Throughout the English speaking world, the 11th November is observed as a Remembrance Day to solemnly recall the end of hostilities of World War One at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. In time, it has come to be observed as a Memorial Day for all who died in both World Wars and in other subsequent conflicts.
Remember the Fallen
The two minute silence to remember all who paid the supreme sacrifice began in Cape Town, South Africa. When the first casualty list recording the horrific loss of life in the Battle of Delville Wood, 1916, was announced in Cape Town, Mr J.A. Eagar, a Cape Town business man, suggested that his congregation observe a special time of silence to remember those in the South African Infantry casualty list. Sir Percy Fitzpatrick, the famous South African author of Jock of the Bushveld, was also a member of that congregation.
A Time of Intercession
In May 1918, Mr R.R. Brydon, a city councillor, suggested to the Mayor of Cape Town, Sir Harry Hands, that a period of silence to remember those engaged in the Battlefields of Europe on the Western Front be initiated formerly at the firing of the noon day gun from Signal Hill. In May 1918, Sir Harry Hands, as Mayor, announced that 14 May 1918 at the sound of the noon day gun there would be a three minute pause. At the corner of Adderley and Darling streets, a trumpeter would sound the Last Post to reverberate throughout the city during which time all were to stop what they were doing, stand still and bow their heads in silent prayer, praying for those engaged in the conflict, remembering those who had died and thanking God for those who had survived.
Mr Brydon's son, Major Walter Brydon had been wounded three times and gassed once. He was killed in action on the Western Front, 12 April 1918. A few days later, Captain Richard Hands, the son of the Mayor of Cape Town, Sir Harry Hands, a member of Brydon's battery, was mortally wounded in the same battle in which Major Brydon had been killed. The daily midday prayer time initiated by the noon day gun was last observed on 17 January 1919.
An Empire Wide Time of Prayer and Remembrance
Sir Percy Fitzpatrick, Member of Parliament, wrote to King George V, to propose a two minute silence throughout the Empire on 11 November 1919, to mark the first anniversary of the Armistice which ended The Great War. On 7 November 1919, King George V proclaimed: "That at the hour when the Armistice came into force, the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, there may be, for the brief space of two minutes, a complete suspension of all our normal activities… so that in perfect stillness the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverend remembrance of the glorious dead." The king instructed his secretary to communicate to Sir Percy Fitzpatrick: "The King, who learns that you are shortly to return to South Africa, desires me to assure you that he ever gratefully remembers the idea of the two minute pause on Armistice Day was due to your initiation, a suggestion readily adopted and carried out with heartfelt sympathy throughout the Empire."
The Noon Day Gun – a Call to Prayer
The noonday gun has been an historic time signal in Cape Town since 1806. The guns were originally used to announce the arrival of a ship. The original guns - 18 pounder smooth ball muzzle loaders - are still in use today. These are the oldest guns still in daily use in the world. The guns are maintained by the South African Navy.
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13
11 November is International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted. Visit www.idop-africa.org for resources to mobilise prayer and action on behalf of those suffering for Christ.
Dr. Peter Hammond
P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725
Cape Town South Africa
Invitation to Join the Largest Prayer Movement for the Persecuted
Praying for Justice
To read this article with pictures, click here.
To view the Great Siege of Malta, as a PowerPoint, with pictures, click here.
"Why should I care about dates and dead people?"
Frequently we hear expressions of exasperation against the teaching of history.
"What possible relevance could all those events of long ago have for me today?"
Real History Has Great Relevance
Well, take 9/11. Did those responsible just choose an arbitrary date for the aircraft hijackings and terror attacks on 11 September 2001?
The Strategic Significance of September 11
Those who know the history of Islamic Jihad can point out that September 11 is a most significant date for Jihadists. It was on 11 September 1565 that the Ottoman Turkish siege of Malta was decisively defeated.
The Great Siege of Malta
Sultan Suleiman had mobilised the largest armada yet seen: 193 ships, 48,000 fighting men, including 6,000 Spahis (cavalry), and over 6,300 of the elite Janissaries, to wipe the Knights of St. John off the face of the earth and capture the strategic island of Malta for Islam.
To oppose them on the Christian side, there were less than 700 Knights of St. John, 400 Spanish soldiers, 800 Italian soldiers, 200 Greek and Sicilian soldiers, and approximately 3,000 militia drawn from the Maltese population. Along with other civilians who were given weapons, a total force of less than 9,000 men.
The Knights of St. John
The Knights of St. John were respected as the toughest soldiers in Christendom. They were in the very frontline of the battle to keep Europe safe from Islamic Jihadists.
Four Months of Furious Fighting
In all, over 130,000 cannon balls were fired from Turkish guns against the Christian defenders of Malta. The siege lasted from 18 May to 11 September 1565. The Turks lost over 30,000 men in their futile attempt to overwhelm the tiny Christian garrison on Malta. The day the Muslims were chased off Malta was 11 September 1565.
The Siege of Vienna
The last great Turkish threat to the heart of Europe was defeated at the gates of Vienna, 11 September 1683. The siege of Vienna began 14 July 1683, and is recognised as the high water mark of the Ottoman Turkish Empire as it threatened the very heartland of Europe. The Ottoman Turkish army of 300,000 men, included 12,000 Janissaries.
The Battle of Vienna
A relief force of Bavarian, Saxon and Polish forces routed the Ottoman Turks, who lost over 60,000 men in the siege, of which 40,000 Turks died during the Battle of Vienna on 11 September 1683.
Defeat and Disgrace
For his disgrace in losing this vital battle, the Ottoman Commander Kara Mustafa Pasha was executed in Belgrade, 25 December 1683, by strangulation.
To celebrate the defeat of the Turks at the Battle of Vienna, the bakers designed the croissant, a crescent shaped pastry, to commemorate the victory of the Christian forces over the Jihadists of Islam. As the bakers put it, they had the Turks for breakfast! It was the Vienna born, Queen Mary Antoinette, who introduced the croissant to France in 1770.
The bakers also presented the first bagel as a gift to King Jan Sobieski of Poland to commemorate the king's victorious cavalry charge which broke the Turkish lines. The bagel was fashioned in the form of a stirrup.
Cappuccino and Coffee Shops
Another anecdote is that, as the Viennese discovered many bags of coffee in the abandoned Ottoman encampment, the first Coffee House was opened in Vienna by Franciszek Kulczycki and a Capuchin Friar, Marco de-Aviano, invented Cappuccino.
Assassination in Sarajevo
28 June 1914 marked the shots that sparked the First World War. It was on that date that the heir to the throne of the Austria-Hungarian Empire, Archduke Frans Ferdinand, and his beloved wife, Sophie, were assassinated in Sarajevo, Bosnia.
The Battle of Kosovo
For hundreds of years Sarajevo had been under Ottoman Turkish Muslim rule. The Austrians had liberated Bosnia and Herzegovina from the Ottoman Turkish Empire in 1878. The date chosen for the state visit of Archduke Frans Ferdinand to Sarajevo was a date of painful historic significance for the Serbs. It was the anniversary of their disastrous defeat at the hands of the Ottoman Turks at the Battle of Kosovo, 28 June 1389.
Security Implications of Strategic Dates
Archduke Frans Ferdinand and his wife Sophie, were celebrating their 14th Wedding anniversary on that same day, 28 June 1914. However, the security services should have noted the danger of a state visit to such a volatile, cosmopolitan, half-oriental city as Kosovo, particularly on such a sensitive and highly symbolic date as the anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo – a major rallying point for Serb nationalists.
Everything Has Consequences
So, when people question whether dates and dead people in history are of any relevance to us today, they need to remember that history illustrates the consequences of ideas and actions. In history we can see examples and illustrations of man's depravity and rebellion against God, and God's mercy, grace and sovereignty in intervening in the course of human events.
History and Warnings
History provides us with the visions of those who impacted society for good and ill and examples of excellence to inspire us to courageously stand firm in spite of all opposition. We need to learn from the mistakes of others, to benefit from the painstaking developments and sacrifices of the past.
"To be ignorant of what happened before you were born is to remain a child forever." said Cicero.
Learn From History
We must learn from history, or we will repeat its mistakes. "If we do not know our own history, we will simply have to endure all the same mistakes, sacrifices and absurdities all over again." declared Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." George Santayana.
Understand the Times
In the Scriptures we are commanded to understand the times, so that God's people might know what we ought to do (1 Chronicles 12:32).
Forewarned is Forearmed
The longer you look back, the further you can look forward. A tall building needs to lay deep foundations. A tall tree needs a deep root system. In order to understand who we are, we need to understand where we came from. We need to understand the events and issues of the past that correspond with our challenges today. In order to anticipate problems and threats in the future, we need to study the past. We need to liberate our thinking from current fashions and recognise potential potholes and traps. There are immeasurable insights and practical help to be gained from studying the people, events and issues that shaped the past and affect our present situation.
"Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted… now all these things happened to them as examples and they were written for our admonition…" 1 Corinthians 10:6-11
Dr. Peter Hammond
P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725
Cape Town South Africa
Dr. Peter Hammond is the author of Slavery, Terrorism and Islam – The Historical Roots and Contemporary Threat.
The Great Siege of Malta
Assassination in Sarajevo
The Forces Behind Terrorism and How It Can Be Defeated
Resisting the Islamic Invasion Trojan Horse
Reformation or Islamisation?
Slavery, Terrorism and Islam is available as an E-Book
Church History Manual is available as an E-Book
With Christians under fire throughout North Africa and the Middle East, we need to remember the persecuted and learn from their steadfastness amidst suffering. Wednesday, 25th July 2018, marks the 25th anniversary of a dreadful atrocity in Cape Town, a terrorist attack on St. James Church of England, which left 11 people dead and 50 wounded.
At about 7:30pm, on Sunday, 25th July 1993, while the congregation of 1,400 listened to a hymn of worship, a group of APLA terrorists burst into the church and opened fire with automatic weapons.
“Everyone will deceive his neighbour and will not speak the truth; they have taught their tongue to speak lies; they weary themselves to commit iniquity.” Jeremiah 9:5
The term “False Flag” originally referred to pirate ships which flew flags of countries as a disguise to dissuade their victims from fleeing, or preparing for battle. Sometimes the flag of another country was used in order to blame an attack incorrectly on a targeted country. Today the term False Flag extends way past naval encounters to include countries and organisations that organise attacks on themselves and make the attacks appear to be made by their opponents.
"I know there is a God, because in Rwanda I shook hands with the devil. I have seen him, I have smelt him and I have touched him. I know the devil exists and therefore I know there is a God!"
Shake Hands with the Devil
These are the words of Canadian General Romeo Dallaire, the Commander of the United Nations Mission to Rwanda (UNIMIR). His book, Shake Hands With the Devil (which has also been made into a dramatic film), documents the unfolding catastrophe, and as he puts it in the subtitle of his book: "The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda."
24 Years Ago
As the people of Rwanda soberly reflect on the holocaust which was unleased upon them 24 years ago, April 1994, there are still compelling questions which demand answers.
How could such dreadful mass murder take place within sight and sound of United Nations peacekeepers without the international community doing anything to stop it?
Could the holocaust in Rwanda have been prevented?
What steps must we take to ensure that such atrocities do not occur again?
April marks the anniversary of the launch of the systematic extermination of the Christian Armenians by the Ottoman Turks. The Jihad began with the arrest of 250 Christian leaders in Constantinople (what is today called Istanbul) and over 800 other Christian leaders throughout the empire, on 24 April 1915.
To listen to the audio presentation of this report on From the Frontline, click here.
Farm Confiscations without Compensation
The National Assembly of the South African Parliament sent shock waves around the country by setting in motion a process to change the Constitution so as to allow expropriation of land without compensation. The threat to private ownership of property and the clearly stated intention to remove Constitutional safeguards and protections for private ownership of property has staggered observers. Most land in South Africa is controlled by the ANC government and over 4,000 farms already acquired from white farmers, remain un-allocated.
"Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbour…" Ephesians 4:25
Villifying the Victims and Justifying the Villains
Over the last 37 years that I have been serving as missionary to the persecuted in Africa, I could not help but notice how frequently the mass media chose to target those targeted by international communism, or racial Islam. Is it just coincidental that during the Rhodesian War, the Border war in South West Africa/Namibia, the riots in South Africa, the Killing fields of Mozambique, the civil war in Angola, the massacre of Matebele tribesmen in Zimbabwe, the Red Terror in Ethiopia, the holocaust in Rwanda, the Jihad in Sudan, the wave of church burning in Northern Nigeria, the persecution of Christians in Egypt, or any other of the many calamities and conflicts in Africa, most of the mass media have chosen to confuse the issues, avoid the heart of the matter, vilify the victims and whitewash the villains.
On Mission outreaches in Sudan I experienced aerial, artillery and rocket bombardments. However these experiences were insignificant compared to that of my parents in the Second World War. My Father served in the British Army for the whole 6 years of the war. He told me of the Heinkel III’s coming over his military base and turning his barracks into matchsticks as he lay flat on the parade ground with debris blown high into the air pummelling him into the ground! My mother was only 6 years old when she experienced her first bombing. It was September 1940, and she was at the circus in Berlin when the British bombed them. She was almost trampled in the stampede to flee the exploding bombs. Many times my mother heard the air raid sirens and had to rush to the air raid shelters. Frequently she saw the green and red parachute flares dropped by the lead bombers to guide the thousand bombers where to unleash their cargo of death and destruction. Her neighbourhood was turned into blazing rubble.
Did the Atomic Bombs Actually Save Lives?
I was taught that the U.S. dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in order to end WWII and save both American and Japanese lives. But most of the top American military officials at the time said otherwise. The U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey group, assigned by President Truman to study the air attacks on Japan, produced a report in July of 1946 that concluded: "Based on a detailed investigation of all the facts and supported by the testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders involved, it is the Survey's opinion that certainly prior to 31 December 1945 and in all probability, prior to 1 November 1945, Japan would have surrendered, even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated."