Author Topic: Fascinating history we were never taught in school.  (Read 1933 times)

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Offline Peter-K

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Fascinating history we were never taught in school.
« on: December 28, 2013, 08:05:51 PM »
At the brow of a hill, where the graves lie marked and unmarked, in South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal province is a memorial to the dead of a war all but forgotten.
 
Yet here, 1,400ft up on the high plains between Johannesburg and Durban, 21 miles from Ladysmith, are the origins of a three-letter word that forever links South Africa with English football. That word is 'Kop'.
 
Without the Boer War, without the battle of Spion Kop, the great stands at Anfield, Hillsborough and elsewhere would have different names. The battle took place in January 1900 and was a calamitous, bloody defeat for the British Army at the hands of Boer farmers and volunteers. It was a national embarrassment for the British.
 
Of the 1,700 men from regiments such as the Lancashire Fusiliers who climbed Spion Kop, 300 were taken prisoner. Just how many died is debated, with the number of casualties said to have been downplayed to minimise distress in Britain. It was another war meant to be over by Christmas.
 
It lasted four years and more than a century later the two lengthy lines of shallow graves on Spion Kop tell part of that story. The ordinary 'Tommies' who died had come from a British winter and were dressed for it.
 They fell in an African summer of 40-degree heat. News of Spion Kop - Dutch for 'Spy Hill' - got home fast and it became known as the 'acre of massacre'.

One man responsible for many of the reports was a young journalist called Winston Churchill, working for the London Morning Post. Churchill, who had just failed to get elected to Parliament in Oldham, described the aftermath at the top of the hill like this: 'Corpses lay here and there. Many of the wounds were of a horrible nature. The shallow trenches were choked with dead and wounded.'
 
Churchill referred to 'massive clouds of orange light . . . men being blown to atoms.' In that sense the battle was a precursor of the First World War and it is claimed that it was here, not on the Somme, that the phrase 'lions led by donkeys' originated. Argumentative and incompetent generals were blamed. But there was credit for the Boer leader, Louis Botha, who 10 years later would become South Africa's first prime minister.
 
There was also praise for a young Indian lawyer, who formed the ambulance corps and was a stretcher-bearer at Spion Kop. His name? Mohandas - later Mahatma - Gandhi. That Gandhi and Churchill could be on the same African hill on the same day beggars belief. But it was the brutal nature of the defeat that carried resonance in Britain. With professional football surging in popularity, there was an unofficial Kop at Woolwich Arsenal's Manor Ground in Plumstead.
 
But it was when Liverpool constructed a huge ash and cinder bank in 1906 on Walton Breck Road that took Anfield's capacity to 60,000 that the sports editor of the Liverpool Echo, Ernest Edwards, came up with Spion Kop. It had a visual similarity, and many Liverpudlians had been in the Fusiliers.
 
The term Spion Kop stuck. Kop has been with us ever since and is as famous around the globe as the Maracana, San Siro or Bernabeu. Liverpool are hugely popular in modern South Africa and at Spion Kop Lodge there is an annual gathering of Reds, though they come to hang scarves at a more recent memorial, for Hillsborough. The names of the 96 killed as a result of that 1989 disaster are here.
 
There is a poster called 'Spion Kop' too. Beneath it is a picture of two men - Steven Gerrard and Kenny Dalglish. The past connects.

 

Offline Galty mountain

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Re: Fascinating history we were never taught in school.
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2013, 10:06:10 AM »
Well done peter, I'v a friend who's Dad fought in 'Boer War', although many Irish men fought against Boer's many too fought with Them,!! They came back ready for 1916 rising against British Rule in Ireland. From the Rubble of 1916, Came 'HILL 16' behind the goal post's in 'GAA Croag Park' Dublin.  Today people standing on that Hill made not even know how the HILL came there.?

Offline V1ck0

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Re: Fascinating history we were never taught in school.
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2013, 10:40:46 AM »
I've worked on the "Croke Park" stadium, for obvious reasons I never stood on HILL 16 though
Obviously had many a happy hour standing on the Kop at Anfield, and fortunate to have visited  the original SpionKop.
But as SPK pointed out it's not all about soccer !!!!!!!!!!!

Offline stingkong

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Re: Fascinating history we were never taught in school.
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2013, 10:54:58 AM »
You went to the wrong school mate!

Offline V1ck0

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Re: Fascinating history we were never taught in school.
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2013, 11:01:15 AM »
Always willin to be corrected if I'm wrong !!!!!!!!!


Offline harry

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Re: Fascinating history we were never taught in school.
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2013, 02:50:30 PM »
All Stories really reflect the utter futility of ALL war, whether past, present, or possibly future, they prove nothing in the long run, cost countries money (LOTS) that they have not got , kill many people who through a misguided sense of very undeserved by the country---LOYALTY and PATRIOTISM, go to fight in those wars, plus so many other people, for whom the war has NO meaning, but just happened to be in the way, i.e. wrong place at wrong time.
Religions must shoulder the blame for so much of this misery, even, as we can see now, all the skirmishing going on around the world between the major (i.e. Itmost promoted for business ) religions.
It would appear, that far from learning from their stupid mistakes,  `umans only have a capacity to repeat them, ad nauseum.
The stupid B`s are probably planning the campaign conquests of the Moon or Mars as we write/read this.
 
 
Harry

Offline V1ck0

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Re: Fascinating history we were never taught in school.
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2013, 02:50:46 PM »
To combine two threads, (this one and la Perulaca) and not wishing to cause any lasting damage, check this out stink :-

There's a Spion Kop in Pant, Oswestry.

No wonder you left, now you gorrem on your doorstep here!!!!

Palpitations !!!!!

 ;)

Offline harry

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Re: Fascinating history we were never taught in school.
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2013, 11:49:17 AM »
Felicitations !
Harry

Offline stingkong

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Re: Fascinating history we were never taught in school.
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2013, 01:30:53 PM »
Boring!!

Offline Peter-K

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Re: Fascinating history we were never taught in school.
« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2013, 10:09:54 AM »
Galty, Vicko and Harry, congratulations on doing your best in school and achieving the skills of awareness, knowledge and dialogue. It is rewarding having posted something on the forum to be answered in a sensible way and I'm sure you three among many others enjoy reading and answering other peoples post's, thank you.

Offline V1ck0

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Re: Fascinating history we were never taught in school.
« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2013, 10:48:26 AM »
Bloody creep

 ;)

Offline Peter-K

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Re: Fascinating history we were never taught in school.
« Reply #11 on: December 31, 2013, 11:18:23 AM »
Yes mate, only with you. :P

Offline harry

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Re: Fascinating history we were never taught in school.
« Reply #12 on: December 31, 2013, 07:15:18 PM »
In `ectuel fect` there were ONLY Elementary Schools , in my school day time , with some very odd High, and Grammar Schools for the either rich, OR, very talented among the Hoi Polloi.  5 to 14, then off to work we go, was the general scheme of things... AND... the Cane was the Boss all round, "hold your hand out Lad", and six of the best.       It  did,  I`m sure,  help to determine the state of one`s memory in regard to -redinritinrithmatic- matters.
Happy New Year !
Harry