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Hiram Maxim with his invention

‘One 4.9 gun, one 3.4, and four maxims’

The matter-of-fact description of the weaponry aboard the Blitz, which Carruthers and Davies see on October 16 for the first time, includes the phrase ‘four maxims’. These days, the word ‘maxim’ is more associated with sleazy lad-mags, but in 1898 it had an altogether darker sense. A maxim is a machine-gun, named for its inventor, Sir Hiram […]

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Shopping in Kiel (Part 2): ‘cigars and many weird brands of sausage and tinned meats’

I imagine every sailor has at least one story about surviving on a single exotic and/or nightmarish foodstuff  for days. My own tale of woe involves a seemingly endless supply of Batchelors savoury rice served every day for what seemed like weeks, as we drifted slowly across the Hebridean sea during a windless heatwave. I was […]

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‘There is plenty ducks’

September 30 is the last day in the book that Carruthers is allowed to believe he really is on a duck shooting holiday, and not a spying mission. Finally, he gets to unpack his Lancaster (and specialist cartridges) to bag something for his dinner. “It was just dusk when we sallied out again, crossed a […]

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