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Oldnautibits Weblog

Over the years since 2005 I have written a number of short features for our "Weblog". These pieces normally relate to something topical - the most recent entry appears in the scrolling window on our "desktop" Home page - it is also available here, together with an archive of what's gone before.

24th March 2020

Our Latest News

Corona Virus Update 24th March 2020

Following the Prime Minister’s televised address on 23rd March all UK citizens are restricted to home in a lockdown state and are only allowed out on essential journeys to purchase food or necessary medication. So, whilst our Post Offices currently remain open, we believe to help prevent the spread of this very contagious disease and to reduce the possible impact on our National Health Service we must suspend all despatches via the Post Office with immediate effect.

However, as we work from a home office, we can continue to operate the business securely without leaving the premises and will continue to service requirements, answer enquiries and update our stock listings as normal. Currently domestic and international courier despatches are still possible so if you have interest in an item please get in touch via our enquiries screen and we can obtain a delivered price for you to your location. Alternatively, we are happy to reserve any items for you against a 5% deposit and the transaction can then be completed in the normal manner once the current restrictions are lifted, although as the Prime Ministers statement we are certainly in lock down for an initial period of 3 weeks.

Thanks you for your cooperation and stay safe in these challenging times.

19th March 2020

‘Force majeure’: Corona Virus Update

Who would believe in just 3 months the situation throughout the world could change so dramatically and create so much impact on us all in the routine of our daily lives, our business and on our families? Clearly, we are living through an ongoing ‘situation’ where even the “experts” have no idea how long it will run for, how dangerous it will become and how to resolve a virus without (currently) a cure.

Suffice to say we must all take heed the instructions issued by our leaders and assist where possible in reducing the spread of the deadly Covid-19. To this end the team here at the Oldnautibits HQ are better off than most in that we work from a dedicated home office and other than daily trips to our local post office or courier depot we are pretty much self-contained. So, whilst in the UK all Militaria and Collectors fairs have been suspended, it is very much business as usual here, for the time being at least. If, however we are forced into a lockdown situation our modus operandi may need to change but we will keep you advised personally or via this blog or.

With global stock markets collapsing it could be a far sighted decision to invest in either gold or quality Militaria at this time and the latter option tends to give a lot more enjoyment than the ownership of a lump of metal locked away in some secure vault!

So please keep those enquiries coming and we are here to deliver the same level of service our customers have come to expect from us over the last 20 years, despite the challenges we all currently face.

Stay well and safe!

6th January 2020

Welcome to 2020!

All those weeks of planning, provisioning and partying and it is all over in a flash. The tree has been recycled, the decorations are back in the loft and the office is reopened after the extended festivities. Let us hope all our visitors, customers and friends had a memorable Christmas and are now ready to enjoy whatever 2020 should bring. That may however be a challenge; whilst here in the UK we sadly finished 2019 with yet another terrorist outrage (as reported in our previous Blog) we now start the New Year with increased tensions in the Middle East and it must be hoped the current situation does not lead to a third Gulf or even World War. This situation and the impact of climate change, highlighted by the terrible bush fires in Australia, hardly give us an auspicious start to the New Year, but it is hoped both situations will be resolved without further unnecessary loss of life.

Closer to home we keep striving to improve the service offered to our customers and to this end our website management team have recently installed an upgraded facility that will undoubtedly improve our sales ability. With all new stock listings, as well as the single primary image shown on the site, we can now add up to five additional photographs so we can illustrate the item from all angles and include detail such as labelling, data plates, areas of damage and other details. To access these, you simply need to click on the main image and then scroll through the additional images by using the ‘Next’ or ‘Previous’ arrows at the bottom of the window. This should greatly assist in making a purchase decision although we are always available to answer any specific questions or to provide a delivered price to your destination.

Despite the issues and concerns mentioned 2020 has a lot to offer. This year sees the 75th Anniversary of VE and VJ Days which will be commemorated here in the UK and across the free world. In addition September sees the 80th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain and clearly this will make the relating Air shows very special. With the sad death of Flight Lieutenant Maurice Mounsdon in December, aged 101, the remaining ‘Few’ are just three and we are sadly approaching the inevitable end of an era.

2020 is also the 400th Anniversary of the Mayflower’s pioneering voyage, departing from Plymouth, Devon on 16th September 1660. Those 102 passengers and about 30 crew sailed into the unknown on a perilous journey to ‘The New World’ and the rest, as they say, is history!

So despite our concerns we have much to look forward to in the coming 12 months so lets hope we all have a ‘Happy New Year’ in 2020!

27th November 2019

Muted Jingle Bells this Christmas?

How can it be that time of year again? It seems only 5 minutes since we were putting our Christmas decorations away and planning the challenges of the year ahead.

In retrospect 2019 has certainly been an 'interesting ' one for all of us based here in the UK. Who would have thought more than three years after ‘The Referendum’ we would still be negotiating the way forward and with politicians from every side of the debate continuing to behave like juveniles? Add to this the scandal surrounding a certain member of our Royal Family, the increasingly serious issues of global warming, knife crime on our streets and the incessant rain it does make all those of a rational mindset worry about what is instore for us and the generations that will follow. Lacking that all important crystal ball we can’t predict what the future holds but we and all of a like mind can only hope the citizens of the world can work as one to navigate through the current mess we find ourselves in.

On a lighter note we have much to look forward to in 2020 and in particular the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain (perhaps we need Churchill back to take a firm hand to combat the issues outlined above?) and the 75th Anniversary of both VE and VJ Days. It is hoped these will be commemorated up and down the country (and in Europe and beyond) and we remember all who fought and particularly those who made the final sacrifice. My late Father volunteered for the RAFVR and flew operationally with Bomber Command when just 22; by a circuitous route, including a long spell in Stalag Luft 111, he made it home in 1945, unlike 55,573 of his aircrew colleagues who did not. A further event I will personally be looking forward to is Hampden, serial number P1344 going on public display at the RAF Museum Hendon, hopefully next autumn. It is particularly special to me, being an ex 144 Squadron airframe, from Dad’s old Squadron and having had an opportunity to inspect the work to date, behind closed doors at Cosford during November, I can confirm Darren Priday and his team in the Michael Beetham Conservation Centre are doing a fantastic job in bringing this historic airframe back to life. It is one of only three examples of the type remaining in the world and was recovered from a crash site in northern Russia in 1991.

Let us remain optimistic and like Winnie- the- Pooh hope we can all find that elusive ‘Path Through the Trees’. In conclusion many thanks to all our customers for their business (and in many cases friendship) during the current year and we can reassure you all, despite the ‘B’ word, we will remain in business and continue to satisfy our customer base worldwide with their collecting needs. On behalf of the whole team here at the Oldnautibits HQ would like to wish you all a peaceful Christmas with family and friends and best wishes for the New Year to come.

4th June 2019

Overlord : 75 Years On

This year’s 75th momentous anniversary is rightly getting worldwide media attention and with this year’s commemorations being the last when many surviving Veterans will attend in any numbers it becomes even more meaningful. Other significant landmark events have already been marked such as the disaster off Slapton Sands when ‘Operation Tiger’ went disastrously wrong with the sad loss of at least 750 US servicemen. It seems like only yesterday when Ken Small and his team recovered the Sherman tank that now acts as a memorial at Torcross to those lost but amazingly it was 1984 when it was recovered from its watery grave and now stands proudly on the shore line. The 2019 anniversary reminded me of a trio of articles I wrote on the 70th Anniversary for the website entitled ‘A D- Day Retrospective’ These can still be accessed via the links on the left hand side of this page under the 'Features' section.

Part 1 in an account of a trip I and some like minded chums made to Normandy in 2012 and features a range of photographs that I hope captures a little of what a momentous event Operation Overlord was and of the bravery of all those young men, many of whom had never been in battle before.

Part 2 is entitled ‘A D-Day Retrospective - (or how I joined the Bigot List!)’. In this business I often get asked what are the most exciting discoveries we have made in terms of stock and this set of original D -Day invasion charts and associated ephemera that I feature have to come close to the top. Now sadly rehomed I retained many images of the grouping and a snap shot of these can be enjoyed within the feature.

Part 3 I have simply called ‘Weather or Not?’ and is a link to a further feature written about my late friend Warrant Officer John Bristow, RAF who flew with 518 Squadron and was a crew member on the ‘Met Check’ flight that led the Supreme Commander General Dwight D. Eisenhower, on the strong recommendation of Stragg, to delay D Day until a window of opportunity was found for 6 June 1944 when Eisenhower uttered the immortal words: "OK Let's Go!"

The total number of casualties that occurred during Operation Overlord, from June 6 to August 30 (when German forces retreated across the Seine) was over 425,000 Allied and German troops as well as the estimated 15,000 to 20,000 French civilians who were in the wrong place at the wrong time and were killed during the Normandy Campaign. I conclude with John Maxwell Edmunds emotive words from 1916 that remain entirely appropriate here :-

“When you go Home, tell them of us and say,
For your Tomorrow, we gave our Today”

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