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Giovanni Giolitti

Giovanni Giolitti was an Italian statesman. He was the Prime Minister of Italy five times between 1892 and 1921, he is the second-longest serving Prime Minister in Italian history, after Benito Mussolini. He was a prominent leader of the Liberal Union. Giolitti is considered one of the most powerful and important politicians in Italian history and, due to his dominant position in Italian politics, he was accused by critics of being a parliamentary dictator. Giolitti was a master in the political art of Trasformismo, the method of making a flexible, centrist coalition of government which isolated the extremes of the left and the right in Italian politics after the unification. Under his influence, the Italian Liberals did not develop as a structured party, they were, instead, a series of informal personal groupings with no formal links to political constituencies; the period between the start of the 20th century and the start of World War I, when he was Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior from 1901 to 1914 with only brief interruptions, is referred to as the "Giolittian Era".

A centrist liberal, with strong ethical concerns, Giolitti's periods in office were notable for the passage of a wide range of progressive social reforms which improved the living standards of ordinary Italians, together with the enactment of several policies of government intervention. Besides putting in place several tariffs and government projects, Giolitti nationalized the private telephone and railroad operators. Liberal proponents of free trade criticized the "Giolittian System", although Giolitti himself saw the development of the national economy as essential in the production of wealth; the primary focus of Giolittian politics was to rule from the center with slight and well controlled fluctuations between conservatism and progressivism, trying to preserve the institutions and the existing social order. Critics from the right-wing considered him a socialist due to the courting of socialist votes in parliament in exchange for political favours, while critics from the left-wing, like Gaetano Salvemini, accused him of being a corrupt politician and of winning elections with the support of criminals.

However his complex legacy continues to stimulate intense debate among writers and historians. Giolitti was born at Mondovì, his father Giovenale Giolitti had been working in the avvocatura dei poveri, an office assisting poor citizens in both civil and criminal cases. He died in 1843, a year; the family moved in the home of his mother Enrichetta Plochiù in Turin. His mother taught him to write, he did not like mathematics and the study of Latin and Greek grammar, preferring the history and reading the novels of Walter Scott and Honoré de Balzac. At sixteen he entered the University of Turin and, after three years, he earned a law degree in 1860, his uncle was a member of the Parliament of the Kingdom of Sardinia and a close friend of Michelangelo Castelli, the secretary of Camillo Benso di Cavour. However Giolitti did not appear interested in the Risorgimento and differently to many of his fellow students, he did not enlist to fight in the Italian Second War of Independence. Subsequently, he pursued a career in public administration in the Ministry of Justice.

That choice prevented him from participating in the decisive battles of the Risorgimento, for which his temperament was not suited anyway, but this lack of military experience would be held against him as long as the Risorgimento generation was active in politics. In 1869 he moved to the Ministry of Finance, becoming a high official and working along with important members of the ruling Right, like Quintino Sella and Marco Minghetti. In the same year he married Rosa Sobrero, the niece of Ascanio Sobrero, a famous chemist, who discovered nitroglycerine. In 1877 Giolitti was appointed to the Court of Audit and in 1882 to the Council of State At the 1882 Italian general election he was elected to the Chamber of Deputies for the Historical Left; this election was a great victory for the ruling Left of Agostino Depretis, which won 289 seats out of 508. As deputy he chiefly acquired prominence by attacks on Agostino Magliani, Treasury Minister in the cabinet of Depretis. Following Depretis's death on 29 July 1887 Francesco Crispi, a notable politician and patriot, became the leader of the Left group and was appointed Prime Minister by King Umberto I.

On 9 March 1889 Giolitti was selected by Crispi as new Minister of Finance. But in October 1890, Giolitti resigned from his office due to contrasts with Crispi's colonial policy. In fact few weeks before, the Ethiopian Emperor Menelik II had contested the Italian text of the Wuchale Treaty, signed by Crispi, stating that it did not oblige Ethiopia to be an Italian protectorate. Menelik informed the scandal erupted. After the fall of the government led by the new Prime Minister Antonio Starabba di Rudinì in May 1892, with the help of a court clique, received from the King the task of forming a new cabinet. Giolitti's first term as Prime Minister was marked by misgovernment; the building crisis and the commercial rupture with France had impaired the situation of the state banks, of which one, the Banca Romana, had been further undermined by misadministration. The Banca Romana had loaned large sums to property developers but was left with huge liabilities when the real estate bubble collapsed in 1887.

Prime Minister Francesco Crispi and his Treasury Ministe

Edward Whitehead Reid

Edward Douglas Whitehead Reid was a British general practitioner and surgeon who pioneered the use of private aircraft after the First Word War. He was known as Dr E. D. Whitehead Reid but sometimes in military contexts, as Dr E. D. W. Reid. Edward Douglas Whitehead Reid was born in Canterbury, Kent on 11 June 1883, his parents were Thomas Whitehead Reid, a general practitioner, Emily Eliza. He had Kathleen Sibyl Reid and Thomas Roscow Reid, he attended Tonbridge School on 19 October 1901 was admitted to Christ’s College, Cambridge. As a medical student, he gained his BA in 1905, he moved to St Bartholomew’s Hospital and in 1909 he was appointed a house physician there. On the death of his father in 1910, he moved back to Canterbury to take over the family practice, he was an excellent sportsman, his activities including rowing, high jump and sprinting, becoming captain of Barts Athletic Club, winning many prizes at the London Athletic Club. He became an Honorary Surgeon to Kent and Canterbury Hospital, a medical officer at The King’s School and lecturer in surgery at St Augustine's College, Canterbury.

He specialised in electrotherapy. He married Mary Dixon Harrison on 15 August 1910 in her birth town of Berwick-on-Tweed, Northumberland, they had no children. Whitehead Reid joined the British Army on 23 March 1915 as a captain in the Royal Army Medical Corps, his first main posting was as senior surgeon at The Duchess of Westminster's Hospital, titled No.1 BRCS - British Red Cross Society Hospital at Le Touquet, which operated from 30 October 1914 to July 1918 in a former casino fitted out for up to 250 patients, with an X-ray room. He was assigned to the Egyptian Expeditionary Force as an RAF medical officer to a school of artillery observation at Heliopolis. During his time in Egypt, Whitehead Reid started to persuade any flying instructors he could find to give him lessons, he soon became enthusiastic about the activity, developing into a proficient pilot. On leaving the RAF in 1919, he returned to Canterbury as a GP and gained the use of Bekesbourne Aerodrome an RAF airfield, its large hangar.

He obtained an Airco DH.6 biplane, registered to him on 2 December 1919. This made him the first private aircraft owner in Britain after WWI, he gained his Royal Aero Club certificate on 27 July 1920. Unusually, to the envy of many, the doctor employed a full-time mechanic to care for his aircraft, whom he credited for never having had to do a forced landing throughout his flying career, his next aircraft was an Avro 504K, a training aircraft, modified into a three-seat Avro 548'Tourist' for pleasure flights, but which Whitehead Reid converted back a two-seater. This was followed by a Royal Aircraft Factory S. E.5a, damaged beyond repair in a taxiing accident within a year, to be replaced by another. Whitehead Reid told the story of their acquisition. After WWI, many SE5as were surplus to the RAF's requirements and were sold off straight from the factory for spares or scrapping, because official policy barred their sale as functioning aircraft. A worker at a factory anonymously bid for five at auction, obtaining them all for £5.

Instead of destroying them, he dismantled them assembling the parts in what appeared to be a scrapheap, which he removed. The worker named G Wigglesworth reassembled them to full flying condition and sold them for £30 each, with two going to Whitehead Reid, two going to a skywriting company Savage Skywriting. Being alone at the airport, Whitehead Reid developed an unusual way of getting his aircraft out of the hangar by himself, he would chock the wheels, start the engine and set it to idle removing the chocks, would lift the tail and guide it out under its own power. The doctor used his aircraft for his own pleasure, but was happy to give joy rides supporting local charities in the process, he used them for visiting patients who had a handy nearby field, for occasional aerobatic displays, for visiting air meetings and races. In 1927 the government introduced subsidies for flying clubs to train new pilots, several new clubs were set up to take advantage. One was the East Kent Flying Club, established at Lympne, soon renamed the Cinque Ports Flying Club in honour of its president, Earl Beauchamp, Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports.

Whitehead Reid was a founding director. He took part ins some of the earliest post-war aerial events at the nearby Lympne Airport, the centre of light aircraft activity in Britain at the time, he attended some events anonymously, as his wife Mary was unhappy about him taking part in air racing. Events in which he participated include: 17 April 1922 Second Croydon Aviation Race Meeting at London Terminal Aerodrome, Croydon; the doctor entered the Club Handicap race and 2nd Croydon Handicap race in G-EAPW. 23 June 1923 Grosvenor Challenge Cup finishing at Lympne. An out-and-back touring race via Croydon, Birmingham and Croydon again. Whitehead Reid, in G-EBCA, retired at Birmingham deciding that his machine was just too slow, returned directly to Lympne via Croydon. 6 August 1923 Aerial Derby at Waddon Aerodrome consisting of two circuits of London. The doctor, entered under the name'A T Renno', flying SE5a G-EBCA, came in 9th, out of a field of 12. 3 August 1925 RAeC August Meeting at Lympne. Whitehead Reid came 2nd in a field of nine in the Private Owners' Handicap race in G-EBCA.

18 September 1926 Lympne Light Aeroplane Trials: Whitehead Reid entered

RAF Swanton Morley

The former Royal Air Force Station Swanton Morley, more known as RAF Swanton Morley, was a Royal Air Force station in Norfolk, located near to the village of Swanton Morley. The site is now occupied by the British Army, is now known as Robertson Barracks. Swanton Morley was a new station planned under the RAF expansion scheme but not completed to the same standard before the start of the Second World War, it was part of No. 2 Group in Bomber Command until December 1944 when it was given over to 100 Group - the RAF unit responsible for countering German defences against the British strategic bombing - as they needed another airfield close to their HQ at Bylaugh Hall. On 4 July 1942, American and British airmen took off from this station as part of the first combined bombing raid of World War II. No 226 Squadron had been tutoring the US 15 Bombardment Squadron. Both Winston Churchill and General Eisenhower were at RAF Swanton Morley for this mission, which saw six crews from 15th Bombardment Squadron fly a raid with six crews from the RAF, using Boston light bombers belonging to No. 226 Squadron RAF.

The raid was made at low level against German airfields in the Netherlands. During World War II the station was home to the Bomber Support Development Unit of No. 100 Group RAF. After World War II the station was home to No 1 Air Signaller's School and to the Central Servicing Development Establishment and the Maintenance Analysis and Computing Establishment. From June 1953 to 1995 the station was used by 611 Volunteer Gliding School, when the station was listed for closure under Options for Change; the station held popular airshows during the 1980s. The station closed on 6 September 1995. Control was transferred to the British Army and the station was renamed Robertson Barracks; the station was equipped with a grass surface airfield with three main runways, a perimeter track with 31 loop hardstandings, four T-type hangars, four blister hangars and one J-type hangar. The station was equipped with a Watch Office with Met. Section, utility buildings and barracks for a total staff of 1,968 males and 390 females.

No. 105 Squadron RAF Blenheims, Mosquito No. 88 Squadron RAF - March–August 1943 No. 152 Squadron RAF - No. 226 Squadron RAF Blenheim, Mitchell 15th Bombardment Squadron No. 1482 Flight RAF Bombing and Gunnery Flight No. 1508 Flight RAF No. 15 Blind Approach Training Flight RAF No. 1515 Flight RAF No. 4 Radio School named No. 1 Air Signallers, Air Electronic School List of former Royal Air Force stations "RAF Stations - S", Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation "Swanton Morley", Bomber Command 60th Anniversary, archived from the original on 8 October 2008 Documentary on the first US/UK air raid of World War 2, flown from this station