Mar. 23rd, 2010

ewein2412: (harriet writing (text))
OMG I could not write this book without Wikipedia. srsly

One of the simplest plastic explosives was Nobel’s Explosive No. 808, also known as Nobel 808 (often just called Explosive 808 in the British Armed Forces during the Second World War), developed by the British company Nobel Chemicals Ltd well before World War II. It had the appearance of green plasticine with a distinctive smell of almonds. During World War II it was extensively used by the British Special Operations Executive (SOE) for sabotage missions.

I *do* remember what it was like to do research in a library because that is how I researched A Coalition of Lions. And one of my worries in moving to Scotland (ten years ago) was that I would be leaving the Bodleian and British Libraries behind. But, but... the tortuous process of making a list of things you need to find out: Weight limit on a Westland Lysander, type of plastic explosive used by SOE, when was the fountain pen invented and what did you call it back then, what is the literal translation of "funkspiel"... Those are some of the things I've googled in the past 2 days. Hours and hours of library work, those would have taken, and chances are there wouldn't have been any books about Lysanders there anyway and I'd have had to order them through interlibrary loan.

Which is not to say I don't still use the library, because I have been using the local library more than ever for more general things like the wonderful Hugh Verity (his name is a coincidence) book We Landed By Moonlight about RAF Special Duties ferrying British agents into and evaders and refugees out of Occupied France, and the World War II Day by Day book. Perth and Kinross Libraries also publish their *own* books, an excellent thing for a local library to do, such as The Easy Trip, a local boy's account of parachuting out of his shot-down Lancaster bomber and having to be hidden by the French Resistance for 2 months.

We Landed By Moonlight is an AWESOME book, by the way. An excerpt:

Having dragged the airplane out of the mud with a team of oxen and horses, the pilot...

decided to take the minimum load and confined his passenger list to an RAF evader, one Frenchman, his wife and their young son. The man was a resistance worker who, under the sentence of death, had been rescued from a police van by his wife and friends. His wife had attacked the Gestapo in the van, tommy-gun in hand, when eight months pregnant. He seemed to be a nervous wreck. His wife was now within hours of giving birth. She just sat there in the mud.

At 0205, after they had been on the ground two and a half hours longer than intended, a final attempt at taking off succeeded...

Mrs. Aubrac [the wife of the resistance worker] was nine months pregnant and gave birth to a baby girl in Queen Charlotte's Hospital in London [that day after landing]. This baby girl was named
Mitraillette (sub-machine gun).

Mitraillette!!!
ewein2412: (Goewin)
OK, I don't really get this, but if they make Goewin a banner and a couple of people vote for her (I guess she *is* a pretty good archer) I will be their best friends forever.

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