English Language and History .com is a collection of two-minute tales drawn from history, myth and fiction. Each tale is accompanied by word games testing grammar and expression, based on textbooks used in British schools from the 1920s to the 1960s.

August 16, 1920
The tennis tournament at the Antwerp Olympics opens, and Max Woosnam wins men’s doubles gold
Max Woosnam
two-part story
Music: Sir Hubert Parry
Max fully deserves his reputation as England’s greatest all-round sportsman.

THE oddest of Max Woosnam’s many sporting achievements must be defeating Charlie Chaplin at table tennis, wielding only a butter knife. His more conventional sporting career began with cricket at Winchester College, and a century against the MCC for Public Schools.

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Latest
Germany’s Secret Weapon
Music: Sergei Rachmaninoff
As a last, desperate throw of the dice in the Great War, the Germans detonated an unusual kind of weapon in St Petersburg.
By Sir Winston S. Churchill
(1874-1965)

THE Czar had abdicated on March 15, 1917. The statesmen of the Allied nations affected to believe that all was for the best and that the Russian revolution constituted a notable advantage for the common cause.

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Six Posts
Mr Ivery Gets Away
two-part story
Music: Camille Saint-Saens
Richard Hannay tracks a German spy down to a French château, but Hannay’s sense of fair play gives his enemy a chance.
By John Buchan
(1875-1940)

‘HULLO, Mr Ivery,’ I said. ‘This is an odd place to meet again!’

In his amazement he fell back a step, while his hungry eyes took in my face. There was no mistake about the recognition. I saw something I had seen once before in him, and that was fear. Out went the light and he sprang for the door.

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The Battle of the Somme
Music: Ralph Vaughan Williams
A British victory at tragic cost, in which both sides had to learn a new way of fighting.

THE first day of the Battle of the Somme, which began on the 1st of July, 1916, with the Battle of Albert, constituted a heavy defeat for the Germans, and overall the Somme was declared a victory for the Allies.

But the British lost over 60,000 men on that one day, the bloodiest in the history of the British Army.

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The Outbreak of the Great War
Music: Frank Bridge
Germany felt she had a right to an empire like Britain’s, and she was willing to get it at the expense of her neighbours.

FROM the 1890s onwards Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, envious of Britain’s industrial and colonial success and exhilarated by German unification, began pouring resources into battleships, weapons and manufacturing. Britain and other European nations, sensing danger, nervously followed suit.

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Lawrence of Arabia
Music: Maurice Jarre
TE Lawrence persuaded Arab rebels to help overthrow the Ottoman Empire, but could not give them the independent Kingdom they craved.

DURING the Great War, the British sent Thomas Edward Lawrence, a Welsh army intelligence officer and expert on the Middle East, to work alongside Arab leaders smarting at Turkish domination.

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Armistice Day
Music: Edward Elgar
Armistice Day is the anniversary of the end of the First World War on the 11th of November, 1918.

AUSTRIA-Hungary’s attempt to snatch Serbia from the fading Ottoman Empire dragged Germany and Russia into the dispute.

Britain and France were already pledged to the support of Russia, and very soon the most devastating war in history had spread to all Europe and beyond.

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Kipling and ‘Agamemnon’
Music: Sir William Sterndale Bennett
Both Rudyard Kipling and the Royal Navy saw Greek sovereignty as a universal symbol of freedom.

RUDYARD Kipling liked to pretend that he was hopeless at classical languages.

Yet he wrote half-a-dozen stories set in classical antiquity, and as the Great War drew to a close in 1918, sent to the ‘Telegraph’ a translation of the Greek national anthem, ‘Hymn to Liberty’, composed in 1823 as Greece fought for independence from the Turks.

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All Posts
Tagged The Great War (13 posts)
page 1
1 Germany’s Secret Weapon
By Sir Winston S. Churchill
(1874-1965)
As a last, desperate throw of the dice in the Great War, the Germans detonated an unusual kind of weapon in St Petersburg.
2 Mr Ivery Gets Away
By John Buchan
(1875-1940)
Richard Hannay tracks a German spy down to a French château, but Hannay’s sense of fair play gives his enemy a chance.
3 Captain Charles Fryatt
A civilian ferry captain was court-martialled by the Germans for thumbing his nose at their U-Boats.
4 Collateral Damage
By John Buchan
(1875-1940)
Richard Hannay reflects on the innocent lives lost, when the lust for power or the desire for revenge makes us less than human.
5 Max Woosnam
Max fully deserves his reputation as England’s greatest all-round sportsman.
6 Kindergarten Politics
By John Buchan
(1875-1940)
John Buchan didn’t think much of our ‘new manners’ in foreign policy during the 1920s.
page 2
7 The Outbreak of the Great War
Germany felt she had a right to an empire like Britain’s, and she was willing to get it at the expense of her neighbours.
8 The Battle of Jutland
Preventing the German fleet from breaking out into the Atlantic in 1916 should have felt like victory, but it felt like defeat.
9 The Summons Comes for Mr Standfast
By John Buchan
(1875-1940)
In John Buchan’s story about the Great War, Richard Hannay must watch as his friend sacrifices his life for the Allies.
10 The Battle of the Somme
A British victory at tragic cost, in which both sides had to learn a new way of fighting.
11 Lawrence of Arabia
TE Lawrence persuaded Arab rebels to help overthrow the Ottoman Empire, but could not give them the independent Kingdom they craved.
12 Kipling and ‘Agamemnon’
Both Rudyard Kipling and the Royal Navy saw Greek sovereignty as a universal symbol of freedom.
page 3
13 Armistice Day
Armistice Day is the anniversary of the end of the First World War on the 11th of November, 1918.
Authors
John Buchan (1875-1940)
4 posts
1 post
New Stories
The only truly global conflict in history began when German troops crossed into Poland in September 1939.
By Richard Cobden
(1804-1865)
Richard Cobden questioned both the wisdom and the motives of politicians who intervene on foreign soil.
To the poor of England, the Worcestershire man gave affordable pots and pans, and to all the world he gave the industrial revolution.
After Louis XIV’s grandson Philip inherited the throne of Spain, the ‘Sun King’ began to entertain dreams of Europe-wide dominion.
New Puzzles
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Try writing complete sentences using these nouns as either the subject or the object of a verb.
Try writing complete sentences using these verbs in either the active or the passive voice.
Polyword ‘Mole’
Make as many words as you can with the letters below. All your words must be at least four letters long, and must also include the highlighted letter. What’s the nine-letter word?

SEE how many words you can make using the letters below. All your words must be at least 4 letters long, and must include the letter (change).

We found commonly used words, plus one 9-letter word. Can you do better?

Use each letter only once. But if there are e.g. two As, you can used them both.

Don’t count proper nouns such as April, Zeus, or Newcastle (pretty much anything that has to be spelled with a capital letter at the start), or acronyms like HMRC.

Don’t just add -S for plurals or third person singular verbs, e.g. CAT → CATS or SPEAK → SPEAKS.

Note: You can find more Polywords and other games on our Nine Lives puzzle page, and most of our stories are accompanied by games with words, grammar and numbers.

More Puzzles
Do you know ‘wheedle’ (6 letters), and ‘engine-driver’s compartment’ (3 letters)?
Do you know ‘cup’ (6 letters), and ‘unit of resistance’ (3 letters)?
Take one number from another number. See how quickly you can solve the sums.
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with SHEEP and finish with FLOCK.
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with CHIP and finish with PUTT.
See if you can guess these words letter-by-letter.
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History (359)
Fiction (77)

letters game

Make words from two or more of the tiles below. What is the highest-scoring word you can make?

Press enter or type a space to see feedback on your word.

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numbers game

Make the total shown using two or more of the numbers underneath it. You can add, subtract, divide and multiply. Use any number once only.

More like this: Maths Gym Mental arithmetic