Harry ‘Breaker’ Morant (above) was born in the United Kingdom – in 1865 by his own account but in 1864 according to later research, possibly under the name Edwin Henry Murrant.
He left England in April 1883 bound for Queensland where he married Daisy May O’Dwyer (later known more famously as Daisy Bates) – and quickly divorced – and took to droving and horse-breaking; hence the nickname.
In the late 1890s he enlisted with the South Australian Mounted Rifles to fight in the Boer War in South Africa.
Along with P.J. Handcock, Morant was court-martialled for executing several Boer prisoners and a German missionary.
He and Handcock were found guilty and executed by firing squad on February 27th 1902.
The Firing Squad Scene in “Breaker Morant” with Bryan Brown as Handcock and Edward Woodward as Morant.
The story of his trial and execution was told in the 1979 film “Breaker Morant” with Edward Woodward as Morant, Bryan Brown as Handcock, along with Jack Thompson as the defending counsel, – the film was directed by Bruce Beresford.
Morant was one of the ‘back-block’ bards of the 1890s and published the bulk of his work in The Bulletin magazine.
The Poetry of ‘Breaker’ Morant: from the Bulletin 1891-1903 1980, foreword by David McNicoll.
Sitting on top of a sheer 255-foot cliff with the Mulde River below, and located deep in the heart of Nazi territory, some 400 miles to the border, Colditz Castle (Schloss Colditz) was a high-security prison that the Germans considered escape-proof.
Known as Oflag IV-C, it primarily held high-profile Allied officers and those who had repeatedly escaped from other less-secure camps. It essentially became a prison full of escape artists.
The impenetrable castle’s 7-foot-thick walls and steep cliffs did not deter the prisoners at Colditz, who devised intricate escape techniques and came up with ingenious and sophisticated strategies.
Unfortunately for the Germans, 300 escape attempts were made from this inescapable fortress during the war—over 30 of which were successful.
The high-security measures in place failed to take into consideration the pure audacity and cunning of the imprisoned officers.
From tunneling, cross-dressing, or constructing a glider, the craftiness of the prisoners meant the guards had to remain constantly on their toes.
Following liberation by American forces in 1945, the memoirs of escaped prisoners inspired dozens of films, TV productions, video games, and even board games. In particular, the memoir of British Army officer Pat Reid provided the inspiration for the film The Colditz Story.
Image Credit: Photograph by Fred Morley/Getty Images
As photography had become part of people’s daily lives during the inter-war period, numerous iconic images were taken of the Second World War, creating an album of hope and horror, of atrocities and valor.
The one that perhaps represented the fighting spirit of well-mannered Great Britain most clearly was the famous picture taken by a photographer called Fred Morley on 9 October, 1940, depicting a milkman going about with his daily business amidst the rubble in London, after a street had been devastated during a German bombing raid.
Firemen are dampening down the ruins behind him.
The raid that took place that night was the 32nd in a row, the United Kingdom being mercilessly bombed night after night.
Wartime Photo by the famed photographer Sir Cecil Beaton.
Sir Cecil Walter Hardy Beaton, CBE (14 January 1904 – 18 January 1980) was an English fashion, portrait and war photographer, diarist, painter, interior designer and an Academy Award-winning stage and costume designer for films and the theatre.
He was named to the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame in 1970.