Information

Gladiator II AM-319 - History


Gladiator II

(AM 319: dp 890; 1. 221'2"; b. 32'; dr. 10'; s. 18 k;
a.13")

The second Gladiator, originally BAM-6, was launched 7 May 1943 as AM 319 by the General Engineering & Drydock Co., Alameda, Calif.; sponsored by Mrs. Madeline A. Silva; and acquired and simultaneously commissioned 25 February 1944, Lt. Comdr. Robert W. Costello in command.

Gladiator sailed from San Francisco 1 May 1944 with a convoy for Pearl Harbor and subsequently made four round trip escort voyages from Hawaii—one to Kwajalein and three to Eniwetok—from 22 May-11 September 1944. Underway again 16 October she reached Ulithi 12 November and commenced patrol and escort duty in those waters. Voyages to Entwetok, Kossol Roads, and Saipan, were frequently made to shepherd merchantmen to and from those strategic ports until Gladiator sailed from Ulithi 19 March 1945 for combat at Okinawa.

Closing the beaches of Okinawa 24 March when Vice Admiral Lee's battle ships were bombarding the island, gladiator began minesweeping operations and screening duties. On April 6 she came under attack from a Japanese bomber and shot it down with the help of four American fighters that were on the bomber's tail during its approach. Another plane was splashed 6 days later when Gladiator automatic weapons brought it down close aboard on the starboard beam; debris rained about the ship. A third enemy plane was shot down 22 April, crashing into the sea after passing just fifty feet above the ship's deck; but one man was killed and five wounded by the plane's strafing. Gladiator continued minesweeping duties off Okinawa until sailing 19 May with a convoy for Saipan and Guam, subsequently returning to Okinawa 21 June. From 8 25 July 1945 she conducted minesweeping operations in the East China Sea, destroying six mines, and put in at Guam 11 August for major overhaul

Gladiator departed Guam 24 November and reached San Francisco 15 December 1945 She steamed to San Pedro, Calif., 30 May 1946 and after being towed to San Diego 2 October 1946 decommissioned at that port 2 days later.

Recommissioned 29 February 1952 at Long Beach, Calif. Gladiator sailed 2 September for Japan, closing Sasebo 1 month later, and steaming to Wonsan, Korea, 27 October. She swept mines in those dangerous waters until returning to Sasebo 10 November and subsequently, until the spring of 1953, divided her time between minesweeping operations at Wonsan, Inchon, and Hungnam and replenishment and training exercises in Sasebo and Yokosuka.

Gladiator departed Sasebo 19 March 1953 and put in at Long Beach 10 April. She engaged in peacetime activities—overhaul at San Francisco, training exercises off southern California, a round trip cruise from Long Beach to Acapulco and Balboa (15 January-12 February 1954), and a cruise to Bellingham, Wash., and return (28 June-10 July 1954)—before decommissioning Long Beach 15 March 1955. Redesignated MSF 319, Gladiator entered the reserve fleet berthed at Green Cove Springs, Fla She was later transferred to the Pacific Reserve Fleet at San Diego, Calif., where she remains.

Gladiator received two battle stars for World War II service.


8 Things You May Not Know About the Praetorian Guard

The Praetorian Guard was a fixture of the imperial era, but their origins date back to groups of elite soldiers that protected generals during the Roman Republic. As early as the second century B.C., special units were selected to shadow famed Roman leaders such as Marc Antony, Scipio Africanus and Lucius Cornelius Sulla whenever they ventured into the field. Julius Caesar later enlisted his tenth legion as personal security, but the Praetorian Guard as we know it didn’t appear until shortly after Augustus became Rome’s first emperor in 27 B.C. After ascending to the throne, Augustus established his own imperial guards comprised of nine cohorts of 500 to 1,000 men each. The unit would endure as a symbol of imperial might for over 300 years. By A.D. 23, it even operated out of its own fortress, the Castra Praetoria, located on the outskirts of Rome.


Forgotten Fights: Malta's Faith, Hope, and Charity, 1940

The courageous volunteer pilots of three obsolete British biplanes nicknamed Faith, Hope, and Charity engaged enemy raiders in combat over Malta in June 1940.

Top Image: Gloster Gladiator in flight over Egypt, 1941. Courtesy Imperial War Museums.

Malta is a tiny archipelago situated between Sicily and Tunisia. Sitting astride the sea lanes between the western and central Mediterranean Sea, it has been strategically important since ancient times. When World War II began in 1939, Malta was a British possession, and an important post linking Gibraltar in the west to Egypt and the Suez Canal in the east. It also could serve as a stepping stone—or a significant barrier—between Sicily and the Italian colony of Libya in North Africa.

Hoping to keep Italy out of the war, the British government strongly considered handing over Malta to Italian dictator Benito Mussolini as a bribe. Prime Minister Winston Churchill helped quash that idea, and fortunately so, for when Italy entered the war on the side of the Axis on June 10, 1940, just as France was falling to German invasion, Malta immediately became vital to British efforts to hold onto the Suez Canal and the Middle East.

Mussolini’s air force—the Regia Aeronautica—launched its first assaults on the Maltese islands on June 11. The harbor of Valletta received special attention. Unfortunately for the Maltese people and the small British garrison, nothing seemed available to counter the constant Italian air attacks. What planes were available had been relegated to the defense of Great Britain, or to Egypt.

Scrounging around, however, Air Commodore Foster Maynard discovered a number of packing crates that had been left behind by a visiting aircraft carrier earlier in the war. Inside, disassembled, were some Gloster Gladiator biplanes. With a design dating all the way back to 1934, this single-seater fighter was by 1940 already obsolete. With a maximum speed of only 257mph, the plane was much slower than the monoplane fighters that dominated most air combat in Europe. Still, the Gladiator was a durable aircraft, and it was maneuverable while also being easy to fly.

Maynard’s mechanics eventually were able to assemble six of the Gladiators, but this only allowed them to put three aircraft in the air at any one time, with the other three being used as backups and for spare parts. Still, the British were desperate to be able to put anything into the air against the Italians—not just to interfere with their bombing raids, but to prove to the people of Malta that somebody was fighting to defend them against enemy bombs.

The Italian aircraft soaring over Malta may not have been up to German standards, but they were nevertheless effective and far more modern than the Gladiators. They included the Macchi C.200 monoplane fighter, with a maximum speed of 313mph, and the tri-engine Savoia-Marchetti 79 bomber, which with a maximum speed of 290mph could also outrun or, with a full payload, at least match the speed of the lumbering Gladiators. To do any damage at all to the Italians, the British pilots would have to employ their aircraft creatively, to say the least.

Gloster Gladiator “Faith,” as refitted later in the war before being presented to the people of Malta. Courtesy Imperial War Museums.

Still, the Gladiators gave all they had. As Maltese civilians gathered to watch the air combat in the clear blue Mediterranean skies, they were delighted to see the biplanes swoop fearlessly to engage the Italians. The biplanes were immediately recognizable because of their shape, and soon seemed to take on personalities of their own to those watching from below. Somewhere along the way they acquired the nicknames of Faith, Hope, and Charity.

Over the 10 days from June 11-21, 1940, these three Gladiators (really six aircraft used interchangeably) and their dedicated volunteer pilots formed Malta’s only defense against enemy bombing raids. Later in June a few Hurricane fighters bolstered the island’s defense but still the old Gladiators had to take to the air. "You would take off in a Gladiator with some of the few Hurricanes we had on the island and head up towards the Italians," Flight Lieutenant James Pickering remembered many years later. "Sometimes there would be a hundred plus—clouds of bombers and fighters swarming above. And then, in a moment, you would be on your own—everything else had overtaken you."

Incredibly, the Gladiators managed to shoot down several Italian aircraft against the loss of only one British plane shot down at the end of July. The intrepid British pilots managed to disrupt the Italian raiders, forcing them to emphasize self-protection rather than accuracy, and sometimes to drop their bombs off-target. The Gladiators’ most important role, however, was in bolstering the confidence of the people of Malta and their small, ragged crew of British defenders. They would need that confidence in the years ahead, as the German Luftwaffe joined in the bombing to the point that by 1942 Valletta became the single most heavily bombed place on earth. In April of that year, King George VI awarded the George Cross to the entire island "to bear witness to a heroism and devotion that will long be famous in history.”


Gladiator II AM-319 - History

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Rome's Response to the Spread of Christianity

During the 1st century CE, a sect of Jews in Jerusalem claimed that their teacher, Jesus of Nazareth, was the 'messiah' of Israel. 'Messiah' meant 'anointed one', or someone chosen by the God of Israel to lead when God would intervene in human history to bring justice to the world. Jesus was crucified by a Roman magistrate, Pontius Pilate, c. 30 CE for proclaiming a kingdom that was not Rome's. Shortly after his death, his followers claimed that he was resurrected from the dead and was now in heaven at the right hand of God. Those who followed the teachings of Jesus ('Christ', the Greek for 'messiah') would also earn resurrection in the afterlife.

This message (the 'good news' (gospel) of the kingdom) was spread by his followers to the cities of the Eastern Roman Empire and beyond. The initial reaction was one of shock and confusion. The hero of the story was not only dead, but dead by crucifixion, the Roman punishment for treason. Paul recognized how radical this was by referring to "the scandal of the cross" (1 Corinthians 1:23).

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During their travels, the missionaries encountered non-Jews (the Gentiles of the New Testament), who wanted to join the movement. The apostles decided that the Gentiles did not have to convert to Judaism, and they quickly outnumbered Jewish followers. However, these Gentiles had to cease idolatry, which upended the age-old concept that one's religion was the way one lived one's life, the customs of the ancestors handed down by the gods. Transferring one's allegiance to the new group not only required a lifestyle change but often divided families. From the evidence of Paul's letters and the Acts of the Apostles, such teaching led to civil disturbances, and by the end of the 1st century, Rome began to persecute and execute these people for this teaching.

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Hero Cults & the Imperial Cult

Sometimes half-human, half-divine, Greek heroes such as Hercules had performed great deeds in life, and after their death, they were believed to be among the gods or in the Elysian Fields in Hades. This process was known as apotheosis ('to deify'). Several towns claimed to have the tombs of these heroes where people made pilgrimages to pray. These sites incorporated the social aspect of patron/client relationships, the obligations between the social classes. The heroes could serve as mediators at the court of the gods for the benefit of their communities. Hence, they were patron gods/goddesses. The Romans first borrowed the idea at the tomb of Scipio Africanus who defeated Hannibal in the Second Punic War (218-201 CE).

The imperial cult arose after the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BCE as the common people left tokens at the site where they burned his body in the Forum. Julius died with no legitimate son and named his great-nephew, Octavian, as his adopted, legal heir, the future Augustus (r. 27 BCE - 14 CE). When a comet appeared over the city during the funeral games, the people and Augustus proclaimed this a sign that Ceasar was now a living god. The Roman Senate condoned an official cult, which also benefitted Augustus who was now the son of a god. From this point on, most Roman emperors were deified upon their death.

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After the Battle of Actium and the end of the civil wars in 31 BCE, the eastern client-kings petitioned Augustus to allow them to build temples and worship him. He recognized the fiscal and propaganda advantage of these temples and so granted permission. They were to be temples to the goddess Roma where people could pray for the welfare of the Roman Empire and the first family.

The Great Fire of Rome & the Jewish Revolt

Nero (r. 54-68 CE) became infamous as the first Roman emperor to persecute Christians. When he was accused of starting a devastating fire in Rome in 64 CE, to allay suspicions, he blamed the Christians. He arrested them and invited the displaced poor to a banquet and show where Christians were tortured and crucified. This is when Peter allegedly died upside-down on a cross. Although the site, Vatican Hill, later became the basilica of St. Peter's church, the story is problematic because we have no eyewitness testimony for these events. The earliest source is the Roman historian Tacitus (56-120 CE), writing c. 110 CE. If, in fact, Nero did this, he was on his own. There was no official policy concerning Christians.

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When the Jews revolted against the Roman Empire in the year 66 CE, Nero sent the future emperor Vespasian (r. 69-79) to take care of it. Vespasian was battling in Galilee when Nero committed suicide in 68 CE. A turbulent time, known as the Year of the Four Emperors (69 CE), followed, and when Vespasian emerged victorious, he left his son Titus in charge of the rebellion. In the year 70 CE, Titus (r. 79-81 CE) laid siege to Jerusalem and destroyed the Jewish Temple. Jews had traditionally donated to the upkeep of the Temple this amount would become a Jewish tax they would now send to Rome as war reparations.

The Crime of Atheism

Vespasian's second son, Domitian (r. 81-96 CE), renewed all the old policies that usually got emperors killed. He quickly went through the treasury and then remembered his father's Jewish tax, the collections of which had been neglected. Domitian sent the Praetorian Guard to scour the tenements looking for Jews to pay up. This is most likely when Rome became officially aware of people who followed the Jewish god but were not Jews and nor did they follow the Roman religion, the customs of the fathers.

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Domitian insisted upon being addressed as 'Lord and God', and he ordered everyone in the Empire to worship at the imperial cult temples with sacrifices in the form of cash donations. Christians, however, refused to obey this command and, as a result, were charged with atheism. Atheism meant disbelief in the gods and, at the same time, it was a civil crime against the state. Not respecting the state cults meant that you did not want the Roman Empire to prosper. Angering the gods in such a way could bring on natural disasters and wars, and therefore, atheism was equivalent to treason, and the punishment was death. This is how and why Christians were executed in the arenas. Jews were exempted from the state cults by Julius Caesar (100-44 BCE) as a reward to his Jewish mercenaries among his legions in the East.

A second charge related to the Roman social/religious assemblies known as collegia. These were groups who shared common interests or trade skills. Members met under the egis of a god or goddess for a shared meal, however, collegia had to have permission from the government. Christians did not have this license to assemble, and therefore, it was an illegal religion.

Our first evidence of a Christian trial comes from Pliny the Younger (61-112 CE), the governor of the province of Bithynia c. 110 CE. In a letter to the emperor Trajan, he reported that after he arrested some Christians, he brought in some statues of the gods and a bust of the emperor. The ones who refused to throw a pinch of incense while taking an oath were executed. Trajan answered that if Christians openly defied the system, they should be arrested but should not be hunted out.

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Crises & Roman Persecution

Traditional histories of Christianity (as well as Catholic litanies) list thousands of Christian martyrs. There is little historical evidence for this claim over the course of 300 years, we only have evidence for persecution perhaps seven or eight times, and usually only in the provinces. Even then, we only have a handful of names. This is because persecution was directly related to a crisis. Famine, drought, earthquakes, plagues, and invading armies were interpreted as the anger of the gods. For the most part, Christians were tolerated. It is only in the periods of crisis that scapegoats had to be found it was those Christians who angered the gods. Everyone knew where the Christians lived - in crowded tenements and cities - they were noticeable for staying home during the numerous religious festivals, and during a period of crisis, they were easily arrested.

The two greatest periods of persecution were during the reigns of Decius (r. 249-251 CE) and Diocletian (r. 284-305 CE). In 250 CE, the Empire suffered a plethora of disasters - inflation, famine, invading armies, and a plague. Decius issued an edict that everyone in the Empire had to attend the imperial temples and appease the gods. In addition, people needed a receipt proving that they had been there. A black market of receipts flourished as Christians refused this edict.

After the reign of Decius, persecution ceased for a while. However, the Crisis of the Third Century brought economic and military instability. In constant competition for the throne, out of 25 subsequent "barracks emperors", only three died in their bed. In these short durations of power, a few took the bold step of legalizing Christianity, solely to recruit them into the Roman army. We know some Christians joined the legions, but most of them sat it out. As the traditional magistrates and patrons of the cities were away at war, Christians took over the traditional benefices of the cities. Through their charity of food and clothing and their early hospitals, these Christians became popular with the masses.

In 284 CE, Diocletian set about setting restoring the Empire. In 302 CE during one of the sacrifices, a priest discovered horrible entrails in the animals. Diocletian blamed the Christians, ordered their arrests, and also ordered them to burn their sacred scriptures. This became known as 'The Great (and Last) Persecution.' Upon Diocletian's unprecedented retirement, various individuals fought over Imperial power. In the West, Constantine I (r. 306-337 CE) successfully defeated Maxentius at the Milvian Bridge in Rome. He later claimed that he won the battle because of the Christian god and became a Christian. The Edict of Milan was issued in 313 CE, making Christianity a legal religion throughout the Roman Empire.

The Arenas

Rome did not have an established institution for convicted felons there were no set periods of detention or a life sentence. Each city had holding cells for convicted prisoners until the next magistrate was available, and punishment was based upon class. The higher classes on a charge of murder or treason suffered decapitation, the lower-class criminals were executed in the arenas, which were tools of propaganda, providing public demonstrations of Roman law and order.

The venatio, (led by bestiarii, 'beast men'), was a form of entertainment. Rome literally converted arenas with sand and palm trees, and the bestiarii would re-enact the capture of wild animals such as lions, panthers, bears. The animals were also utilized as state executioners. Some convicts were forced to participate in the hunts, but most often they were tied to a stake and then mauled by the animal.

Contrary to popular belief, gladiators did not fight Christians in the arenas. The gladiator games were funeral games that originated with the indigenous Etruscan civilization. Two slaves fought to the death, and the loser accompanied his master in the afterlife. Rome developed this idea into an industry with gladiator schools. Gladiators sometimes fought to the death in a special funeral honor, a munera, but this was rare. Training gladiators was expensive, and no one wasted them on common criminals. Besides, in a sense of good sportsmanship, a gladiator against an untrained convict was a poor showing.

The Critics

Unfortunately, the literature of the ancient world comes from upper-class, educated men, and we have no idea what the average, lower-class Greeks or Romans thought of the new movement. Among the educated elite, however, there was criticism of Christians. Two 2nd-century CE philosophers, who read Christian scriptures and interviewed Christians, wrote treatises against the movement. Celsus in The True Word portrayed Jesus as an ordinary trickster, using magic to sway the crowds and warned that Christians were dangerous because they taught an alternative lifestyle that upended traditional social and religious conventions.

Galen, a 2nd-century CE physician who served the imperial household, had much praise for the healthy Christian practices (moderation in food and drink and curbing of the sexual appetite), but he also criticized their logic, particularly in the Genesis creation story. Galen claimed that it was impossible to create if there was no prior matter. (Hence the later Christian doctrine against Galen known as "creatio ex nihilo" or "creation out of nothing".) Beginning in the 2nd century CE and beyond, Christian bishops wrote responses to such criticism which ultimately became Christian theology.

Another text, known as Octavius by Minucius Felix (c. 197 CE), is often misunderstood as a standard polemic against Christianity. It is a dialogue between two friends, discussing what people think about Christians. This contains the now-infamous charge that Christian initiation involved the candidate killing a non-Christian baby disguised in flour and at the end of the ceremony, trained dogs pulled down the lamps and everyone groped their nearest neighbor in an orgy of sex. This text, however, was written by a Christian, most likely as satire.

The Concept of Martyrdom & the Cult of the Saints

In 167 BCE, the Jews rebelled against the Greek rule of Antiochus Epiphanes who had outlawed Jewish customs. In 2 Maccabees, as the victims were tortured, they made final speeches. They willingly sacrificed their lives because God "will raise them up" ('anatasis' in Greek, 'resurrection' in English), and the term 'martyr' was introduced (meaning 'witness' in Greek). The reward for martyrdom was instant translation to the presence of God in heaven. Christians adopted this concept for everyone who died for their faith.

Over the centuries, martyrologies appeared, stories of the suffering and death of the martyrs. The template was drawn from the passion of Christ the ordeals of Jesus. The Roman government supplied no services in the holding cells, which were damp, dark, and full of rats. Hunger brought on physiological changes to the body, and the prisoner spent the time reflecting upon upcoming death, giving rise to visions. Many of the visions functioned as valid ways in which to settle contemporary disputes in the communities. Further, the martyrologies also provided details of the miracles of these martyrs. There are stories of mutilations of limbs that grow back, sight being restored after blinding, and stories of virgin martyrs who should have been raped before execution because Roman law forbade the execution of a virgin. In these stories, the guards could not perform so that the victim remained intact going to her death.

After the conversion of Constantine, there were limited opportunities for traditional martyrdom. With Christianity now as a legal religion, they began to build churches and took over the municipal basilicas, originally civic halls. In the 380s CE, the bishop of Milan, Ambrose, solved the problem of making these sacred spaces by digging up the skeletons of two older, soldier martyrs and placing them literally in the walls of his new church. This period begins the rise of the cult of the saints. Borrowing the concept of patron gods and heroes, martyrs' tombs became intersections of heaven and earth. Pilgrims traveled to pray for intercession on their part, based on the same concept as the patron/client relationship, creating the patron saints of Catholic tradition.

An innovation to this system was the worship of relics. The bones (and various body parts) were now deemed sacred, holy objects that could facilitate miracle cures. This innovation again shocked both Jews and Gentiles as violating the concept of corpse contamination. Nevertheless, the trade of relics (most of them forgeries) became so outrageous in the Middle Ages, that it was eliminated by Martin Luther's reforms against the Vatican during the Protestant Reformation.

Conclusion

The growth of Christianity and its eventual triumph in medieval Europe is currently a major topic of interest for historians. The traditional view was that Christianity offered a system of morality and solace to a world that was spiritually bereft. This is patently not true the ancients were just as pious and spiritually awakened as Christians. Christianity absorbed this culture but added unique innovations that provided new meaning, and in a world with no certainty of the afterlife, Christianity provided assurance of one in heaven. When Constantine the Great converted, how many saw the winds of political change as a practical way to survive and get ahead?


12 U-571 (2000)

In this turn of the century war film, a German submarine is commandeered by disguised American submariners as they attempt to capture the Enigma cipher machine. U-571 is so inaccurate, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair labelled it “an affront to the real sailors." The film is based on the real story of "Operation Primrose," where the U-110 was captured, not the U-571. There were no Americans involved, as the operation was undertaken by the British before the U.S. had even entered the war.

Director Jonathan Mostow’s film gives the American squad credit for capturing the enigma machine and helping crack the encrypted Nazi messages. None of these Americans actually had anything to do with the codes being broken, it was a joint effort between Polish and British mathematicians in a far away office. An honorable mention goes to this movie for starring Jon Bon Jovi, who gets shot over the side and goes out in quite a “Blaze of Glory.”


Gladiator II AM-319 - History

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A variety of films, television shows, documentaries, and games are available for viewing. All may be accessed through the seat back inflight entertainment monitor or personal portable devices, depending on which A319 you are on.

All classes of service on this aircraft feature regular AC power.

Wi-Fi service is availble to all personal portable devices. Internet access is available for a fee. Daily and monthly passes may be purchased before flight. Additional information about the service may be accessed by clicking here.

Food service depends on length of flight and time of day. Premium dining is offered in the First Class cabin. Main Cabin and Main Cabin Extra items might include complimentary light snacks such as pretzels and/or cookies. Snacks are available for purchase on flights over 2 hours. Light meals are also available for purchase on flights over 3 hours.

Non-alcoholic beverages are complimentary. Beer, wine, and a variety of spirits are complimentary in First and Main Cabin Extra. They may be purchased in Main Cabin.

Additional information for each class is available in the "Travel Information / During your flight" section on aa.com.

This version of the American Airlines Airbus A319 aircraft seats 128 passengers and is primarily used on Domestic routes. This next-generation aircraft features a First Class cabin outfitted with 8 recliner seats in a 2-2 configuration. In the Main Cabin, the seats are arranged in a 3-3 configuration. The option to enjoy more legroom is available with 24 Main Cabin Extra seats and the aircraft also offers 96 standard Economy Class-style seats. Inflight entertainment is provided through a seat back inflight entertainment monitor or your personal portable devices, depending on which A319 you are on.


Messalina the Nymphomaniac — a gossip or truth?

All the Roman writers who wrote about Messalina described her as a nymphomaniac.

She definitely was one of the most magnetic and beautiful women of her time. Messalina was a young wife married to an old husband. Perhaps Claudius was not interested in lovemaking anymore. After all, he had a huge empire to govern.

Gossipers said that Messalina had over 150 lovers. During the night she loved to sneak out of the imperial palace while Claudius was sleeping. She went to the brothel where she would work as a prostitute. After a long night of sex with multiple men, she would return to her husband.

Claudius either didn’t know about her affairs or he ignored her promiscuous behavior. He definitely was a laughing stock of all the men in Rome.

Once, Messalina entered a competition with the best Roman prostitute, Scylla. Messalina and Scylla bet on who could please more men in twenty-four hours.

Messalina won by twenty-five to twenty-four! She definitely had stamina. No wonder that poor Claudius let her loose!

That story cemented Messalina as one of the most famous nymphomaniacs in history.


No. 247 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

No.247 Squadron was a fighter squadron that alternated between defensive duties and offensive sweeps over France, ending the war with 2nd Tactical Air Force. The squadron was formed on 1 August from the Fighter Flight, Sumburgh. On 21 July 1940 this flight had moved from Sumburgh to Roborough to help protect Plymouth, and its Gladiator biplanes were used to provide both night and day defences and to fly convoy protection patrols.

In September 1941 the squadron converted to the long range Hurricane IIB, and began to fly intruder missions over north western France. This lasted for the next year, before in September 1942 the squadron moved to the Midlands. It converted to the Typhoon in January 1943, and joined 2nd Tactical Air Force in the summer of 1943. Offensive sweeps over northern France soon resumed, and in April 1944 the squadron took a rocket firing course. Rockets then began its main weapon.

The squadron was used to support the army during the D-Day invasion, although it also took part in a number of set piece attacking, including the 10 June attack on the HQ of Panzer Army West, in which the army's chief of staff was killed. The squadron moved to Normandy on 20 June, and followed the advancing troops east across France, reaching the Netherlands in September. It then flew armed reconnaissance sweeps over Germany until the end of the war, focusing on transport, railways and barges.

In August 1945 the squadron returned to the UK to convert to the Tempest, before in 1946 becoming the first squadron to receive the Vampire jet.

Aircraft
August 1940-February 1941: Gloster Gladiator II
December 1940-June 1941: Hawker Hurricane I
June 1941-January 1942: Hawker Hurricane IIA and IIB
January 1942-February 1943: Hawker Hurricane IIC
January-February 1943: Hawker Typhoon IB
August 1945-May 1946: Hawker Tempest II

Location
August 1940-February 1941: Roborough
February 1941: St. Eval
February-May 1941: Roborough
May-June 1941: Portreath
June 1941-May 1942: Predannack
December 1941-May 1942: Detachment to Exeter
May-September 1942: Exeter
September 1942-March 1943: High Ercall
March-April 1943: Middle Wallop
April-May 1943: Fairlop
May-June 1943: Gravesend
June-July 1943: Bradwell Bay
July-August 1943: New Romney
August 1943: Attlebridge
August-October 1943: New Romney
October-December 1943: Merston
October-November 1943: Detachment to Snailwell
December 1943-January 1944: Odiham
January-April 1944: Merston
April 1944: Eastchurch
April-June 1944: Hurn
June 1944: B.6 Coulombs
June-August 1944: Hurn
August-September 1944: B.30 Creton
September 1944: B.48 Amiens-Glisy
September 1944: B.58 Melsbroek
September 1944-January 1945: B.78 Eindhoven
January-February 1945: B.86 Helmond
February-March 1945: Warmwell
March-April 1945: B.86 Helmond
April 1945: B.106 Twente
April 1945: B.112 Hopsten
April-May 1945: B.120 Langenhagen
May 1945: B.156 Luneberg
May-August 1945: B.158 Lubeck
August 1945-January 1946: Chilbolton

Squadron Codes: HP (Hurricane), ZY (Hurricane IIC, Typhoon, Tempest)

Duty
Role
1940-1941: Defensive fighter patrols
1941-1942: Fighter sweeps, north western France
1942-1943: Defensive fighter squadron
1943-1945: 2nd Tactical Air Force

Part of
10 July 1943-1 April 1944: No.124 Wing No.83 Group 2nd Tactical Air Force
1-24 April 1944: APC Eastchurch
24 April-21 February 1945: No.124 Wing No.83 Group 2nd Tactical Air Force
21 February-7 March 1945: APC Warmwell
7 March to end of war: No.124 Wing No.83 Group 2nd Tactical Air Force

Gloster Gladiator Aces, Andrew Thomas. A look at the wartime career of the only biplane fighter still in RAF service during the Second World War. Covers the Gladiator's service in Finland, Malta, North Africa, Greece, Aden, East Africa and Iraq, where despite being outdated it performed surprisingly well.


Watch the video: The Leadership Style of Commodus Gladiator, 2000 (January 2022).