On this day

Joseph Cosgrove

eat your heart out Anthony:

06 May1954: Roger Bannister breaks the 'Four Minute Mile' barrier
Medical student Roger Bannister breaks the four-minute mile barrier during a track meet in Oxford, England, in 3:59.4.
On this day, the 8th of May, 2018, a legionnaire, 25 years old, shot himself with his, “arme de service”.
He was participating in the opération Sentinelle.

source : Sud-Ouest
The 8th of May was special and my adopted mother's birthday. She took over when my family were blitzed out early in the war and took me in from a children's home. (Bring out the harps or send me a condolence card) :)

In 1945 I was taken to our small town/village centre to witness the rejoicing and clamber over the Bren Gun Carriers and other vehicles. Many of the soldiers were Canadians and they had been billeted in our road. Born before WW2 and as a nipper I was able to enjoy their kindness with gifts of fruit (often unheard of) and sweets.

Possibly this inspired me a few years later to join up.

Joseph Cosgrove

May 13, 1940. “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.”
First Speech as Prime Minister to House of Commons
On May 10, 1940, Winston Churchill became Prime Minister. When he met his Cabinet on May 13 he told them that “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.” He repeated that phrase later in the day when he asked the House of Commons for a vote of confidence in his new all-party government. The response of Labour was heart-warming; the Conservative reaction was luke-warm. They still really wanted Neville Chamberlain. For the first time, the people had hope but Churchill commented to General Ismay: “Poor people, poor people. They trust me, and I can give them nothing but disaster for quite a long time.”

I beg to move,

That this House welcomes the formation of a Government representing the united and inflexible resolve of the nation to prosecute the war with Germany to a victorious conclusion.

On Friday evening last I received His Majesty’s commission to form a new Administration. It as the evident wish and will of Parliament and the nation that this should be conceived on the broadest possible basis and that it should include all parties, both those who supported the late Government and also the parties of the Opposition. I have completed the most important part of this task. A War Cabinet has been formed of five Members, representing, with the Opposition Liberals, the unity of the nation. The three party Leaders have agreed to serve, either in the War Cabinet or in high executive office. The three Fighting Services have been filled. It was necessary that this should be done in one single day, on account of the extreme urgency and rigour of events. A number of other positions, key positions, were filled yesterday, and I am submitting a further list to His Majesty to-night. I hope to complete the appointment of the principal Ministers during to-morrow. The appointment of the other Ministers usually takes a little longer, but I trust that, when Parliament meets again, this part of my task will be completed, and that the administration will be complete in all respects.

I considered it in the public interest to suggest that the House should be summoned to meet today. Mr. Speaker agreed, and took the necessary steps, in accordance with the powers conferred upon him by the Resolution of the House. At the end of the proceedings today, the Adjournment of the House will be proposed until Tuesday, 21st May, with, of course, provision for earlier meeting, if need be. The business to be considered during that week will be notified to Members at the earliest opportunity. I now invite the House, by the Motion which stands in my name, to record its approval of the steps taken and to declare its confidence in the new Government.

To form an Administration of this scale and complexity is a serious undertaking in itself, but it must be remembered that we are in the preliminary stage of one of the greatest battles in history, that we are in action at many other points in Norway and in Holland, that we have to be prepared in the Mediterranean, that the air battle is continuous and that many preparations, such as have been indicated by my hon. Friend below the Gangway, have to be made here at home. In this crisis I hope I may be pardoned if I do not address the House at any length today. I hope that any of my friends and colleagues, or former colleagues, who are affected by the political reconstruction, will make allowance, all allowance, for any lack of ceremony with which it has been necessary to act. I would say to the House, as I said to those who have joined this government: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.”


Wow, what more can be said to mobilize the commonwealth and it's Allies?

Joseph Cosgrove

16 May 1978

Hostage situation of Kolwezi, Zaire
Situation of Kolwezi

The city of Kolwezi is situated in the ore-rich region of Shaba (now Lualaba), in the South-East of Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo). In 1978, the city held 100,000 inhabitants in a 40 km² urban area, with city quarters, separated by hills. It is a strategic spot, as it lies on important roads and railroad lines that link Lubumbashi to Dilolo. There is an airport 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) from the center of the city.

Hostage taking by rebels

In March 1978, a meeting took place between Algerian and Angolan officials and militants of the FNLC. Zairian intelligence was made aware of a possible destabilisation operation in the Shaba region, which had a high value because of its mines of precious materials like copper, cobalt, uranium and radium. For some months the Soviet Union had been purchasing all the cobalt available on the free market, but western intelligence did not connect this to the upcoming crisis. The FNLC operation was to be headed by Nathaniel Mbumba, assisted by officers from the Communist states of Cuba and the German Democratic Republic.

In May 1978, an uprising took place in Katanga against President Mobutu Sese Seko. On 11 May, a 3,000 to 4,000 man strong FNLC rebel group arrived. The FNLC was supported by foreign mercenaries.[1] Departing from Angola, it had crossed neutral Zambia. Upon arriving, they took about 3,000 Europeans as hostages and carried out various executions, particularly after the intervention of Zairian paratroopers on 18 May.[2] Between 90 and 280 Europeans were killed.

From 15 May, hundreds of rebels started departing the city in stolen vehicles, leaving only 500 men led by Cubans, mostly were garrisoned in the quarter of Manika and in the suburbs.

President Mobutu requested foreign assistance from Belgium, France and the United States.[

Franco-Belgian operation

On 16 May at 00:45 1978, the French 2e régiment étranger de parachutistes (2nd REP), led by Colonel Philippe Erulin, was put on alert. (1) A meeting took place in West Germany between Belgian and French officials to coordinate a common operation. The meeting was a failure, as the French wanted to deploy their forces to neutralise the rebels and secure the city, while the Belgians wanted to evacuate foreigners. Eventually the Belgian Paracommando Regiment was sent independently. Meanwhile, elements of the planned operation started to leak into the press, causing fears that surprise would be lost if swift action were not taken.

(1) The clairon de sérvice was sent to the centre of Calvi a bugled the rassemblement.


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Joseph Cosgrove

The Battle of Ligny

(16 June 1815) was the last victory of the military career of Napoleon Bonaparte. In this battle, French troops of the Armée du Nord under Napoleon's command, defeated part of a Prussian army under Field Marshal Prince Blücher, near Ligny in present-day Belgium. The Battle of Ligny is an example of a tactical win and a strategic loss for the French. While the French troops did force the enemy to retreat, the Prussian army survived and went on to play a pivotal role two days later at the Battle of Waterloo, reinforced by IV Prussian corps that had not participated in the battle at Ligny. Had the French army succeeded in keeping the Prussian army from joining the Anglo-allied Army under Wellington at Waterloo, Napoleon might have won the Waterloo Campaign.

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