23 November-Doctor Who

Doctor Who is science fiction television programme. It centres on a time traveller called The Doctor who comes from a race known as the Time Lords. The home planet of the Time Lords is Gallifrey. The Doctor and his companions explore the universe in a time travelling ship known as the TARDIS.

In their travels Doctor Who and his companions face various enemies as they work to right wrongs and save people and civilisations. The programme has attracted audiences of up to 14 million in the UK and is currently broadcast weekly in over 50 countries.

The first episode of Doctor Who appeared on BBC1 television in the year 1963 On This Day.

Doctor Who

 

22 November-C S Lewis

C S Lewis, author, essayist, broadcaster and lecturer was a native of Belfast, N. Ireland. He was the author of works such as The Chronicles of Narnia, Space Trilogy and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Lewis was a friend and colleague of the writer, scholar and philologist J R R Tolkien.

Clive Staples Lewis was born in Belfast on November 29th 1898. Having studied at various institutions including Campbell College, Belfast he was awarded a scholarship to University College, Oxford in 1916. Following graduation in 1925, Lewis was elected a Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford. He remained at Oxford until 1954 when he was appointed chair of Mediaeval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University.

At Oxford University, Lewis and Tolkien worked in the English department. They were members a literary group known as the ‘Inklings’. Millions of copies of the works of C S Lewis Lewis’s have been sold. The Chronicles of Narnia are the most popular and have been adapted into various films for television and cinema.

C S Lewis died at the age of 64 at his home in Oxford, England in the year 1963 On This Day.

C. S. Lewis by sfjalar on 2008-10-20 17:57:49

 

22 November-John Fitzgerald Kennedy

John Fitzgerald Kennedy was the 35th President of the United States of America. His ancestors on his father’s side came from Wexford and on his mother’s side from Limerick. During his time as President he had deal with events such as the Cuban Missile Crisis and the building of the Berlin Wall. He initiated the Apollo Programme which led eventually to the moon landings.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born in Brookline, Massachusetts on May 29th 1917. He graduated from Harvard with Bachelor of Arts in government in 1940. Kennedy served in the US Navy during World War II and was decorated for heroism. After the war he served as a Democratic Congressman and in 1953 was elected to the US Senate. Following the Presidential election of 1960 Kennedy was inaugurated President of the USA in January 1961 at age 43.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated while on a visit to Dallas, Texas in the year 1963 On This Day.

President Kennedy Addresses Congress May 25, 1961 by NASA on The Commons on 1961-05-25 00:00:00

Halloween Visitors to the Oval Office. Caroline Kennedy, President Kennedy, John F. Kennedy, Jr. White House, Oval Office, 10/31/1963 by The U.S. National Archives on 1963-10-31 12:00:00

30 October-Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty

Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty was a native of Co Cork, Ireland. He was responsible for saving over 6,500 Jews and Allied soldiers from the Nazi’s in Rome during World War II. As a result he became known as the ‘The Scarlet Pimpernel of the Vatican’. There is a monument to Monsignor O’Flaherty at the junction of Beech Road and Mission Road in the town of Killarney, Co Kerry. The 2 metre bronze statue was unveiled there in 2013, on the 50th anniversary of his death.

Hugh O’Flaherty was born at Lisrobin, Kiskeam, Co Cork but grew up in Killarney Co Kerry. He was educated at Mungret College, Co Limerick and moved to Rome in 1922 to study for the priesthood. He was ordained on December 20th 1925. While studying for his doctorate he served as vice rector of the Urban College in Rome. In 1927 he was appointed Vatican diplomat to Egypt. During the following four years he served as diplomat in various countries and was appointed Monsignor in 1934.

Monsignor O’Flaherty, whose father was the steward at Killarney golf course, was an excellent golfer and became amateur golf champion of Italy. Many of those with whom he played golf were at risk when the Nazi’s occupied Rome on September 10th 1943. The Vatican City, an independent state, was not occupied. With the co-operation of Pope Pius XII he began smuggling and hiding refugees. He also organised an escape operation for Jews and for Allied soldiers who had escaped following the surrender of the Italian government. He organised a network of houses and apartments in Rome where the Allied soldiers and Jews could hide. He was assisted by several people including the famous ballad singer, Delia Murphy, from Claremorris Co Mayo whose husband was the Irish Ambassador to Rome.

O’Flaherty defied the best efforts of the Gestapo to capture him by using various disguises and fake documents when he travelled outside the Vatican. However he had several narrow escapes and came close to being captured on many occasions. The head of the Gestapo in Rome, Lieutenant Colonel Herbert Kappler had a white line painted on the road at the entrance to St. Peter’s Square. He ordered that O’Flaherty be killed if he crossed the line and offered a bounty for his capture.

When World War II came to an end Kappler was captured and imprisoned. O’Flaherty visited him regularly in prison and eventually presided over his conversion to Catholicism. O’Flaherty was the recipient of numerous awards including, Commander of the British Empire (CBE) and the US Congressional Medal of Freedom. In 2003 a tree was planted in his honour at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, Israel’s official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust. He was also named ‘Righteous Among Nations’. A film, starring Gregory Peck was made in 1983 which outlined the exploits of Monsignor O’Flaherty in Rome during World War II.

Monsignor O’Flaherty retired to Cahirciveen, Co Kerry in 1960 where he died at the age of 65 in the year 1963 On This Day.

Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty Statue in Killarney, County Kerry

Monsignor O’Flaherty Statue Killarney County Kerry

By

Hugh O’Flaherty Memorial Society

 

 

28 August-Martin Luther King

Martin Luther King Jr. was a minister in the Baptist Church and from the mid-1950’s leader of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States of America. In his role as leader of the Civil Rights Movement he advocated the use of non-violent protest to advance the aims of the movement.

Born in Atlanta, Georgia on January 15th 1929, Martin Luther King graduated from high school at the age of 15. He was awarded a BA degree in Sociology from Morehouse College, Atlanta in 1948. In 1951 he was awarded a BD (Bachelor of Divinity) from the Crozer Theological Seminary. From there he enrolled in Graduate studies at Boston University where he received his PhD in 1955. In that year at the age of 25 King was appointed pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church of Montgomery, Alabama.

When Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, King led a citywide bus boycott. The boycott lasted 382 days before the law which mandated segregated public transportation was lifted. In 1957 he helped to found, and served as first president of, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) to lead the struggle for racial equality. He went on to lead the struggle for equality in places such as Albany, Georgia and Birmingham Alabama. He was one of the organisers of the March on Washington in 1963 where he established his reputation as an orator when he delivered his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech.

In 1964 the Civil Rights Act was passed enforcing desegregation and outlawing discrimination. In the same year Martin Luther King Jr. was awarded The Nobel Peace Prize. During the 1960’s King continued to fight discrimination and broadened his campaign to address issues such as poverty and the Vietnam War. On April 3rd 1968 he went to Memphis Tennessee where he delivered a speech in support of striking sanitation workers. The day after the rally he was shot and killed by a sniper called James Earl Ray while standing on the balcony outside his room at the Lorraine Motel. His death led to widespread riots and demonstrations.

Martin Luther King delivered his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC in the year 1963 On This Day.

Martin Luther King, Jr. – Florida by State Library and Archives of Florida on 1967-01-01 00:00:00

Martin Luther King photo

Martin Luther King speech at Civil Rights March in Washington DC

Photo by The U.S. National Archives