US Army poster for the Martin B-26 Marauder medium bomber, WWII
80 Years Ago—Feb. 25, 1941: British and Nigerian troops take Mogadishu, capital of Italian Somaliland.
“February Strike”: General strike begins in Amsterdam in response to Nazi measures against Jews.
First delivery of Martin B-26 Marauder medium bombers to US Army Air Corps.
Movie premiere of screwball comedy The Lady Eve, starring Henry Fonda & Barbara Stanwyck.
Sylvie Townsend has a full and busy life, running the family bookstore in Chicago and raising her adopted daughter, Rose. When the World’s Fair comes to Chicago in 1893, Sylvie also takes on the role of tour guide. But seventeen-year-old Rose begins pushing Sylvie away and seeking answers about her background.
Violinist Kristof Bartok boards in Sylvie’s building and barely manages to conceal his affection for her. When Rose suddenly goes missing at the World’s Fair, independent Sylvie has no choice but to accept the help only Kristof can give her, with his quiet strength and knowledge of many languages.
As Sylvie and Kristof search for Rose among the many immigrant communities in Chicago – and in the city’s darker districts as well – their feelings deepen. But is Sylvie too set in her ways to make room for Kristof? And what if Rose simply ran away – can Sylvie let her choose her own path?
From the opulence of the World’s Fair to the grittiness of the city’s underworld, Jocelyn Green paints a fascinating picture of 1893 Chicago. Sylvie and Kristof are endearing characters, each seeking significance through the lives of their loved ones – and when those loved ones fail them or reject them, who will they be? Their romance is warm and gentle, and may I say how refreshing it is to read a romance between characters with streaks of gray in their hair! There’s a reason Jocelyn Green is one of my favorite authors – Shadows of the White City is historical fiction at its best!
USS Bear in Antarctica, 1939 (US Navy photo: 1985.131.036)
80 Years Ago—Feb. 24, 1941: RAF Avro Manchester medium bomber first flies in combat, in mission to Brest, France.
US Navy survey ship Bear and motor ship North Star arrive in Antarctica to evacuate remaining US personnel from Richard Byrd’s 1939-40 expedition.
Pellets of plutonium, 1945 (US Department of Energy)
80 Years Ago—Feb. 23, 1941: Dr. Glenn Seaborg & Dr. Arthur Wahl chemically identify new element of plutonium at University of California, Berkeley; discovery is kept secret until after the war.
Greece agrees to allow British soldiers to help defend Greece from Italians.
80 Years Ago—Feb. 22, 1941: First mass round-up of Jews in Amsterdam; 430 men are deported in reprisal for murder of a Dutch Nazi party member.
Bread ration in Jewish ghetto in Warsaw is reduced to 3 ounces per day.
Mothers and children in a working class area of Swansea have tea and sandwiches from a mobile canteen after a night’s bombing, WWII (Imperial War Museum: HU 36143)
80 Years Ago—Feb. 21, 1941: Third and final day of Swansea Blitz (Luftwaffe bombing of Swansea, Wales): 230 killed, but docks and facilities are undamaged.
Canadian scientist Sir Frederick Banting, recipient of 1923 Nobel Prize in Medicine for the development of insulin, dies in a plane crash in Newfoundland en route to England.
TIME Magazine Cover Featuring Frederick Banting, 27 Aug 1923 (public domain via Wikipedia)
German motorized troops, including a motorcycle and a reconnaissance vehicle, Libya, March-May 1941 (German Federal Archive: Bild 101I-782-0015-01)
80 Years Ago—Feb. 20, 1941: British and German patrols make first contact in North Africa near El Agheila, Libya.
Seal of the US Coast Guard Auxiliary
80 Years Ago—Feb. 19, 1941: Luftwaffe switches focus from attacking London to attacking shipping centers, such as Portsmouth, Plymouth, Bristol, and Cardiff.
US Coast Guard Auxiliary (non-military) and Reserve (military) are established.
Australian troops arriving in Singapore, 15 August 1941 (Australian War Memorial 009249/26)
80 Years Ago—Feb. 18, 1941: First Australian troops arrive in Singapore.
Silver salvaged from wreck of SS Gairsoppa in 2011 (Sarah Sundin collection)
80 Years Ago—Feb. 17, 1941: Off Ireland, German U-boat U-101 sinks British freighter Gairsoppa (85 killed) carrying 2800 bars of silver to fund the war (110 tons recovered in 2011).