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Dear Reader

Dear Reader #156

Dear Reader,

Are actresses/writers/etc born or made? Where does their talent come from? To answer this question, I intend to trace the ancestry of creative people born in the first quarter of the twentieth century, to see if their ancestors displayed any creative traits.

I’m starting with my favourite actress, Eva Marie Saint. Eva Marie Saint first came to my attention in the movie ‘36 Hours’, where she co-starred with my favourite actor, James Garner. After that, I enjoyed her classic performances in movies such as On The Waterfront and North by Northwest.

Eva Marie Saint’s acting career is well documented. For this project, I’m interested in the period before she was famous, and in her ancestors’ roots. Where was she born? Where did her ancestors come from? What trades did they follow? Time to search the records…

I’ve found Eva in the 1940 United States Federal Census. This is a public record. The census reveals Eva’s age, approximately 15, that she lived with her sister, Adelaide aged 17, and her parents, John Saint, 48, and Eva, 43. The family lived in Bethlehem, Albany, New York. John was a District Credit Manager for a tyre company while Eva’s mother was a housewife. Their neighbours were chemists, printers, engineers and a piano teacher, so a pleasant district. 

The piano teacher hints at local artistic endeavours, but nothing to directly link Eva’s family with the arts, as yet. Nevertheless, a good start with plenty of leads to follow.

***

As London developed during the seventeenth century, the city saw great advances in medicine, science and philosophy. It became a home to the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal Society. Many learned people made a positive contribution to the sciences. However, London also attracted its fair share of quacks.

The quacks peddled a wide range of ‘miracle’ cures, especially for embarrassing diseases like syphilis. The quacks used to gather at the gates of St Bartholomew’s Hospital. There, William Salmon sold an ‘Elixir of Life’, and an antidote to the plague.

Anne Laverenst ran her business in Arundel Street. She treated syphilis and removed women’s bladder stones. Coffee houses were also popular locations for quacks. These establishments carried advertisements for cures such as ‘Fletcher’s Powder’, which was effective ‘against all diseases, except death’. 

🖼 William Hogarth’s ‘The Visit to the Quack Doctor’.

Ivor Allchurch, the sixth of seven children, was born on 16 October 1929 in Swansea to Charles Wilfried Allchurch and Mabel Sarah Allchurch, née Miller. Ivor’s parents were originally from Dudley, Worcestershire, but they moved to Swansea post World War I in search of work.

After school, Ivor worked in a foundry and a fish market. However, his main passion was football. An inside-forward, he began his professional career with Swansea Town. He remained with the club for ten years, scoring over 100 goals.

Ivor training with Swansea in 1951. 📸 National Museum of Wales.

Aged 28, Ivor moved to Newcastle United for a fee of £28,000. Four seasons later, he joined Cardiff City for £18,000, then finished his career back at his hometown club, Swansea Town.

In total, Ivor won 68 caps for Wales, a record at the time. Along with Trevor Ford, he was the leading goal scorer for his country, scoring 23 goals, a record eventually broken by Ian Rush. 

Ivor made his international debut on 15 November 1950 in a 4 – 2 defeat to England. During the 1958 World Cup, he scored twice for Wales and helped his country to reach the quarter finals.

In qualifying for the 1958 World Cup, Ivor scored in both legs of the play-off match versus Isreal. In the finals itself he scored in a 1 – 1 draw versus Mexico and in the 2 – 1 group play-off victory against Hungary.

Wales captain Dave Bowen praised Ivor for his World Cup performances. He said, “They looked at Ivor and wondered where he had been hiding. He could have played for any of the teams out there, including Brazil.”

In 1962, Ivor won his 50th Welsh cap in a match against Scotland. He ended his illustrious international career in 1966 in a match against Chile, bowing out with the accolade of “The Golden Boy of Welsh Football.”

***

Clara Bow was, arguably, America’s first major superstar. At the apex of her stardom in 1929 she received 45,000 fan letters a month. Yet, Clara was born into abject poverty. Indeed, it’s possible that her birth was not even recorded. Certainly, no record of her birth survives.

Various records list Clara’s birthday as 29 July, but the years vary – 1905, 1906 and 1907. The 1910 US census was taken on 15 April. Clara was recorded as aged four in that census, which suggests she was born in 1905.

The 1910 census also recorded that Clara was one of three children born to her parents, Robert and Sarah, but the only one alive. A heat wave gripped her home city, New York, in July 1905, with temperatures topping 100 °F. Many people died.

Later, Clara wrote: “I don’t suppose two people ever looked death in the face more clearly than my mother and I the morning I was born. We were both given up, but somehow we struggled back to life.”

To be continued…

***

The Dexter Crisis, Series 1, Episode 10 of The Rockford Files was written by Gloryette Clark. John Thomas James and Stephen J Cannell had authored the previous episodes. The pace of this episode was slightly slower than previous episodes – nothing wrong with that.

Gloryette Clark was a long-time associate of Roy Huggins, aka John Thomas James. She served as writer, director, film editor and stock footage librarian. An external motel shot in this episode was the same as a shot in episode 9, In Pursuit of Carol Thorne. These shots were expensive to produce, so it’s understandable that they were reused. 

Las Vegas was a main location for this story, but no filming took place there. The cover shots were all stock footage, although you don’t notice this as the story unfolds.

None of the series regulars – Rocky, Beth, Becker or Angel – feature in this episode, which makes me wonder if it was adapted from a standard private eye story into a Rockford Files story. That said, Rockford’s traits do stand out, especially when he’s reluctant to thump someone, despite provocation.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

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Dear Reader

Dear Reader #69

Dear Reader,

Where do you get your ideas from? Is a common question asked of authors. My answer is, my ideas always stem from my characters. Where do my characters come from? The answer to that question is various sources, including old photographs. Here’s an example of a nurse in the Spanish Civil War. I don’t know her name or background, but her strong features immediately spoke to me and just by studying the picture a fictional character, Lise Lazard, took shape. You can read about Lise in Branches, book two in The Olive Tree, A Spanish Civil War Saga. Available soon 🙂

I write, therefore I am…

In September 1953, sugar rationing in Britain finally came to an end. The wartime government introduced it in January 1940. A weekly sugar ration ranged from 8oz to 16oz per week.

Where to collect your ration if you lived in Birmingham. Maybe we’ll see similar Brexit inspired posters in the new year.

Station IX, which developed weapons and gadgets for SOE agents, created a small motorcycle called the Welbike. Although 3,641 bikes were produced they were rarely employed by the SOE. Instead they were issued to the 1st and 6th Airborne Divisions who used them during the Anzio and Normandy landings. The Welbike also featured at Arnhem during Operation Market Garden.

Bulgarian joke. Red Bull gives you wings. Vodka gives you 4×4 🤣

One for the album. Operation Zigzag has entered the Brazilian chart alongside John le Carre, Tom Clancy and Stieg Larsson 🙂

Eve at #1 for the first time 🙂

Philosophy humour.

I’m reading A Moment of War, Laurie Lee’s lyrical account of his time in the Spanish Civil War.

“Eulalia turned and smiled at me brilliantly, showing her tongue, her face cracking open like a brown snake’s egg hatching.”

Vertigo, what vertigo?! Acrobats do their thing on top of the Empire State Building, 1934.

A lovely weekend for my Eve’s War Heroines of SOE Series, #1 in America and Britain, and now in Australia 🙂

Fat Banished!

No exercise!

No diets!

No baths!

No ill effects!

No danger!

Easy to swallow!

The solution you’ve been waiting for, sanitised tape worms!

October 1944, the Allies cross the Belgium-Germany border and prepare to write the closing chapters of World War II with the defeat of Hitler’s brand of fascism.

My article about SOE agent Odette Sansom is on page 24 of this month’s Seaside News 🙂

Met a friend on the dunes 🙂

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

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Dear Reader

Dear Reader #68

Dear Reader,

“We all have our time machines, don’t we. Those that take us back are memories…And those that carry us forward, are dreams.” – H.G. Wells, 21 September 1866.

19 September 1944. Dutch residents of Velp welcome British Sherman tanks of 30 Corps as they advance towards Grave and Nijmegen.

From The People’s Collection Wales. A common sight in the Victorian era and first half of the twentieth century, housewives scrubbing their front doorsteps.

A clean doorstep was regarded as a badge of pride.

Pictured, Mrs Blodwen Williams of Ynys-y-bŵl during the 1930s.

This week in 1946, filmmakers from twenty-one nations arrived in Cannes, an already-glamorous resort on the French riviera, and presented their films to their peers, establishing the Cannes Film Festival.

My Eve’s War Heroines of SOE series has entered the top five. We will start promoting the series during the autumn so I’m hoping it will attract more readers. From my point of view, it’s a great series to research and write.

Views from the Bwlch this week.

Health and Safety takes a holiday. Painting the Eiffel Tower in 1932.

Pictured in 1942, the long wave radio transmitter at Criggion Radio Station, mid-Wales. The centre was vital to British communications during the Second World War.

I’m researching songs of the Spanish Civil War. This is A Las Barricadas, To The Barricades, a rousing call to arms based on Whirlwinds of Danger, Warszawianka, a Polish song.

Eileen Nearne who, along with her sister Jacqueline, served in France as an SOE agent. After transmitting over one hundred messages, Eileen was captured by the Gestapo. However, she escaped. Read her remarkable story here https://hannah-howe.com/eves-war/eileen-nearne/

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

Categories
Dear Reader

Dear Reader #65

Dear Reader,

My latest audiobook, available soon 🙂

The Rance in Dinan. Eve was in Dinan this week, in Operation Broadsword, book three in my Eve’s War series. She is trying to get rid of a million francs, which is proving surprisingly difficult.

The print copies of Operation Locksmith have arrived 🙂

Café Society, Paris 1925.

I’m eclectic. Which one are you?

My latest translation, the German version of Operation Zigzag, book one in my Eve’s War Heroines of SOE Series. Great to see that readers in Germany are also downloading the English version.

The streets of London, 1930. The car on the right is a Burney, made by Streamline Cars Ltd and designed by Dennis Burney in 1927.

A walk through the woods this week, Craig yr Aber, Glamorgan.

First Officer Maureen Dunlop was a ferry pilot for the Air Transport Auxiliary. The women of the ATA transported newly manufactured aircraft from factories to aerodromes throughout Britain. She was trained to fly 38 types of aircraft, including Spitfires, Mustangs, Typhoons and bombers.

Four ‘It Girls’ dressed for an evening out, 1927.

I’m a Surrealist. How about you?

Excited to see that Operation Broadsword, book three in my Eve’s War Heroines of SOE Series, is ranked #32 as a hot new release. The book will be published in November 🙂

Heroines of the SOE

Anne-Marie Walters 

On 21 June 1944, 2,000 Nazi soldiers attacked a pocket of the French Resistance. During the battle, Anne-Marie distributed hand-grenades and buried incriminating documents in a cave under a church. She also collected SOE money and took it with her as the Resistance withdrew from the village. 

Read Anne-Marie’s remarkable story here 👇

https://hannah-howe.com/eves-war/anne-marie-walters/

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

Categories
Dear Reader

Dear Reader #57

Dear Reader,

“But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; tread softly because you tread on my dreams.” – W B Yeats

I enjoyed the movie Lucie Aubrac this week and would place it in my top ten. I love the Continental style of filmmaking where the camera lingers on a scene and facial expressions say more than words. Some of the linking scenes were dialogue and music free, yet the story flowed effortlessly.

Lucie Aubrac is a French movie and I viewed it in its native language. I find that subtitles draw you into a story and make it more compelling. It’s a true story and I knew the outcome. All the same, the movie is gripping from the opening dramatic scene to its heartfelt conclusion.

A fitting cinematic tribute to a remarkable woman.

One of my favourite actresses, Eva Marie Saint, was 96 on 4th July 2020. Happy birthday and thank you for your wonderful films.

A record-breaking sales day for my books and Sam’s Song at #1 for the ninth time. Difficult to get excited with so much going on in the world, but many thanks to everyone who supports my books.

The birth of speech. And it all went downhill from there 🙂

René Descartes as Nostradamus?!

Of course, he actually said, “Cogito, ergo sum.” – “I think, therefore I am.”

One for the album. Nice to see my latest Sam Smith Mystery, Looking for Rosanna Mee, alongside Ian Rankin in the Hot 💯. We will publish Looking for Rosanna Mee in September.

I see my new keyboard is well equipped for the modern age…

Bicycle-taxis, Paris, spring 1945. Research for my Eve’s War Heroines of SOE series.

This week in 1932, the Great Depression in America reached its lowest point. After the 1929 Wall Street Crash, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell. Disaster followed for investors, alongside further declines in consumption, production and employment.

Also interesting on this front page: ‘State Plans to Roundup Tax Dodgers’. And, ‘Jury Believes Her Story’. I’m intrigued to know what her story entailed.

Written in the 1970s, the lyrics are still highly relevant today.

An inspiration for my Eve’s War series, Nancy Wake was one of the most remarkable women of World War II. Born in New Zealand and brought up in Australia, she married a Frenchman and became a leading figure in the Marseille Resistance. In 1943, she joined the SOE and was heavily involved in the liberation of France.

This DVD arrived from New Zealand today and I’m looking forward to watching it.

An in-depth article about Nancy Wake will appear on my website in the near future.

Don’t believe everything you hear. Don’t believe everything you see. This is a stationary image.

Some ideas to lift your mood. Try to achieve at least three a day.


Resistance Couples – Hélène and Philippe Viannay

Hélène Victoria Mordkovitch was born on 12 July 1917 in Paris after her Russian parents had emigrated to the city in 1908.

A brilliant student, Hélène attended the Sorbonne where she studied geography. There, in September 1940, she met her future husband, Philippe Viannay, a philosophy student seeking a certificate in geography.

Hélène Viannay

Opposed to the Nazi occupation of France, the couple decided not to escape to London. Instead they created an underground newspaper, Défense de la France, publishing the first issue on 14 July 1941. The journal took its motto from Blaise Pascal, “I only believe stories told by those witnesses who are willing to have their throats cut.”

Despite the dangers of producing an underground newspaper, Défense de la France remained in production until the Liberation in August 1944. By that time the newspaper regularly reached half a million readers, the largest circulation of the whole clandestine press.

Philippe Viannay

Hélène and Philippe married in 1942. Their first child, Pierre, was born the following year while the couple were on the run from the Gestapo. Along with the newspaper, Hélène also organised the mass production of false identity papers for Frenchmen resisting deportation to the forced labour camps in Germany.

In 1944, Hélène joined the Ronquerolles Maquis, a Resistance group led by Philippe. After her husband was injured, Hélène coordinated the group and participated in the liberation of France.

After the war, the Viannays created the Centre for the Training of Journalists (Centre de Formation des Journalistes) in Paris, which continues to this day. In 1947, they also founded Les Glénans (Le Centre nautique des Glénans), which initially served as a convalescent centre for deportees and battle-weary résistants. Hélène managed the association from 1954 until her retirement in 1979.

The Canadian journalist Caitlin Kelly, who studied with Philippe Viannay at the Centre in Paris, later described him as “the most inspiring man I’ve ever met.”

In 1991, Hélène participated in the creation of the Prix Philippe Viannay-Défense de la France, a prize awarded annually to works promoting resistance to Nazism in France and elsewhere in Europe.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx