16) on a trip to Okinawa. She hopes that the trip will give her an opportunity to confess the truth to him but he doesn’t so much as touch her and the right moment to confess never arrives. He tells her that he plans to propose to her at the next family conference, completely driving her into a corner and leaving her with an unavoidable deadline coming up
Sayo (19 pretending to be 16) sets herself up on a culture festival date with Jessica (18). Afterwards Jessica confesses to her and Sayo rejects her. This is extraordinarily painful for her because she is in love with Jessica but she is convinced that the romance is doomed and too scared to try
Krauss (52) manages to put together an actually profitable real estate deal for once. He becomes convinced that if he can just hold on a little longer he will be able to repay all his debts and hide his criminal embezzlement
Hideyoshi (60s) attempts to list his company publicly. He fails to secure a majority stake and is attacked in a hostile takeover attempt, pushing him into a position where he needs to acquire an enormous amount of money to defend against it
Rudolf (45) attempts to expand his business overseas. He accidentally violates another major company’s intellectual property rights and enters a position where he needs to acquire an enormous amount of money to settle with them
Rosa’s (33) debt comes due, placing her in a position where she needs to acquire an enormous amount of money to pay it off
Battler (18) returns to the Ushiromiya family after Asumu’s parents die
Sayo (19 pretending to be 16) learns that Battler (18) will return and is driven completely mad by her hopeless situation and the combined weight of the family’s sins. She writes out countless murder suicide plans, creating fragment world after fragment world and transcends humanity, becoming a witch. Metafictionally, she becomes a miko of Lambdadelta who guarantees her power as long as her plan continues to have absolute certainty
Sayo (19 pretending to be 16) begins making extensive preparations for her murder game. She tests explosives from the stockpile under the island by blowing up the Rokkenjima shrine and practices firing guns extensively. She converts a billion yen worth of the gold to cash and sets up a series of postcards which will be sent to the families of the victims leading them to some of the money. Shortly before the family conference she places her murder fic in wine bottles and hurls it into the sea
Sayo (19 pretending to be 16) recruits accomplices for her plan. Kumasawa and Nanjo happily agree to help her after being told it will be a murder mystery prank. She tells Genji her full plans and he does not raise any objections to the idea of destroying the entire Ushiromiya family in a complex murder suicide scheme. Finally, she has Maria memorize her letter in advance in order to serve as a good messenger and tells her a magical account of her plans in which everyone will be resurrected in the golden land. Any other accomplices are specific to a particular fragment and are mostly recruited the day of
The following people gather for the Ushiromiya family conference:
Ange (5 and a half but likes to say she’s 6) stays at home
Kinzo (80s) who has been dead for over a year but is kept alive as a ghost by Natsuhi’s efforts
Krauss (52), Natsuhi (47), and Jessica (18)
Eva (49 going on 50), Hideyoshi (60s), and George (23)
Rudolf (45), Kyrie (40s), and Battler (18)
Rosa (33), and Maria (9)
Nanjo (80s), Genji (80s), Kumasawa (80s), and Gohda (?)
Sayo (19 pretending to be 16). In the alternate timeline where Natsuhi raised her she instead attends the conference as Lion (19)
Erika (16) falls off a boat near Rokkenjima. With the help of a miracle she could have drifted to the island
The family conference occurs and its events are locked away in a catbox forever when the mansion is destroyed in an explosion
Within the catbox the adults solve the epitaph and reach the room of the gold before Sayo can carry out her murder plans. A gunfight breaks out and Kyrie and Rudolf decide to slaughter everyone on the island, blow it all up, and run away with the bank card with a billion yen. Eva manages to stop them but is unable to save anyone but herself and decides to blow the island up anyway to hide the truth. She escapes to Kuwadorian and survives the explosion
In the alternate timeline where Natsuhi raised Sayo as Lion, Kinzo is still alive and he holds a funeral for the two Beatrices in the morning. In the evening during the family conference his children argue with him over Lion becoming the head until he decides to give them the witch’s epitaph and tell them that if they can solve it they can have the headship. His children find the gold and the same events play out with the addition that Kyrie also kills Kinzo and Lion
Sayo survives the gunfight, changes her mind about committing murder suicide, rescues Battler, and confesses almost everything to him. The two of them escape through the secret tunnel to the submarine base and attempt to take a motorboat away from the island. Sayo jumps into the water to drown herself using a gold ingot as a weight and Battler leaps in after her. She dies, and he almost drowns
After pulling himself out of the water in a haze Battler is hit by a car and temporarily loses his memories. He’s saved by Hachijou Ikuko who gives him the new name Hachijou Tohya and functionally kidnaps him. Metafictionally Ushiromiya Battler and Yasuda Sayo drown together and become trapped in purgatory. Sayo decides to begin tormenting him with her witch games until he eventually remembers the truth
In a popular alternate interpretation Sayo survives the suicide attempt, adopts the identity of Hachijou Ikuko, and resolves to live with Battler for the rest of her life without ever revealing the truth to him
Ange (5 going on 6) begins elementary school
Eva (50s) becomes the Ushiromiya family head and is tormented by police investigations and media attacks. Everyone believes her to be the true culprit. However the police are never able to find any evidence and the massacre is formally ruled an accident
After the massacre, the families of the victims receive the mysterious postcards Sayo mailed out. None of them claim the money
Two of the message bottles containing Legend and Turn wash up and are found by the police. This causes the crime to be regarded as the work of a witch in the public eye. A large majority of the message bottles are lost at sea and never found
Eva takes guardianship of Ange. She desperately wants to love her and become her mother but the two of them are both deeply broken from grief and Ange is unable to trust Eva which slowly poisons their relationship. After a series of episodes where Eva screams and hits her for so long that she forgets why she was originally angry, Eva realizes that she’s going to destroy Ange’s life and decides to send her away rather than hurt her anymore. When Ange attempts to run away and go back to her grandfather’s house, Eva uses it as an excuse to send her to a boarding school
Eva writes a secret diary describing the true events of the catbox
The true crime community around Rokkenjima becomes a large community of dedicated witch hunters. People begin forging message bottles to write fan fiction
Tohya slowly adjusts to his new life living with Ikuko and the two of them begin publishing mystery novels together. To celebrate completing their first book, Ikuko shares a third message bottle which she found on the beach containing Sayo’s full confession with him. He remembers his past as Battler but is unable to accept it as his own memories and resolves to continue his life as Tohya. In the alternate interpretation where Ikuko is Sayo she simply writes out her confession and claims to have found it in a message bottle
Tohya and Ikuko begin writing forgeries, continuing the metafictional narrative that began in Sayo’s two surviving games. Tohya falsely believes Eva to be the true culprit and begins his forgeries by writing Banquet, a narrative in which she murders everyone and survives. After reading his work, Eva realizes who he is, pays him a visit, and tells him the truth. She leaves the key to her diary with him in the hope that he might one day share it with Ange if she makes her way to him too
Tohya writes Alliance, End, and Dawn completing his metarrative and laying Sayo to rest. It’s not clear whether Requiem and Twilight are ever written in the real world at all and if so they’re certainly never published. He incorporates Ikuko's cat Bernkastel as the primary antagonist of the latter part of the story (as a sidenote, the existence of the Magical Bern-chan anime in-universe implies that Ikuko named her cat after her favorite magical girl)
Ange (11 going on 12) begins middle school
Eva (50s) amasses an enormous fortune, surviving the collapse of the Japanese economy in the early 90s and becoming even richer than Kinzo once was. This is made even more impressive by the fact that she started with a small fraction of the capital he did
The witch hunter community unearths Rudolf and Kyrie’s criminal past and begins to accuse them of being the true culprits
Ange is utterly miserable and alone at boarding school where she is constantly bullied. She has Maria’s diary and begins to use it to retreat into delusions, summoning Maria’s ghost, Sakutaro, and the stakes as imaginary friends. Eventually she is attacked in a bullying incident so bad that it makes her want to kill everyone present and she is forced to abandon this coping mechanism when she realizes it provides her no power to affect reality
Eva, alone and dying of grief, becomes extremely sick and begins accusing people of poisoning her
Ange (14 going on 15) begins high school
Eva (62) dies, leaving her wealth to Ange (17 and a half but she likes to say she’s 18)
Ikuko acquires Eva’s diary and holds a witch hunter convention to unveil it. At the last minute she refuses to show it and walks out. This permanently defuses the enthusiasm around the Rokkenjima mystery by reminding the would-be witch hunters that what they are doing is nothing more than desecrating the memories of the dead
Ange (17 and a half but she likes to say she’s 18) attempts to contact Tohya (30). Tohya is too scared to see her directly but she meets with Ikuko who gives her the key to Eva’s diary and allows her to read the truth. She is driven completely into despair and jumps off the roof of a skyscraper but survives by landing in the safety netting. Metafictionally she goes on a vision quest to reconcile herself to the truth and become a witch of resurrection
After surviving the fall, Ange (17 and a half but she likes to say she’s 18) gives up the Ushiromiya fortune and adopts the new identity Kotobuki Yukari. She spends the rest of her life writing children’s books to pass on the lessons she’s learned
In an alternate timeline after surviving the fall Ange (17 and a half but she likes to say she’s 18) travels to Rokkenjima while accompanied by Amakusa, a bodyguard given to her by President Okonogi, and hunted by Kyrie’s younger sister Sumadera Kasumi. Shortly before reaching the island she deduces that Okonogi has cut a deal with the Sumaderas and Amakusa plans to kill both her and Kasumi in the isolated location and kills him before he has the opportunity. She embraces the mantle of the witch of truth and sets off on a journey to escape her fate for good, allowing the name Ushiromiya Ange to die just like in the main timeline
Ange uses her wealth from her career as a novelist to reestablish Fukuin House. When remodeling the building, she recreates the main hall of the Ushiromiya family mansion from memory even getting the artist who originally painted the portrait of Beatrice to create a duplicate for her
Tohya finally overcomes his fear of meeting his sister and identifies Kotobuki Yukari as Ange. He reaches out to her and the two are reunited at last. Metafictionally, Battler and Sayo reach the golden land and are freed from purgatory, ascending to heaven
Happy birthday, Dave Van Ronk! (June 30, 1936)
One of the most pivitol figures in the American folk music revival of the 1960s, Dave Van Ronk was a fixture of the Greenwich Village folk scene, gaining the nickname "the mayor of MacDougal Street." Born in Brooklyn, Van Ronk was a relative rarity in the New York folk scene, in that he was actually from New York. He was known as a welcoming presence to new arrivals, and had connections with many up-and-coming and established folk music figures, including Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, and Tom Paxton. Like many of his contemporaries, Van Ronk's politics were firmly left-wing, and he was a member of the Libertarian League, an anarcho-syndicalist collective. He also performed at a concert protesting the coup in Chile against the socialist government of Salvador Allende. Van Ronk was also one of 13 people arrested during the original Stonewall riot; while Van Ronk was straight, he had been eating in a neighboring establishment, and when he saw what was going on, declared that "they can't have a riot without me!" He died in 2002.
You hear a great deal about the 'noble pioneers' building up the country, and to a certain extent this is probably true. But the women and children of those times were the ones who faced the real hardships and privations. Women's place in those days was in the home, which usually meant having 2 kids every 3 years and doing as much work as 2 ordinary men and living amid conditions which would cause a common hobo to breathe the open air and face the open road with 'thanksgiving.' The men were, in many cases, drunken, or ingrown religious fanatics who were worse to live with and deal with even than the drunks.
Last night was one of the worse nights I have seen in this country in many years, a terrific gale of blowing snow and 15 below zero. We moved our bed out in the dining room beside the stove, the first time we ever did that. The horses in the N. pasture seem to be alright today, although we have no barns for them anymore.
I have often thought of sending valentines (as who hasn't) but I never have.
Well, ordinarily today would be Mar. 1, but this year gives us one more day to hold to the place which has meant so much to me in life and tradition in the last 35 years, from the scent of the wild plum bush and the violets and the blue grass in April, to the little dry thunder showers in June which break away late in the afternoon, with the meadow larks singing and the wild roses which seem to be brighter and smell sweeter when wet with rain than any other time.
I took a thermometer out in the W. corn field today, at the ground surface it registered 142!
102 degrees. Corn and every thing is mostly destroyed... It is really too hot, dry, discouraging and devilish to do anything.
Well, another summer is about gone, and I wonder, some times what we will be doing a year from now. I always dread to see summer go, no matter how bad it is. Winter with its sickness seems to last so long.
I took down 3 pigs to the sale in the afternoon they sold for $12.05 or about $4 each. These sales are remarkable. An old cat and kittens sold for .05. Ducks sold for .30 each. One horse sold for $11 another for $7.
I listened to the 'World Series' baseball game over the radio. The N.Y. 'Yankees' beat the N.Y. 'Giants' 18 to 4. One can hear the ball game in N.Y. City from the radio (wireless transmission) in his own home. You can hear the crack of the bat and the ball hit the catcher's glove. Who would have thought it possible 25 years ago!
— Excerpts from the diary of Don Hartwell, a Nebraskan farmer, in the year 1936
Dave Van Ronk (30 June 1936 – 10 February 2002)
Anonymous asked: I have always appreciated your thoughtful views on the defence of the British monarchy, and as a university historian it’s reassuring to see someone using history to make invalubale insights to a controversial institution. I wonder what are your own thoughts on the passing of Prince Philip and what his legacy might be? Was he a gaffe prone racist and a liability to the Queen?
I know you kindly got in touch and identified yourself when you felt I was ignoring your question. I’m glad we cleared that up via DM. The truth is as I said and I’m saying here is that I had to let some time pass before I felt I could reasonably answer this question. Simply because - as you know as someone who teaches history at university - distance is good to make a sober appraisal rather than knee jerk in the moment judgements.
Contrary to what some might think I’m not really a fan girl when it comes to the royal family. I don’t religiously follow their every movement or utterance especially as I live in Paris and therefore I don’t really care about tabloid tittle tattle. I only get to hear of anything to do with the royal family when I speak to my parents or my great aunts and uncles for whom the subject is closer to their heart because of the services my family has rendered over past generations to the monarchy and the older (and dying) tight knit social circles they travel in.
Like Walter Bagehot, I’m more interested in the monarchy as an institution and its constitutional place within the historical, social, and political fabric of Britain and its continued delicate stabilising importance to that effect. It was Walter Bagehot, the great constitutional scholar and editor the Economist magazine, who said, “The mystic reverence, the religious allegiance, which are essential to a true monarchy, are imaginative sentiments that no legislature can manufacture in any people.” In his view, a politically-inactive monarchy served the best interests of the United Kingdom; by abstaining from direct rule, the monarch levitated above the political fray with dignity, and remained a respected personage to whom all subjects could look to as a guiding light.
Even as a staunch monarchist I freely confess that there has always been this odd nature of the relationship between hereditary monarchy and a society increasingly ambivalent about the institution. To paraphrase Bagehot again, there has been too much ‘daylight’ shone onto the ‘magic’ of the monarchy because we are obsessed with personalities as celebrities.
Having said that I did feel saddened by the passing of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. After the Queen, he was my favourite royal. Anne, Princess Royal, would come next because she is very much like her father in temperament, humour, and character, so unlike her other brothers.
I have met the late Prince Philip when I was serving in the army in a few regimental meet-and-greet situations - which as you may know is pretty normal given that members of the royal family serve as honorary colonel-in-chiefs (patrons in effect) of all the British army regiments and corps.I also saw him at one or two social events such the annual charitable Royal Caledonian Ball (he’s an expert scottish reeler) and the Guards Polo Club where my older brothers played.
I’ll will freely confess that he was the one royal I could come close to identify with because his personal biography resonated with me a great deal.
Let’s be honest, the core Windsor family members, born to privilege, are conditioned and raised to be dull. Perhaps that’s a a tad harsh. I would prefer the term ‘anonymously self-effacing’, just another way of saying ‘for God’s sake don’t draw attention to yourself by saying or doing anything even mildly scandalous or political lest it invites public opprobrium and scrutiny’. The Queen magnificently succeeds in this but the others from Charles down just haven’t (with the exception of Princess Anne).
However, many people forget this obvious fact that it’s the incoming husbands and wives who marry into the Windsor family who are relied upon to bring colour and even liven things up a little. And long before Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle (very briefly), or Lady Diana Spencer, were the stars of ‘The Firm’- a phrase first coined by King George VI, Queen Elizabeth II's father who ruled from 1936 to 1952, who was thought to have wryly said, "British royals are 'not a family, we're a firm,” - it was Prince Philip who really livened things up and made the greater impact on the monarchy than any of them in the long term.
Prince Philip’s passing belied the truth of a far more complex individual: a destitute and penniless refugee Greek-Danish prince with a heart breaking backstory that could have been penned by any 19th Century novelist, and also eagle eyed reformer who tried to drag the royal family into the 20th century. At the core of the man - lost scion of a lost European royal dynasty, a courageous war veteran, and Queen’s consort - were values in which he attempted to transform and yet maintain much older inherited traditions and attitudes. Due to his great longevity, Philip’s life came to span a period of social change that is almost unprecedented, and almost no one in history viewed such a transformation from the front row.
Prince Philip would seem to represent in an acute form the best of the values of that era, which in many ways jar with today’s. He had fought with great courage in the war as a dashing young naval officer; he was regularly rude to foreigners, which was obviously a bonus to all Brits. He liked to ride and sail and shoot things. He was unsentimental almost to a comic degree, which felt reassuring at a time when a new-found emotional incontinence made many feel uncomfortable. Outrageous to some but endearing to others, he was the sort of man you’d want to go for a pint with, perhaps the ultimate compliment that an Englishman can pay to another Englishman. This has its own delicious irony as he wasn’t really an Englishman.
There are 4 takeways I would suggest in my appraisal of Prince Philip that stand out for me. So let me go through each one.
1. Prince Philip’s Internationalism
It may seem odd for me to say that Prince Philip wasn’t English but he wasn’t an Englishman in any real sense. He was a wretch of the world - stateless, homeless, and penniless. That the Prince of Nowhere became the British Monarchy’s figurehead was more than fitting for a great age of migration and transition in which the Royal Family survived and even flourished. That he was able to transform himself into the quintessential Englishman is testimony not just to his personal determination but also to the powerful cultural pull of Britishness.
He was born on a kitchen table in Corfu in June 1921. A year later in 1922, Philip, as the the great-great-grandson of Queen Victoria and nephew of Constantine I of Greece, was forced to flee with his family after the abdication of Constantine. He grew up outside Paris speaking French; ethnically he was mostly German although he considered himself Danish, his family originating from the Schleswig border region. He was in effect, despite his demeanour of Royal Navy officer briskness, a citizen of nowhere in an age of movement. From a very young age he was a stateless person, nationally homeless. Indeed, Philip was an outsider in a way that even Meghan Markle could never be; at his wedding in 1947, his three surviving sisters and two brothers-in-law were not permitted to attend because they were literally Britain’s enemies, having fought for the Germans. A third brother-in-law had even been in the SS, working directly for Himmler, but had been killed in the conflict.
Even his religion was slightly exotic. He was Greek Orthodox until he converted to Anglicanism on marrying Elizabeth - what with his wife due to become supreme head of the Church and everything - but his ties with eastern Christianity remained. His great-aunts Princess Elisabeth of Hesse and by Rhine and Tsarina Alexandra are both martyrs of the Russian Orthodox Church, having been murdered by the Bolsheviks; Philip’s mother went on to become an Orthodox nun and a “Righteous Among the Nations” for saving a Jewish family during the Nazi occupation of Greece, spending much of her time in squalid poverty.
His parents were part of the largely German extended aristocracy who ruled almost all of Europe before it all came crashing down in 1918. When he died, aged 99, it marked a near-century in which all the great ideological struggles had been and gone; he had been born before the Soviet Union but outlived the Cold War, the War on Terror and - almost - Covid-19.
The world that Philip was born into was a far more violent and dangerous place than ours. In the year he was born, Irish rebels were still fighting Black and Tans; over the course of 12 months the Spanish and Japanese prime ministers were assassinated, there was a coup in Portugal and race riots in the United States. Germany was rocked by violence from the far-Left and far-Right, while in Italy a brutal new political movement, the Fascists, secured 30 seats in parliament, led by a trashy journalist called Benito Mussolini.
The worst violence, however, took place in Greece and Turkey. Following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, what remained of Turkey was marked for permanent enfeeblement by the Allies. But much to everyone’s surprise the country’s force were roused by the brilliant officer Mustafa Kemal, who led the Turks to victory. Constantinople was lost to Christendom for good and thousands of years of Hellenic culture was put to the flames in Smyrna.
The Greek royal family, north German imports shipped in during the 19th century, bore much of the popular anger for this disaster. King Constantine fled to Italy, and his brother Andrew was arrested and only escaped execution through the intervention of his relative Britain’s George V. Andrew’s wife Alice, their four daughters and infant son Philip fled to France, completely impoverished but with the one possession that ensures that aristocrats are never truly poor: connections.
Philip had a traumatic childhood. He was forged by the turmoil of his first decade and then moulded by his schooling. His early years were spent wandering, as his place of birth ejected him, his family disintegrated and he moved from country to country, none of them ever his own. When he was just a year old, he and his family were scooped up by a British destroyer from his home on the Greek island of Corfu after his father had been condemned to death. They were deposited in Italy. One of Philip's first international journeys was spent crawling around on the floor of the train from an Italian port city, "the grubby child on the desolate train pulling out of the Brindisi night," as his older sister Sophia later described it.
In Paris, he lived in a house borrowed from a relative; but it was not destined to become a home. In just one year, while he was at boarding school in Britain, the mental health of his mother, Princess Alice, deteriorated and she went into an asylum; his father, Prince Andrew, went off to Monte Carlo to live with his mistress. "I don't think anybody thinks I had a father," he once said. Andrew would die during the war. Philip went to Monte Carlo to pick up his father's possessions after the Germans had been driven from France; there was almost nothing left, just a couple of clothes brushes and some cuff-links.
Philip’s four sisters were all much older, and were soon all married to German aristocrats (the youngest would soon die in an aeroplane crash, along with her husband and children). His sisters became ever more embroiled in the German regime. In Scotland going to Gordonstoun boarding school, Philip went the opposite direction, becoming ever more British. Following the death of his sister Cecilie in a plane crash in 1937, the gulf widened. As the clouds of conflict gathered, the family simply disintegrated. With a flash of the flinty stoicism that many would later interpret, with no little justification, as self-reliance to the point of dispassion, the prince explained: “It’s simply what happened. The family broke up… I just had to get on with it. You do. One does.”
In the space of 10 years he had gone from a prince of Greece to a wandering, homeless, and virtually penniless boy with no-one to care for him. He got through it by making a joke of everything, and by being practical.
By the time he went to Gordonstoun, a private boarding school on the north coast of Scotland, Philip was tough, independent and able to fend for himself; he'd had to be. Gordonstoun would channel those traits into the school's distinct philosophy of community service, teamwork, responsibility and respect for the individual. And it sparked one of the great passions of Philip's life - his love of the sea. It was Gordonstoun that nurtured that love through the maturation of his character.
Philip adored the school as much as his son Charles would despise it. Not just because the stress it put on physical as well as mental excellence - he was a great sportsman. But because of its ethos, laid down by its founder Kurt Hahn, a Jewish exile from Nazi Germany.
Hahn first met Philip as a boy in Nazi Germany. Through a connection via one of his sister’s husbands, Philip, the poor, lonely boy was first sent off to a new school - in Nazi Germany. Which was as fun as can be imagined. Schloss Salem had been co-founded by stern educator called Kurt Hahn, a tough, discipline-obsessed conservative nationalist who saw civilisation in inexorable decline. But by this stage Hahn, persecuted for being Jewish in Nazi Germany, had fled to Britain, and Philip did not spend long at the school either, where pressure from the authorities was already making things difficult for the teachers. Philip laughed at the Nazis at first, because their salute was the same gesture the boys at his previous school had to make when they wanted to go to the toilet, but within a year he was back in England, a refugee once again.
Philip happily attended Hahn’s new school, Gordonstoun, which the strict disciplinarian had set up in the Scottish Highlands. Inspired by Ancient Sparta, the boys (and then later girls) had to run around barefoot and endure cold showers, even in winter, the whole aim of which was to drive away the inevitable civilisational decay Hahn saw all around him. To 21st century ears it sounds like hell on earth, yet Philip enjoyed it, illustrating just what a totally alien world he came from.
That ethos became a significant, perhaps the significant, part of the way that Philip believed life should be lived. It shines through the speeches he gave later in his life. "The essence of freedom," he would say in Ghana in 1958, "is discipline and self-control." The comforts of the post-war era, he told the British Schools Exploring Society a year earlier, may be important "but it is much more important that the human spirit should not be stifled by easy living". And two years before that, he spoke to the boys of Ipswich School of the moral as well as material imperatives of life, with the "importance of the individual" as the "guiding principle of our society".
It was at Gordonstoun one of the great contradictions of Philip's fascinating life was born. The importance of the individual was what in Kurt Hahn's eyes differentiated Britain and liberal democracies from the kind of totalitarian dictatorship that he had fled. Philip put that centrality of the individual, and individual agency - the ability we have as humans to make our own moral and ethical decisions - at the heart of his philosophy.
At Dartmouth Naval College in 1939, the two great passions of his life would collide. He had learned to sail at Gordonstoun; he would learn to lead at Dartmouth. And his driving desire to achieve, and to win, would shine through. Despite entering the college far later than most other cadets, he would graduate top of his class in 1940. In further training at Portsmouth, he gained the top grade in four out of five sections of the exam. He became one of the youngest first lieutenants in the Royal Navy.
The navy ran deep in his family. His maternal grandfather had been the First Sea Lord, the commander of the Royal Navy; his uncle, "Dickie" Mountbatten, had command of a destroyer while Philip was in training. In war, he showed not only bravery but guile. It was his natural milieu. "Prince Philip", wrote Gordonstoun headmaster Kurt Hahn admiringly, "will make his mark in any profession where he will have to prove himself in a trial of strength".
2. Prince Philip and the modernisation of the monarchy
In his own words, the process of defining what it meant to be a royal consort was one of “trial and error.” Speaking with BBC One’s Fiona Bruce in 2011, Philip explained, “There was no precedent. If I asked somebody, 'What do you expect me to do?' they all looked blank. They had no bloody idea, nobody had much idea.” So he forged for himself a role as a moderniser of the monarchy.
He could not have had much idea back in 1939. Back then in Dartmouth in 1939, as war became ever more certain, the navy was his destiny. He had fallen in love with the sea itself. "It is an extraordinary master or mistress," he would say later, "it has such extraordinary moods." But a rival to the sea would come.
When King George VI toured Dartmouth Naval College, accompanied by Philip's uncle, he brought with him his daughter, Princess Elizabeth. Philip was asked to look after her. He showed off to her, vaulting the nets of the tennis court in the grounds of the college. He was confident, outgoing, strikingly handsome, of royal blood if without a throne. She was beautiful, a little sheltered, a little serious, and very smitten by Philip.
Did he know then that this was a collision of two great passions? That he could not have the sea and the beautiful young woman? For a time after their wedding in 1948, he did have both. As young newlyweds in Malta, he had what he so prized - command of a ship - and they had two idyllic years together. But the illness and then early death of King George VI brought it all to an end.
He knew what it meant, the moment he was told. Up in a lodge in Kenya, touring Africa, with Princess Elizabeth in place of the King, Philip was told first of the monarch's death in February 1952. He looked, said his equerry Mike Parker, "as if a ton of bricks had fallen on him". For some time he sat, slumped in a chair, a newspaper covering his head and chest. His princess had become the Queen. His world had changed irrevocably.
While the late Princess Diana was later to famously claim that there were “three people” in her marriage - herself, Prince Charles and Camilla - there were at least 55 million in Philip and Elizabeth’s. As Elizabeth dedicated her life to her people at Westminster Abbey at the Coronation on June 2, 1953, it sparked something of an existential crisis in Philip. Many people even after his death have never really understood this pivotal moment in Philip’s life. All his dreams of being a naval officer and a life at sea as well as being the primary provider and partner in his marriage were now sacrificed on the altar of duty and love.
With his career was now over, and he was now destined to become the spare part. Philip, very reasonably, asked that his future children and indeed his family be known by his name, Mountbatten. In effect he was asking to change the royal family’s name from the House of Windsor to the House of Mountbatten. But when Prime Minister Winston Churchill got wind of it as well as the more politically agile courtiers behind the Queen, a prolonged battle of wits ensued, and it was one Philip ultimately lost. It was only in 1957 that he accepted the title of “Prince.”
Even though he had almost lost everything dear to him and his role now undefined, he didn’t throw himself a pity party. He just got on with it. Philip tried to forge his own distinct role as second fiddle to the woman who had come to represent Great Britain. He designated himself the First Officer of the Good Ship Windsor. He set about dusting off some of the cobwebs off the throne and letting some daylight unto the workings of the monarchy by advocating reasonable amount of modernisation of the monarchy.
He had ideas about modernising the royal family that might be called “improving optics” today. But in his heart of hearts he didn’t want the monarchy to become a stuffy museum piece. He envisaged a less stuffy and more popular monarchy, relevant to the lives of ordinary people. Progress was always going to be incremental as he had sturdy opposition from the old guard who wanted to keep everything as it was, but nevertheless his stubborn energy resulted in significant changes.
When a commission chaired by Prince Philip proposed broadcasting the 1953 investiture ceremony that formally named Elizabeth II as queen on live television, Prime Minister Winston Churchill reacted with outright horror, declaring, “It would be unfitting that the whole ceremony should be presented as if it were a theatrical performance.” Though the queen had initially voiced similar concerns, she eventually came around to the idea, allowing the broadcast of all but one segment of the coronation. Ultimately, according to the BBC, more than 20 million people tuned in to the televised ceremony - a credit to the foresight of Philip.
Elizabeth’s coronation marked a watershed moment for a monarchy that has, historically, been very hands off, old-fashioned and slightly invisible. Over the following years, the royals continued to embrace television as a way of connecting with the British people: In 1957, the queen delivered her annual Christmas address during a live broadcast. Again, this was Philip’s doing when he cajoled the Queen to televise her message live. He even helped her in how to use the teleprompter to get over her nerves and be herself on screen.
Four years later, in 1961, Philip became the first family member to sit for a television interview. It is hard for us to imagine now but back then it was huge. For many it was a significant step in modernising the monarchy.
Though not everything went to plan. Toward the end of the decade, the Windsors even invited cameras into their home. A 1969 BBC fly-on-the-wall documentary, instigated by Philip to show life behind the scenes, turned into an unmitigated disaster: “The Windsors” revealed the royals to be a fairly normal, if very rich, British upper-class family who liked barbecues, ice cream, watching television and bickering. The mystery of royalty took a hit below the waterline from their own torpedo, a self-inflicted wound from which they took a long time to recover. Shown once, the documentary was never aired again. But it had an irreversible effect, and not just by revealing the royals to be ordinary. By allowing the cameras in, Philip opened the lid to the prying eyes of the paparazzi who could legitimately argue that since the Royals themselves had sanctioned exposure, anything went. From then on, minor members of the House of Windsor were picked off by the press, like helpless tethered animals on a hunting safari.
Prince Philip also took steps to reorganise and renovate the royal estates in Sandringham and Balmoral such as intercoms, modern dish washers, generally sought to make the royal household and the monarchy less stuffy, not to have so much formality everywhere.
Philip helped modernised the monarchy in other ways to acknowledge that the monarchy could be responsive to changes in society. It was Prince Philip - much to the chagrin of the haughty Princess Margaret and other stuffy old courtiers - who persuaded the Queen to host informal lunches and garden parties designed to engage a broader swath of the British public. Conversely, Prince Philip heartily encouraged the Queen (she was all for it apparently but was still finding her feet as a new monarch) to end the traditional practice of presenting debutantes from aristocratic backgrounds at court in 1952. For Philip and others it felt antiquated and out of touch with society. I know in speaking to my grandmother and others in her generation the decision was received with disbelief at how this foreign penniless upstart could come and stomp on the dreams of mothers left to clutch their pearls at the prospect there would be no shop window for their daughter to attract a suitable gentleman for marriage. One of my great aunts was over the moon happy that she never would have to go through what she saw as a very silly ceremony because she preferred her muddy wellies to high heels.
A former senior member of the royal household, who spent several years working as one of Prince Philip’s aides, and an old family friend, once told us around a family dinner table that the Duke of Edinburgh was undoubtedly given a sense of permanence by his marriage into the Royal Family that was missing from earlier years. But the royal aide would hastily add that Prince Philip, of course, would never see it that way.
Prince Philip’s attitude was to never brood on things or seek excuses. And he did indeed get on with the job in his own way - there should be no doubt that when it came to building and strengthening the Royal Family it was a partnership of equals with the Queen. Indeed contrary to Netflix’s hugely popular series ‘The Crown’ and its depiction of the royal marriage with Philip’s resentment at playing second fiddle, the prince recognised that his “first duty was to serve the Queen in the best way I could,” as he told ITV in 2011. Though this role was somewhat ill-suited to his dynamic, driven, and outspoken temperament, Philip performed it with utter devotion.
3. Prince Philip’s legacy
One could argue rightly that modernising the monarchy was his lasting legacy achievement. But he also tried to modernise a spent and exhausted Britain as it emerged from a ruinous war. When peace came, and with it eventual economic recovery, Philip would throw himself into the construction of a better Britain, urging the country to adopt scientific methods, embracing the ideas of industrial design, planning, education and training. A decade before Harold Wilson talked of the "white heat of the technological revolution", Philip was urging modernity on the nation in speeches and interviews. He was on top of his reading of the latest scientific breakthroughs and well read in break out innovations.
This interest in modernisation was only matched by his love for nature. As the country and the world became richer and consumed ever more, Philip warned of the impact on the environment, well before it was even vaguely fashionable. As president of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in the UK for more than 20 years from 1961, he was one of the first high-profile advocates of the cause of conservation and biological diversity at a time when it was considered the preserve of an eccentric few.
For a generation of school children in Britain and the Commonwealth though, his most lasting legacy and achievement will be the Duke of Edinburgh Awards (DofE). He set up the Duke of Edinburgh award, a scheme aimed at getting young people out into nature in search of adventure or be of service to their communities. It was a scheme that could match the legacy of Baden Powell’s scouts movement.
When Prince Philip first outlined his idea of a scheme to harness the values of his education at Gordonstoun by bringing character-building outdoor pursuits to the many rather than the fee-paying few, he received short shrift from the government of the day. The then minister of education, Sir David Eccles responded to the Duke’s proposal by saying: “I hear you’re trying to invent something like the Hitler Youth.” Undeterred he pushed on until it came to fruition.
I’m so glad that he did. I remember how proud I was for getting my DofE Awards while I was at boarding school. With the support of great mentors I managed to achieve my goals: collecting second-hand English books for a literacy programme for orphaned street children in Delhi, India with a close Indian school friend and her family; and completing a 350 mile hike following St. Olav’s Pilgrimmage Trail from Selånger, on the east coast of Sweden, and ending at Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim, on the west coast of Norway.
It continues to be an enduring legacy. Since its launch in 1956, the Duke of Edinburgh awards have been bestowed upon some 2.5 million youngsters in Britain and some eight million worldwide. For a man who once referred to himself as a “Greek princeling of no consequence”, his pioneering tutelage of these two organisations (alongside some 778 other organisations of which he was either president or a patron) would be sufficient legacy for most.
4. Prince Philip’s character
It may surprise some but what I liked most about Prince Philip was the very thing that helped him achieve so much and leave a lasting legacy: his character.
It is unhelpful to the caricature of Prince Philip as an unwavering but pugnacious consort whose chief talent was a dizzying facility in off-colour one-liners that he was widely read and probably the cleverest member of his family.
His private library at Windsor consists of 11,000 tomes, among them 200 volumes of poetry. He was a fan of Jung, TS Eliot, Shakespeare and the cookery writer Elizabeth David. As well as a lifelong fascination with science, technology and sport, he spoke fairly fluent French, painted and wrote a well received book on birds. It’s maddening to think how many underestimated his genuine intellect and how cultured he was behind the crusty exterior.
He didn’t have an entourage to fawn around him. He was the first to own a computer at Buckingham Palace. He answered his own phone and wrote and responded to his own correspondence. By force of character he fought the old guard courtiers at every turn to modernise the monarchy against their stubborn resistance.
Prince Philip was never given to self-analysis or reflection on the past. Various television interviewers tried without success to coerce him in to commenting on his legacy.But once when his guard was down he asked on the occasion of his 90th birthday what he was more proud of, he replied with characteristic bluntness: “I couldn’t care less. Who cares what I think about it, I mean it’s ridiculous.”
All of which neatly raises the profound aversion to fuss and the proclivity for tetchiness often expressed in withering put-downs that, for better or worse, will be the reflex memory for many of the Duke of Edinburgh. If character is a two edged sword so what of his gaffes?
There is no doubt his cult status partly owed to his so-called legendary gaffes, of which there are enough to fill a book (indeed there is a book). But he was no racist. None of the Commonwealth people or foreign heads of state ever said this about him. Only leftist republicans with too much Twitter time on their hands screamed such a ridiculous accusation. They’re just overly sensitive snowflakes and being devoid of any humour they’re easily triggered.
There was the time that Philip accepted a gift from a local in Kenya, telling her she was a kind woman, and then adding: “You are a woman, aren’t you?” Or the occasion he remarked “You managed not to get eaten, then?” to a student trekking in Papua New Guinea. Then there was his World Wildlife Fund speech in 1986, when he said: “If it has got four legs and it is not a chair, if it has got two wings and it flies but is not an aeroplane, and if it swims and it is not a submarine, the Cantonese will eat it.” Well, he wasn’t wrong.
Philip quickly developed a reputation for what he once defined, to the General Dental Council, as “dentopedology – the science of opening your mouth and putting your foot in it”. Clearly he could laugh at himself as he often did as an ice breaker to put others at ease.
His remarking to the president of Nigeria, who was wearing national dress, “You look like you’re ready for bed”, or advising British students in China not to stay too long or they would end up with “slitty eyes”, is probably best written off as ill-judged humour. Telling a photographer to “just take the fucking picture” or declaring “this thing open, whatever it is”, were expressions of exasperation or weariness with which anyone might sympathise.
Above all, he was also capable of genuine if earthy wit, saying of his horse-loving daughter Princess Anne: “If it doesn’t fart or eat hay she isn’t interested.” Many people might have thought it but few dared say it. If Prince Philip’s famous gaffes provoked as much amusement as anger, it was precisely because they seem to give voice to the bewilderment and pent-up frustrations with which many people viewed the ever-changing modern world.
A former royal protection officer recounts how while on night duty guarding a visiting Queen and consort, he engaged in conversation with colleagues on a passing patrol. It was 2am and the officer had understood the royal couple to be staying elsewhere in the building until a window above his head was abruptly slammed open and an irate Prince Philip stuck his head out of the window to shout: “Would you fuck off!” Without another word, he then shut the window.
The Duke at least recognised from an early age that he was possessed of an abruptness that could all too easily cross the line from the refreshingly salty to crass effrontery.
One of his most perceptive biographers, Philip Eade, recounted how at the age of 21 the prince wrote a letter to a relation whose son had recently been killed in combat. He wrote: “I know you will never think much of me. I am rude and unmannerly and I say things out of turn which I realise afterwards must have hurt someone. Then I am filled with remorse and I try to put matters right.”
In the case of the royal protection officer, the Duke turned up in the room used by the police officers when off duty and said: “Terribly sorry about last night, wasn’t quite feeling myself.”
Aides have also ventured to explain away some of their employer’s more outlandish remarks - from asking Cayman islanders “You are descended from pirates aren’t you?” to enquiring of a female fashion writer if she was wearing mink knickers - as the price of his instinctive desire to prick the pomposity of his presence with a quip to put others at ease.
Indeed many people forget that his ‘gaffes’ were more typical of the clubbish humour of the British officer class – which of course would be less appreciated, sometimes even offensive, to other ears. It’s why he could relate so well to veterans who enjoyed his bonhomie company immensely.
But behind the irascibility, some have argued there also lay a darker nature, unpleasantly distilled in his flinty attitude to his eldest son. One anecdote tells of how, in the aftermath of the murder of the Duke’s uncle and surrogate father, Lord Mountbatten, Philip lectured his son, who was also extremely fond of his “honorary grandfather”, that he was not to succumb to self-pity. Charles left the room in tears and when his father was asked why he had spoken to his son with so little compassion, the Duke replied: “Because if there’s any crying to be done I want it to happen within this house, in front of his family, not in public. He must be toughened up, right now.”
But here I would say that Prince Philip’s intentions were almost always sincere and in no way cruel. He has always tried to protect his family - even from their own worst selves or from those outside the family ‘firm’ who may not have their best interest at heart.
In 1937, a 16-year-old Prince Philip had walked behind his elder sister Cecile’s coffin after she was killed in a plane crash while heavily pregnant. The remains of newly-born infant found in the wreckage suggested the aircraft had perished as the pilot sought to make an emergency landing in fog as the mother entered childbirth. It was an excruciating taste of tragedy which would one day manifest itself in a very princely form of kindness that was deep down that defined Philip’s character.
When about 60 years later Prime Minister Tony Blair’s spin doctors in Downing Street tried to strong arm the Queen and the royal household over the the arrangements for the late Prince Diana’s funeral, it was Philip who stepped in front to protect his family. The Prime Minister and his media savvy spin doctors wanted the two young princes, William and Harry, to walk behind the coffin.
The infamous exchange was on the phone during a conference call between London and Balmoral, and the emotional Philip was reportedly backed by the Queen. The call was witnessed by Anji Hunter, who worked for Mr Blair. She said how surprised she was to hear Prince Philip’s emotion. ‘It’s about the boys,” he cried, “They’ve lost their mother”. Hunter thought to herself, “My God, there’s a bit of suffering going on up there”.’
Sky TV political commentator Adam Boulton (Anji Hunter’s husband) would write in his book Tony’s Ten Years: ‘The Queen relished the moment when Philip bellowed over the speakerphone from Balmoral, “Fuck off. We are talking about two boys who have just lost their mother”. Boulton goes on to say that Philip: ‘…was trying to remind everyone that human feelings were involved. No 10 were trying to help the Royals present things in the best way, but may have seemed insensitive.’
In the end the politicians almost didn’t get their way. Prince Philip stepped in to counsel his grandson, Prince William, after he had expressed a reluctance to follow his mother’s coffin after her death in Paris. Philip told the grieving child: “If you don’t walk, I think you’ll regret it later. If I walk, will you walk with me?”
It’s no wonder he was sought as a counsellor by other senior royals and especially close to his grandchildren, for whom he was a firm favourite. His relationship with Harry was said to have become strained, however, following the younger Prince’s decision to reject his royal inheritance for a life away from the public eye in America with his new American wife, Meghan Markle. For Prince Philip I am quite sure it went against all the elder Prince had lived his life by - self-sacrifice for the greater cause of royalty.
This is the key to Philip’s character and in understanding the man. The ingrained habits of a lifetime of duty and service in one form or another were never far away.
In conclusion then....
After more time passes I am sure historians will make a richer reassessment of Prince Philip’s life and legacy. Because Prince Philip was an extraordinary man who lived an extraordinary life; a life intimately connected with the sweeping changes of our turbulent 20th Century, a life of fascinating contrast and contradiction, of service and some degree of solitude. A complex, clever, eternally restless man that not even the suffocating protocols of royalty and tradition could bind him.
Although he fully accepted the limitations of public royal service, he did not see this as any reason for passive self-abnegation, but actively, if ironically, identified with his potentially undignified role. It is this bold and humorous embrace of fated restriction which many now find irksome: one is no longer supposed to mix public performance with private self-expression in quite this manner.
Yet such a mix is authentically Socratic: the proof that the doing of one’s duty can also be the way of self-fulfilment. The Duke’s sacrifice of career to romance and ceremonial office is all the more impressive for his not hiding some annoyance. The combination of his restless temperament and his deeply felt devotion to duty found fruitful expression; for instance, in the work of Saint George’s House Windsor - a centre and retreat that he created with Revd. Robin Woods - in exploring religious faith, philosophy, and contemporary issues.
Above all he developed a way to be male that was both traditional and modern. He served one woman with chivalric devotion as his main task in life while fulfilling his public engagements in a bold and active spirit. He eventually embraced the opportunity to read and contemplate more. And yet, he remained loyal to the imperatives of his mentor Kurt Hahn in seeking to combine imagination with action and religious devotion with practical involvement.
Prince Philip took more pride in the roles he had accidentally inherited than in the personal gifts which he was never able fully to develop. He put companionship before self-realisation and acceptance of a sacred symbolic destiny before the mere influencing of events. In all these respects he implicitly rebuked our prevailing meritocracy which over-values officially accredited attainment, and our prevailing narcissism which valorises the assertion of discrete identities.
Prince Philip was Britain’s longest-serving consort. He was steadfast, duty driven, and a necessary adjunct to the continuity and stability of the Queen and the monarchy. Of all the institutions that have lost the faith of the British public in this period - the Church, Parliament, the media, the police - the Monarchy itself has surprisingly done better than most at surviving, curiously well-adapted to a period of societal change and moral anarchy. The House of Hanover and later Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (changed to Windsor), since their arrival in this country in 1714, have been noted above all for their ability to adapt. And just as they survived the Victorian age by transforming themselves into the bourgeoise, domestic ideal, so they have survived the new Elizabethan era (Harry-Meghan saga is just a passing blip like the Edward-Wallis Simpson saga of the 1930s).
There was once a time when the Royal’s German blood was a punchline for crude and xenophobic satirists. Now it is the royals who are deeply British while the country itself is increasingly cosmopolitan and globalised. British society has seen a greater demographic change than the preceding four or five thousand years combined, the second Elizabethan age has been characterised more than anything by a transformational movement of people. Prince Philip, the Greek-born, Danish-German persecuted and destitute wanderer who came to become one of the Greatest Britons of the past century, perhaps epitomised that era better than anyone else. And he got through it by making a joke of everything, and by being practical.
I hope I don’t exaggerate when I say that in our troubled times over identity, and our place and purpose in the world, we need to heed his selfless example more than ever.
As Heraclitus wisely said, Ήθος ανθρώπω δαίμων (Character is destiny.)
RIP Prince Philip. You were my prince. God damn you, I miss you already.
Thanks for your question.
Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone With the Wind,” one of the best-selling novels of all time and the basis for a blockbuster 1939 movie you may have heard of, was published on June 30, 1936. #OnThisDay
Mitchell is pictured with her novel.
The big three of Weird Tales
Robert E. Howard
January 22, 1906 – June 11, 1936 (30)
Clark Ashton Smith
January 13, 1893 - August 14, 1961 (68)
Howard Phillips Lovecraft
August 20, 1890 – March 15, 1937 (46)
Here’s all my bio's for my Stesel Team and the fan kids even though no one asked 😂
Thomas: Sword/ Earth/ June 5 1915/ Real Age: 107/ Age he plays by: 17/ Gemini/ 5’5/ Bisexual
Percy: Staff/ Air/ March 13 1920/ Real Age: 102/ Age he plays by: 17 Pisces/ 5’3/ Gay
Lady: Bow and Arrow/ Water and Gold Dust/ July 15 1805/ Real Age: 217/ Age she plays by: 20/ Cancer/ 5’0/ Pansexual
D10: Gun/ Fire/ December 30 1958/ Real age: 64/ Age he plays by: 33/ Capricorn/ 6’9/ Bisexual
Diesel: Spiked ice knuckles/ Ice/ December 28 1956/ Real Age: 66/ Age he plays by: 19/ Capricorn/ 5’6/ Bisexual
Duck: Rapier/ Light/ March 31 1929/ Real Age: 93/ Age he plays by: 32/ Aries/ 6’4/ Bisexual
Donald: Morning Star/ Plasma/ April 6 1909/ Real Age: 113/ Age he plays by: 29/ Aries/ 6’8/ Pansexual
Douglas: Morning Star/ Plasma/ April 6 1909/ Real Age: 113/ Age he plays by: 29/ Aries/ 6’8/ Straight Ally
Emily (Me): Scythe/ Suits of cards/ May 13 2005/ Age: 17/ Taurus/ 5’0/ Bisexual
Oliver: Electric hair whip, Spear/ Electricity/ August 31 1934/ Real Age: 88/ Age he plays by: 28/ Virgo/ 6’0/ Bisexual
Toad: Whip/ Electricity/ July 17 1940/ Real Age: 82/ Age he plays by: 23/ Cancer/ 5’0/ Gay
Rosie: Big Hammer/ Fire, can also create gems and bubble gum helps her/ December 9 1943/ Real age: 79/ Age she plays by: 17/ Sagittarius/ 5’5/ Pansexual
Mavis: Spiked Bat/ Metal/ April 18 1954/ Real age: 68/ Age she plays by: 18/ Aries/ 5’10/ Lesbian
Paxton: Lance/ Earth/ February 21 1962/ Real age: 60/ Age he plays by: 17/ Pisces/ 5’7/ Gay
Timothy: Machete/ Dead Earth/ June 5 1910/ Real Age: 112/ Age he plays by: 17/ Gemini/ 5’5/ Asexual but Homo-romantic
Salty: Axe/ Water/ May 2 1962/ Age: 60/ Taurus/ 5’9/ Asexual but Bi-romantic
Porter: Javelin/ Water/ August 20 1917/ Real Age: 105/ Age he plays by: 27/ Leo/ 6’0 Also Asexual but Pan-romanitic
Isabel: Katana/ Earth/ July 20 1954/ Age: 68/ Cancer/ 6’0/ Straight Ally
Dulcie: Halberd/ Earth/ July 20 1954/ Age: 68/ Cancer/ 6’0/ Bisexual
Oswald: Axe/ Electricity/ August 30 1934/ Real Age: 88/ Age he plays by: 28/ Virgo/ 6’0/ Straight Ally
Jessica: Dagger/ Electricity/ August 29 1934/ Real Age: 88/ Age he plays by: 28/ Virgo/ 6’0/ Lesbian
Dilly: Scythe/ Air/ October 31 2011/ Age: 11/ Scorpio/ 5’0/ Straight Ally
Skiff/ Spear/ Water/ December 1 2011/ Age: 11/ Sagittarius/ 5’4/ Straight Ally
Rebecca: Spear/ Light/ June 11 1942/ Real Age: 80/ Age she plays by: 24/ Gemini/ 7’0/ Bisexual
Daisy: Halberd/ Electricity/ Mar 23 1960/ Real age: 62/ Age she plays by: 28/ Aries/ 6’6/ Straight Ally
Spencer: Spear/ Metal/ Oct 30 1936/ Real Age: 86/ Age he plays by: 31/ Scorpio/ 6’8 Straight Ally
BoCo: Rapier/ Earth/ Sep 29 1958/ Age: 64/ Libra/ 6’6/ Asexual but Bi-Romantic
Splatter: Morning Staff/ Plasma/ Feb 26 1961/ Pisces/ 5’9/ Real Age: 61/ Age he plays by: 26/ Bisexual
Dodge: Morning Star/ Plasma/ Feb 26 1961/ Pisces/ 5’9/ Real Age: 61/ Age he plays by: 26/ Bisexual
Fr. John A. Hardon S.J.
Servant of God
June 18, 1914- December 30, 2000
Patronage: Institute on Religious Life
Father John Hardon, a Jesuit priest, was a brilliant writer and theologian. He was a willful child raised by his widowed mother but was softened by her steadfast faith. He studied to be a doctor and was engaged before he discerned the priesthood. He entered the Jesuits in 1936 and was ordained in 1947 and became a champion of orthodoxy. Throughout his career, he taught at Universities, founded religious institutions and wrote over 40 books on religion and theology, including The Catholic Catechism, while keeping close communications with Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul II, and Pope Benedict XVI. He died a painful death from bone cancer at the age of 86.
Lady of the Lake: Hallie Illingworth
April 20, 2022
On July 6, 1940, Louis Rolfe and his brother were out fishing on Crescent Lake in Olympic National Park, Washington. Sometime in the afternoon, the brothers saw an object floating by the shoreline close to the walls that lead to Sledgehammer Point.
When the approached they found that this object was not an object at all, but the body of a woman who had been wearing a green dress and was wrapped in two grey striped blankets.
The two brothers rushed to the dock of the Washington State Trout Hatchery to tell Superintendent A.D. Immenroth what they had found, though he was skeptical and told them it was probably a deer.
The superintendent did follow Louis and his brother, and ended up believing them when he saw the woman’s body himself. He then contacted prosecutor and coroner Ralph Smythe and Sheriff Charlie Kemp who came to the scene to help retrieve the body from Lake Crescent.
The body was brought to the now-defunct Christman Mortuary. The woman was estimated to be in her 30′s and the body was very well preserved, her fat turned into a soap-like substance and the body was as white as marble. The woman had saponified, meaning the cold from the water must of stopped decomposition and the salts had penetrated the fatty tissues.
A medical student confirmed the body did not really smell or had decayed at all, something not very common when a dead body is found. The autopsy showed the woman had been beaten and strangled, which was her cause of death.
After the woman died she had been hogtied with ropes and was weighed down with rocks, having been thrown in the cold lake. The rope that the woman had been tied with rotted and the saponification made the body light, which allowed her to float up to the surface. The pathologist estimated she had been in the lake for three years.
Because this woman was the first victim found floating in Lake Crescent, she became infamously known as “The Lady of the Lake.” She was buried in a potter’s field near Port Angeles.
The woman was theorized to be Marion Frances Steffens, from Chicago, who had disappeared in the Olympic National Park in September 1939. The clothing the woman was found wearing matched the description of clothing that was worn by Marion when she had disappeared. However, this was soon ruled out as a positive identification when discovered that Marion had a fractured neck vertebra and ‘The Lady of the Lake’ did not.
It took 14 months for the identity of ‘The Lady of the Lake’ to be known. Her dentistry, specifically a six-tooth bridge made of beaten gold, identified her. Pictures of this went around to more than 5,000 dentists, to which a dentist from Faulkton, S.D. recognized the work.
This dentist identified ‘The Lady of the Lake’ as 38 year old waitress at Lake Crescent Tavern, a woman named Hallie Illingworth. Hallie had last been seen on December 22, 1937. That day she had gone home and was waiting for her husband, Monty, who had been out to a party in Port Townsend.
Monty Illingworth was a drunk, and was soon named the lead suspect in Hallie’s murder. He was discovered living with another woman in Long Beach, California, where he was arrested.
Monty claimed that he had gotten an interlocutory divorce decree and last saw Hallie around Christmas time in 1937. Records indicated that Monty and Hallie got married in Seattle in June 1936 and she had been a divorcee whose maiden name was Latham.
People who knew the couple claimed they often fought over alcohol and affairs. During one fight between the two, the police had been called to break it up. It was also claimed that Hallie would show up to work with bruises.
During the murder trial Monty contradicted his previous statements, saying he had last seen Hallie on December 22, 1937. He said Hallie had gone to work like usual in the morning but later when she came home, she said they got in another argument. Monty said he left the apartment and went downtown. When he came home, according to him, Hallie was gone and he never saw her again. He told the court that he believed she had just left him, nothing more.
During the trial, abuse did come up, and monty confessed that it was normal for him and Hallie to get into physical fights. He told the court that he had struck Hallie before, but that she would also hit him. He said he had never beat her up.
At one point, the prosecutor asked Monty why he hated his wife. He denied that he did. The prosecution put forward that Monty had strangled Hallie at some point between 3 in the morning and 6 in the morning before he put her in the trunk of his car and drove to Crescent Lake to dispose of her body.
Monty was eventually tied to the murder of Hallie from the rope that was used to tie her up. Monty’s manager at the Port Angeles Distributing Co., a man named Earl F., took the stand to identify the rope as one he had given to Monty to borrow, though it was never returned.
Monty Illingworth was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison in the Washington State Penitentiary. He served 9 years before being paroled and then returned to California where he lived out the rest of his life until he died in 1975.
Ronnie Bell Following
SBN-1 VT-8 crashed at NAS Norfolk 1941.
The Naval Aircraft Factory SBN was a United States three-place mid-wing monoplane scout bomber/torpedo aircraft designed by the Brewster Aeronautical Corporation and built under license by the Naval Aircraft Factory in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The landing gear was similar to that on the Brewster F2A Buffalo fighter aircraft. The SBN had non-folding wings with perforated flaps.
The United States Navy issued a specification for a scout-bomber in 1934 and the competition was won by Brewster. One prototype designated the XSBA-1 was ordered on October 15, 1934. The prototype first flew on April 15, 1936, and was delivered to the Navy for testing. Some minor problems were found during testing and the aircraft was given a more powerful engine. Because of the pressures of producing and developing the Brewster F2A Buffalo the company was unable to produce the aircraft and the Navy acquired a license to produce the aircraft itself at the Naval Aircraft Factory. In September 1938, the Navy placed an order for 30 production aircraft. Due to pressures of work at the NAF, it did not deliver the first aircraft, now designated the SBN, until 1941; the remaining aircraft were delivered between June 1941 and March 1942.
Obsolete before their delivery in 1941, some of the early production aircraft were used for operation carrier trials with Torpedo Squadron Eight in 1941 and then passed on for use as trainers. With lack of spare parts, the aircraft were withdrawn from service from August 1942.
Sara O’Donnell — HPHM character profile
Warnings: Mentions of death, illness, a car accident, child abuse & neglect, premature birth and the NICU
✧ IDENTITY ✧
Full Name: Sara Ailis O’Donnell
Nicknames: Not Applicable
Name Meanings: Sara — Hebrew, “princess.” Ailis — Irish, “noble.” O’Donnell — Irish, “descendent of Domhnall” or “world mighty.”
Date of Birth: August 18, 1973 (at 7:41 pm)
Gender: Female ; she/her
Blood Status: Half-blood
Ethnicity/Race: White, Caucasian
MBTI Type: ESFJ - the consul
Residence: Lynch Manor, County Donegal, Ireland (Hogwarts years) / The O’Donnell-Lee Creature Reserve & Rehab Center, County Donegal, Ireland (majority of adulthood)
✧ MAGIC ✧
Core: Unicorn tail hair
Length: 11 and ½ inches
Core: Unicorn tail hair
Length: 12 and ¼ inches
Other Magical Abilities: Sara is an animagus and takes the form of a Scottish fold cat.
Patronus: Lop-eared rabbit
Patronus Memory: Her father gently singing a lullaby to her
Boggart: A corpse that belongs to one of her siblings or someone else that she loves a lot
Riddikulus: The corpse becomes dressed in a ridiculously frilly costume
Sara smells freshly baked bread, old books, the air after it rains, fresh dirt, and pine.
Sara smells like parchment, ink, citrus, and lavender.
Mirror of Erised: Sara sees herself surrounded by family.
✧ HOGWARTS ✧
Transfiguration - Exceeds Expectations
Charms - Outstanding
Herbology - Outstanding
Astronomy - Exceeds Expectations
Potions - Outstanding
History of Magic - Poor
Defense Against the Dark Arts - Exceeds Expectations
Flying - Acceptable
Divination - Dreadful
Care of Magical Creatures - Acceptable
Potions - Outstanding
Transfiguration - Exceeds Expectations
Herbology - Outstanding
Charms - Outstanding
Defense Against the Dark Arts - Exceeds Expectations
Clubs: Frog choir, hospital wing helper
Favorite Professors: Professor Minerva McGonagall, Professor Pomona Sprout
Least Favorite Professors: Professor Severus Snape, Madam Rakepick
✧ CAREER ✧
11 to 17 - Hogwarts student
18 to 20 - Healer’s apprentice
20 to 90 - Healer
✧ APPEARANCE ✧
Faceclaim: Malina Weissman (Hogwarts year, predominant) / Elizabeth Henstridge (adulthood)
Weight & Physique: 116 lbs. with an average yet lean physique
Hair Color: Dark brown
Hair Style: Either left down or pulled up into a ponytail or braid
Eye Color: Blue
Skin Tone: Fair
Scars: Sara has a few scars scattered across her arms from the ice vault.
Modifications: (piercings, tattoos, glasses, etc.) Sara wears glasses and her ears are pierced.
Distinguishing Marks: None, but Sara blushes quite easily.
Clothing Style: Sara usually wears sweaters and jeans. She’s also fond of sundresses, skirts, and blouses. She’ll often wear the sweater that Barnaby gave her. She likes converse sneakers and Mary Jane shoes.
Accessories: (watch, jewelry, etc.) Sara wears her late mother’s claddagh ring and a watch. She also keeps her prefect badge pinned to her robes or bag. Upon graduating, she wears a heart key necklace that was given to her by Barnaby.
What’s In Her Pockets: Her wand and a purple change purse that contains both wizarding and muggle coins
What’s In Her School Bag:
Quills and ink along with pens
A muggle novel
A small, old family photo album
Her frog choir folder
Her glasses case
A small notebook filled with notes from friends and Barnaby
✧ VOICE & LANGUAGE ✧
Voiceclaim: Malina Weissman
Accent: (might differ from voiceclaim’s) Irish
Dialect: Ulster English and Irish
Languages Spoken: English and Irish Gaelic
Languages Understood: English and Irish Gaelic
Speech and/or Language Disorder: Sara was a late talker, but did not suffer from any of speech issues like her brothers did.
✧ FAMILY ✧
Father: Seán Michael O’Donnell [deceased, 1936-1978]
Born on June 30, 1936 in Donegal Town, Ireland, Seán Michael O’Donnell was the only child of Lorcan and Rose O’Donnell.
Seán was raised Catholic, although his family had always leaned towards a more liberal approach towards Catholicism, having more openness to some of the things that were labeled sin worthy.
His childhood prior to Hogwarts was lively and full of joy. He had a close knit group of friends and the family was well off. He received his Hogwarts letter on his eleventh birthday, and it was completely unexpected. The family had had no inclination that Seán was showing signs of magic.
Seán was quickly sorted into Ravenclaw upon starting Hogwarts. He made a network of friends, including his future wife, the then-Ailis Lynch. He was a fairly popular and handsome young man who attracted attention wherever he went.
After Hogwarts, Seán decided to pursue a career as an auror. He was successful, although he only did field work for a decade. In 1965, Seán switched to doing desk work. He would eventually retire from the ministry and auror office in January 1975.
After retiring, Albus Dumbledore approached Seán with an offer of employment. He wanted Seán to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts for the 1975-1976 school year. Seán spent a long time deliberating before eventually agreeing with his own terms and conditions, mainly surrounding his children. He would retire once again after the year ended, citing a desire to be there for his children more.
In 1959, Seán reconnected with Ailis Lynch. Well, he literally ran into her and spilled his coffee over both of them. Their friendship rekindled and this time, Seán’s feelings went deeper than friendship.
He asked her to dinner for her twenty-fourth birthday and that turned out to be their first date. They dated for approximately two years before Seán proposed. He married her on May 29, 1962.
The first years of his marriage were a little rough as both faced losses, including the loss of Seán’s auror partner, but filled with lots of love and patience.
On January 18, 1965, Seán’s first child, a boy named Cian Jacob O’Donnell was born. Seán adored his eldest boy.
Unfortunately, in the years between Cian’s birth and the quadruplets’ birth, Seán and Ailis suffered three miscarriages.
Then, on August 18, 1973, Seán’s second through fifth children, Ryan Michael, Cara Rose, Sara Ailis, and Conor Lorcan were born between 7:04 pm and 8:01 pm.
Seán adored his wife and children, doting on them. Sadly, on August 2, 1974, Seán became a single father and a widower. He never removed his wedding band. He retired shortly after Ailis’s death, briefly coming out of retirement for a year to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts.
In April of 1978, Seán was killed in an automobile wreck. It was a hard blow to the family, one of three hard blows within eighteen months.
Sara does not remember much of her father. She was only four at the time, so most of her memories are quite fuzzy.
Faceclaim: Pierce Brosnan (specifically in the 1980s)
Mother: Ailis Ciara O’Donnell née Lynch [deceased, 1936-1974]
Born on March 24, 1936 in Dublin, Ireland to Conor and Ciara Lynch, Ailis Ciara Lynch was their second child. She joined older brother, Doyle Brannigan, aged 9.
Her childhood was happy and full of love. Her older brother was rarely around, and she did share her parents’ concerns about Doyle as she grew, but he never affected her childhood.
Ailis was sorted into Ravenclaw at Hogwarts, and, while she never had an extensive network of friends the way her husband did or youngest children would, she had a few good friends. Her future husband was a good friend, even though she never would have classified him as a close friend.
After graduating from Hogwarts, Ailis decided to become a healer. She started working in St. Mungo’s for a few years before transferring to the Irish hospital, Leighis.
In 1959, Ailis reconnected with Seán O’Donnell, after he spilled his coffee all over the two of them. Ailis was almost instantly smitten with the man as they began rekindling their friendship.
However, they didn’t begin dating until her birthday in 1960 when Seán asked her to dinner. They would date for two years and on May 29, 1962, Ailis Lynch became Ailis O’Donnell.
The first years of his marriage were a little rough as both faced losses, including the loss of Ailis’s parents while she was pregnant with their first child, but filled with lots of love and patience.
On January 18, 1965, Ailis had their first child, Cian Jacob O’Donnell.
Unfortunately, in the years between Cian’s birth and the quadruplets’ birth, Seán and Ailis suffered three miscarriages. It was tough, as they had both wanted a second child.
Then, on August 18, 1973, Ailis’s second through fifth children, Ryan Michael, Cara Rose, Sara Ailis, and Conor Lorcan were born between 7:04 pm and 8:01 pm.
Unfortunately in July of 1974, Ailis fell gravely ill with a mysteriously sickness. Healers from all over Europe were asked to come in and look. Unfortunately, they were unable to find a diagnosis or a cure and on July 20, Ailis agreed with her husband’s decision to end the search.
Ailis Ciara O’Donnell passed away, peacefully, in her sleep early on August 2, 1974.
As she was nearly a year old, Sara does not remember her mother. She wishes that she could have known her, though. She treasures all of the photographs that have her mother in them.
Faceclaim: Stephanie Zimbalist (specifically in the 1980s)
Older Brother: Cian Jacob O’Donnell [1965-2002]
Born on January 18, 1965, Cian is the eldest O’Donnell sibling. He was sorted into Gryffindor at Hogwarts and used the Cursed Vaults as a crutch to ignore his grief at losing his parents, grandparents, and a friend.
Sara has never had much of a relationship with her older brother. An eight-year age gap and Sara’s bond with her quadruplets really hindered any chance of them having a real and meaningful relationship. Cian mainly ignored his younger siblings too.
She doesn’t recognize him when he emerges to the Vaults. Even after the Vaults are finished, the eldest O’Donnell sibling never manages to reconcile with his younger siblings.
Sara is the one to eventually identify his body after he passes away in 2002. She’s heartbroken by his death and the way it happened.
Faceclaim: Nick Robinson
Brother: Ryan Michael O’Donnell
Ryan is Sara’s quadruplet. He is thirty-six minutes older than her and in Gryffindor.
Sara is very close with Ryan. They’re the most involved in the Cursed Vaults, and also very similar in personality. This makes them a pretty good team, but it also causes some arguments.
They are very supportive of each other and often cheer each other on all the time. They don’t tend to be very competitive, but they have their moments.
Faceclaim: Jaeden Martell
Sister: Cara Róisín O’Donnell
Cara is Sara’s quadruplet. She is twenty-one minutes older than Sara and in Slytherin.
Sara is quite close with Cara. They get along very well, having enough differences and similarities to not clash very often. They don’t argue often, either. However, those arguments can get quite volatile.
They’re supportive of one another, though, always having each other’s back.
Faceclaim: Sadie Sink
Brother: Conor Lorcan O’Donnell
Conor is Sara’s quadruplet. He is twenty-one minutes younger than Sara and in Ravenclaw.
Sara is close with Conor, although she can get quite protective over him. Sara’s not going to let anyone make fun of her brother for his stutter.
When she needs something explained, she usually turns to Conor. He’s very patient and very good at explaining how things work. The biggest problem is that he can use a lot of jargon.
They’re very supportive of one another. Sara’s always going to have Conor’s back and vice versa.
Faceclaim: Jack Moore
Paternal Grandfather: Lorcan Ryan O’Donnell [deceased, 1905-1979]
Born on January 29, 1905 in Donegal Town, Ireland to Cian and Sorcha O’Donnell, Lorcan was their second son. He joined elder brother, Eoin, age 6.
Lorcan was fourteen when the Irish war of independence broke out, and his older brother, Eoin was killed while raiding a British train in 1920. Lorcan was 15, while his brother was 21. Cian and Sorcha banned their living son from joining the war.
At the age of 20, Lorcan traveled to Dublin with his bachelor uncle, Michael. He met his future wife, Rose there. They became quick friends and Lorcan kept coming back to the bookstore where she was working. They also began exchanging letters as Lorcan went back to Donegal.
Then, Lorcan was offered a teaching position at a school in Dublin and he accepted it, eager to pass on his knowledge of history. He reconnected with Rose and in 1927, they married.
Their son, and only child, Seán Michael O’Donnell was born on June 30, 1936, nearly nine years after they married. Lorcan and Rose had also moved back to Donegal Town as Lorcan wanted to chronicle some of his home’s history and his uncle Michael had left them a considerable sum of money.
Lorcan adored all of his grandchildren and his daughter-in-law. He was incredibly touched to learn that they had named their younger sons after him (and Ailis’s father).
He and his wife helped to raise his grandchildren after his daughter-in-law, and then son, passed away.
Sadly, Lorcan caught pneumonia in the winter of 1979 and it claimed his life. He was seventy-four and had lived a happy and healthy life.
Faceclaim: Pierce Brosnan (older, current times)
Paternal Grandmother: Róisín Mary”Rose” O’Donnell née Boyle [deceased, 1906-1979]
Born on November 18, 1906 in Dublin, Ireland to Patrick and Brigid Boyle, Rose was their only child. Her childhood was mainly spent in London, until the war broke out when she was thirteen and the family moved to the countryside with one of Rose’s aunt, uncle, and set of cousins. She lost two cousins in the war.
When she was nineteen, she met Lorcan O’Donnell after he came into the bookstore that she was working in and he kept coming back as they struck up a quick friendship. They wrote letters for a few months before Lorcan got a teaching position in the city. They were married in January of 1927.
Her son, and only child, Seán was born on June 30, 1936.
After her son started at Hogwarts, Rose began rewriting old Irish and Celtic myths and legends under a pen name of R.M. Boyle.
Like her husband, Rose adored her grandchildren and daughter-in-law. She enjoyed helping to raise her grandchildren, even though the circumstances were not enjoyable ones.
In the spring of 1979, Rose caught influenza and was unable to shake the virus, which eventually claimed her life.
Maternal Grandparents: Conor Ryan Lynch and Ciara Mary Lynch née Mallon [both deceased, 1900-1964]
Conor is the son of Cillian Lynch and Orla O’Rourke. He was born on March 29, 1900 and was sorted into Hufflepuff when he was at Hogwarts.
Ciara Mallon is the daughter of David and Jane Mallon. She was sorted into Ravenclaw when she was at Hogwarts. She is a muggleborn.
They had two children, Doyle and Ailis.
Conor and Ciara died of dragon pox in 1964, while their only daughter was pregnant with their first grandchild.
Maternal Uncle: Doyle Brannigan Lynch [1925-1998]
Born on December 13, 1925 to Conor and Ciara Lynch, Doyle was their eldest child. He was nearly eleven years older than his sister, Ailis, who was born in 1936.
He was sorted into Slytherin upon starting Hogwarts and definitely fit in with the stereotype of what a Slytherin should be. No one is quite sure what made him the way he was.
He didn’t inherit the Lynch Manor or his portion of the family fortune until he was forty, after his parents passed away. He was a life-long bachelor, in part because he scared away most of his suitors.
He was known to refer to his brother-in-law as “your filthy mudblood father.” He did it quite often to the quads’ faces.
He also was quite manipulative, and often used his nephew, Cian as a target. Doyle was sporadically abusive, but was mainly neglectful, having little time for his nieces and nephews. The quadruplets were never quite sure what he did for a living.
Doyle Lynch died in 1998 at the age of 73.
Pets: Archimedes the owl, Duchess the cat, and Kermit the toad
✧ FRIENDSHIPS ✧
Ash & Rowan Khanna
Marti Venturi - @smarti-at-smogwarts
Ellie Hopper - @thatravenpuffwitch
Julian Bennett ; Ira Janda ; Lizzie Parker - @slytherindisaster
Odhrán Donovan - @amerrymystery
Marty Raymond @hogwartsmysteryho
Cato Reese - @catohphm
Rivals: Merula Synde, Ismelda Murk
Enemies: R, Death Eaters
✧ ROMANCE & CHILDREN ✧
Love Interest: Barnaby Abnerathy Lee
Barnaby Abernathy Lee was born on December 23, 1972 to Cygnus and Rosamund Lee in Kent, England. He was their first and only child. His childhood was tough, and not particularly happy. He grew up surrounded by cold indifference.
Sara first met Barnaby the summer between second and third year at a ball that her uncle was throwing. When school resumed, Sara and Barnaby became friends. It didn’t take long for them to become friends.
In their fourth year, they went to the Celestial Ball together and then went on a Valentine’s Day date at Madam Puddifoot’s. The following year, they had a few small dates that were nothing serious.
In June of 1989, after the OWL exams had been finished, Sara and Barnaby finally became a couple, albeit a secret one. It was simpler because both worried about ruining their friendship by taking it to a romantic level.
Their relationship was revealed in November of 1989, though. However, most of their friends had already suspected that they were dating. They continued to date through the rest of their time at Hogwarts.
After Hogwarts, they agreed to rent an apartment in Dublin with Sara’s brother, Conor, who was studying to become an architect. They both continued their education in their chosen fields.
They became engaged in November 1995, and remained engaged for a little less than two years. Barnaby used one of his rings to propose.
On June 30, 1997, Sara Ailis O’Donnell married Barnaby Abernathy Lee. They remained married until their deaths.
Future Daughter: Theodora Ailis “Dora” O’Donnell-Lee
Born on June 6, 1999, Dora is the eldest child of Sara and Barnaby. She is two years older than Declan, four years older than Violet, and nine years older than Brendan. She is also the eldest of the O’Donnell cousins.
Dora was sorted into Hufflepuff upon starting Hogwarts. She eventually became both a prefect and head girl. She also goes on to become a magiozoologist, just like her father.
Sara and Barnaby are very proud and supportive of their daughter. They’re very proud of all the obstacles that she overcame as Dora is dyslexic, just like her father.
Future Son: Declan Ryan O’Donnell-Lee
Born on September 1, 2001, Declan is the second child of Sara and Barnaby. There are two years between Declan and both of his sisters, and seven years between him and his younger brother.
Upon starting Hogwarts, Declan is sorted into Slytherin, like his father. In his first year, he manages to make his house team, playing seeker. He eventually becomes the team captain in his sixth year, and then goes on to play seeker for the Ballycastle Bats.
Sara and Barnaby are quite proud of their son, and do everything they can to foster his healthy interest in quidditch.
Faceclaim: Kit Connor
Future Daughter: Violet Cara O’Donnell-Lee
Born on May 3, 2003, Violet is the third child of Sara and Barnaby. She is four years younger than Dora, two years younger than Declam, and five years older than Brendan. She is close to her cousin, Michael, who is her Uncle Ryan and Aunt Penny’s son.
Violet was sorted into Ravenclaw upon starting Hogwarts. She goes on to play chaser for her house team, although she doesn’t begin playing until her fourth year. She also becomes a prefect. She ends up becoming a mediwitch.
Sara and Barnaby are quite proud of their daughter.
Faceclaim: Sophie Grace
Future Son: Brendan Conor O’Donnell-Lee
Born on May 17, 2006, Brendan is the youngest child of Sara and Barnaby. He is nine years younger than his eldest sister, seven years younger than his brother, and five years younger than his other sister.
Upon starting Hogwarts, Brendan was sorted into Hufflepuff, just like his mother and eldest sister. He doesn’t become a prefect or play quidditch. However, Brendan follows his father’s and eldest sister’s footsteps into becoming a magiozoologist.
Sara and Barnaby are quite proud and supportive of their son. They foster his interest in magical creatures and provide him with a stable and supportive environment.
Faceclaim: Christopher Convery
✧ PERSONALITY ✧
Positive: Intelligent, kind, warm, empathetic, outgoing, organized, dependable, friendly
Neutral: Loyal, stubborn, sensitive, protective, practical, conscientious, understanding, pragmatic, principled
Negative: Can be inflexible, can be too selfless, can seek approval, sometimes self-sacrificing
Food: Spaghetti with cheesy garlic bread
Weather: Cloudy days with the sun poking through
Books: the Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery, romance novels
Hobbies: Reading, hanging out with friends, cooking, baking
Music: Duran Duran, R.E.M., The Cure
Dislikes: Bullies, blood supremacy, seafood, spiders
Description: Sara is intelligent and has a very big heart. She strives to see the best in others and in situations. She is a good and loyal friend, who has a tendency to forget to take care of herself and sometimes prioritizes getting others’ approval. She is generally a soft, warm-hearted person and is rarely driven to anger.
MBTI Description: “Warmhearted, conscientious, and cooperative. Want harmony in their environment, work with determination to establish it. Like to work with others to complete tasks accurately and on time. Loyal, follow through even in small matters. Notice what others need in their day-by-day lives and try to provide it. Want to be appreciated for who they are and for what they contribute.”
✧ HISTORY & BACKGROUND ✧
Sara Ailis O’Donnell was born on August 18, 1973 at 7:41 pm in Leighis Hospital for Magical Maladies and Illnesses in Dublin, Ireland to Seán and Ailis O’Donnell as their fourth child. She joined eldest child, Cian, and her fellow quadruplets, Ryan, Cara, and Conor.
As she was born approximately ten weeks prematurely, Sara spent the first month of her life in the magical NICU. She weighed 3 pounds and 1ounce. She went home after four weeks.
For the first eleven months of her life, the O’Donnell family was whole, stable, loving, and happy. Seán and Ailis were very in love with their new babies and their eldest son, Cian, who wasn’t quite sure what to make of becoming an older brother to not one, but four new siblings.
Unfortunately, about a month before Cara’s first birthday, Ailis fell devastatingly ill. Healers tried in vain to diagnose and cure what ailed Ailis, but on July 20, Seán made the tough decision to stop all attempts at treatment and Ailis passed peacefully in her sleep on August 1.
Seán stepped up and did his best to be there for his children. That included quitting his job at the ministry and becoming a stay-at-home dad. This was feasible financially because Ailis’s parents had left 60% of the Lynch family fortune to their only daughter and her family.
Sara’s paternal grandparents, Lorcan and Rose, also moved in to help Seán raise their grandchildren alone. This arrangement was held until Seán’s death in April of 1978. Then, Lorcan and Rose were left to raise their grandchildren alone.
Lorcan and Rose did their best, but shortly after Lorcan contracted pneumonia and then a few months later, Rose contracted influenza. Both illnesses claimed their lives.
As they had no other living relatives capable of taking them in, the O’Donnell siblings were placed in the custody of their maternal uncle, Doyle Lynch.
Lynch Manor was a gloomy, loveless place, just as it had been for nearly seven generations. Doyle avoided his nieces and nephews, mostly, aside from an oddly vested interest in his eldest nephew. The quadruplets, not even six at the time, were not privy to any of their uncle’s more unsavory actions towards their brother, who was succumbing more and more to his manipulation.
Sara rarely saw her uncle, which meant that she and her siblings more or less had free reign of the manor and its grounds. Then, Cian was expelled from Hogwarts when Sara was eight. It was a shock and resulted in a loud and long tirade from her uncle.
That was when Doyle began to have violent outbursts. He rarely laid a hand on Ryan, Cara, Sara, and Conor, but when he did, it was quite vicious. He was more likely to give all of them a harsh, vicious, and degrading tongue-lashing, attacking any perceived weaknesses, though. That was when fear began to permeate the manor, a feeling that hadn’t been truly felt since the passing of Bain Lynch in 1887.
Then, thankfully, Sara and her siblings received their Hogwarts letters.
Sara was quickly sorted into Hufflepuff, where she befriended her roommates, Rowan Khanna, Penny Haywood, Nymphadora Tonks and Chiara Lobosca. She also befriends a number of students in other houses through her siblings.
Sara spends most of her time at Hogwarts studying, helping friends, and investigating the Cursed Vaults. She also engages in a few extracurriculars, including becoming a prefect in her fifth year.
Her fifth year is, perhaps, the most eventful. It is characterized by detention, bickering, studying, prefect duties, and the Cursed Vaults. It’s the height of petty squabbling between Sara and her siblings. It gets so bad that most people don’t want to work with them as a group. Fifth year also sees Sara beginning her romantic relationship with Barnaby.
Sixth years sees more attempts at normal as well as the murder of Ash Khanna for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Sara’s relationship with Barnaby remains strong, though.
Her seventh year finally allows her the opportunity to have a less stressful year, and she finalizes her plans for becoming a healer upon graduating.
Second Wizarding War:
After graduating, Sara takes on a healer apprenticeship in Leighis in Dublin where she works until the summer of 1995. In 1995, she was transferred to St. Mungo’s.
In November of 1995, on the anniversary of their first official date, Barnaby proposed. Sara accepted.
She also joined the Order of the Phoenix along with her siblings. She continued her work as a healer, not doing anything very different than what she was before.
As the war gained momentum, Sara and Barnaby put their wedding plans on hold to help the Order of the Phoenix. But as things got bleaker by the day, they chose a random date that all three of Sara’s siblings were free on to get married. So, on June 30, 1997, Sara married Barnaby in a small ceremony in Donegal.
In the remaining months of the war, Sara and Barnaby remained in a small cottage, offering a respite to injured muggleborns and Order members. Sara kept to the healing side of things.
On May 2, 1998, Sara joined the fight at the Battle of Hogwarts alongside her husband. She walked away fairly unscathed, but with a mild bout of PTSD.
The remainder of Sara’s life was fairly calm and stable. She worked as a healer until she retired at the age of 90. She worked in both Leighis and St. Mungo’s, although her family settled on a small creature rehabilitation reserve in Donegal.
Sara and Barnaby have four children: Theodora Ailis “Dora” O’Donnell-Lee, who was born on July 7, 1999, Declan Ryan O’Donnell-Lee, who was born on June 3, 2001, Violet Cara O’Donnell-Lee, who was born on May 3, 2003, and finally, Brendan Conor O’Donnell-Lee, who was born on May 31, 2008.
Sara passed away in her sleep at the age 116, approximately three months before Barnaby would pass. She loved a long and fulfilled life, leaving behind a large extended family including four children, eight grandchildren, twelve great-grandchildren, and ten great-great-grandchildren.
✧ MISCELLANEOUS ✧
Sara knows nothing about sports. She usually has no clue which house team to support. She’s a Hufflepuff, but Ryan is a Gryffindor chaser, Cara’s a Slytherin chaser, and Conor is the Ravenclaw seeker.
She usually ends up being the mom friend.
Her middle name is after her mother.
The claddagh ring that Sara wears belonged to her mother. Her father bought it for her mother in Galway.
Sara is the great-granddaughter of Cillian Lynch and Orla O’Rourke.
• Arthur Chin (CNAF U.S Ace)
Arthur Tien Chin; Cantonese: Chan Sui-Tin; was a pilot from the United States who participated in the Second Sino-Japanese War. Chin was compelled to defend his father's homeland when Japan invaded China. Chin is recognized as the United States' first flying ace in World War II.
Chin was born in Portland, Oregon on October 23rd, 1913 to Fon Chin, who was from Taishan, China, and Eva Wong, who may have been of Peruvian background. Motivated by the Japanese invasion of China, Chin enrolled in flight school (at the Chinese Flying Club of Portland) in 1932, and along with 13 other Chinese Americans including John "Buffalo" Huang Xinrui and Hazel Ying Lee. He left for China and joined the Canton Provincial Air Force under General Chen Jitang as the first and original group of American volunteer combat aviators, and from there was sent to additional aerial-gunnery training with the Luftwaffe at Lagerlechfeld, Germany; returning to China to see the Guangdong Provincial Air Force integrated into the central government's air force under the KMT.
The Japanese Empire was on the march in Asia, and its annexation of Manchuria in 1932 simply confirmed the suspicions of many about Japan’s designs on China. Determined to save their ancestral homeland and buoyed by the best wishes of their neighbors and friends, Chin and eleven other young Chinese-Americans set forth in 1933 to volunteer to fly for the Chinese Air Force. They ran into a brick wall, figuratively speaking. Unfortunately, the central government was not interested in their services. Although details aren’t available, it seems likely that this was a case of the bureaucracy facing a situation without precedent or instructions and being unwilling to make a decision. Although China was seeking help from abroad it hadn’t solicited this particular assistance from these particular people. Added to this was their status as Overseas Chinese, which, to many, implied suspicious links to foreign powers. Japan was just one of several forces vying for power in China at that time. The 1911 Revolution that signaled the end of the Qing Dynasty had not led to the firm establishment of a successor regime and, despite high hopes for Sun Yat-sen’s Republic, China had fragmented into a patchwork of chiefdoms headed by warlords. By 1930, Sun’s party, the Kuomintang (KMT by then under Chiang Kai-shek) had suppressed most of these warlords and established a central government widely recognized internationally, but many provinces offered only token allegiance and groups such as Mao Tse-tung’s Communists still remained to be dealt with. Oddly, this situation gave Chin and most of his colleagues a “back door” into the air force. By the early ’30s there had been something on the order of sixteen separate air forces in China, ranging in size from one or two airplanes to a nominal strength of several hundred.
Perhaps because of their Cantonese ancestry, most of the Americans who were finally accepted started out flying for the Canton Air Corps of Guangdong. This was the largest and best-equipped of the provincial air arms, serving as “top cover” for Chen Chidang, the de-facto warlord of Guangdong. Art was one of these, being accepted as a Warrant Probationary Pilot on December 1st, 1933. In stark contrast to the pilots of the later American Volunteer Group (that was formed eight years later and existed for less than one year), who were paid $500 a month, their pay was equivalent to $25 US per month. Chin “enlisted” in the national air force during the summer of 1936. In a bid for power, Chen Chidang revolted against Chiang Kai-shek that May. Perhaps motivated by the sense that China needed unity in order to face the threat from Japan, in June and July of 1936 the Canton Air Corps defected as a group to the central (KMT) air force (the role in this of American pilots such as Chin is not clear, but they don’t appear to have been the instigators). This was more than simply a shuffle of allegiances: Cantonese pilots actually flew all of their planes to KMT airfields. At a stroke the national air force was substantially augmented, and, as might be expected, the revolt fizzled. After being sent to Germany for advanced training, Chin flew as a flight leader with the 6th Squadron and then from February until June, 1937, as an instructor. That month he was assigned to the 28th Pursuit Squadron, 5th Pursuit Group, as Vice Squadron Commander under another American, Captain Chan Kee-Wong.
Life in China wasn’t all preparation for war. Handsome and outgoing, Art sported a classically pencil-thin mustache and smoked a pipe. Reputedly one of his few social impediments was speaking Cantonese with a pronounced American accent, but he had enough charm to overcome that. He developed a reputation as something of a ladies’ man, one that would follow him the rest of his life. Nevertheless, about this time he met and married a Sumatra-born ethnic Chinese named Eva Wu (Ng Yue-ying in Cantonese). Meanwhile, friction with Japan’s Kwantung Army escalated into open war on July 7th, 1937. On August 10th the 17th and 28th Pursuit Squadrons were stationed at Chuyung Airfield near Nanking, capital of the central government. The 17th was commanded by still another American, John Wong, and was equipped with the export version of the Boeing P-26 “Peashooter,” the Boeing 281. Although it was an all-metal monoplane, the P-26/Model 281 was a transitional design and retained many old-fashioned features. On August 13th Japanese forces attacked Shanghai and began their drive inland to the capital. Chin made his first kill, a Mitsubishi G3M2 twin-engine bomber, on August 16. It was a difficult combat for him for a number of reasons, not the least of which was that his fighter wasn’t much faster than the bomber. Chin recalled that once he was in firing position he was virtually a stationary target for the bomber’s gunners. This combat highlights the rapid pace of aeronautical development during the 1930s. The 28th PS detached a flight to defend the Shaokwan Aircraft Factory in Canton Province, and Chin was selected to command it. On September 27th, 1937 his flight and one from the 29th (they being mounted on retractable-gear Hawk III’s) intercepted three G3M2s. Chin didn’t claim a kill, but Japanese records show that one bomber was forced to ditch on the way back to its base and evidence suggests that he was responsible for the major part of its damage. The following month China obtained 36 Gladiator Mk. I’s from Britain. The 17th, 28th, and 29th Pursuit Squadrons were re-equipped with this type and worked up on it during January and February, 1938. Chin went on to score most of his kills while flying this type of aircraft, but on the flip side crashed three of them. The only loss that can be chalked up as an accident occurred on February 9th, 1938. While leading a flight to Nanchang he ran into a snowstorm. In June Chin was appointed to command the 28th squadron and promoted to Captain.
On August 3rd, Chin is reported to have engaged three Japanese Mitsubishi A5M fighters by himself. Chin “deliberately rammed the Jap leader as he came in for the kill. Both planes burst into flame but Art hit the silk safely. He was wounded and slightly burned, yet when we found him he was directing the salvage of the precious machine guns from his wrecked plane.” Although exaggerated somewhat, the basic outline of this story appears to be accurate. In October, 1938, the surviving Gladiators were withdrawn for overhaul and the 28th Pursuit re-equipped with still another biplane, the Russian Polikarpov I-15Bis (or I-152). Decimated by accidents and enemy action, the Chinese air force had declined to a fraction of its former strength despite an infusion of Russian aircraft and reinforcement by Russian “volunteers” that had begun as early as the autumn of 1937. On December 20th, 1938, Chin was appointed Deputy Commander of the 3rd Pursuit Group.xxvii It appears that, like the rest of his comrades in the 28th, Chin qualified in the Russian fighters but he didn’t claim any victories while flying them. On November 2nd, 1939, Chin and a wingman attacked a Mitsubishi Ki-15 reconnaissance aircraft because of its speed considered by the Japanese to be virtually immune to interception by Chinese fighters but didn’t down it. Chin combat career ended in a suitably climactic fashion on December 27th, 1939. On this date he led a mixed formation consisting of an I-15Bis and another Gladiator escorting three Russian-flown SB bombers on a raid against the Japanese Army in the vicinity of the Kunlun Pass. After a savage fight during which Chin's flight fell one by one but appear to have shot down two Japanese fighters and damaged a third in return (personal credit for the kills is not certain), Chin’s Gladiator was hit in the fuel tank and caught fire. He nursed his flying inferno back over Chinese lines and bailed out, but was terribly burned. The sacrifice was not in vain; all three bombers got through. After the bloody fight, KMT forces regained Kunlun Pass. While recovering from his burns Chin stayed with his family in a small house on Liuchow Airfield and was nursed by Eva. Unfortunately, only two days after Art’s return, the airfield came under attack by Japanese bombers. Eva took the children to the air-raid shelter first and went back for Chin, who was virtually immobilized by the bandages. Too late to run, Eva threw herself on top of Chin and was killed by shrapnel when the next explosion destroyed the house. During an interview many years later Chin said simply “I held her dead body to mine until help came.”
Hong Kong, then a British colony, was neutral at that time. Chin and his children were evacuated there where, in seven operations over two years, doctors at the Hong Kong Sanitarium in Happy Valley tried to repair the damage to his face and hands. In the chaos following the Japanese attack on December 8th, 1941, (still swathed in bandages) Chin got out of his hospital bed, tracked down his boys whose caregivers had either abandoned them or been killed – and managed to escape back across enemy lines to friendly territory. Finally, friends such as Chennault and Madame Chiang Kai-Shek (Soong Mei-Ling, wife of the Nationalist Chinese Generalissimo) persuaded Chin to return to the States for treatment. As commanding officer of the “1st American Volunteer Group,” Chennault drafted a letter dated June 10th, 1942, requesting US air transportation for Chin. At a hospital in New York, Chin suffered a series of twenty operations over a period of twenty months to rebuild his face and hands, leaving him heavily scarred but reasonably whole. Clearly, Chin had “done his bit” and no one could blame him if he had decided to rest on his laurels, retire to a quieter line of work, and hide his scarred face from the world, but that wasn’t Chin's desire. He spoke at war bond rallies and on radio broadcasts with such celebrities as movie star George Raft. A particularly notable event was the “Gung Ho” War Bond rally in New York, which was sponsored by Chinese-American community and attended by dignitaries including Mayor LaGuardia. Finally in 1945, Chin returned to duty as a transport pilot with the China National Aviation Corporation (CNAC). He qualified for a Second class medical on March 28th, 1945.
During the final stage of China-Japanese war, he flew supplies over the “Hump” route through the Himalayas from India into China. This was not soft duty. A former commander of USAAF portion of the airlift, Lt. Gen. William Tunner, later wrote that “flying the Hump was considered as hazardous as flying a combat mission over Germany.” At the end of the war Art stayed on in China to fly with CNAC, by then as a fully qualified airline captain. Captain Chin was certified as an Authorized Check Pilot for the airline on October 15th, 1947. In 1949 Art returned to Oregon. He seems to have sought work as a pilot, as suggested by his getting a second-class commercial medical on September 20th, 1950, but was apparently unsuccessful. He did land a job with the postal service, and worked there until retirement. Not long before his death Chin was asked by a newspaper reporter why he had gone. His response was “China called me.” Chin is recognized as America's first ace in World War II. A half-century after the war ended, the U.S. government recognized Chin as an American veteran by awarding him the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal. About a month after Chin died, on October 4th, 1997, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the American Airpower Heritage Museum in Midland, Texas as the first American ace of World War II. Chin died on September 3rd in 1997, he was 83 years old.