Eighty Years Ago

15 December 1939 Australian Women waving farewell to troop ship RMS Strathallan Advance Party of the 6th Division to service overseas. Include George Alan Vasey's wife Jessie Vasey. Vase

15th December 1939: Australian women wave farewell to troop ship RMS Strathallan. World War Two.

Second from left is Jessie Vasey, the wife of George Alan Vasey, who did not survive the war. Before her husband’s death Vasey had devoted years for fighting for the rights of war widows.

Australia had joined the conflict over three months before the image was taken.

Eighty Years Ago

Soviet cavalry on parade in Lviv, after the city's surrender to the Red Army during 1939 Soviet invasion of Poland The city, then known as Lwów, was annexed by the Soviet Union and toda

Source

This image is taken from Soviet footage in the city of Lviv, made on the 28th of September, 1939. The communists parade through the streets following a successful invasion. Lviv, in Ukraine, changed from Polish to Russian governance at this time.

Control of western Ukraine changed hands a number of times during the Second World War. It was the site of the beginning of the Nazi Germany’s Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union.

1940 Soviet stamps celebrating the 1939 “liberation” of Ukrainian and Belarusian people from the Polish regime.

At the end of the war, world leaders including British Prime Minister Winston Churchill were responsible for the region falling behind the so-called Iron Curtain, trapping ethnic Ukrainians in the USSR.

Today, Lviv is one of Ukraine’s most patriotic cities.

On this day: Public Executions in Poland

Following the Nazi invasion of Poland on the 1st of September, 1939, German occupation of cities across the region was fast.

Bydgoszcz was occupied on the 9th of September, and roundups and public executions of civilians followed immediately.

These images show people – including a priest – soon to be killed, as well as random civilians the moment before they were executed.

Eighty Years Ago: Australia’s Women’s National Emergency Legion is Formed

Horsewoman in the Australian Women’s Emergency Legion. September 1939. X

The Women’s National Emergency Legion, an auxiliary organisation in Australia during the Second World War, was formed in September of 1938.

Based in Brisbane, Queensland, only women of British origin were allowed to join.

Article from The Morning Bulletin. Rockhampton. 18 November 1938.

Women considered eligible were provided with training in areas considered necessary to the war effort, such as first aid and truck driving.

Miss Tony Mitchell at Somerville House in Brisbane, 1942. Mitchell drove cars and trucks for the US Army. X

When war broke out in the Pacific at the end of 1941 women were attached to US military units to work as drivers and clerks. They also worked for British and Dutch units based in Australia.

The organisation ceased operations a couple of years after the end of the war.

On this day: the King’s official birthday.

This image is of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in Ottawa, Canada’s capital city, on the King’s official birthday on the 19th of May, 1939.

The British monarch has celebrated an official birthday separate to their real birthday since George II began the tradition in 1748. The purpose of the different date was to ensure celebrations could be held in a warmer month, where there was a better chance of the weather being fine.

RoyalVisitLandsdownePark Arrival of Their Majesties King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, in the State carriage, in front of grandstand at Lansdowne Park, Ottawa, Canada. 19th May 1939.

On this day: the mysterious death of a king.

Ananda_Mahidol_portrait_photograph Portrait photograph of King Ananda Mahidol of Thailand 1930s

Ananda Mahidol, Thailand’s king Rama VIII, died on the 3rd of June, 1946. He was only twenty at the time.

A child when he was elected successor to the throne in 1935, he continued to be educated in Switzerland, not visiting Thailand as king until 1938 when he was thirteen.

Rama_8_in_stamp stamp used in Rama VIII's reign 17th April 1941 issue Thailand. Thia.

Stamp issued 17th April 1941

The Japanese invaded Thailand the same day in 1941 they bombed America’s Pearl Harbor. The young king was not in the country at the time and did not return home until the end of 1945.

Only six months later a single gunshot was heard, and Ananda Mahidol was found dead.

Ananda_Mahidol_and_Louis_Mountbatten_in_19_January_1946 King Ananda Mahidol and Louis Mountbatten on 19 January 1946. Thai History British

King Ananda Mahidol and Louis Mountbatten. 19th January 1946.

More than one theory has been put forward as to how this happened.

He was the older brother of Bhumibol Adulyadej, who inherited the title and achieved cult status in Thailand; during his long reign both locals and foreigners were imprisoned for insulting him in any way. Even “liking” a Facebook post was enough for some people to be arrested.

The circumstances around Rama VIII’s death are still debated.

On this day: the invasion of Albania

Italy’s rapidly successful invasion of Albania, run by fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, began on the 7th of April, 1939. The Albanian king, Zog I, was forced into exile, and the entire operation was complete only five days later, on the 12th.
Italian_soldiers_passing_Albanians,_7_April_1939 Italian invasion of Albania Fascist
Albania was made part of the Italian Empire, with its sea ports being considered important to the regime.
Italian_army_2Italian invasion of Albania 7th April 1939 Fascist Italy Italian Empire