History Podcasts

29 May 1940

29 May 1940

Fourth day of Operation Dynamo, the evacuation from Dunkirk. 47,310 men reach Britain.

Romania agrees an oil pact with Germany, becoming a major supplier of oil to the German war machine

The War at Sea, 1939-1945, Volume I: The Defensive, S. W. Roskill. This first volume in the British official history of the war at sea covers the period from the outbreak of the war through to the first British disasters in the Pacific in December 1941. Amongst other topics it covers the Norwegian campaign, the evacuation from Dunkirk and the first two years of the Battle of the Atlantic. The text is meticulously researched, and is rooted in a detailed study of wartime records, both British and German. [see more]


Eagle Archives, May 29, 1947: Oldest active master plumber sells business to youngest master plumber

Probably the oldest plumbing shop in this city, the Sammon-Wigmore Company, Gamwell Court, went today from the oldest active master plumber, Edward Sammon, to the youngest master plumber, 26-year-old Donald Harrington of 66 Grove Street, son of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Harrington, 37 Union Street. This is Mr. Sammon's 78th birthday.

The veteran plumber can't say definitely how old the shop is but the nearest he can figure is about 70 years. He has been one of its operators for the past 29 years — all of it at the same back alley location off Columbus Avenue. He has been a plumber about 60 years. He started as a carpenter's helper to the late James Mellen, then switched to plumbing as an apprentice to the late Robert Canfield. Then he moved over to the Columbus Avenue section and he's been there ever since. He worked for Parson & Sears which later become Sears & Son and when Sears died, Mrs. Sears took over the business for six months. "When she saw that she couldn't run it," Mr. Sammon recalls, "she sold out to Mike Wigmore and myself." That was 29 years ago. Mr. Wigmore died eight years ago.

If you go back 60 years, you can just about imagine how many thousands of Pittsfield people can thank the veteran plumber for their toilet facilities. "Why only 50 years ago," Mr. Sammon says, "even where I live now, I had an out house because the city sewers hadn't run up to Onota Street yet."

Mr. Sammon will tell you there is very little difference today from the actual plumbing in houses but he is very definite in telling you that the plumber of today is only a "steamfitter."

"Why," he declared, "you can't find many real plumbers left today. How many men, for instance, will you find who ever have occasion to wipe a joint. In those days, it was all lead work. Now all you find is steel pipes that are specially threaded."

Still in his shop are some examples of old joint wipings of lead pipes. He can bring you to hundreds of houses that he plumbed with lead pipes 60 years ago and the systems are still in perfect working order.

Even though the shop has changed hands, Mr. Sammon is going to stay on for several months to show the "youngster the ropes."

This Story in History is selected from the archives by Jeannie Maschino, The Berkshire Eagle.


On This Day in History, 29 май

The former Nigerian Army general and military ruler oversaw a democratization process that defines the country's political system to the present day.

1996 Benjamin Netanyahu becomes Israel's prime minister

The conservative politician is criticized for hampering the peace process that former prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin, had promoted.

1953 Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay conquer Mount Everest

The first successful ascent of the world's highest mountain came after Tom Bourdillon and Charles Evans had come within 100 meters of the summit just three days previously.

1942 Bing Crosby records White Christmas

Crosby's rendition of Irving Berlin's song became the most successful of his career and the best-selling Christmas single in history.

1913 Igor Stravinsky's ballet Le Sacre du printemps is premiered

he performance sparked a riot in the audience as many felt its irregular beat and the percussive character was a sacrilege against music. Today, it is considered one of the key works of 20th-century art music.


On May 29, 1848, Wisconsin became the thirtieth state admitted to the Union. The “Badger State” was the last state formed in its entirety from the Northwest Territory. Textured with beautiful landscapes and abundant natural resources, Wisconsin has a rich legacy of concern regarding their conservation. Tourist sites include the Wisconsin Dells and Devil’s Lake.

Crystal Lake, Wis. Albert A. Kreuter, c1913. Panoramic Photographs. Prints & Photographs Division

Wisconsin is a beautiful land… by reason of its wooded hills and the multitude of its beautiful little lakes. I had imagined it to be less well settled for although one finds the borders of civilization so near at hand that in hunting one often encounters Indians, yet the southern half of the state is developing into a great, blooming, densely populated agricultural district.

Carl Schurz to Margarethe Meyer Schurz, Letter of October 9, 1854. In Intimate Letters of Carl Schurz, 1841-1869. Madison: State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1928. p139. Pioneering the Upper Midwest: Books from Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, ca. 1820 to 1910. General Collections

The Winnebago, Menominee, Potowatomi, Dakota (Sioux), and Ojibwa (Cherokee) were among the Native American tribes to reside in the area. Among the first Europeans in this region were Jean Nicolet, who started a profitable fur trade between France and the native population, and Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet, Catholic priests who first explored the upper Mississippi territory.

The first permanent European settlement in this area was established in 1717, but only after the War of 1812 did the number of settlers increase notably. In 1832, the Sauk and Fox, under Chief Black Hawk, sought to regain their lands in the Illinois and Wisconsin territory but, after their defeat, settlers rapidly moved in. Miners poured into the southwestern sector of Wisconsin early. Lumberjacks came to the northern and central portions of the state. Farmers found abundant fresh water sources and rich land. Factory workers populated the southeastern industrial belt along Lake Michigan.

Panoramic View of Milwaukee, Wis… Milwaukee, Wis.: The Gugler Lithographic Co., c1898. Panoramic Maps. Geography & Map Division

Last evening I went with my parents to a summer refreshment place near the city, which was opened last Sunday with a great bowling contest. In such places things are conducted with much cheerfulness and wholly in the German style. The arrangement of the garden and all the grounds, and the predominance of the German language, would almost make you feel that you were in the fatherland if you did not hear the most varied German dialects and here and there a couple of Americans talking. At another place near the town, in the woods, there is target shooting on Sunday, and when the setting sun ends the work of the marksman a piano in the hall invites the young people to dance.

Carl Schurz to Margarethe Meyer Schurz, Letter of August 12, 1855. In Intimate Letters of Carl Schurz, 1841-1869. Madison: State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1928. p147. Pioneering the Upper Midwest: Books from Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, ca. 1820 to 1910, ca. 1820 to 1910. General Collections

Political refugees from Germany found a haven in Wisconsin during the mid-nineteenth century, especially around Milwaukee. German immigrants contributed their social idealism to community life and German influence was also seen in the development of music, theater, and leisure activities. The Progressive Movement of the early 1900s, which introduced innovative ideas in education and government, found a particular resonance in the state, resulting in legislation that made Wisconsin a leader in the social reform of industry and government.

Weimar Manner Gesang Vereine, Milwaukee. Geo. R. Lawrence Co., c1907. Panoramic Photographs Prints & Photographs Division

A singing society [Gesangverein] has been organized which has already given a very successful concert. A lot of balls were given during the winter, and an amateur theatre is organizing. Of course all this is only a beginning, but it is something. It is a sign that spiritual needs are strongly making themselves felt….

Carl Schurz to Margarethe Meyer Schurz, Letter of March 4, 1855. In Intimate Letters of Carl Schurz, 1841-1869. Madison: State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1928. p143. Pioneering the Upper Midwest: Books from Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, ca. 1820 to 1910, ca. 1820 to 1910. General Collections


May 29: Connecticut’s First Revolutionary War General — A Daring Leader in Two Wars, and a Peacetime Hero.

Today in Connecticut history, Revolutionary War general and French & Indian War veteran Israel Putnam passed away on his farmstead in Brooklyn, Connecticut. Best known for his participation in the Revolutionary War’s crucial Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775, Putnam’s reputation for bravery and daring was earned long before hostilities broke out between the British Army and American colonists.

Born in Massachusetts in 1718, Putnam moved to northeast Connecticut in 1740 after purchasing land in the town of Pomfret (part of which would later become the town of Brooklyn) with his brother-in-law.

When the French and Indian War broke out in 1755, Putnam enlisted with a regiment of Connecticut militia where he caught the attention of the famed Robert Rogers after exhibiting bravery in the Battle of Lake George. Rogers recruited Putnam into his company of Rangers where he served with distinction, escaping disasters on many occasions, including shipwrecks and Indian capture. By the time the war ended in 1763, Putnam had earned the rank of Major, and he returned to his hometown of Brooklyn an even bigger hero than before.

A romanticized 19th century depiction of Israel Putnam “leaving the plow” to answer the Lexington Alarm.

As a prosperous farmer and popular tavern owner, Putnam shared the growing resentment of his fellow New Englanders over new British taxation policies of the 1760s, and became a leading member of the Connecticut Sons of Liberty. According to legend, Putnam heard the news of the British march on Lexington and Concord in April 1775 while plowing his fields. He immediately dropped his plow, mounted the nearest horse and rode non-stop to Cambridge, Massachusetts to offer his military services in defense of his countrymen.

With his French and Indian War reputation preceding him, Putnam became one of the first four officially appointed major generals to serve under George Washington in the newly formed Continental Army in 1775, at the age of 57. Despite his notable bravery leading New England troops at the Battle of Bunker Hill, Putnam had mixed success as a commanding officer during the Revolutionary War. Military historians note that he was much more successful managing smaller units in unconventional, guerilla-style tactics — like he did in the French and Indian War — than he was with the larger, more formally organized army units placed under his command during the Revolution. Furthermore, while his brash, aggressive, and rough-around-the-edges personality endeared “Old Put” to the men serving under his command, he clashed with virtually every other high-ranking officer he worked with in the Continental Army. After his troops were routed during the Battle of Long Island in 1776, Putnam was assigned to increasingly unimportant patrols and commands, and in late 1779, a stroke that left him partially paralyzed ended his military career. He returned to Brooklyn, once again welcomed as a consummate hero, where he lived until his death on May 29, 1790. Connecticut educator and author Timothy Dwight penned Putnam’s epitaph, writing that he was “ever attentive to the lives and happiness of his men” and “dared to lead where any dared to follow.”

To this day, Israel Putnam is remembered as one of the most legendary, larger-than-life figures of 18th-century Connecticut and as a national hero of the Revolutionary War, with towns and counties named after him in 10 states. His original gravestone in Brooklyn was so heavily visited — and chipped away for souvenir shards — that it had to be removed to the State Capitol building for safekeeping. Putnam Memorial State Park in Redding, Connecticut preserves a campsite where Revolutionary War troops under Israel Putnam spent the winter of 1778 – 1779. Putnam is also honored with statues at Bushnell Park in Hartford, and on Route 169 in his hometown of Brooklyn.

Further Reading

Fanny Greye Bragg, “Israel Putnam,” Connecticut Sons of the American Revolution


Baseball History on May 29

Baseball Births on May 29 / Baseball Deaths on May 29

Players Born on, Died on, Debut on, Finished on May 29

Baseball history on May 29 includes a total of 44 Major League baseball players born that day of the year, 21 Major League baseball players who died on that date, 62 baseball players who made their Major League debut on that date, and 59 Major League baseball players who appeared in their final game that date.

Bill James, on the same page of the same book we used at the top of this page, said, "But as I began to do research on the history of baseball (in order to discuss the players more intelligently) I began to feel that there was a history a baseball that had not been written at that time, a history of good and ordinary players, a history of being a fan, a history of games that meant something at the time but mean nothing now." To that end, I have created Baseball Almanac. A site to worship baseball. A site by a fan who is trying to tell the history of good and ordinary baseball players.


This Week in AG History -- May 29, 1920

The first Pentecostal missionary to Argentina, Alice Wood (1870-1961), holds another great distinction: she served more than 60 years on the mission field, the last 50 without a furlough. When she finally retired at age 90, she left behind a thriving church pastored by Argentinians whom she raised up for the purpose of impacting a country for Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.

When the call came in the December 1913 issue of Word and Witness for a gathering of Pentecostal believers in Hot Springs, Arkansas, E.N. Bell published the five reasons for this first General Council of what would become the Assemblies of God. The third reason stated: &ldquoWe come together for another reason, that we may get a better understanding of the needs of each foreign field, and may know how to place our money &hellip that we may discourage wasting money on those who are running here and there accomplishing nothing, and may concentrate our support on those who mean business for our King.&rdquo

Alice Wood received the call but was unable to attend. She was a single, 44-year-old Canadian Pentecostal missionary in Gualeguaychú, Argentina, with no visible means of support. Encouraged by the vision to support missions, Wood sent in an application to be included among the first official missionaries of the fledgling Assemblies of God. She was accepted onto the roster on Nov. 2, 1914.

Wood was an adventurous woman who looked on fearful obstacles as challenges to be overcome. When she was 7 years old, one of the older school girls told her, &ldquoConquer a snake and you will conquer everything you undertake.&rdquo The next time she saw a snake, she ran to put her foot on its head while encouraging her sister to pelt it with rocks until it was dead. From childhood, she was a woman who ran toward things from which others ran away.

Orphaned at age 16, Wood lived with a foster family. While she was raised in the Friends (Quaker) church, she also attended Methodist and Holiness conventions and sought the presence of God in her life. At age 25, she enrolled in the Friends&rsquo Training School in Cleveland. Upon graduation she began pastoring a church in Beloit, Ohio.

When a young missionary visited her church, she &ldquolonged to go where Christ had never been preached.&rdquo She resigned her church and became involved with the Christian and Missionary Alliance, which sent her to Venezuela in 1898 and to Puerto Rico in 1902. While there, overwork took its toll on her health and she returned to the United States for rest. During this time she heard of a great revival in Wales and began to pray, &ldquoLord, send a revival and begin it in me.&rdquo While in Philadelphia she heard of another outbreak of revival at a small mission on Azusa Street in Los Angeles, only increasing her hunger.

Seeking after God, Wood received the baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues at a camp meeting in Ohio, along with a re-commissioning from the Lord to return to South America. Upon receiving the news of her Pentecostal experience, the Christian and Missionary Alliance broke ties with her.

In 1910, with no commitment of support, Wood sailed for Argentina as the first Pentecostal missionary to that nation, trusting that God would provide. After a few years working on the field, some health problems returned but, knowing of the power of the Holy Spirit, she turned to God rather than doctors for healing. She later wrote, &ldquoThen I learned to take Christ as my life. Jesus healed me of cancer, nervousness, and many other ailments. Let His name be praised.&rdquo

When she joined the newly formed Assemblies of God, the 16-year veteran missionary&rsquos experience lent credibility and stability to the organization. However, she never attended a district or General Council meeting, nor did she travel to raise support and share her needs. From the time she arrived in Argentina in 1910 until her retirement in 1960 at age 90, she never took a furlough. When asked why she never returned to America to visit and itinerate, she responded that God had called her to Argentina and she understood the call to be for life.

When Wood was 88, a national worker became concerned about her overwork and made known to Field Secretary Melvin Hodges that a clothes washer would ease her load. Wood had been washing all the clothes at the mission on a washboard. Since she had been a missionary before the founding of the district councils, Wood had no home district that watched out for her needs, so her lack was sometimes overlooked. Wood, at age 89, became the proud recipient of a brand new 1958 washer paid for by the newly formed Etta Calhoun Fund of the Women&rsquos Missionary Council. She wrote back expressing her gratitude: &ldquoYou have greatly lightened the work &hellip I have never seen anything like it. It is ornamental as well as useful.&rdquo

When Wood finally returned to the United States in 1960, a year before her death at age 91, her travel companion, Lillian Stokes, wrote, &ldquoAs I saw her few little ragged belongings I thought, &lsquothe earthly treasures of a missionary,&rsquo but the Word of God says, &lsquogreat is her reward in heaven.&rsquo&rdquo

This veteran single female missionary laid the foundation work for the revival that continues today in Argentina. In 1912, she wrote, &ldquoOurs is largely foundation work &hellip but we believe our Father is preparing to do a mighty work and pour out the &lsquolatter rain&rsquo upon the Argentine in copious showers before Jesus comes.&rdquo The sweeping Argentine revival of the 1980s and 1990s under evangelists Carlos Annacondia and Claudio Freidzon saw their beginning in Alice Wood, the fearless little missionary lady from Canada.

Read one of Alice Wood&rsquos many reports from the field on page 12 of the May 29, 1920, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

&ldquoFire From Heaven and Abundance of Rain,&rdquo by Alice Luce

&ldquoThe Great Revival in Dayton, Ohio,&rdquo by Harry Long

&ldquoQuestions and Answers,&rdquo by E.N. Bell

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center .

Note: Quotations in this article come from Alice Wood&rsquos missionary file at the AGWM archives.

IMAGE - Argentine Christians bid farewell to veteran missionary Alice Wood. (L-r): Pastor Ernest Diaz, Mrs. Diaz (seated), Miss Alice Wood, and Evangelist Ruben Ortiz July 12, 1960


Featured Events

1997 Jeff Buckley drowns while swimming in Wolf River in Tennessee. The singer/songwriter/guitarist known for his version of "Hallelujah" is 30 years old at the time of his death. More

1996 This item appears in The Guardian: Newly widowed Stella Serth has been convicted of a public order offence in Tasmania. Mrs. Serth has been fined £200 for dancing on her husband's grave and singing "Who's Sorry Now?"

1984 Tina Turner releases Private Dancer, her big comeback album. More

1976 Diana Ross' "Love Hangover" hits #1 in America. It's the first disco hit for Motown Records, which is slow to embrace the sound.

1971 The Rolling Stones' "Brown Sugar" hits the top of the Hot 100 for the first of two weeks.


29th May 1940 – Nightmare

For today’s news from Dunkirk touch screen or click here

And new for this 80th anniversary edition of The Dunkirk Project:

Thames to Dunkirk on film – a new artist’s film takes a walk around the big book, in company with BG Bonallack and Virginia Woolf and there’s a new article on the British Library’s blog.

Creating Dunkirk – artists’ views and visions – a new series of articles looking at artworks inspired by Dunkirk begins with a feature on John Craske’s astonishing embroidery The Evacuation of Dunkirk.

Stranger than Fiction – highlighting extraordinary true stories from Dunkirk, including some surprising elements: twelve pairs of silk socks, a jam sandwich and a tattered postcard, and a treasured newspaper clipping showing one of the last soldiers to be evacuated from Dunkirk.

Heroic ships: 1 HMM Medway Queen – a new series focusing on individual ships begins with a feature on the gallant paddle-steamer Medway Queen.

Read the daily news from Dunkirk each day from 26th May to 4th June in a River of Stories that collects and presents true stories from people who were there – and welcomes contributions

(Touch screen or click on any red link to go to move around the articles.)


May Day Celebrations

Many folklore customs have their roots planted firmly back in the Dark Ages, when the ancient Celts had divided their year by four major festivals. Beltane or ‘the fire of Bel’, had particular significance to the Celts as it represented the first day of summer and was celebrated with bonfires to welcome in the new season. Still celebrated today, we perhaps know Beltane better as May 1st, or May Day.

Down through the centuries May Day has been associated with fun, revelry and perhaps most important of all, fertility. The Day would be marked with village folk cavorting round the maypole, the selection of the May Queen and the dancing figure of the Jack-in-the-Green at the head of the procession. Jack is thought to be a relic from those enlightened days when our ancient ancestors worshipped trees.

These pagan roots did little to endear these May Day festivities with the either the established Church or State. In the sixteenth century riots followed when May Day celebrations were banned. Fourteen rioters were hanged, and Henry VIII is said to have pardoned a further 400 who had been sentenced to death.

The May Day festivities all but vanished following the Civil War when Oliver Cromwell and his Puritans took control of the country in 1645. Describing maypole dancing as ‘a heathenish vanity generally abused to superstition and wickedness’, legislation was passed which saw the end of village maypoles throughout the country.

Morris dancers with maypole and pipe and taborer, Chambers Book of Days

Dancing did not return to the village greens until the restoration of Charles II. ‘The Merry Monarch’ helped ensure the support of his subjects with the erection of a massive 40 metre high maypole in London’s Strand. This pole signalled the return of the fun times, and remained standing for almost fifty years.

Maypoles can still be seen on the village greens at Welford-on-Avon and at Dunchurch, Warwickshire, both of which stand all year round. Barwick in Yorkshire, claims the largest maypole in England, standing some 30 meters in height.

May Day is still celebrated in many villages with the crowning of the May Queen. The gentlemen of the village may also been found celebrating with Jack-in-the-Green, otherwise found on the signs of pubs across the country called the Green Man.

May Day traditions in southern England include the Hobby Horses that still rampage through the towns of Dunster and Minehead in Somerset, and Padstow in Cornwall. The horse or the Oss, as it is normally called is a local person dressed in flowing robes wearing a mask with a grotesque, but colourful, caricature of a horse.

In Oxford, May Day morning is celebrated from the top of Magdalen College Tower by the singing of a Latin hymn, or carol, of thanksgiving. After this the college bells signal the start of the Morris Dancing in the streets below.

Further north in Castleton, Derbyshire, Oak Apple Day takes place on 29th May, commemorating the restoration of Charles II to throne. Followers within the procession carry sprigs of oak, recalling the story that in exile King Charles hid in an oak tree to avoid capture by his enemies.

It is important to remember that without ‘The Merry Monarch’ May Day celebrations might have come to a premature end in 1660.