Sheila, Denise and the Belfast Blitz.


Belfast was heavily bombed by the Nazis in April and May of 1941, with some 900 people dying.

There were fears of animals at the zoo escaping and stampeding, so orders were given to shoot some of them.

A woman named Denise Weston Austin, one of the zoo’s first female zookeepers, decided to save a baby elephant named Sheila.

Baby elephant, Sheila, who was moved out of Belfast zoo because of fears of a hit from bombers during the Belfast Blitz of 1941.ele2

Because she had high walls around the back of her house, she knew she could hide the animal at night.

Every night after the zoo closed, she sneaked the elephant home on foot, and then returned her in the morning.

Belfast Blitz Sheila the Elepahnt Denise

Sheila survived the war, but died in 1966.

Austin died in 1997, but the identity of the “Elephant Angel” was not discovered until 2009, when a public appeal was launched to find her.

Picture sources:


Ukrainian Easter

There are a number of countries and cultures celebrating Easter today, including Ukrainians – both Catholic and Orthodox.

Jacques Hnizdovsky created this vintage Ukrainian Easter design.

The writing in the print says: Христос Воскрес! (Khrystos Voskres!), to which people will respond: Воїстину Воскрес! (Voyistynu Voskres!).

This means Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen! The interaction is heard frequently at Easter, and for some weeks afterwards.

Hnizdovsky_Easter Ukrainian Easter Card by Jacques Hnizdovsky Vintage

On this day: British troops in Dublin

British troops at a roadblock outside Cassidy’s Grocery in Dublin, Ireland on the 30th of April, 1916. This is the day after the conclusion of the Easter Rising, a failed Irish rebellion against rule from Britain.


Easter-Rising-File photo dated 30-04-1916 of British troops at a road block outside Cassidy's Grocery during the Easter Rising in Dublin, 1916.

On this day: the executions of Benito Mussolini and Clara Petacci

Mussolini_biografiaBenito MussoliniClara Petacci mistress of Benito Mussolini

Italy’s Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, and Clara Petacci, his mistress, were executed by partisans in the northern Italian village of Giulino di Mezzegra on the 28th of April, 1945.

25-aprile-1945-prefettura-di-milanoprobabilmente-lultima-foto-da-vivo3Benito Mussolini leaving the prefecture in Milan on 25 April 1945. Last photo of him alive.

Believed to be the last photograph of Mussolini, taken three days before his death.


Mussolini, second from left, and Petacci, centre.

Alongside a number of others, the bodies of both Mussolini and Petacci were hung on display in Milan the following day. Mussolini’s wife was not present at the time of his execution.