Season 19

  • Midsomer Murders History Header Austen Orczy

    Jane Austen & Baroness Orczy in Midsomer County


    (Caution: Contains spoilers for episodes: 10×07: They Seek Him Here, & 19×05: Death by Persuasion)

     

    The idyllic landscape of Midsomer County is well known. No wonder Jane Austen and Baroness Emma Orczy, two famous writers, are said to have stayed here. Or is that just a story?

     

    Competition for authenticity

    Jane Austen
    Jane Austen 1870.jpg. 1869 engraving showing an idealized, young en:Jane Austen, based on a sketch by Cassandra Austen. Public Domain.

    The Gorgeous Georgians re-enactment at Whitcombe Grange Hall has to be interrupted because one of the Regency lovers has been murdered in the nearby woods – journalist Samantha Berry.

    John Barnaby and Jamie Winter interview the house owners, Kitty and James Oswood. Kitty Oswood answers the question of what kind of event is taking place: It’s just a re-enactment in honour of Jane Austen’s visit to Whitcombe Grange Hall in 1801.

    Well, Gemma Christie, who lives in the village, thinks otherwise. She runs the Jane Austen Peaceship Circle in a museum of sorts. It is located in a small annexe – “The Jane Austen Tea Room” is emblazoned on the outside of the building. Several rooms full of Regency furnishings – only much more crowded than the rooms were back then. Every inch of these rooms seems to have been used. There are also countless books on the walls.

    Posing as a qualified historian and Jane Austen expert, she teaches John Barnaby that Jane Austen did indeed come here in 1801, but that she did not stay in the manor house, but here, where the tea room now stands.

     

    Jane Austen at Whitcombe Grange?

    Whether Jane Austen actually stayed at Whitcombe Grange – in the Hall or in the village – is not really clear. Did Gemma Christie simply lie about her education in order to gain a better reputation and win the competition against Oswood’s ‘play’? Or is Jane Austen’s visit also part of the plot?

    Jane, born in 1775, was educated by a relative in Oxford in 1783 and attended Reading Ladies Boarding School from 1785 to 1786. She also visited relatives in Kintbury, Berkshire, the home town of her mother Cassandra.

    Before 1801, the family lived in Steventon, between Reading and Southampton and a good 10 miles or 20 kilometres south of the Berkshire border. For the first 26 years of her life it was only a day’s journey, so well within the realms of possibility. And Jane Austen moved back after five years, albeit to the south of Hampshire.

     

    Darcy’s Pemberley in Midsomer County

    Chatsworth House
    Chatsworth House where where Gorgeous Georgians took a murderous turn. Photo by Trevor Rickard, 2010. CC-BY SA 2.0.

    Turville, the location of Gemma Christie’s museum and tearooms, is in Buckinghamshire, right in the middle of Barnaby country. 22 miles to her home in Steventon, 14 miles to her boarding school, 20 miles to her mother’s home in Kintbury – in the 1800s a coach travelled at five miles an hour.

    The village of Turville was inhabited in Anglo-Saxon times. Apart from the two manor houses already mentioned, the village made history through the Sleeping Girl of Turville. Exactly 70 years after Jane Austen’s supposed visit, the girl, Ellen Sadler, fell into a comatose sleep from which she could not be awakened. She became a tourist attraction, earning money for the family. After nine years, she awoke suddenly and, apart from a few minor physical consequences, lived a longer life.

    But there is no trace of any reference to Jane Austen.

    Quite the opposite of Whitcombe Grange Hall. I had wondered why a location near Sheffield had been chosen, rather unusually. But lo and behold, not only did it serve as the setting for the 2007 version of Pride and Prejudice, but it is also said to have served Jane Austen as the model for Pemberley, the home of Fitzwilliam Darcy.

    I think it is more likely that Jane Austen came here to have tea than to Turville, but both places are conceivable.

    In addition, Chatsworth House has links to the Anglo-Saxon period when the land belonged to the Norse Chetel and is mentioned in the Domesday Book as a Crown property. Later, during the Civil War, the manor was occupied by both sides. The Cavendish family, Dukes of Devonshire, sided with the Royalists and did not regain their property, which had been theirs for nearly 500 years, until 1660.

     

    Lord Fitzgibbon – the archetype of a hero?

    Superman, Batman, Spiderman, Zorro… the list of superheroes who do not reveal their identity is long. They are all based on the idea of Baroness Orczy and the Scarlet Pimpernel. A chivalrous, gallant Englishman called Sir Percy Blakeney, who, in disguise, saves aristocrats from the guillotine. On the one hand, a rich buffoon, on the other, a master swordsman, clever disguiser and escape artist.

    With one distinguishing mark: A Scarlet Pimpernel.

    Neville Hayward paces the living room a little nervously. He has a pad in his hand and is writing something down. He speaks softly and incomprehensibly to himself. His sister-in-law, Gwen Morrison, is playing tarot cards and is visibly annoyed and disturbed by his movements and nervousness. But he doesn’t notice, because he’s just very happy with his wording.

    Not so Gwen Morrison, who has been living with Neville since the death of her husband and Neville’s brother Ted, who sighs and rolls her eyes in annoyance. She does not like it when he mentions that Baroness Orczy, author of the famous book ‘The Scarlet Pimpernel’, lived at Midsomer Magna Manor and that the character of Sir Percy Blakeney is based on the then landlord of Midsomer Magna, Fitzgibbon.

     

    A defender of the aristocracy

    Baroness Orczy
    The baroness Emma Orczy, 1920. Public Domain.

    Unfortunately, we learn little about Lord Fitzgibbon in the episode, and cannot compare the man with the novel character. But what about the fact that Baroness Orczy was in Midsomer Magna just after the turn of the century? Or rather, Loseley Park, Guildford, Surrey. (Yes, this is where the famous boxing match between Sayers and Heenan took place on the Farquaharson estate in 1860).

    Emma ‘Emmuska’ Orczy spent her early years in Hungary as the daughter of a baron. Her family fled with her across Europe – Brussels, Budapest, Paris – during the uprising against the aristocracy, settling in England twelve years later in 1880. Throughout her life she believed in the supremacy of the aristocracy, imperialism and militarism. All these elements came together in her play about the Scarlet Pimpernel, which premiered in Nottingham in 1903.

    Baroness Orczy came up with the idea for Sir Blakeney after testifying in Paris, where she had been with her husband, Henry George Montagu MacLean Barstow, shortly after the turn of the century. She is said to have written the play in just five weeks.

    Initially The Scarlet Pimpernel was a novel, but no publisher would print it, so an actor friend of her husband’s introduced her to the acting team of Fred Terry and Julia Neilson, who were looking for a new romantic drama. And so Baroness Orczy rewrote her play.

     

    The Unknown Hero was born.

    Scarlet Pimpernel
    A Scarlet Pimpernel, the sign of the superhero of the same name. Photo by AnemoneProjectors, 2012. CC-BY SA 2.0.

    Although the play was not a great success in Nottingham, it opened at the New Theatre in London on 5 January 1905 and proved very, very popular. So popular, in fact, that Orczy was able to sell her novel. This became an instant success as the rave reviews of the play brought Orczy many more readers in Britain and the rest of the world. The book became a bestseller and a new kind of hero was born.

    The book is set in England in 1792: Sir Percy Blakeney has gathered the League of the Scarlet Pimpernel: 19 chosen men – all English aristocrats – who knew his secret identity. His opponent was the citizen Chauvelin, sent to England by Jacobin France. The Scarlet Pimpernel saved several English lords and earls from the guillotine, naturally earning the resentment of the Jacobins and their supporters.

    Fun fact: I first heard about the Scarlet Pimpernel in the episode “Nob and Nobility” in the third series of Blackadder. In the pub, Edward expresses his support for the French Revolution and Liberty, Equality, Fraternity – and doubts the existence of the Scarlet Pimpernel. Tim McInnerny, who is always Percy in the series, plays an alter ego of the Scarlet Pimpernel in this episode. Fans of Blackadder will probably have guessed how this is going to end up, or rather, will have seen this episode before.

     

    They seek him here

    Loseley House
    Loseley House in June 2023, by Petra Tabarelli. Public Domain.

    The episode title is a quote from the novel. The full passage is: “They’re looking for him here, they’re looking for him there. The French are looking for him everywhere. Is he in heaven or in hell? That damned elusive Pimpernel”.

    But where was Baroness Orczy? She lived in London, so it may well be that she once made a trip to Surrey. Loseley Park was built in the 16th century, partly with stones from Waverley Abbey after its Dissolution. By the time of the Domesday Book there was a building called Loosely, owned by Torald (Thorold).

    Orczy was so successful that she could afford a house in Monte Carlo. She also retreated here in exile when the Second World War reached England. She did not return to her beloved London, but to Oxfordshire. It was not Guildford, where Loseley Park stands, but Henley-on-Thames. And thus the location of ten episodes of Midsomer Murders, and 31 miles (50 km) from Loseley Park. But The Scarlet Pimpernel had already been written.

     

    Occasional embellishment of the story

    And really, it doesn’t matter, because …. do you remember the dialogue between Neville Hayward and Gwen Morrison? She dislikes the mention that Baroness Orczy lived at Midsomer Magna Manor and that Lord Fitzgibbon was her model for Sir Percy Blakeney.

    And with good reason: it’s not true. But he doesn’t care, because it’s all about publicity. The end justifies the means. Isn’t that typical?

    Literature

     

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    • Header Midsomer Murders History Chess Formula 1

      Sports History in Midsomer, pt. 2: Other Sports

      As well as playing a lot of cricket, Midsomer has been very successful in chess, Formula 1 and boxing. The famous boxing match of 1860 is a topic for another time: here we look at chess and F1 first.

       


      (Caution: Contains spoilers for Episodes: 06×01: A Talent of Life, 14×01: Death in the slow lane, 15×05: The Sicilian Defence, and a little bit of 05×03: Ring Your Dead und 19×03: Last Man Out)

       

      Manor House Warborough
      Stannington’s house – Manor House in Warborough. Steve Daniels: A large house on Warborough Green. CC-BY SA 2.0.

      In 1893 there was a world champion from Bishopwood in Midsomer County: Reverend Stannington. John Barnaby learns this in passing during an interrogation of the descendants of Edward Stannington after he was murdered by a lake. He questions Edward’s aunt Vivian and learns that one of her ancestors, the Reverend Stannington, was the 1893-1894 World Chess Champion. What Vivian Stannington fails to mention is that her ancestor died in 1894, so was unable to enjoy his world championship.

      The location for the Stannington house is the manor house in Warborough, Oxfordshire. Here, in Warborough, there was a settlement as far back as Roman times, and it is listed in the Domesday Book as part of the extensive royal estate of Benson. The manor house, formerly known as Beech House, was built in the late 17th century but has been altered several times since. It has been on the National Heritage List since 18/07/1963.

       

      World Chess Champion 1893-1894

      Lasker Steinitz
      One of the game on Lasker’s (left side) road to World Championship: Philadelphia, 1894. Public Domain.

      The game of chess probably originally came from the Indo-Pakistani-Arab region to southern Europe and then to Britain – probably as early as the Norman period. But it was not until the early 19th century that chess clubs, chess tournaments, chess books and chess magazines began to appear. The first world chess championship was held in 1886. It was won by Wilhelm Steinitz against Johannes Zuktort – and Steinitz remained world champion until his match against Stannington. The games took place in the spring at three different venues in North America. And the world champion was the first to win ten games – and this time it was not Wilhelm Steinitz.

      It was not all that surprising, as quotes from the run-up to the World Chess Championship show.

      “ Ask me something easier. I know only on thing, that Steinitz never in his life met a man of Lasker’s strength.” the US chess player Jackson Whipps Showalter is quoted in the New York Times and his compatriot and also chess player Eugene Delmar in the same place: “Lasker’s youth might help him along, but Steinitz is Steinitz after all. Nay, I can’t commit myself to name the winner.”

      Oh yes, Lasker, that was more or less Reverend Stannington’s real-life alter ego, who actually won the World Championship, which incidentally was not played until 1894. And unlike Reverend Stannington, Emanuel Lasker did not die shortly afterwards, but remained World Chess Champion for another 27 years and lived for another twenty years after that.

      „While I have not played serious chess since my match with Tschigorin, I have had no end of domestic trouble and bother during the last two years.” Wilhelm Steinitz is quoted as saying in the New York Times. “Still, I am confident that I can play chess as heretofore. I never underrate an opponent, and I believe that Lasker is a really fine player. Moreover, the latter had the chance to study all my games, my book, and therefore my style, and if I do lose he will have to beat me with my own weapons.”

       

      Knight2King

      Alan Robson, chess player, online game developer and father of the missing Finn. He is being questioned by John Barnaby and Ben Jones at the CID in Causton. As he is about to leave, his gaze falls on Barnaby and Jones’ area of the CID’s open-plan office. Specifically, a number of A4 sheets of paper taped to a cupboard. Oh, how well he knows!

      The three men are standing in the area of our two investigators. Ben is watching with his arms crossed, slightly in the background of the scene, leaning against a desk. John is standing by the cabinet with the printouts and Alan Robson is writing these moves on a plexiglass wall – by heart. He pauses to explain why he knows these moves so well.

      These are the chess moves that an internet user nicknamed Silverfish used to beat the reigning world chess champion Vladimir Kostelov a few years ago.

      A World Chess Champion

      Kasparov Karpow
      The world championship match between Kasparov (left) and Karpov in 1984-1985. Kasparov won the match and remained world chess champion for many years. Photo: http://www.kasparovagent.com/photo_gallery.php

      At the heart of the episode is a chess game that has existed before: Kasparov Versus the World, played in 1999 between the reigning world chess champion Garry Kasparov and internet users.

      Kasparov’s success was due in part to his unrivalled knowledge of chess opening theory, i.e. how do you start a game? How do you position your pieces in the first move or two so that you can checkmate your opponent as much as possible fifty or a hundred moves later? One variation Kasparov chose was the Sicilian Defence, which was first documented in 1594 in – wonder of wonders – Sicily. It is Black’s response to White’s move from e2 to e4.

      White: pawn from e2 to e4.

      Black: pawn from c7 to c5. This one move is the Sicilian Defence.

      That’s it.

      The advantage of this variation is that there is no feeling out, but it leads directly to a sharp fight – and can quickly lead an experienced black player to victory.

      This variation was very popular for a couple of centuries, but fell out of favour in the course of the 19th century. Wilhelm Steinitz, for example, did not like the Sicilian Defence.

       

      Online Chess

      Kasparov Versus World
      The separate moves of the game

      There is no mention of when the online game – apparently a competition with several single games in a knockout system – took place. It is only mentioned that Vladimir Kostelov, like Kasparov, was a world chess champion in the 1980s and was bought in for this online game for a fortune.

      Perhaps Kostelov saw the opportunity for self-marketing via the internet – a pioneer of personal branding via new media, so to speak. It was the same with Garry Kasparov, who from the end of the 1980s played several competitions under tournament conditions against some chess programs – and won almost every game.

      Then, in 1999, he went one step further with an even newer medium: the Internet. “Kasparov Versus the World was a media-rich event that took place on the MSN Gaming Zone between 21 June 1999 and 22 October 1999 and attracted over 50,000 people from more than 75 nations – and that was just for one game.

       

      Against the chess world

      The “Kasparov Versus the World” media spectacle was open to anyone registered in the MSN Gaming Zone. Microsoft also provided a bulletin board forum for discussion in the Gaming Zone, and the ingenious system worked as follows:

      First, Kasparov had 12 hours to make his move. Then four young chess geniuses also had 12 hours to watch it and – each for themselves – write a recommendation. These recommendations were posted on the MSN forum, discussed and then the possible moves were voted on. The move with the most votes after 18 hours was validated for another 6 hours and then drawn.

      So it was not a multi-stage knockout system with several games, but a single game.

      The four advisers to the World Team were 16-year-old Étienne Bacrot, 19-year-old Florin Flelecan, 14-year-old Elisabeth Paehtz and 15-year-old Irina Krush. The latter was also present at the launch on 21 June 1999 with a promotional event at Bryant Park in New York and became a leader during the chess game.

      The game has been widely published and discussed, and there are numerous analyses and recaps. It is perhaps the most analysed game in the world, with the World Team using chess computers to predict moves.

       

      Unreachable

      For a long time Kasparov and the World Team were evenly matched. The then World Chess Champion later said that he had never put so much effort into any other game. And in the end – unlike the episode and celebration at Bishopwood – Kasparov won after 62 moves.

      “It is the greatest game in chess history. The sheer number of ideas, the complexity and the contribution it has made to chess make it the most important game ever played”.

      The chess notation found on the Bishopwood murder victims is not the chess notation of Kasparov’s game Versus the World. But this notation begins with the very classic Sicilian Defence:

      E4 c5

      Nf3 d6

      D4 cxd4

      Nxd4 Nf6.

       

      Two racing celebrities: Isobel Hewitt…

      Midsomer County is also home to two racing celebrities from the 1950s, both of whom celebrated victories at Silverstone in that decade: Isobel Hewitt and Duncan Palmer.

      Unfortunately, we do not know exactly when and in which race Isobel Hewitt was so successful. We and Cully Barnaby only learn in passing from Dixie Goff that Isobel Hewitt celebrated a triumph as a racing driver at Silverstone. The Malham Bridge resident brings some old photographs to Cully’s mobile library in a caravan.

      We learn a little more about Duncan Palmer, who won a Formula One race at Silverstone in 1960 or a few years earlier – ahead of Stirling Moss, the famous British racer of the 1950s.

       

      … and Duncan Palmer

      Silverstone GP 1952
      Grand Prix in Silverstone on 19 July 1952. John Gourlay Beatson: Photo from Grandstand. CC-BY-SA 4.0.

      This is the opening sequence of John Barnaby’s first full-length case. (The first, after all, was the Badger’s Drift vicar’s hanging from the bell rope, which caused Tom Barnaby’s birthday and farewell party to be abruptly abandoned by his cousin and former colleagues).

      We see a car race on a television set, recorded many, many years ago. The quality of the image and the racing cars make it easy to recognise. It’s a summary of a Formula 1 race at Silverstone. The commentator mentions this and mentions four of the drivers by name. Firstly the famous English racing driver Stirling Moss, but also Peter Fossett, Jamie Brooks and Duncan Palmer. Duncan Palmer narrowly wins the race against Peter Fossett. They knew each other well as they were both from Midsomer.

      As Duncan Palmer died in a barn in 1962 in a Lotus X4, the F1 race must have taken place before that. And as not all British Grand Prix were held at Silverstone, and Sir Stirling Crauford Moss was active from 1951 to 1961, and Tony Brooks (who was apparently called Jamie Brooks in Midsomer?) from 1956 to 1961, the plausible races are 1956, 1958 or 1960 – always in mid-July.

       

      When did Duncan Palmer won the Silverstone Grand Prix?

      These races were won by Argentinean Juan Manuel Fangio (1956, Mercedes), Australian Jack Brabham (1960, Cooper-Climax) and Brit Peter Collins (1958, Ferrari).

      So there are two plausible options for Midsomer’s Duncan Palmer: either the footage is from the 1958 Grand Prix and it matches his nationality, or it is from the 1960 Grand Prix and it matches the make of the car. What he has in common with Jack Brabham is that he competes with Brooks and Moss, and what he has in common with Peter Collins is that he died shortly after his triumph (Collins, however, was killed in the German Grand Prix just two weeks after his Silverstone triumph). In 1962 he was murdered in a barn near Midsomer-in-the-Marsh.

      There is also a slight anachronism in the race commentary: Luffield Corner did not exist in the 1950s.

       

      More Midsomer women in sport

      Midsomer Wellow’s Frances Le Bon won the Inter County Championship as a markswoman – unfortunately no year is given.

      So did Germaine Troguhton from Lower Pampling, who played cricket. She was very talented and captained the England women’s cricket team. It was probably in the late 1960s or 1970s.

       

      Literature

      • Meredith, Anthony/Blackwell, Gordon: Silverstone and Formula 1. Stroud 2022.
      • Meredith, Anthony/Blackwell, Gordon: Silverstone Circuit through time. Stroud 2013.
      • Hackwood, Frederick W.: Old English Sports. London 1907.
      • Manson, Iain: The Lion and the Eagle. Cheltenham 2008.
      • NN: Warborough. In: Simon Townley (ed.): a History of the county of Oxford. Volume 18. Woodbridge, Suffolk 2016. P. 393-421.
      • NN: Ready for a big chess match. In: New York Times (11/03/1894).

       

      Further information

      The full documentation of Kasparov’s game versus the world: Here you will find not only the recommendations of the four young chess geniuses, but also the moves that were on the ballot and their results. And that for all moves.

       

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      • Midsomer Murders History Header Widows Skimmington Fayre

        Ghost Villages in World War 2


        (Caution: Contains spoilers for Episode: 19×01: The Village That Rose From the Dead)

        A curtain opens, revealing a room with nine people. All the people are dressed in 1940s style and are sitting at three tables. Only the older woman, Sylvia Lennard, who opened the curtain, is standing in front of them and is just finishing her presentation über ein living museum in Little Auburn.

        Those present applaud. Roderick Craven, the landlord of Great Auburn and heir to Little Auburn, thanks her. 75 years ago, Little Auburn became a military base and fell into a ghost village after the war. The inhabitants founded Great Auburn not far away, but tomorrow the army will return the land to the Craven family. In return, the landlord wants to support a project – including his mother’s living museum.

         

        Abandoned

        Ghost Village Keep out
        Graham Horn: View towards Tyneham, 2009. CC-BY SA 2.0.

        Like a few other villages in England, Little Auburn was abandoned for the purposes of World War 2. Here, as there, the inhabitants built close to a new village. But unlike the other ghost villages, the inhabitants of Great Auburn were allowed to return to their home or the home of their ancestors in 2016.

        The film location, Little Missenden in Buckinghamshire is not and was not a ghost village. It existed as a settlement in Anglo-Saxon times, so it is no wonder that it was mentioned in the Domesday Book.

        But back to the 1940s: In preparation for the Allied assault on Normandy, several villages were “cleared” of civilians and used as training grounds for the British Army and U.S. forces: For the Stanford Battle Area in Norfolk, six villages were resettled: Buckenham Tofts, West Tufts, Langford, Stanford, Sturston, Tottington.

        They were complemented by Imber in Wiltshire, and Tyneham in Dorset.. The last two are now something like open-air museums where visitors can walk around. The former inhabitants, however, were not allowed to return.

         

        Tyneham, Dorset

        A village with 102 houses, a church and a farm. At the end of November 1943, the 225 inhabitants of Tyneham received the message that they had to vacate their village within four weeks.

        They were not granted a Christmas at home. The Bond family, who owned most of the village, received £30,000 compensation (nearly £1,000,000 today). The inhabitants received a little for what they had grown. They received nothing for the houses, which the British Army promised to return after the war. The British Army used the village and the surrounding 7,500 hectares to train troops and practice manoeuvres.

        “ The Government appreciate that this is no small sacrifice which you are asked to make. But they are sure that you will give this further help towards winning the war with a good heart.”

        The last inhabitants left on 17 December 1943 in the belief that the government would keep its promise.

        Tyneham
        Trish Steel: St Mary’s Church, Tyneham St. Mary’s Church, 2007. CC-BY SA 2.0.

        A broken promise.

        There were several attempts by the locals to change the military’s mind – unsuccessfully. Tyneham became a ghost village.

        The Army placed a Compulsory Purchase Order on the land in 1947, which meant that no one could return. Since then, it has been owned by the Ministry of Defence and is used for training on weekdays. At weekends, it is a tourist attraction, with people walking through abandoned alleys and the remains of old houses.

        In 2008 Tyneham Farm was reopened to the public and is being restored. The 13th century schoolhouse and church are preserved as museums. A message still hangs on the church which Evelyn Bond posted here in December 1943: “Please treat the church and houses with care; we have given up our homes where many of us lived for generations to help win the war to keep men free. We shall return one day and thank you for treating the village kindly.

         

        Imber, Wiltshire

        Imber
        Scott Wylie: Imber Village, Salisbury Plain, UK, between 2004 and 2006. CC-BY SA 3.0.

        Imber had a similar fate. An ancient village with ancient trackways leading to the village.

        As in Tynedale, there were settlements here in Roman and Anglo-Saxon times and also a mention of the village in the Domesday Book.

        Unlike Tyneham, however, the government had its finger on the village before 1943. Already since the late 19th century, the British War Office had acquired more and more of Imber to establish drill facilities. By 1940 they owned everything except the school, church and pub.

        As in Tyneham, the British Army informed the British Army in November 1943 that all residents had to temporarily leave the village. Also until 17 December. Also no Christmas at home. Some of them must have thought “Of all things!” when they learned that US troops were to use the area for training and preparation. Of all things because the “Imber Friendly Fire Incident” was only a few months ago. At that time, during a rehearsal for a tactical demonstration of AirPower with Spitfires and Hurricanes, a US pilot mistook civilians for dummies, fired into the crowd and killed 25 people.

         

        Inhabitants: Zero.

        Imber is now also a ghost village because like Tyneham it was a broken promise of the British Army. No one ever returned to Imber and today it is tourists who are allowed to walk through the village at certain times. Every attempt by the inhabitants to be allowed to move back into the village has so far been unsuccessful.

        After the war, the village was used for urban environment training and new empty buildings were even constructed to that end, among other things as preparation for soldiers to serve in Northern Ireland.

        Completely absurd that Imber is still counted in the census records for the UK. With the number 0 as entry.

         

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        Literature

         

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