Category Archives: Photography

Bloodhound and the Traffic Wardens

Despite this being parked on Keble Road this afternoon, I did not see one Traffic Warden proffering their usual friendly Penalty Notices. Still with a top speed in excess of 1000mph (no, that’s not a typo) catching Bloodhound might be an issue. Until it reaches to a corner…





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Filed under Oxford: The Perspiring Dream, Photography, Technology, Timology

The elephant and the machine gun.

I just love this photo; it’s utterly bonkers! Taken in an unknown location in 1914, it depicts a US Corporal aiming a Colt M1895 atop a fully grown Sri Lankan elephant.

I would wager that the brave Corporal has not attempted to fire the machine gun, as I doubt the placid looking beast he rides would appreciate the clatter and shock of having 450 round a minute dispensed so close to his lug holes.

The gun is John Moses Browning’s M1895 Colt-Browning machine gun, nicknamed the ‘Potato Digger,’ as the movement of the arm required some eight inches of clearance at the underside of the weapon, lest the gun dig itself into the dirt. Or in this case the elephant’s shoulders…

Elephant mounted machine gun 1914The elephant looks suitably unimpressed! Perhaps he has never seen Far Cry 4, or the Lord of the Rings films?


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A Shard of Light

Tim and Becky Shard

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February 6, 2015 · 11:16 am

World War One. My Family’s History.

Today marks the centenary of Great Britain joining World War One. There have been salutes, flypasts, vigils, and tributes paid by all quarters, and much done to honour the dead. And quite rightly so; their sacrifices made possible our freedom, and we will all, ever, be thankful.

My own family were surprisingly lucky during the war. My mother’s side of the family were all in India for the duration, and only started to drift back to Blighty at Independence, while there are little or no records from my father’s side. My grandmother (on my father’s side) however used to tell me tales of her father, my great-grandfather, and his time in uniform.

When I was a child she would stroke my hair when she spoke to me of him, and tell me how much I reminded her of him… she described how his hair was exactly like mine… ginger and much like a wire brush. Apparently we have the same eyes, but I know mum’s side also lays claim to my (somewhat useless) ocular ancestry. Kelly was much luckier, and avoided the ginge altogether.

The only records we have of Frank Kittle (Nan called him “Pop”, but then our grandfather was also “Pops”, so maybe this is a generational thing?) are some photographs and stories.

The photograph of him before he went to the trenches shows a thin, nervous, smile, and a rather optimistic attempt to Brylcream down the wire wool with a side parting. In the photo he must be in his mid 20’s, and has the badge of the Royal Garrison Artillery on his shoulder. Shortly after the photo was taken, he was sent to France, and was gassed at the Somme while serving with one of the Brigades of The Royal Field Artillery.

Pop Kittle Pre War

He was lucky to live, and was invalided back to his native Norfolk. He spent time recuperating from the effects of the mustard gas at hospitals in Bristol and Yarmouth, but had a hacking, rattling, cough ’till the day he died. A photo of him taken some years later, still in his uniform, shows a more confident face, and the slightest hint of a smile.

Frank Kittle

His cough stayed with him all his life, and Dad describes how he was always ill and bronchial. He served as both a Policeman, and Fireman in and around Yarmouth during both the interwar period, and during the Second World War. There is a family story that describes how he was the only policeman on duty when a local fisherman caught a German U-Boat in his nets, and towed it into Yarmouth harbour. Pop took the surrender of the U-Boat Captain, and his crew, and accepted a set of binoculars as a token of friendship. While this may or may not be true, it does help to explain the Nazi U-Boat binoculars that have been kicking about for years! This is him in his Police uniform, with his bicycle.

And a definite smile.

Policemand in Yarmouth


Filed under Photography, Timology

A big fan of this…

This has been entertaining me this week:

Chopper fan

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Holi Smoke (stack)

Do check out these great photos from the Holi festival at Battersea Power-station earlier this month.

Holi is the Hindu festival that heralds the arrival of spring on the subcontinent, and is traditionally celebrated by showering your friends and family (indeed anyone you come across) with brightly coloured powder. It’s enormous fun, but the powder does seem to find its way into the strangest places! Check out the rest of the photos here.

Battersea Holi

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Guess Who Friday

So who is this sporting celebrity? Don’t forget, answers via the PM or email please! Enjoy the sunshine!

Guess WHo Friday

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Guess Who Friday

Another teaser for your Friday grey matter. Remember, answers in email or PM! Who is this glamorous couple enjoying the sunshine?

Guess who friday

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Metro Goldwyn Mayer Lions

I thought I would share this image with you. Once it has been seen, it can not be unseen! The MGM lion is standing on a box!

Judging by the technology, and the clothes of the technicians, I assume the photo comes from the 1921 or 1924 lion. I wonder how long they had to film while waiting for him to roar? Also, he does not seem to have any leash or rope on him… I hope he had a go at the camera man!


Incidentally, for the real (reel?) geeks out there, MGM have used nine lions over the years:

Goldwyn Pictures Lion #1, 1921

– Goldwyn Pictures Lion #2, 1924

– MGM – Slats the Lion, 1924

– MGM – Jackie the Lion, 1924-1928

– MGM – Jackie the Lion, 1928-1929

– MGM – Rusty the Lion, 1932

– MGM – Tanner the Lion, 1934

– MGM – George the Lion / Brief Mane, 1956-1957

– MGM – Leo the Lion, 2008

I’m off… time for a lie-in….

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D-Day Plus One (and 69 years)

Yesterday was the 69th anniversary of the Normandy landings, the massive Allied Invasion of France, that was known as “D-Day.” Events on both sides of the channel have commemorated the bravery of the troops who fought their way up the beaches, as well as honoured the fallen.

It all got me thinking; what were the blood soaked beaches (think of the opening sequences of Saving Private Ryan) like the day afterwards? On D-Day +1?

Well, having done a little research I can show you… while the massive Mulberry Harbours were being constructed on Omaha Beach and at Arromanches, this photo shows that there was a continuous landing and deployment of Allied troops, supplies, and equipment to the beach heads. Barrage balloons can be seen keeping watch overhead for German aircraft while scores of ships unload men and materials. The sheer activity of it is impressive, and if you ever get to go to Arromanches, do be sure check out the remains of the harbour. They are genuinely impressive, and very moving.

D-Day Plus One

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