Two-minute tales from history, myth and fiction, accompanied by word games, grammar games and writing practice, all based on traditional school textbooks.

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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
The Summons Comes for Mr Standfast
two-part story
Music: George Frideric Handel
In John Buchan’s story about the Great War, Richard Hannay must watch as his friend sacrifices his life for the Allies.
By John Buchan
(1875-1940)

THEY took Peter from the wreckage with scarcely a scar except his twisted leg. Death had smoothed out some of the age in him, and left his face much as I remembered it long ago in the Mashonaland hills.

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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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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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Collateral Damage
Music: Gustav Holst
Richard Hannay reflects on the innocent lives lost, when the lust for power or the desire for revenge makes us less than human.
By John Buchan
(1875-1940)

THAT night I realized the crazy folly of war. When I saw the splintered shell of Ypres and heard hideous tales of German doings, I used to want to see the whole land of the Boche given up to fire and sword. I thought we could never end the war properly without giving the Huns some of their own medicine.

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Kindergarten Politics
Music: Charles Villiers Stanford
John Buchan didn’t think much of our ‘new manners’ in foreign policy during the 1920s.
By John Buchan
(1875-1940)

SANDY was furious about the muddle in the Near East and the mishandling of Turkey. His view was that we were doing our best to hammer a much-divided Orient into a hostile unanimity.

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Captain Charles Fryatt
Music: Sir John Blackwood McEwen
A civilian ferry captain was court-martialled by the Germans for thumbing his nose at their U-Boats.

ON July 27th, 1916, Captain Charles Fryatt, a civilian, was brought before a German military court in Bruges.

Entered into evidence were two gold watches presented to the captain by his employers, the Great Central Railway and the Great Eastern. One commemorated the occasion on March 3rd, 1915, when under Fryatt’s command SS Wrexham escaped the clutches of a U-Boat in a breathless pursuit over forty nautical miles.

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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
which is ‘English Style’ ?

Word Play: Subject and Object

Use each of the words below as either the subject or the object of a verb.

Company. Cloud. Show.

JB Cramer was one of the finest pianists of his day, though his reverence for Mozart made his own music more popular in the drawing room than the concert hall.
By Percy Bysshe Shelley
(1792-1822)
Poet Percy Bysshe Shelley says that the pinnacle of political achievement is the government not of others, but of ourselves.
By John Keats
(1795-1821)
Poet John Keats speaks of the beauties of Autumn, her colours, her sounds and her rich harvest.
By Percy Bysshe Shelley
(1792-1822)
Poet Percy Shelley calls on November’s sister months to watch by the graveside of the dead Year.
Cut
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.
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.
Polyword ‘Signal’
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?

Polyword

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 London (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.

More Puzzles
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with STAR and finish with DUST.
Practise doing sums using multiples of 25, 50 and 75.
Do you know ‘move in a zig-zag fashion’ (4), and ‘a 1711 opera by Handel’ (7)?
Do you know ‘a river, part of the Bristol-London waterway’ (6 letters), and ‘e.g. D minor’ (3 letters)?
Do you know ‘stout’ (6 letters), and ‘gloat’ (4 letters)?
See if you can guess these words letter-by-letter.
A word-making and word-searching game with a dash of strategy to it.
top topics
History (379)
Fiction (82)

letters game

What is the longest word you can make using these letters?

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

More like this: Longest Word (Letters Game) Games with Words

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: Target Number (Mental Arithmetic Game) Mental Arithmetic