20 August-William Booth

William Booth was a native of England. He founded the Salvation Army in May 1865. The Salvation Army is an international Christian charitable organisation with a presence in 127 countries around the world. With the words ‘Blood and Fire’ on its crest, it has a quasi-military structure and has over 1.5 million members.

William Booth was born in Nottingham, England on April 10th 1829. He began an apprenticeship as a pawnbroker at the age of 13. At age 15 he converted to Methodism, trained himself in writing and oratory and began preaching the gospel. He resigned from the Methodists in 1861 and became an independent evangelist.

His work among the poor and destitute in the East End of London led Booth to establish the Salvation Army. He became the General of the Army with others being appointed as officers and soldiers. Established religions and some in public life were at first hostile to the work of the Salvation Army. In time however the good work being done by the organisation came to be recognised.

William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, died aged 83 in the year 1912 On This Day.

 

19 August-Francis Ledwidge

Francis Ledwidge was a poet and soldier who was a native of Co Meath, Ireland. He is often referred to as the ‘Poet of the Blackbirds’. During World War I Ledwidge served in both the Balkans and Western Europe. He was killed by a German shell at the Battle of Passchendaele on July 31st 1917.

Francis Edward Ledwidge was born at Janeville near Slane Co Meath in 1887. When he was five years old his father died. At the age of 13 Francis left school to work in support of his family. He worked at various jobs including farm labourer, road worker, miner and shop assistant. During this time he was writing poetry and his first poems were published in the Drogheda Independent when he was fourteen years old.

Lord Dunsany became his patron and helped Ledwidge publish his first poetry collection, ‘Songs of the Fields’. He also introduced him to poets of the day including Katharine Tynan and W B Yeats. Following the outbreak of World War I, Ledwidge enlisted in the 5th battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. He was at the time a supporter of the Gaelic League, a nationalist and founder of the local branch of the Irish Volunteers. Despite this and against the advice of Lord Dunsany he decided to enlist. He later said: ‘I joined the British army because England stood between Ireland and an enemy common to our civilisation, and I would not have had it said that she defended us while we did nothing at home but pass resolutions.’

Ledwidge first served in The Balkans. He landed at Gallipoli in July 1915 and in August took part in the joint allied attack on Suvla Bay. Following the failure of the attack his regiment was transferred to Serbia where Ledwidge damaged his back and was transferred to Hospital in Manchester, England. Whilst in hospital Ledwidge heard about the 1916 Easter Rising. He was dismayed to learn about the execution of Thomas MacDonagh whom he had known before the war. His poem, ‘Lament for Thomas MacDonagh’ is one his best known compositions.

Ledwidge was given leave to return home. He was badly affected by the events in Dublin of 1916 and was disillusioned with the war. Following his period of leave he failed to report on time for duty and was arrested for being drunk. He was demoted and sent to the western front in France. In the spring of 1917 Ledwidge was involved in the Battle of Arras. He was later sent to Belgium where he was killed while involved in preparation for the battle of Passchendaele near the Belgian city of Ypres.

Francis Ledwidge, poet and soldier, was killed in action at the Battle of Passchendaele during World War I was born in Co Meath in the year 1887 On This Day.

Monument to Irish poet Francis Ledwidge in Flanders

 

 

18 August-Walter Chrysler

Walter Chrysler was an engineer and automobile manufacturer who was a native of the United States. He founded the Chrysler Corporation in 1925. The Chrysler Corporation has its headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan. It is now a subsidiary of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

Walter Percy Chrysler was born in Wamego, Kansas on April 2nd 1875. He trained as a railroad mechanic. Chrysler worked with railroad companies until 1911 when he began working for the Buick Motor Company in Flint, Michigan. He worked in various automobile manufacturing roles before he established the Chrysler Corporation, in Detroit, Michigan, in 1925.

Walter Chrysler, founder of the Chrysler Corporation, died at the age of 65 in the year 1940 On This Day.

Walter P. Chrysler at White House (cropped).png

Walter P. Chrysler at White House.png

 

18 August-Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth, who was famous as a television presenter, actor, comedian, singer and screenwriter was a native of England. The winner of numerous awards, he was entered in the Guinness Book of Records as the male entertainer with the longest television career. He was the host of several shows including ‘Sunday Night at the London Palladium’, ‘The Bruce Forsyth Show’ and ‘The Generation Game’.

Bruce Forsyth was born Bruce Joseph Forsyth-Johnson on February 22nd 1928 in Edmonton, Middlesex. Having begun his show business career at the age of 14 he made his television debut in 1939. He achieved success when he began working as the host of ‘Sunday Night at the London Palladium’ in 1958. He had a successful show business career until his retirement in 2015.

Bruce Forsyth, award winning entertainer died aged 89 in the year 2017 On This Day.

 

 

 

17 August-Animal Farm

Animal Farm is an award winning novella written by George Orwell. It is regarded as the most famous political allegory of the 20th century. It describes how a group of farm animals revolt against the tyranny of their human master. The animals are then subjected a far greater tyranny by their own kind.

In Animal Farm, Orwell reflects the rise to power of the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. The Communist Party seized power from Tsar Nicolas II following the Russian Revolution of 1917. The dictatorship of the Tsar was eventually replaced by the even more brutal dictatorship of Stalin.

Animal Farm by George Orwell was first published in the year 1945 On This Day.

George Orwell, c. 1940