Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.

Archive for January, 2015

Photo from the Vestris Disaster shows crew and passengers trying to lower lifeboats from the port side; November 12, 1928

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Vestris left New York bound for the River Plate on 10 November 1928 with 325 passengers and crew. A day after leaving New York, the ship ran into a severe storm and developed a starboard list. The following day, the list worsened as cargo and coal bunkers shifted and the ship took on water through numerous leaks.

On 12 November, at 9:56 am, an SOS was sent out giving her position as latitude 37° 35′ N. and longitude 71° 81′ [sic] W., which was incorrect by about 37 miles. The SOS was repeated at 11:04 am.

Between 11 am and noon, while the ship was off Norfolk, Virginia, the order was given to man lifeboats and the ship was abandoned. Two hours later, at about 2pm, Vestris sank at Lat. 37° 38′ N, Long. 70° 23′ W.The rescue vessels arriving on the scene, late in the evening of 12 November and early in the morning of 13 November, were the steamships American Shipper, Myriam, Berlin and USS Wyoming.

While estimates of the dead vary from 110 to 127, Time and The New York Times reported that from the complement of 128 passengers and 198 crew on board, 111 people were killed:

  • 68 dead or missing from a total 128 passengers. 60 passengers survived.
  • 43 dead or missing from a total of 198 crew members. 155 crew survived.

None of the 13 children and only eight of the 33 women aboard the ship survived. The captain of Vestris, William J. Carey, went down with his ship. 22 bodies were recovered by rescue ships.

Press reports after the sinking were critical of the crew and management of Vestris. In the wake of the disaster, Lamport and Holt experienced a dramatic drop in bookings for the company’s other liners and their service to South America ceased at the end of 1929.

Many inquires and investigations were held into the sinking of Vestris. Criticism was made of:

  • overloading of the vessel
  • the conduct of the Master, officers and crew of the vessel
  • delays in issuing an SOS call
  • poor decisions made during deployment of the lifeboats, which led to the two of the first three lifeboats to be deployed (containing mostly women and children) sinking with Vestris and another swamping
  • legal requirements governing lifeboats and out-dated life-preservers
  • lack of radio sets in nearby vessels at the time

Lawsuits were brought after the sinking on behalf of 600 claimants totaling $5,000,000.

Vestris ’​ sinking was covered by Associated Press reporter Lorena Hickok. Her story on the event became the first to appear in The New York Times under a woman’s byline.

(Source)


Three men of the 7th Armored Division, known as the “Lucky Seventh”, man a 3-inch Gun M5 (anti-tank gun) covering the approach on a road near Vielsalm, Belgium; December 23rd, 1944

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(More Info)


Dead child on the street in Tampere, Finnish Civil War; ca. 1918

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The 1918 Finnish civil war was horrible: about 37,000 people died, most of them Reds.

The war was related to the aftermath of WWI, and to the communist revolution and civil war in the neighboring Russia. In Finland the revolutionary socialist Reds were supported by the Soviets, and the anti-socialist Whites by the German Empire.

The civil war itself lasted only 3½ months with White victory, but still after that more than 11,000 Reds or suspected Reds died in prison camps due to hunger, disease, and executions.


 

The aftermath of an execution of Social Democrat sympathizers/militiamen, Finnish Civil War, 1918:

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The picture is taken May 11th, 1918 in Västankvarn, Inkoo (Ingå).

The incidence is known as Västankvarnin teloitukset (Västankvarn’s executions). During 2-26th May the whites executed over sixty of their prisoners suspected as reds including at least three women (Tekla Åhl (35), Hilja Heino (20), and Hilda Björk (32)).

They all were sentenced to death by  Erik Grotenfelt. He also did the killings himself at first, but later it was done by a white Västnyland’s Battalion commanded by Edward Ward. (Grotenfelt committed a suicide in 1919.)


 

Most of the civil war victims can be found in a searchable online database: The registry of names of the war dead between 1914-1922


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Live samples of the measles virus (used to make the measles vaccine) are stored in an incubator at a Pfizer virus laboratory; ca. 1963

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Danish disabled soldiers from the Second Schleswig War; ca. 1864

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Adolf Hitler salutes a parade of his personal bodyguard regiment, the 1st SS Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler; January 30th,1937

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Navajo medicine man, Southwest U.S.; ca. 1904


President Lyndon B. Johnson holds his dog “Her” by the ears as his other dog “Him” looks on, the White House lawns; April 27, 1964

To be fair Lyndon Johnson wasn't all that nice to humans, either.

Him and Her, the most well known of the President Johnson’s dogs, were registered beagles born on June 27, 1963. The President frequently played with the dogs and was often photographed with them. In 1964, President Johnson raised the ire of many when he lifted Him by his ears while greeting a group on the White House lawn.

Her died at the White House in November 1964, after she swallowed a stone. Him died in June 1966, when he was hit by a car while chasing a squirrel on the White House. (Source)


Mechanized Column of the 7th Panzer-Division in France; ca. 1940

Shown here is a mechanized column of the 7th Panzer-Division, commanded by General major Erwin Rommel, on the move during the Blitzkrieg through France in the last days of May 1940. The photo was taken by General Rommel himself.

 



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Antarctica, The crew of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition playing a game of football (or soccer), with the Endurance in the background; ca. 1914-1917)

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