Saturday 26 November 2022

"Who's "She" the Cat's Mother?" Britain's Big Cat Issue #SoggyMoggySyndrome #BigCatsUK #Rewilding


"Throughout recent history there has been an endless stream of eye-witness reports from across the entirety of Britain, which continues to this day; from the windswept, cold and mountainous regions of northern Scotland, to the rolling green moors and woodlands of southern England, there is no shortage of sightings and reports of encounters with these beasts. Indeed, it may seem that almost every town and village in Britain has its own legend and local folklore of an unusual large cat, and there are plenty of farmers who will attest to the damage these creatures can do.

Britain has a long, colourful and complicated history of having a diverse exotic pet trade; from the days of the old British Empire, until the mid-20th century, it was deemed an indicator and symbol of status, wealth and fashion to own exotic pets, (especially big cats). The surprising popularity of extravagant exotic cat ownership in Britain is captured beautifully by the well-known viral video of ‘A Lion called Christian’; a lion cub purchased in the 1960s from the famous Knightsbridge department store, ‘Harrods’.

Incidents and reports spiralled out of control in the 1960s; and with the later introduction of the Dangerous Wild Animals Act in 1976, the situation only intensified, as exotic cat owners sought to alleviate themselves of the impending burdens of unfeasibly increased costs to obtain and retain a license to legally keep their pets. The introduction of this legislation served as a major catalyst for many unregistered private big cat owners to deliberately release their animals in preference of having them terminated."

I have been “involved" in this story for many years. My father and step mother's former house  (known when a drover's inn as the "Red Cow"), on the banks of the Tawe in the Brecon Beacons, was situated very close to several sightings; Da even reported to me that a local farmer had either lost control of, or released, a lurcher when they had spotted what looked like a leopard, the lurcher did not return and was later found dead. A friend of mine claimed she had a pug-casting of a big cat having spotted one in the New Forest (unfortunately it was lost in a house-move), another friend claimed he saw a cat the size of a medium-sized dog (see documentary re: size of East Asian leopards), on Southampton Common (where there is a sizeable deer population).

Quote: "One startled eyewitness was the assistant priest of Itchen Valley Parish, Rev Alex Pease, who was driving on Chilland Lane when he spotted the cat in the road on Sunday evening.

Straight away Mr Pease wanted to find out whether anyone else had seen the feline, and discovered that there had been several sightings in the Itchen Valley area.

He was convinced he may have seen a genet – a a slender cat-like carnivore with a long body, a long ringed tail, which is native to Africa.

Mr Pease said: “When I saw it on Sunday evening it was just after dark and I was driving along Chilland Lane and pictured it in my headlights and I thought ‘what on earth is that’.

“I would say it is larger than a normal cat with a much larger and bushier tail, but the thing was its distinctive black face and pointed ears.

“It turned round and looked at me at one stage and then sauntered off down the path."

 I have been a frequent visitor to the Dales, Brecon Beacons and New Forest and now live on top of much semi-rural and wooded land, on the eastern border of Southampton and south-western border of Eastleigh, so I keep my eye out for evidence of cats and carry a camera.

 Whilst the experts and campaigners worry about the presence of  such animals has anyone considered the veterinary requirements of  these apex predators which were "reintroduced"* to Britain in such an ill-considered way? I have identified “soggy moggy syndrome” as one reason why I have received “bad vibes” from our countryside on occasion. It is a good job most of our domestic canines are well cared for too as “Distemper” can also effect big cats (and that very badly).
Can you imagine what rheumatoid-arthritic conditions do to magnificent animals such as big cats which rely on their flexibility and agility to survive? What a dreadful thing to inflict on such beautiful creatures. I would consider leaving baits laced with “Devil” and/or “Cat’s” Claws** in order to try and ameliorate conditions forced upon these animals as a result of having to live under the climatic conditions found in these isles.
That’s what scepticism imposes too, stay in denial and the animal suffers! I often wonder how true this is for cryptids (creatures still unknown to science), and how much we are endangering them by our thoughtless behaviours.
  Have you noticed strange silences when out in the woods or (perhaps even more tellingly), strange bird or animal calls you were not familiar with as a child? I think I have. One may also find ones-self with a semi-open mouth washing air over your taste buds and sinuses, I’ve caught myself doing this on a number of occasions, it’s how big cats identify areas that have been marked by both other animals and members of their own species.

*Nb. Quote; "Panthera pardus spelaea, sometimes called the European Ice Age leopard or Late Pleistocene leopard, is a fossil leopard subspecies, which roamed Europe in the Late Pleistocene. The youngest known bone fragments date to about 32,000 to 26,000 years ago, and are similar in size to modern leopard bones.[1]" .....

" The European Ice Age leopard's skull was medium-long, and its characteristics are closest to the Panthera pardus tulliana subspecies. An apparent depiction of this leopard in the Chauvet Cave shows a coat pattern similar to that of modern leopards but with a unspotted belly, presumably white. Like other mammals, leopards from the cold glacial periods of the Late Pleistocene are usually larger than those from the warm interglacial phases. As in modern leopards, there was a strong sexual dimorphism, with males being larger than females.[1]"

**Nb.: &

 Here's another documentary on the subject:

 Also, quote; "Britain's top tracker of big cats says that Britain has a population of leopards and pumas that is breeding and booming.

Rhoda Watkins has spent more than 20 years investigating big cats using her specialist knowledge to monitor their behaviour.

She has now gathered enough evidence to be certain of the presence of these animals in the UK - and claims there is now a healthy breeding population.":

 When I aired this subject on the #5Filters message board ("Hosing away the Permanent Bullshit Blizzard of the lamestream media" ), I was not surprised to immediately receive a number of reports of sightings from out cognoscenti, quote; "I’m 99% certain Iz and I saw a big cat in Cornwall back in 2004. We were off to see Tregeseal stone circle, associated sites, and Carn Kenidjack - we’d pulled into a layby just off the B3318 and were making our way down a track towards a farm and as we came around a bend in the track this creature poured over the 4ft dry stone wall to our right - it was like black liquid - beautiful and alarming - we both froze, my whole body tingled with fear and excitement - Iz said she experienced similar feelings - - quick as a flash it shot off down towards the farm - - here’s a thing: Iz is a fine photographer, quick on the draw, seldom phased and a sharp shooter - that day, as usual on such jaunts, her trusty Pentax was slung over her shoulder - but damn, in that moment, such was the extraordinary thing we were seeing her reflexes failed her. Naturally, when we’d collected ourselves we headed off after the creature - we speculated that it might be a farm dog and would no doubt greet us with barks when we approached the yard, though I knew that no dog could have taken that wall with such graceful ease - and no, when we entered the yard there wasn’t a soul in sight. So we carried on towards the stone circles - though I must say the next hour or so was trepidatious to say the least - - ha! we were worried that we might be set upon by whatever panther-like creature it was that we most surely saw." .. and ..

"I suspect that we had a black leopard living in, or at least visiting, the square-mile of secluded quarry land behind my place. At that time, my two Turkish Shepherd Dogs were strangely keen to get inside the quarryland fence, then shoot off into the wilderness. They were never involved in injuries. But at one time when all three of us were wandering - illicitly - in the quarryland, I believe I saw, just momentarily, in the middle distance the familiar outline: big as a Labrador, black, long clubbed tale, definitely a cat…

Leopards in particular are known to have what seem close-to-magical powers of staying hidden and - completely - unnoticed; lots of astonishing stories about that, urban leopards in particular.

Some years ago, a completely hidden breeding population of leopards was discovered, in the Sinai desert. Even local people had not known of their presence.

Colour me quixotic, but I hope we have, and can sustain, a breeding population of such cats in Britain."

  In the documentary “Britain’s Big Cat Mystery” we are told that interbreeding of populations of mammals (esp. where such animals do not share a boundary such as do Grizzly Bears and Polar Bears -the “Pizzly”-, and there has been no establishment of an historical relationship), do not produce viable males only “mules” (although -apparently -, females capable of breeding can be), however, we are also told that two distinct types of big cat have been spotted, these being, cougars/mountain lions, and the smaller of the black leopards (the East Asian variety), this suggests that it was from these two gene pools that the majority of the “domesticated” cats were drawn and that these have “bred-true”. This explains how and why there may well now (as I believe), be a viable ongoing breeding population of big cats in our country.
  My old friend the Rev. John Knopf (RIP, Minister Emeritus Edmund Kell Unitarian Church Oxon. Cantab.), was a fund of information on many subjects and had worked in Africa in the late 50s early 60s (Kenya -because of his work with the IOC and the Kalenjin Tribe he was consulted by the author of the book “The Running Tribe”-, and Nigeria), and he told me a story about leopards in South Africa. Apparently, some decades ago now, a wildlife sanctuary was transporting a female leopard as part of a breeding programme, unfortunately, she escaped whilst they were travelling through Johannesburg, frantic they immediately launched a recapture mission, however, after they had caught nine leopards, none of which being the female they were looking for, they realised that leopards had been living in the city for hundreds of years and nobody knew they were there!

 Apparently there is, quote; "Precisely the same story from India, G. Can’t just lay hands on the source now, but I’m sure it’s findable. Just that I have to go out and do some out-doors stuff in a minute.

The story was that a man-killing leopard was on the loose in an Indian city, and lots of baited traps were set out to catch it. I seem to remember that seven leopards were caught, not one of which had been known to be in the city before. Urban foxes could take lessons from them!"

So keep your eyes open but be cautious you don't want this to happen to you (disturbing deer mother's can also be dangerous): 

 If you do live in an area that you suspect might be supporting a big cat population keep your eye out for pug-marks on trails (big cat tracks are very distinctive, paraphr; "Dog track is like an oval, cat track is -more-, like a circle"):

..especially during wet weather (like that which we have been experiencing this November), and maybe purchase some Plaster of Paris to make a cast:

Quote; "There are some clues that will help you tell the difference between dog and cat tracks. Dogs include such species as red and gray foxes, coyotes, wolves and domestic dogs. Cats include mountain lions, bobcats, lynx, and domestic cats. Lynx tracks have some unique features of their own, so are not treated here. What is said here should apply to bobcats, mountain lions and domestic cats." Go to:

Please, however, as I would say about any wild creature you are not specifically and legally hunting for the pot, do not shoot one unless your, or someone else's, life is in danger. Trophy hunting is one of the main reasons why so many species are on the brink of extinction.

 Remember the three criteria which are vital for the survival (and esp. maintenance of population), of any (sub-arctic), land based mammalian predator species prey, fresh water and shelter and be aware when you are in an area where (esp.), all three of these conditions are met.

 As the experience from South Africa and India shows (see above), simply removing these creatures from the environment is almost certainly going to prove extremely difficult if not impossible. So should our re-wilding efforts include not only the; wolf, bear and lynx but the leopard as well? Given that it would seem that the big cats are already here we should concentrate our efforts on their veterinary concerns. It may well be the case that in order to restore the ecological balance we are ourselves have upset by our ill-considered policies and actions "fast tracking" the re-wilding of the species that re-populated these islands following the last retreat of the ice-sheets, will prove to be necessary .Where that will leave us with regard to the presence of a creature that did not return (of its own volition), to these shores as the ice sheets finally retreated is an ecological question I doubt anyone is currently able to answer (the musk ox is an interesting case for, if the leopard is to remain, the presence of an inter-glacial/"intermediate" species might be necessary to maintain equilibrium*). Climate change not withstanding, in-fact that may be the point, for it is, surely, by direct engagement with natural systems that we learn best how to repair, reinvigorate and rejuvenate our environment and the longest of journeys begin with but a single step.

 Perhaps all this simply exemplifies the maxim that, "a leopard cannot change its spots!"

*Nb. "By the Mindel, muskoxen had also reached the British Isles. Both Germany and Britain were just south of the Scandinavian ice sheet and covered in tundra during cold periods, but Pleistocene muskoxen are also rarely recorded in more benign and wooded areas to the south like France and Green Spain, where they coexisted with temperate ungulates like red deer and aurochs. Likewise, the muskox is known to have survived in Britain during warm interglacial periods.[12]

Wednesday 23 November 2022

“What’s in your Waterproofs?” Perfluorinated/Perflouroalkyl Chemicals #PFCs #PFAs #FluorideisaPoison #EndocrineDisruptors #EnviroToxins

"PFCs are a large group of manufactured
compounds that are widely used to make
everyday products more resistant to stains, grease,
and water. For example, PFCs may be used to
keep food from sticking to cookware, to make
sofas and carpets resistant to stains, to make
clothes and mattresses more waterproof, and may
also be used in some food packaging, as well as
in some firefighting materials. Because they help
reduce friction, they are also used in a variety of
other industries, including aerospace, automotive,
building and construction, and electronics.
PFCs break down very slowly in the environment
and are often characterized as persistent. There is
widespread wildlife and human exposure to several
PFCs, including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and
perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS).1 Both PFOA and
PFOS are byproducts of other commercial products,
meaning they are released into the environment
when other products are made, used, or discarded.
PFOS is no longer manufactured in the United States,
and PFOA production has been reduced and will
soon be eliminated. More research is needed to
fully understand all sources of human exposure,
but people are most likely exposed to these
compounds by consuming PFC-contaminated water
or food, or by using products that contain PFCs.

Unlike many other persistent chemicals, PFCs are
not stored in body fat. However, PFCs are similar
to other persistent chemicals, because the half-life,
or the amount of time it takes for 50% of the
chemical to leave the human body, for some of
these chemicals, is several years. This slow
elimination time makes it difficult to determine
how changes in lifestyle, diet, or other exposure-
related factors influence blood levels."…“The NTP is studying PFCs as a class, due to
potential similarities in chemical properties and
toxicity. The scientists will be able to compare
one PFC chemical to another, determine the
relationship between chain length and toxicity,
and work toward understanding a common basis
for toxicity*”:

*Italics mine. A classic example of put-the-cart-before-the-horse “economics” (so -called). Where is the influence of a philosophy that maintains “establish whether the substances you are using are safe before you expose people to them”? Ever thought recently; “that’s cheap for a pair of those”? Well if you've ever wondered why you can stop now for PFCs (also known as “PFAs” -poly-fluoroalkyl chemicals-), can (like the fluoride added to domestic water supplies), easily be sourced from existing industries.

"If you’re reading this, chances are great you’ve got PFCs in your blood.

Since the 1940s, industrial quantities of perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), have been manufactured and sold by various chemical companies, most notably 3M and DuPont, for use in well-known products like Scotchguard and Teflon.

There are thousands of variations on the chemistry, which is essential to making consumer products resistant to stains, grease and water. Aerospace, automotive, building and construction and the electronics industries also rely on PFCs for their ability to reduce friction in the manufacturing process.

Because of their ubiquity in cookware, carpet, textiles, upholstery, mattresses, food packaging and firefighting foams, almost all Americans have been exposed to and accumulated some volume of PFCs in their body.

One PFC, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), was found in blood serum in 99 percent of the U.S. general population between 1999 and 2012.

A perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) molecule.

The chemistry: Perfluorinated chemicals, also called polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) or polyfluorinated compounds, feature a carbon backbone with fluorine atoms attached each bonding point. Other chemicals like hydrogen, oxygen and chlorine can attach to the end of the carbon chain. Varying the chain length, attached flourines and other atoms can produce different PFCs. For example, PFOA has 8 carbons in its chain and is sometimes referred to as C8.

The toxicity: Perfluorinated chemicals are very stable under harsh conditions, which makes them a great tool for spraying on liquid jet fuel fires but a terrible thing for the environment and the human body. Their stability allows PFCs to persist in the ground and water and bio-accumulate in fish and wildlife. As with mercury, smaller concentrations magnify up the food chain until they land in the diet of fish-eating humans, where the PFCs can remain in the body for years.

The effects: In laboratory studies on animals, some PFCs are shown to disrupt normal endocrine activity, reduce immune system functions, have adverse effects on organs like the kidneys, liver and pancreas. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency links two PFCs, PFOS and PFOA, to thyroid disorders and childhood developmental issues. Exposure over certain levels to unborn children or breastfed infants may cause complications like low birth weight, accelerated puberty and skeletal variations. The chemicals have also been linked to testicular and kidney cancers, liver damage and cholesterol changes.

Why isn’t this more widely known? Perfluorinated chemicals haven’t quite broken into mainstream consciousness the way other poisons have. That’s because there’s still a huge amount of study yet to be done. Today, PFCs are considered “emerging contaminants” and are not subject to enforceable regulation or cleanup standards in the U.S. – although the EPA this spring published health advisory guidelines for PFOS and PFOA that suggest prolonged exposure over 70 parts-per-billion (ppt) can cause health problems. There’s ongoing government and university study of other PFCs, but PFOS and PFOA have been scrutinized the longest and therefore the government is comfortable quantifying the risk. The U.S. and Canadian governments also just listed PFOS and PFOA as chemicals of “mutual concern.” Unfortunately, it takes years of study to develop enough data on toxicity for agencies like the EPA to enact regulations. Also, because there are so many PFC variants, scientists are having trouble assessing the risk potential across the entire chemical class.

Where are PFCs found in Michigan? In Michigan, concern about PFCs began elevating in 2010, when testing found PFOS at never-before-seen levels in fish at Clark’s Marsh in Oscoda. Plumes from the closed Wurtsmith Air Force Base, which used a firefighting foam loaded with PFCs, contaminated the wetland and PFCs are still being found at elevated levels in local wells. Elsewhere, PFOS and PFOA have been found in raw and treated water in Ann Arbor and Plainfield Township water supplies. Surface water testing has found PFCs in the AuSable River, Flint River, Kalamazoo River, Saginaw River and St. Joseph River. A 2015 Michigan Department of Health and Human Services report noted that “future source investigations should focus on locations where PFOS-based-firefighting foam may have been used in large quantities and on sources in urban centers.”

PFC problem beyond Michigan: The PFC plumes at Wurtsmith helped wake the U.S. Air Force up to contamination at other military bases. Today, the military is cleaning up PFC-contaminated drinking water near active or former bases in Delaware, Alaska, Pennsylvania, California, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Virginia, New Jersey and Colorado. That’s just a sampling. Military officials have upped the number of possible contaminated sites to 2,000. Industrial use of PFCs in chemical or plastic-making has polluted communities like Hoosick Falls, N.Y., Bennington, Vt., Parkersburg, W. Va., and Washington, W. Va.

What can you do? Experts say PFCs cannot be boiled out of water, but can be removed by reverse osmosis filters, which can cost several hundred dollars for a good model. Michigan is buying filters for folks with contaminated wells in Oscoda and there’s $1 million in the new budget to hook people up to safe, municipal water. That’s only necessary, however, if you’re drinking contaminated water. Because certain PFCs have been phased-out of manufactured products, newer domestically-made items should reduce some latent exposure. You can further reduce PFC exposure by ditching non-stick cookware, or using non-metal utensils with Teflon-coated pans. Also, consumers can choose furniture and carpets not marketed as “stain resistant,” avoid grease-repellant food packaging like French fry boxes, microwave popcorn and pizza boxes, and avoid consumer products with ingredients listing “fluoro” or “perfluoro.”"

Link: What are PFCs and why should you care? -

“Additional Research on PFCs
In addition to the NTP’s effort, NIEHS-funded
grantees across the country are researching PFCs.
For example, some are exploring a potential link
between PFCs and behavioral disorders, including
attention deficit hyperactivity disorder,9 while
others are evaluating the potential adverse health
risks of PFCs and other chemicals on
neurobehavioral development and immune function.For example, a 2012 NIEHS-funded
human study found that elevated PFC exposures
during development were associated with reduced
vaccine-induced immune protection in children.”:

Once I began to investigate these compounds it became very obvious to me why I found the whole subject so disturbing, disruptive and in-fact frightening. I have encountered fluoride before and my body (esp. my aura), remembers the experience (in-fact I screamed and dragged my heels so much when my mother was hauling me to the dental clinician that she agreed to stop taking me, this was just as-well as the effects I have experienced from exposure led to me sustaining life changing and life threatening injuries -one inducing an NDE-, in my teens and caused me to be prone to such “accidents” to this day). 

 I have just binned a moderately expensive jacket (after approx. 5 years or so), because the synthetic lining had started to particulate and I was in danger of inspiring such (Teflon tasting muck), quote; “Fluoride treatments at the dentist’s office are equally hazardous. In the typical fluoride treatment, 10,000 parts per million fluoride, which comes in a flavoured gel to make it taste good, is left on the teeth for about five minutes. Then the child spits it out, though invariable he swallows some. The child cannot rinse, eat or drink for at least half an hour afterward. Children have died after swallowing fluoride topically applied on their teeth. In one well publicized case, the dental hygienist neglected to tell the child to wash his mouth out and spit out the solution. The child began vomiting and sweating and died the same day*"

"I am a victim of pre-pubescent dental clinical fluoride treatment myself (my story is sad, long and ongoing). These articles hint that there may be even higher costs to the patient/victim but don’t make the connections (as we the victims don’t anymore), however, I can talk from my experience as-well and this has led me to the conclusion that fluoride is a “whole system” disruptor and can be responsible for ailments as diverse as; fracturing, kidney failure/dysfunction, behavioural problems/brain damage, depression and suicide.
What I have not seen however (or been able to find so far on-line), are the statistics, the epidemiological evidence, which will prove (I now have no doubt), that many of the “victims” of clinical fluoride treatment are no longer with us. For one thing the behavioural changes induced by fluoride treatment are of such an uncontrollable and self-destructive nature that the patient may perish due to some apparently “self-induced” accident superficially unrelated to any dental treatment they may have received a decade or so before. Therefore it is necessary to examine the medical records of all of those patients who received clinical fluoride treatment as children and compare the statistics for the incidences of accidental “premature” deaths (esp. “self-induced” -not necessarily suicide at all but the suicide statistics MUST be examined as-well-), and serious injuries within the treated group with those of the same demographic within the wider population.”

*Italics mine.

"Arafel": "Children have died after swallowing fluoride topically applied on their teeth" & "The Epidemiology of Deaths" & "Arafel": #Fluoride "After 40 or More YEARS my Suspicions are Confirmed; "Y Chromosome Damage"

If you want to investigate the alternatives please go to:

Economies of scale dependent on supply and demand apply I’m afraid so these items are easily three times the price of those containing pfc/pfas. It should be remarked, however, that progress is being made using natural substances (for instance clothing made from bamboo is becoming increasingly more popular). We need to force manufacturers and retailers to change their practices, I sent this to “Trespass” today, quote;

I am a frequent visitor to your store in Southampton but I have been alarmed by what I read about the chemical compounds used to “waterproof” and make “breathable” many items now on the market. Can you supply me with a list of items you retail containing these items (possibly by TP rating)? What is your policy regarding these persistent chemicals? Would I be able to return any (recently purchased), items to you on the basis that they contain any of these perfluoro-carbons? Do your boots contain pfcs/pfas? Thank you.”

Saturday 12 November 2022

"Wobblin' Tommies" Pt.1 #Remembrance #RoyalVictoriaMilitaryHospital & #TelegraphWoods #NormandyLandings #Canadians #SigInt


"Remembrance is not for me,

I know better,

They did not die for me,

I know better,

I would not die for thee,

I know better,

What did they die for?

I know no better."


 This is the sight that rises to greet you as you approach, what remains of, the Royal Victoria Military Hospital from the north (Netley Station). What you see is the copper domed tower of the chapel that used to provide the centrepiece for the huge hospital building, quote; "
After the Crimean war Queen Victoria ordered a military hospital to be built in the UK. Its purpose was to train army nurses and doctors and to treat military patients to ensure their swift return to duty. Netley was chosen as the site because it was near to Southampton so that hospital ships from around the British Empire could safely dock and disembark patients."

In-fact a railway was built to extend the line from Southampton to the site but that is no longer in existence, quote; " The railway link, which was a branch line from Netley station, was built some nine years before the Jetty was built, and linked Netley Hospital with the main line and a connection to Southampton Central Station. Ambulance trains made the transfer of patients much easier from Southampton to Netley Hospital. This railway enabled a steam train to be driven to the site after which the wheels were removed and for the next seven years it was used to drive giant cement mixers, whilst the building was being constructed. When finished the wheels were replaced and the train went back to Crewe. Much of the stone and materials for the construction also came by rail.

The jetty was built some two years after completion of the building and turned out to be a bit of a white elephant. The hospital ships which were to dock there would run aground, due mainly to the fact that it was not long enough to reach deep water. As a result the hospital ships went on to Southampton where the patients were transferred to hospital trains. The original little branch line was extended, and sidings added to allow the patients to be transferred directly to the wards. As for the jetty it was left for the patients to enjoy and use for their leisure."


The Chapel is a most striking structure and a great example of Victorian architecture, one can only imagine how imposing (and not a little terrifying esp. for those about to become patients), the original building must have been. 

 All was never as it appeared at the Royal Victoria though its hidden design features mirroring the darker purpose of this (what was ostensibly a), "place of healing", quote; "As can be seen from the photograph of Royal Victoria Hospital Netley above it looked magnificent and was considered to be the largest military hospital in the world at the time. Though the view from inside was different. Patients and staff had a view of the coal bunkers and other out houses because the wards faced North east. The architect did not allow for isolation units nor an adequate provision of fresh air. This was later addressed in later military hospitals such as the Cambridge Military Hospital. Those who worked in the administration block did however enjoy a stunning view across the Southampton Water.":

 The hospital wasn't designed as a place of rest, recuperation and re-integration into the wider society for the servicemen it treated rather it was a "pit-stop", a place of "make-do-and-mend" repairs which were to enable its patients to return to combat (or if not combat then to perform some other useful task for the U.K's military).

 I find it instructive in this regard that by the time of the First World War (the Great War), even children's games had been re-absorbed/subsumed by the (immediately post), Industrial Revolution's military machine. When one considers the deadly nature of the mine (and artillery esp. as used against infantry), warfare that developed in the 20C the notion that "Hopscotch" was included in military training takes on a darkly humorous significance...

 Such is also an example of how "Cowed Britannia" has, so far, been unable to escape the repercussions of her occupation by the Romans (for she became both martial and imperial -although the two do go hand-in-glove-, and many would also say "fascist", as a result), ..


Also see:

Interestingly, quote; "Florence Nightingale had wanted to help design the hospital but plans had already been drawn and construction started before her return from the Crimean War*. She did try to appeal to Lord Panmure and then Lord Palmerston the Prime Minister to have the plans of Netley Hospital altered but this would have cost an additional £70,000 and building work had already started. She was however able to help write up military nursing regulations." See

*The Crimean War 1853-1856.

Quote; " In ‘Notes on Hospitals’, Nightingale carried out a thorough examination of the design of existing hospitals, identifying their defects and proposing a new system of hospital design. Her specifications were determined by the contemporary belief in ‘miasmatic theory’, namely the damaging inhalation of gases derived from decomposed organic matter. At the time, miasmas were generally believed to be the cause of the infectious diseases threatening Europe. The new system of hospital design was specifically developed for ventilation, allowing the miasma to disperse. To achieve this, the principal premise of hospital construction was to place the sick in independent wards, also named pavilions. A pavilion was a rectangular space with a considerable number of windows to provide cross-ventilation of fresh air and light, as well as enabling supervision by the minimum number of nurses.":

Apparently Nightingale was scathing saying, quote: "It seems to me that at Netley all consideration of what would best tend to the comfort and recovery of the patients has been sacrificed to the vanity of the architect, whose sole object has been to make a building which should cut a dash when looked at from Southampton River. Pray stop all work."*[8]2

Furthermore, quote; 

"The building was enormous, grand, and visually attractive, but was neither convenient nor practical. Corridors were on the sea-facing front of the building, leaving the wards facing the inner courtyard with little light and air. Ventilation in general was poor, with unpleasant smells lingering around the vast building. In 1867, journalist Matthew Wallingford paid a visit to the hospital to write a report for the local parish newsletter:

It was a ghastly display of deception to say the least. To the naked eye it is a triumph of modern architecture, but should you inherit the misfortune to be sectioned there, one would not think of the place as so. It is not so much as the greatest military hospital in the world as much as it is a rather impractical waste of government finance.*[19]

Early patients arriving from campaigns taking place all over the world during the expansion of the British Empire had an uncomfortable journey to the hospital, either having to be transferred to a shallow-draft boat[13] if landing at the pier, or transported from Netley station to the hospital if arriving by rail.[20]

The hospital was particularly busy during the Second Boer War (1899–1902) which, when the project was further encouraged by Queen Victoria,[15] provided the impetus for extending the railway line. The extension terminated at a station behind the hospital but was awkward to operate, having gradients which were steep for the locomotives of the time.[21] Some trains needed a locomotive at each end to travel that ¾ of a mile.[22]

The railway and pier were also used for Queen Victoria's frequent visits to the hospital; she often arrived at the pier having been conveyed in the Royal Yacht from her residence on the Isle of Wight, Osborne House. She awarded three Victoria Crosses to patients at the hospital.[23] The Pier's lack of access to deep water meant it ceased to be used for patient transfer after 1901.[24]"

*Italics mime.

 It must be said that the stench of hypocrisy permeates the site to this day for we seem unable, as a culture (both national and international), to admit that the true purpose of, not only this institution, but all military hospitals of the time (and later), was not to ameliorate the suffering of wounded service personnel but to increase it by making them (apparently -to the blinkered eyes of exploitative imperialism-), fit to return to their "duties".

Quote; "At the rear of the site, D Block (Victoria House) and E Block (Albert House) formed the psychiatric hospital. D Block was opened in 1870 as the army's first purpose-built military asylum.*" Wiki.

*Italics mine.

War may continue just so long as its true face remains hidden..

In 1963 there was a major fire at the hospital, much of which remained was then demolished in 1966 although, quote: "Shortly before its demolition, Jonathan Miller filmed his 1966 version of Alice in Wonderland in the hospital." Wiki.

Seems appropriate, after all; "don't forget what the door-mouse said!"

I believe that the story of the treatment of these men (in-fact all involved), is already late in the telling and therefore encourage all who would like to work collaboratively and co-operatively to bring (working title), "Wobblin' Tommies" to the screen to comment here. It would be a major undertaking. There is much research to be done for, in order both to be authentic and to honour the memory of those who suffered, the individual experiences of the real people involved; patients, their loved ones, staff, politicians and the wider society (, must be explored. It is past time we came to grips with these issues (esp, those of mental health re: the traumatic effects of combat), as a society, our in-humanities to each other must not be glossed-over, we owe it to coming generations to come-clean (or these may be few).


A Veterans For Peace UK Film challenging the British Army's policy of recruiting 16 year olds into the most dangerous army jobs. More details at"

Unfortunately "Veterans for Peace"  closed down this year, quote;

"Good Morning

Emerging in a time of war, VFP UK formed to serve the cause of world peace.

We found community, sanctuary, purpose, and a vital platform during tumultuous stages of our lives.

Everything comes to an end one way or another.

Now a shadow of its former self, VFP UK is being closed down in a calm and peaceful manner.

Our body of work will be left online for future generations of veterans to take what they need from it.

This might come as a shock to some of you.

To others not so much.

If you would like to speak to me about this I am available in the evenings.

There will be a major social gathering in January for us to gather, remember and celebrate.

More information concerning the closure of VFP UK will be posted on this website soon.

Peace to you all

Ben Griffin

Founder VFP UK":

The Peace Pledge Union is still going though, quote; "War is a crime against humanity. I renounce war, and am therefore determined not to support any kind of war. I am also determined to work for the removal of all causes of war.*":

*Italics mine.

According to Hampshire County Council's publication, "The Royal Victoria Military Hospital: Uncovering the Stories", quote; "Despite the old building, the American forces treated over 1500 wounded patients at the RVMH before D-Day."..."After the Normany landings many vessels returned to the RVMH carrying the wounded, who were received at the crowded pier and taken to the hospital for treatment. The hospital was briefly full for the last time in its history."

The RVMH is not the only place in this area at which to remember the sacrifices made by previous generations either, Telegraph Woods and the Harefield Woodlands (in Eastleigh & Southampton respectively the site straddling the boundary), show signs of wartime use: 

 I've taken my own pictures in the area and it does not appear to have been a mere "troop camp" (see link), but also to have continued a tradition of being one of Southampton Port's most important eastern defensive positions and signal hubs, quote; "The blog post of August 2017 I quoted earlier is worthy of closer examination re: the entire area (esp. see the pictures of the remains of Fir Tree Cottage, quote: "The blue van is still in the layby at Telegraph Woods on the north side of the A27 at West End, where the third leg of the walk started with a bit of a run for the dog. A little bit of exploring – at least around the top end of the wood, closest to the road. Not quite in as far as the Iron Age ‘fort’ that is here somewhere, but leastways round the corner to the ‘Armada beacon’

The beacon (a circular pit) is one of only a handful that survive nationally dating from at least 1595, situated on flat land at the highest point of a ‘gravel plateau’ known as Moorhill or Telegraph Hill, overlooking lower lying land to the west, north and east. The woods are known as ‘telegraph’ woods after the Napoleanic ‘Shutter telegraph’* that once stood here – part of a line of similar between London and Plymouth but nothing remains of that now, except the high ground.

Nothing much remains of ‘Moorhill’ either – the large house that once stood at the highest point on the road enjoying spectacular views to the north.
You can’t really see much of that either, thanks to the new development at the Rose Bowl (sorry, I really hate sponsorship names that I am not paid to say). Instead, this is the view over the new golf course, looking north over the cricket ground towards the South Downs in the very distance. Ah, the delights of corporate inhospitality. Good luck seeing over the fencing…*
*" Go to:

*Quote; "Shutter telegraph machines were vertical wooden frames with 6 shutters within them, designed by the Reverend Lord George Murray. To make a signal, the shutters were opened and closed in order to spell out different letters. This was a new means of fast communication in the 1790s and meant that the Royal Navy could now send any message between important ports and the capital.
The Portsmouth Shutter Telegraph line was built 222 years ago in March 1796. It established a line of communication between the Admiralty building in London and Portsmouth. The message was passed through several telegraph stations including Putney, Chessington, Haslemere, Bedhampton, and ended next to the King’s Bastion, Portsmouth. Workers at the stations would watch through telescopes and take down the message, then pass it on by pulling ropes attached to the back of the shutters to spell it out. This line could send important messages from the Royal Naval base in Portsmouth to London in 7.5 minutes, far quicker than any other method of communication at the time. The next fastest method was to carry a message by horse, which would take at least 4.5 hours. One telegraph station’s journal even notes that a message was sent from London to Portsmouth in one minute.
The signal system was, however, very dependent on the weather. Poor visibility could slow down messages considerably. The stations could also only operate in the daylight." Go to:"

There are even Bronze Age burial mounds in the area...
 What more modern military structures and earthworks I have discovered (and photo-documented), include what are obviously machine gun, artillery and observation positions on the eastern slope of Telegraph Woods. The nature of the reinforced concrete that remains also suggests more permanent structures than that of a late war "troop camp" but that troops were there (said to be Canadian but I have been unable to confirm this), prior to the Normandy Landings I do not doubt. One might also reasonably expect there to have been some component of anti-aircraft provision considering the area's elevation and position on the eastern approach to the port.  

Heavyweight reinforced concrete.

..and here are the eastern slope positions I mentioned...

 Metal clearly embedded.

This structure is at the bottom of the hill (according to a local blogger, I have yet to try and locate it), ..

Pls. also see:, &
I doubt you will be surprised to hear that my interest in the subject is enhanced by family history. My great grandfather was a military vet on the Western Front for the duration of the Great War, he had previously been working on the Fleet Street Drays...

During WW2 my grandad was an engineer at Biggin Hill, he worked on the Merlin engines both on the front line and in the factory (he was injured test bedding one). His brother William was a regular soldier and was killed at Dunkirk. My mother was strafed by the Luftwaffe and my father blown across a field and embedded in a hawthorn hedge by a V-1. All of them suffered as a result of their experiences (some more than others -stories I would like to tell at some point-). 
 Like many others my own Cold War experiences were deeply affecting (as was that of my friend the Rev. John Knopf, Minister Emeritus, Southampton Edmund Kell Unitarian Church, Oxon., Cantab. RIP). 
 Some people (like Spike Milligan), found such strains tipped them over the edge and they became bi-polar for life!
The Cold Bolt

“Warm moist lupine huffs burst upon the ear,
Against a smoky velvet drape suddenly clear and frosted,
A hypodermic to the jugular whilst still under the thrall of the mutilated, shattered, statuesque grotesque seemingly able to dance without feet,
Without feet and without a head,
Belongs to no-one,
The miasma crawls and swirls again ignition sparking rockets which fly into the night;
“Aren't they bright against the sky?” Assaulting the nostrils,
“Blast!” Blood and deceit,
Salty, insulting, more damp on top,
Filthy, corrupted digits crawl, encrusted flesh stretches,
Stiffened, quivering, sticky starry crystals shake, warn flesh that much not catch the cold bolt.” 
Don't Sign up for War

"See thon Arthur Henderson, heid bummer o' the workin' men
When war broke oot he pressed his suit an' ran tae catch the train
He signed a deal in London, nae mair strikes until the fightin's done
In Glesga toon the word went roon', tak tent o' John Maclean

He said a bayonet, that's a weapon wi' a working man at either end
Betray your country, serve your class.
Don't sign up for war my friend
Don't sign up for war

When they turned him oot o' Langside Hall, John stood up at the fountain
Whit he said was tailor-made tae magnify the friction
Ye patriots can roar and bawl, it's nought but braggarts fiction
The only war worth fightin' for is war against oppression

He said a bayonet, that's a weapon wi' a working man at either end
Betray your country, serve your class.
Don't sign up for war my friend
Don't sign up for war

The polis wheeched him oot o' there and doon tae Queens Park station
They telt him plain, offend again an' we'll mak' ye rue the day, son
But Johnny didnae turn a hair, he ca'd for a demonstration
A mighty thrang ten thoosan strang turned oot against conscription

The next time that they came for him, John kent they meant the business
He didnae plea for mercy, he said gi'e me British justice
The justice that he ca'd for stunned many intae silence
When oot o' Hell the hammer fell, three years was the sentence

He said a bayonet, that's a weapon wi' a working man at either end
Betray your country, serve your class.
Don't sign up for war my friend
Don't sign up for war"
Alistair Hulett

 Whatever you think or feel about the sentiments expressed in Hulett's poem the truth is that the narrative he endorses has been completely marginalised in our globalised neoliberal state. How can anyone promoting the notion of European democracy possibly accept the conscription of the Ukraine's male population to fight NATO's proxy war?