War II gets more of the headlines, but World War I actually had a greater impact on global affairs. Indeed World War I was the most significant event of the last thousand years. Four great empires were destroyed in World War I. Never in the history of the world had so many empires expired in a single cataclysm. But the Ottoman, Russian, Austrian-Hungarian, and German empires all were destroyed in War I. The "Great War" was also the first war to witness the industrialization of human slaughter.

Tanks, machine guns, poison gas, airplanes, and hand grenades are just a few of the weapons that found their first use in World War I. This undoubtedly contributed to the staggering carnage of the War: nine million were killed and another 16 million were wounded. Eleven new countries were created in the settlement of World War I. They included most of the countries we know today as "Eastern Europe" including Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and the now-former Yugoslavia.

They also included five countries that are still embroiled in conflict in the Middle East: Iraq; Jordan; Palestine (now Israel); Syria; and Lebanon. It was during "The War to End All Wars" that communism came into being as a state-based system. The government of the Romanov Tsars was unable to withstand the punishment of the German army.

It fell and was taken over by the Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin. The conflict between communism and capitalism became the dominant conflict of the Twentieth Century. The center of global power shifted as a result of the War, from Europe to the United States, where it has resided ever since. With its economy intact and its political system unblemished by the War, the U.S. emerged as the leader in global affairs. Finally, the settlement of the War did not solve the essential problem that had started it: what to do with outsized German power.

In the late Nineteenth Century, Germany overtook Britain as the leading European economy. It was the German threat to Britain, France, and Russia that lay at the heart of the War. But the Treaty of Versailles did not fundamentally change this dynamic. So, twenty years later Germany found itself fighting Britain, France, and Russia again. So, future historians may call World Wars I and II the Great European Civil War of the Twentieth Century.

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With the outbreak of the First World War, Marcus Garvey, Florence Nightingale, Dr Crippin  all came into the headlines as did Sylvia Pankhurst and the suffragette cause. Women were called on to take up male jobs Which saw the founding of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps, the Women's Royal Naval Service, and the Women's Royal Air Force.


In 1900, the U.S. was a diverse nation, and its children lived in a wide range of circumstances— different geographic settings, economic backgrounds, and family structures. The country was experiencing tremendous growth, and more and more families were living in cities, although a majority of Americans lived in the country until 1920.

Many children lived in terrible poverty, while others were part of a growing middle class. At the same time, a great increase in immigration brought children from all over the globe, but especially from southern and eastern Europe, into the American experience. Rural children often worked on their family’s farms, helping with the endless tasks that were completed using human and animal power. Many children in cities and towns also worked: in mines, in factories, selling newspapers and food, and shining shoes.

In 1904 the National Child Labor Committee was formed to advocate for children in the work force. In the next few years, the federal government passed several laws to try to regulate child labor, but the Supreme Court declared them unconstitutional. Not until 1938 did the federal government successfully regulate the minimum age of employment and hours of work for children.

Factory-made toys were uncommon in the nineteenth century—most toys were either home-made or fairly simple. Early in the twentieth century, though, as the nation became more industrialized, toys began to be manufactured on a large scale. The first two decades of the century saw the introduction of many classic toys, including the Lionel Train (1901), Crayola Crayons (1903), and Lincoln Logs (1916). New design improvements in the 1880s and 1890s made bicycles safer, and bikes and tricycles came into children’s hands in much greater numbers, providing countless children with the tools to explore the changing world around them.


The North Pole is reached

"The North Pole is reached!" was the news that flashed all over the world...it was September 1909 when the news reached Amundsen. The original plan of the FRAM'S third voyage--the exploration of the North Polar basin--was quickly called off. In order to save the expedition, Amundsen immediately turned his attention to the South simultaneously emphasizing to his financial contributors that the FRAM'S Arctic voyage would be, in every way, a scientific expedition and would have nothing to do with record-breaking. Therefore, as far as the supporters were aware, Amundsen's Arctic voyage would not be influenced one way or another by Peary's accomplishment.

Since he was so heavily in debt, Amundsen felt his change in plans to head south and capture the South Pole should be kept a secret. In his own words, Amundsen wrote, "I know that I have been reproached for not having at once made the extended plan public, so that not only my supporters, but the explorers who were preparing to visit the same regions might have knowledge of it.

I was well aware that these reproaches would come, and had therefore carefully weighed this side of the matter". As hinted at, he also felt it important to keep his intentions secret from his peers. "Nor did I feel any great scruples with regard to the other Antarctic expeditions that were being planned at the time. I knew I should be able to inform Captain Scott of the extension of my plans before he left civilization, and therefore a few months sooner or later could be of no great importance.

Scott's plan and equipment were so widely different from my own that I regarded the telegram that I sent him later, with the information that we were bound for the Antarctic regions, rather as a mark of courtesy than as a communication which might cause him to alter his programme in the slightest degree. The British expedition was designed entirely for scientific research.

The Pole was only a side-issue, whereas in my extended plan it was the main object". Amundsen must have been in a dream world as this simply was not true. Scott's intention to try for the Pole had been widely publicized and was certainly not a side issue...one only need turn to Scott's Antarctic Expedition announcement in the September 13, 1909, issue of The Times of London.

West Cumberland riots 1910

In December 1916 and January 1917, the British county of West Cumberland erupted in violence. Prices for basic foodstuffs, potatoes, milk, wheat, and thus bread, butter, all sold in the local markets, had skyrocketed over the preceding months, the result of at least the threat of scarcity, if not the actual fact. The British agricultural sector was simply not able to meet the demands being placed on it, because of both a bad harvest year and a long-term decline which had made Britain a net importer of food, a precarious position at a time of war with Germany.

At the time, profiteering by both farmers and shopkeepers was widely blamed for the rise. Many also felt that local traders were removing foodstuffs from the district on a grand scale for sale in other regions, where they could get better prices for their goods. (Indeed, there was some evidence that this was the case.)

Then, on 20 December 1916, the government decreed that it was going to fix prices for various goods. By January 1917, the women of the county were determined to enforce the set prices. The riots began in the pitch market in Maryport, when women arrived determined not to buy above the decreed price. When one farmer said he did not care what the government said, there was bedlam.

The women rushed the farmers' carts, and the "street was filled with hooting, yelling women and young people, while potatoes, cabbages and turnips were flying through the air" The example of Maryport soon spread to other parts of the county. These riots were led by housewives, who had filled the front lines and did much of the fighting, although the miners of Cumberland were also active in supporting their wives' efforts, both as added bodies strengthening the crowds, but also through the Miners' Association and other working-class organizations.

1910. Wellman airship

1910. "Wellman airship seen from Trent." Walter Wellman's hydrogen dirigible America just before being abandoned by its crew near Bermuda, 1,370 miles into an attempt to cross the Atlantic from New Jersey. Its engines having failed, the America drifted out of sight, never to be seen again.

If my airship history serves me correctly, what you see hanging below the airship in the water is a device Wellman called an "equilibrator" ... This was a set of metal cylinders tied together and hung beneath the crew cabin, designed to keep the airship at a constant altitude (around 200 ft) and act as ballast. Unfortunately, neither the equilibrator nor the ship itself worked very well, resulting in the crew having to abandon the airship as seen here. Fascinating photo!


Charles "Charlie" Spencer Chaplin, the comic genius of silent films, has died aged 88. The "King of film"', knighted in 1975, died at 0400 today at his Swiss manor at Corsier-sur-Vevey. His wife Oona, daughter of the late playwright Eugene O'Neill, and seven of their eight children were present. The couple's eldest daughter, actress Geraldine, was abroad filming in Spain but his son Sidney, the eldest son by the second of his four marriages was at his bedside. It is understood Sir Charles slipped into a coma last night.

A family spokesman said the actor would be buried in a private family ceremony in two days. As actor, writer, director, producer, composer and choreographer he left his indelible legacy on 80 films including favourites The Gold Rush, City Lights, and Limelight. From his screen debut in 1914, to his last completed film in 1967, Sir Charles is considered to have helped found the modern film.

He rose from humble beginnings to become one of the highest paid films stars.
Born into poverty in London in 1889 his parents Charles Chaplin, senior, and Hannah Hill were music hall entertainers who separated shortly after his birth. Sir Chaplin and his half-brother, Sydney, who later became his business manger, ended up in an institute for destitute children. Performing from the age of five he moved to America in 1910. There he introduced the world to one of his most revered characters - Little Tramp - in the 1914 film Kid's Auto Races.

The shuffling, cane-twirling figure in over-sized trousers and a black moustache, was born. By 1920, at the height of his fame worldwide regular cinema attendance, dances, dolls, comic books and toys were created in his image. A colourful personal life combined with Left wing leanings during the Cold War led to him being virtually expelled from America in 1952. He was awarded a special Oscar 20 years later but lived out the rest of his life in Switzerland where he died.

Lumière


Kinemacolor was the first successful colour motion picture process, used commercially from 1908 to 1914. It was invented by George Albert Smith of Brighton, England in 1906, and launched by Charles Urban's Urban Trading Co. of London in 1908. From 1909 on, the process was known as Kinemacolor. It was a two-colour additive colour process, photographing and projecting a black-and-white film behind alternating red and green filters. George Albert Smith is one of the most important figures in Victorian cinema. He was born on 4 January 1864 in London. After the death of his father, his mother moved the family to Brighton where she would run a boarding house on Grand Parade.

In the early 1880s Smith began to perform in small Brighton halls as a hypnotist. From 1882 Smith and his new partner, Douglas Blackburn, developed a 'second sight act' (the assistant hides an object in the theatre and then the performer, blindfolded, leads him to it) and feats of 'muscle-reading' (the performer transmits to the blindfolded 'medium' on the stage the identity of objects selected by the audience).

Successful shows were staged at the Brighton Aquarium. Smith would claim that genuine telepathy was practised but Blackburn would later admit that the act was a hoax. However, representatives of the Society for Psychical Research (SPR) did believe that Smith and Blackburn had the gift of true 'Thought Reading'. Smith became closely involved with the Society's activities by becoming the private secretary to its Honorary Secretary, Edmund Gurney. He held this post from 1883 to 1888.

In 1887, Gurney carried out a number of 'hypnotic experiments' in Brighton, with Smith as the 'hypnotizer'. Gurney died in 1888 and his successors at the SPR, F.W.H. Myers and F. Podmore, continued to employ Smith as their private secretary. Smith would co-author the paper, Experiments in Thought Transference for the Society's journal in the next year. In 1892, by which time Smith had left the SPR, he acquired the lease to St Ann's Well Garden in Hove. This was only a short distance from Brighton and the seafront.

He cultivated this site so that it became a popular pleasure garden. A Hove newspaper described it as, 'This delightful retreat ... presided over by the genial Mr G. Albert Smith, is now open ... In the hot weather the refreshing foliage of the wooded retreat is simply perfect, while one can enjoy a cup of Pekoe in the shade'. Lawn tennis, 'ferns, flowers, grapes and cucumbers for sale in the glass houses' a gypsy fortune-teller, a monkey house, lantern exhibitions given by Smith of 'dissolving views' and the occasional 'thrilling parachute descent' provided it with a distinctive character.

The garden would also become the location for his 'film factory'. Smith saw and appreciated the Lumière programme in Leicester Square in March 1896 and would have been aware of Robert Paul's great success with the new medium across that year. Paul's films played in Brighton for that summer season. Either at the end of that year or in early 1897, he acquired his first camera. John Barnes lists thirty-one films made by Smith in 1897. The few which have survived still display a remarkable charm and fascination and show how quickly he had acquired an understanding of how to work within the confines of seventy-five feet of film.


Marcus Garvey

Marcus Garvey (1887 - 1940)
Garvey was a Jamaican-born black nationalist who created a 'Back to Africa' movement in the United States. He became an inspirational figure for later civil rights activists.
Marcus Garvey was born in St Ann's Bay, Jamaica on 17 August 1887, the youngest of 11 children. He inherited a keen interest in books from his father, a mason and made full use of the extensive family library. At the age of 14 he left school and became a printer's apprentice where he led a strike for higher wages. From 1910 to 1912, Garvey travelled in South and Central America and also visited London.

He returned to Jamaica in 1914 and founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). In 1916, Garvey moved to Harlem in New York where UNIA thrived. By now a formidable public speaker, Garvey spoke across America. He urged African-Americans to be proud of their race and return to Africa, their ancestral homeland and attracted thousands of supporters.

To facilitate the return to Africa that he advocated, in 1919 Garvey founded the Black Star Line, to provide transportation to Africa, and the Negro Factories Corporation to encourage black economic independence. Garvey also unsuccessfully tried to persuade the government of Liberia in west Africa to grant land on which black people from America could settle.

In 1922 Garvey was arrested for mail fraud in connection with the sale of stock in the Black Star Line, which had now failed. Although there were irregularities connected to the business, the prosecution was probably politically motivated, as Garvey's activities had attracted considerable government attention. Garvey was sent to prison and later deported to Jamaica. In 1935, he moved permanently to London where he died on 10 June 1940. In 1964, his body was returned to Jamaica where he was declared the country's first national hero.

Woodrow Wilson

Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924)
Wilson was the 28th president of the United States. More than any other president before him, he was responsible for increasing American involvement in world affairs and his vision led to the creation of the League of Nations.
Thomas Woodrow Wilson was born in Staunton, Virginia, on 28 December 1856. His father was a Presbyterian minister. Wilson was raised in Georgia and South Carolina against the backdrop of the American Civil War. He studied at Princeton University, briefly became a lawyer and then went to Johns Hopkins University where he received a doctorate in history and political science.
After a successful academic career, Wilson became president of Princeton University, serving between 1902 and 1910. His reforming efforts brought him attention and the New Jersey Democrats asked him to run for governor in 1910. His victory launched his political career. In 1912 he ran as the Democratic candidate for president and won.

Wilson's domestic policies included the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, which provides the framework that still regulates American banks and money supply. Wilson sought to maintain American neutrality after the outbreak of World War One and was re-elected president in 1916 on the slogan 'He Kept Us Out of War.' However, the German policy of unrestricted submarine warfare led Wilson to bring the US into the conflict in April 1917.

In January 1918, in a major speech to Congress, Wilson laid out his Fourteen Points, which he believed should form the basis of the peace settlements in Europe. He attended the Versailles peace negotiations to advocate this programme, but the resulting treaties left him bitterly disappointed. Wilson returned to the US and waged a futile struggle to win American ratification of the Treaty of Versailles and American support for the new League of Nations. He was awarded the 1919 Nobel Prize for Peace for his efforts to create the League.


Immigrant is an American word used to describe the huge influx of people to the States between 1800 and 1910. This included five million Germans, four million Irish, and five million Central Europeans and Italians - enough foreign language speakers to destabilise, if not overwhelm English.

But these new immigrants wanted to become part of American society so wholeheartedly embraced English bringing with them words like schlep, kosher, capo, pizza, delicatessen, spiel and many others. At home, they may have generally used their respective mother tongues but, in society, English was used.


The United States has a long history of welcoming immigrants from all over the world. We value the contributions of immigrants, who continue to enrich this country and preserve its legacy as a land of freedom and opportunity. Though we are a nation of diverse cultures and backgrounds, we are bound by our shared history, the common civic values set forth in our founding documents, and the English language.


Belfast city hall


By the year 1900 Belfast was growing quickly and was in fact the largest city in Ireland and the twelfth largest in the United Kingdom. In 1896 the White Linen Hall had been knocked down and was being replaced with what is now known as Belfast City Hall. Related Articles Belfast City Hall This new building was considered by the merchants of Belfast to be a much grander affair for such a growing and booming city. The designer of the City Hall was Alfred Brumwell Thomas, a young London architect.

Under his design the City Hall was built by H&J Martin and cost at that time almost twice its planned budget and a whopping £360,000. This prompted an enquiry by the Local Government Board in Dublin Castle. The Portland stone building was opened in 1906 with a rich Italian marble interior and a dome that was 173 feet high. At the same time all around the City Hall new and impressive buildings were being erected which included the Northern Bank, The Scottish Provident Association and the Ocean Buildings. Various other impressive buildings were opened including Custom House in 1901, the Royal Victoria Hospital in 1903, and The Mater Hospital in 1900. Students of medicine were also taught there.

Belfast had a population at this time of 350,000 and many of the people lived in kitchen and parlour terraced houses. The cost of living was high and living conditions were tough. So tough were they they led to the Belfast Dock Strike in 1907. Jim Larkin, a Liverpool man arrived at this time to organise a branch of the National Union of Dockers. For children the death rate was high due mainly to typhoid and tuberculosis. Only strong action by the medical officer Dr H.W.Baillie and the introduction of clean water from the Mourne Mountains finally eradicated these two dreadful diseases.

Belfast continued to develop with the city boundary being ever extended to include middle class suburbs and areas such as: Rosetta Bloomfield The Glen Road As these suburbs grew steadily people left the City Centre and then travelled in and out by tram. The City Centre developed as a commercial centre and also as a place for entertainment. Buildings such as the Opera House opened in 1895, and The Hippodrome also opened its doors around this time.

As far back as 1873 the Alhambra Theatre opened and was Belfast's most popular music hall. The shipyard, rope making and linen were the mainstay of manufacturing though during the tough recession of 1904/5 life was tough for Belfast citizens. Belfast did remain the busiest port in Ireland but it depended heavily on the export of linen, rope, tobacco, tea machinery and various engineering products. Belfast in turn depended completely on Scottish coal and ships arrived daily to supply it.


With the outbreak of the First World War, differences were forgotten as the suffrage leaders urged  support. Women were called on to take up male jobs as their men folk were sent to the front. They proved their worth as bus conductors, ambulance drivers, and office staff. Nearly a million women were employed to work in the munitions industry, making vital, and dangerous weapons.

The armed forces themselves made a big drive to recruit women and the war years saw the founding of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps, the Women's Royal Naval Service, and the Women's Royal Air Force. But most women were employed well away from the fighting - as cooks, clerks, store women, messengers and signallers.

Support for the war was not universal. On 18 April 1915, 1500 women from Northern Europe and the USA met in The Hague to discuss peace at the International Congress of Women. Sylvia Pankhurst was one of those who continued to protest against the conflict. In 1918 women had the vote, but not all were enfranchised. The Representation of the People Act gave votes only to those women aged over 30 who held property.

The following year, Nancy Astor became the first woman to take her seat as an MP. Astor was soon championing women's causes such as equal rights in the civil service, votes at twenty-one and keeping the women police. She was to become famous for her brilliant repartee in the House and her ability to take on the most misogynist of male MPs.

Annie Besant


Annie Besant (1 October 1847 – 20 September 1933) was a prominent British socialist, theosophist, women's rights activist, writer and orator and supporter of Irish and Indian self-rule.

She married aged 20 to Frank Besant, but separated from him over religious differences. She then became a prominent speaker for the National Secular Society (NSS) and writer and a close friend of Charles Bradlaugh. In 1877 they were prosecuted for publishing a book by birth control campaigner Charles Knowlton. The scandal made them famous, and Bradlaugh was elected M.P. for Northampton in 1880.

She became involved with union actions including the Bloody Sunday demonstration and the London matchgirls strike of 1888. She was a leading speaker for the Fabian Society and the Marxist Social Democratic Federation (SDF). She was elected to the London School Board for Tower Hamlets, topping the poll even though few women were qualified to vote at that time.

In 1890 Besant met Helena Blavatsky and over the next few years her interest in theosophy grew while her interest in secular matters waned. She became a member of the Theosophical Society and a prominent lecturer on the subject. As part of her theosophy-related work, she travelled to India. In 1898 she helped establish the Central Hindu College. In 1902, she established the first overseas Lodge of the International Order of Co-Freemasonry, Le Droit Humain.

Over the next few years she established lodges in many parts of the British Empire. In 1907 she became president of the Theosophical Society, whose international headquarters were in Adyar, Madras, (Chennai).

She also became involved in politics in India, joining the Indian National Congress. When World War I broke out in 1914, she helped launch the Home Rule League to campaign for democracy in India and dominion status within the Empire. This led to her election as president of the India National Congress in late 1917. After the war, she continued to campaign for Indian independence and for the causes of theosophy, until her death in 1933.


Sylvia Pankhurst


Sylvia Pankhurst was an accomplished artist who used her skills to compliment the suffragette cause. A co-founder of the WSPU with her mother and sisters, she designed banners, badges and posters for the Cause. Sylvia was a committed socialist who increasingly identifying herself with working class women. She came into conflict with Christabel about the aims and methods of WSPU and in 1912, her East London Federation of Suffragettes became a breakaway group.

Like her mother and sister, she was imprisoned many times but her strong pacifist views meant that whereas Emmeline and Christabel threw themselves into the war effort in 1914, Sylvia campaigned passionately against the war. In the 1920s, she was a committed communist and continued to be active in international politics, especially in Ethiopia , until her death in 1960.


Beatrix Potter


It was during family holidays in the Lake District that the young Beatrix Potter had become entranced by nature, carefully drawing pictures of the wildlife around her. She was soon illustrating greetings cards and was encouraged to write by a family friend. Her first book, Peter Rabbit , was published in 1902 by her publisher friend, Frederick Warn who would publish all twenty-four of her books during the next thirty years.
In 1905, she bought her first farm in the Lake District and began to indulge her other passion, hill farming. During the 1920s, she became an expert in breeding Herdwick sheep, becoming the first woman president of the Herdwick Sheepbreeders Association. By the time of her she death she had acquired 14 farms and 4000 acres of land.

The Morse code was invented in America in 1835 by American painter Samuel Morse and Alfred Vail. It became the first form of radio communication and a global language which could be transmitted by flashes of light as well as sound. It was used to send and receive military messages during several wars and was used by sailors up until 1997.

The first and most famous use in the UK of the classic "dot-dot-dot dash-dash-dash dot-dot-dot" SOS emergency signal was from the Titanic on its doomed maiden voyage in 1912. It also famously led to the arrest of British murderer Dr Crippen in 1910. He fled the UK by boat to Canada but thanks to a Morse Code radio message sent across the Atlantic he was arrested on arrival.


Dr Crippen


After Crippen's first visit to England he wandered about the USA, practising in a number of larger cities. In Utah, during 1890 or 1891, his wife died, and he sent is 3 year old son to live with her late wife's Mother in California. During one of his stays in New York he married again. His second wife was a girl of 17 years old whom Crippen knew as Cora Turner.

Her real name was Kunigunde Mackamotski, her Father being a Russian Pole and her Mother German. There were more wanderings: St. Louis, New York and Philadelphia, with a short visit across the border to Toronto. The Munyon Company, a patent medicine company, now employed Crippen. Mrs. Crippen, who was deluded by her modest singing talent, travelled to New York for opera training.
Crippen arrives in the UK

In 1900 Crippen was in England again, and except for one short interval, remained in England. He became the manager at Munyon's offices in London's Shaftesbury Avenue, and later in the year his wife joined him in rooms in South Crescent, off Tottenham Court Road, At one period, it is said, that he practising as a dentist and a women's consultant. In 1902 Munyon's recalled him for six months in Philadelphia. Mrs. Crippen had been seeking music-hall work, with slight success. During one of her music engagements, she met an American music-hall performer called Bruce Miller (who later testified at the trial).

The Trial On 18 October 1910, Crippen's trial opened before Lord Chief Justice Lord Alverstone, in the No. 1 Court of London's Central Criminal Court (Old Bailey). The trial lasted five days. The prosecution's evidence was the purchase of the poison by Crippen, and that no one had seen Mrs. Crippen since the Martinetti's left the whist game early on the morning of 1 February 1910. Crippen was defended by A.A. Tobin, KC (later a judge). Tobin was assisted by Mr Huntly Jenkins and Mr. Roome.

Prosecution witnesses on the 1st day included Mrs. Martinetti, other acquaintances of the Crippens, some of Mr. Crippen's business associates. Bruce Miller and Mrs. Crippen's sister travelled from the USA to provide evidence.

At the start of the 2nd day, Chief Inspector Dew gave evidence, including the reading of a long statement provided by Crippen. In the afternoon, Dr. Pepper took the stand. He stated that the mark on the piece of skin (produced in the court) was caused by an abdominal operation. Someone skilled in dissection, he stated, carried out the dismemberment of the body. The remains were those of an adult, young or middle-aged, but there was no certain anatomical indication of body's sex.

When the remains had been examined, they had been buried for around 4 to 8 months. The burial had taken place soon after death had occurred. When asked by the prosecution whether the burial could have occurred before 21 September 1905 (when Crippen took up residence), Dr. Pepper relied "Oh, no, absolutely impossible." During cross-examination, Dr. Pepper was asked whether he had cut a piece of the skin sample across the area of the scar and handed it to Dr. Spilsbury. He confirmed that this was the case.

The jury took 27 minutes to find Crippen guilty and sentenced to death by hanging. Ethel le Neve was tried 4 days later and found not guilty as an accessory after the fact. On 23 November 1910, Crippen was hanged at Pentonville Prison in London. Before his execution, Crippen requested that a photograph of Ethel le Neve be buried with him.

Ethel le Neve sailed for New York, under the name of Miss Allen, on the morning of Crippen's execution. After reaching her final destination of Toronto, she started calling herself Ethel Harvey. Sometime during the period 1914-18, she returned to London and married a clerk called Stanley Smith. The couple settled down in Croydon and had several children, eventually becoming grandparents. Ethel died in hospital in 1967, aged 84.

The once "most famous house in London" (as some newspapers called 39 Hilldrop Crescent at the time) was destroyed, together with the surrounding houses, by German air raids in World War Two.


influenza epidemic


World War I claimed an estimated 16 million lives. The influenza epidemic that swept the world in 1918 killed an estimated 50 million people. One fifth of the world's population was attacked by this deadly virus. Within months, it had killed more people than any other illness in recorded history.

The plague emerged in two phases. In late spring of 1918, the first phase, known as the "three-day fever," appeared without warning. Few deaths were reported. Victims recovered after a few days. When the disease surfaced again that fall, it was far more severe. Scientists, doctors, and health officials could not identify this disease which was striking so fast and so viciously, eluding treatment and defying control. Some victims died within hours of their first symptoms. Others succumbed after a few days; their lungs filled with fluid and they suffocated to death.

The plague did not discriminate. It was rampant in urban and rural areas, from the densely populated East coast to the remotest parts of Alaska. Young adults, usually unaffected by these types of infectious diseases, were among the hardest hit groups along with the elderly and young children. The flu afflicted over 25 percent of the U.S. population. In one year, the average life expectancy in the United States dropped by 12 years.


The influenza epidemic

The Great Fire of 1910

No official cause was ever listed for the 1910 fire. But 1910 was also the driest year in anyone's memory. Snows melted early and the spring rains never came. By June, the woods were on fire in a hundred different places. Loggers, homesteaders and campers started some of the blazes accidentally. Others were thought to be the work of arsonists, possibly transient firefighters trying to insure future employment.
However, it appears the largest single contributor was the newly constructed Chicago, Milwaukee and Puget Sound Railway, which followed the St Joe River east from St. Maries to Avery, Idaho. It then disappeared into the densely timbered Bitterroot Mountains, emerging again near Taft, Montana.
In a 1911 report, a supervisor on the Coeur d'Alene National Forest estimated more than 100 fires were started by coal-powered locomotives that frequently spewed red-hot cinders into tinder-dry forests. The railroad hired spotters to walk the tracks and douse flare-ups, but as summer wore on the inevitable drew near.
By August, normally swift-running rivers had slowed to a crawl and many streams had simply disappeared into bedrock. A bad electrical storm the night of July 15 touched off a large number of fires in North Idaho.
It was one of the largest forest fires in American history. Maybe even one of the largest forest fire ever anywhere in the world. No one knows for sure, but even now, it is hard to put into words what it did. For two terrifying days and night's - August 20 and 21, 1910 - the fire raged across three million acres of virgin timberland in northern Idaho and western Montana.
Many thought the world would end, and for 86 fire victims, it did. Most of what was destroyed fell to hurricane-force winds that turned the fire into a blowtorch. Re-constructing what happened, leads to an almost impossible conclusion: Most of the devastation occurred in a six-hour period.


A forester wrote of flames shooting hundreds of feet in the air, "fanned by a tornadic wind so violent that the flames flattened out ahead, swooping to earth in great darting curves, truly a veritable red demon from hell."
Depending on who was doing the counting, there were either 1,736 fires burning in northern Idaho and western Montana on August 19, or there were 3,000. Most of the fires were under control.

Then, on Saturday afternoon, August 20, all hell broke lose. Hurricane-force winds, unlike anything seen since, roared across the rolling country of eastern Washington. Then on into Idaho and Montana forests that were so dry they crackled underfoot. In a matter of hours, fires became firestorms, and trees by the millions became exploding candles.


Millions more trees, sucked from the ground, roots and all, became flying blowtorches. It was dark by four in the afternoon, save for wind-powered fireballs that rolled from ridge top to ridge top at seventy miles an hour. They leaped canyons a half-mile wide in one fluid motion. Entire mountainsides ignited in an instant. "The fire turned trees into weird torches that exploded like Roman candles," one survivor told a reporter. It was like nothing anyone had ever seen before.

By noon on the twenty-first, daylight was dark as far north as Saskatoon, Canada, as far south as Denver, and as far east as Watertown, New York. To the west, the sky was so filled with smoke, ships 500 miles at sea could not navigate by the stars. Smoke turned the sun an eerie copper color in Boston. Soot fell on the ice in Greenland.
After August 22, the winds slowed and temperatures dropped. On the night of the 23rd, a general light rain, with snow in the higher elevations eventually checked the flames.

Eighty-six people died in the Big Blowup, most were fire fighters on the front lines of the fire. Hundreds more survived, many by the grace of God. Ranger Edward Pulaski, led men with prayers on their lips through a pitch-black darkness punctuated by exploding trees and waves of flames that arced across the night sky. Pulaski saved most of his 45-man crew in a mine portal in a narrow canyon over taken by a firestorm on all sides.
The Great Fire of 1910 burned three million acres and killed enough timber to fill a freight train 2,400 miles long. Merchantable timber destroyed was estimated to be eight billion board feet, or enough wood to build 800,000 houses. 20 million acres were burned across the entire Northwest
Entire towns were destroyed. Wallace, Idaho was in the direct path of the raging fire. Citizens, mostly women and children, boarded trains to evacuate the threatened town. Others stayed and sprinkled roofs with hoses. Firemen patrolled the city and awaited the inevitable.


Smoking embers began falling in town and by 4 o’clock the dark. Smoky sky triggered the city street lamps. It was unmistakable to all that the town would burn, somehow, somewhere. Townsfolk heard a roar like the “the sound of a storm at sea.” Another described the sound like “a thousand trains going over a thousand steel trestles.” The mayor marshaled volunteers and busily fought fires throughout the city. Sunday dawned dark and stayed that way. The hillsides were blackened and a third of town was a smoldering fire pit.
The entire east end of the town of Wallace was burned down. “In some brick buildings only the walls were left standing, while nothing was left of the wood buildings. Of the furniture there was nothing left but the iron and steel parts, and those were sadly out of shape. All glassware was melted. Apples were baked on the trees.
In all directions there was nothing left but the burning stumps of once-beautiful trees. The downed monarchs of the forest, fallen to the ground, fed the fire along its entire length. There were hot ash-heaps where trees had criss-crossed in failing and met hot destruction together.

Appalling desolation was everywhere.
The Great Fire of 1910 burned its way into the American conscience as no other fire had done. "Not ever before had a forest fire been given headlines so big or so black," "It managed to burn its way through public indifference and emerged as a charred but positive landmark along the road to forest protection."
There is no complete record of how much dead timber was salvaged. The best estimate is about 300 million board feet, less than 10 percent of what was killed. It took years to clear away dead timber that clogged trails.
A CCC crew in the 1930s recalled walking across narrow canyons on the backs of huge logs left behind by winds.

The winds were so powerful that trees were sucked from the ground, roots and all, and tossed into the bottoms of canyons. In one place he estimated the wreckage was 50 feet deep, with a creek running beneath it.
Erosion was also a problem. "The fall rains brought down a vast amount of sheet erosion and many steep gullies were scoured out to bedrock." To make matters worse, "nearly all of the scorched trees were immediately attacked by bark beetles."
The fire fundamentally shaped Forest Service practices. The Great Fire of 1910 affected forest fire fighting policy of the nation and influenced forest management to this very day.

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