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Two bits of WW2 trivia and musical history (English).

by Ziks511 / November 12, 2013 9:54 AM PST
Ken "Snakehips" Johnson
"Born Kenrick Reginald Hijmans Johnson,[1] and originally from British Guiana, Johnson at the age of 15 was sent by his parents to the UK, where he attended Sir William Borlase's Grammar School, Marlow, Buckinghamshire,[2] before studying medicine at Edinburgh University.

"Having gained an interest in dance, he sought lessons from American choreographer Buddy Bradley. It was in dance work that Johnson earned his nickname, "Snakehips", from his "fluid and flexible style".[2]

"Johnson was invited to lead Leslie Thompson's band, before going on to start his own, called "Ken Johnson and his Rhythm Swingers" (later renamed "The West Indian Orchestra"), which played jazz and swing music. The band had a residency at the London nightclub Cafe de Paris. It was here on 8 March 1941, during The Blitz, that two bombs came through the Rialto roof straight onto the dance floor soon after the start of a performance.[3] Around eighty people were injured and at least thirty-four killed,[4] including 26-year-old Johnson,[5] and his saxophonist, Dave "Baba" Williams."

Al Bowlly,

Returned to "his flat at 32 Duke Street, Dukes Court, St James, London. His decision proved to be fatal, as he was killed by a Luftwaffe parachute mine that detonated outside his flat later that evening.[3] His body appeared unmarked: although the massive explosion had not disfigured him, it had blown his bedroom door off its hinges and the impact against his head proved fatal."
(17 April 1941)

A Parachute mine was the land version of a 4000 pound magnetic sea mine. it looked like a large cylindrical water tank and was detonated either by a barometric fuse or by contact with the ground. While Mr Bowlly may have been struck by the door of his bedroom, or flat, it is just as likely that he was a victim of "shock Lung" the devastating result of the pressure wave on lung tissue, and which was later in the war recognized as a grave problem for people out of shrapnel range of high explosives.

Solution, assuming you know when it is goind to happen, take a deep breath and hold it, and cover your ears with your hands and close your eyes and keep your head down until it has gone off.

Buried in a mass grave since there were no niceties despite one's wealth and position during early WW2.

"Al Bowlly is invariably credited with inventing crooning, or "The Modern Singing Style", releasing a book of the same name. Bowlly experimented with new methods of amplification, not least with his Melody Maker advert, showing him endorsing a portable vocal megaphone. With the advent of the microphone in 1931, Al adapted his singing style, moving away from the Jazz singing style of the 20s, into the softer, more expressive crooning singing style used in popular music of the 1930s and 1940s. It was Al's technique, sincerity, diction and his personality that distinguish him from many other singers of the 1930s era."

Imagine losing Count Basie, and Bing Crosby within a month of one another at the height of their popularity. Both deaths occurred as the Bliz was tailing off after 8 months of continuous bombing.

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