Was Charles Hughesdon the last surviving eyewitness of Michael Collins’ funeral?

A few years ago I came across this obituary in the Daily Telegraph. It seems a little parochial to wonder if, in the midst of a busy and incident-packed life, one of Charles Hughesdon’s achievements was to be the last surviving eyewitness of Michael Collins’ funeral:

 

During the First World War the family moved to a flat above the Johnny Walker offices, and Hughesdon was educated at the nearby Raine’s Foundation Grammar School. A notion (soon abandoned) that he might be suited to the priesthood allowed for a short spell in 1922 at a seminary near Dublin, where he attended the funeral of Michael Collins.

Surely he was the only attendee at Collins’ funeral to have an affair with Shirley Bassey (amongst others):

[His] marriage, however, was informed by a flexible attitude to fidelity: extramarital liaisons were considered “medicinal”. Hughesdon had flings with both the first and second wife of his friend Tyrone Power. In 1955 he was introduced to Shirley Bassey, then in her late teens, who was at the time lighting up the West End. The pair conducted an affair for several years, meeting up in Britain, America and Australia. The singer even joined Hughesdon and his family for a Boxing Day party at which she and Florence Desmond duetted. “It was riotous,” recalled Hughesdon. “Finally after much laughter and Shirley dancing barefoot on the billiards table a few of us finished in the sauna bath.”

As with William Seabrook and Talbot Mundy, the opening line of Hughesdon’s obit says it all:

Charles Hughesdon, who has died aged 104, was a daredevil aviator, champion ballroom dancer, insurance broker and airline executive who married the film star Florence Desmond and boasted of affairs with Shirley Bassey and Margot Fonteyn.

Hughesdon was 13 or so at Collins’ funeral, and presumably there were younger children present at what was a vast occasion. But how many retained some memory of the event in later life? When he died in 2014 even a day old infant at Collins’ funeral would be 92. At the very least, Charles Hughesdon was among the last.

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Beshoff’s Chip Shop Founder was Last Survivor of Potemkin Mutiny

From his 1987 New York Times obituary:

Ivan Beshoff, the last survivor of the 1905 mutiny on the Russian battleship Potemkin, a harbinger of the Russian Revolution, died Sunday, his family said today. His birth certificate said he was 102 years old, but he contended he was 104.

Born near the Black Sea port of Odessa, Mr. Beshoff abandoned chemistry studies and joined the navy, serving in the engine room of the Potemkin.

The mutiny over poor food was the first mass expression of discontent in Czar Nicholas II’s military and later came to be seen as a prelude to the 1917 Russian Revolution.

The mutineers killed the captain and several officers. The entire Black Sea fleet was ordered to suppress the rebellion, but crews refused to fire on the battleship, and it sailed for 11 days before surrendering.

Mr. Beshoff had said he fled through Turkey to London, where he met Lenin. He settled in Ireland in 1913, saying he had tired of the sea.

Mr. Beshoff worked for a Soviet oil distribution company and was twice arrested as a Soviet spy, but became a beloved figure in the Irish community.

After World War II, he opened a fish and chips shop in Dublin. His sons opened branches elsewhere in the city.

Weirdly (to my mind) Beshoff’s don’t mention this on their website… although we do have this historical tidbit:

Grandfather Ivan Beshoff came to Ireland from Russia in 1913 and lived to 104 years. His father lived to 108 and his grandfather to 115 – enough said about the goodness of fish.

Non-Binary Review call for submissions on Dante’s Inferno (deadline 24th Oct 2018)

More info here:

NonBinary Review is a quarterly digital literary journal that joins poetry, fiction, essays, and art around each issue’s theme. We invite  authors to explore each theme in any way that speaks to them: re-write a  familiar story from a new point of view, mash genres together, give us a  personal essay about some aspect of our theme that has haunted you all  your life. We also invite art that will accompany the literature. All submissions must have a clear and obvious relationship to some specific aspect of the source text (a character, episode, or setting). Submissions only related by a vague, general, thematic similarity are unlikely to be accepted.

We are open to submissions which relate to Dante Alighieri’s 14-century epic poem The Inferno, which you can find herePlease bear in mind that we’re looking for pieces that relate to the BOOK ONLY. References movies or television shows will not be accepted.

Submissions which do not tie into the plots or make use of characters/settings from the book WILL NOT be considered–there needs to be a clear connection to the source material. 

We want language that makes us reach for a dictionary or a tissue or  both. Words in combinations and patterns that leave the faint of heart a  little dizzy.

Francis Poulenc : “Dialogue des Carmelites” – on the feast of the Carmelite martyrs

It is the feast of the Blessed Martyrs of Compiègne: 16 Discalced Carmelite nuns executed by French revolutionaries on this day in 1794, after refusing to accept state control over the Church. Perhaps appropriate so close to Bastille Day in the Calendar.

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via Wikipedia – Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, Quidenham, Norfolk –

 

Here is the magnificent finale of Francis Poulenc’s “Dialogue des Carmelites”:

 

Let it snow!

Let it snow!

I have just discovered Maja Pitamic’s site, much to my pleasure. And it seems somehow fitting to reblog this in the midst of a prolonged spell of overly hot weather.

Maja Pitamic

Seasons Greetings!

Here are some of my favourite snow scenes.

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Hunters in the snow by Bruegel the elder 1563

Surely this painting is in everyone’s favourite snow paintings. The composition is flawless, we are there with the hunters surveying the wintry scene below. The ice-tone cool colours giving the feeling of relentless cold.The bending bodies of not only the hunters but the dogs too give the impression of utter weariness. There has been no luck for these hunters today.

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Winter landscape by Avercamp c 1620

Here by contrast to the Bruegel we have a classic Avercamp scene. The whole village has come out to enjoy skating on the frozen water. I love all the details from the wobbly toddler, the speeding men showing off and the courting couples they are all there.

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In complete contrast to the Avercamp we have this wood cut Winter Evening in Japan by Hokusai c…

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Choctaw artist/writer Waylon Gary White Deer to lead Tipperary Famine Walk 28th July 2018

Choctaw artist Waylon Gary White Deer  to lead Tipperary Famine Walk in Ballingarry on 28th July. From the Ballingarry Facebook Page:

 

You are invited to this year’s Famine 1848 Walk which takes place in Ballingarry from the Young Ireland and National Flag Monument in the village of The Commons to Famine Warhouse 1848, the OPW national heritage Museum on Saturday, 28 July at 3pm.

The Walk will be led by Waylon Gary White Deer from the Choctaw Nation in the United States. The Walk will recall the extraordinary act of kindness of the Choctaws to the starving Irish during the Great Famine

Organised by the Ballingarry 1848 Society.

Waylon Gary White Deer’s website describes him as a “Choctaw Indian Painter and Author based in Co. Donegal, Ireland”. This profile pictures him in front of Muckish and describes him as living in the “Donegal Gaeltacht”

The Commons claims to be first place the tricolour was flown as an Irish national flag.