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Freddie West

Air Commodore Ferdinand Maurice Felix West, was a senior Royal Air Force officer, an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. Born in Paddington, London, on 19 January 1896, "Freddy" West was the son of an army officer killed in 1902 during the Second Boer War, his mother Clemence was French, née de la Garde de Saignes, moved with him to Milan, Italy. He began study of International Law at the University of Genoa in 1913 during the 1914 vacation took up a post in a Zurich bank, his mother and nun aunt were friendly with Monsignor Achille Ratti, who became Pope Pius XI. The young Freddie West went on at least one local climbing expedition with the future pope, in life attended a Vatican audience; when the First World War broke out he in 1914 joined the British Army in the Royal Army Medical Corps as a private, before being commissioned in May 1915 and joining the Royal Munster Fusiliers.

He arrived in France for service on the Western Front in November 1915. After a flight in early 1917, West decided to transfer to the Royal Flying Corps, training as an observer at Brooklands, sent back in France in April 1917 to No 3 Squadron, becoming a qualified observer in July 1917, having accumulated over 100 flying hours. After six months and 225 flying hours he was posted back to Britain to undergo pilot training at Grantham, he was posted to No 8 Squadron in January 1918, flying Army co-operation duties with the infantry and tanks. Crewing up with Lt. William Haslam in March, West flew a series of hazardous sorties over the front, culminating with both men being awarded the Military Cross on 1 May 1918. On 21 April 1918 West, flying with observer Grice, witnessed the last combat and fall of Manfred von Richthofen, Germany's leading fighter pilot. On 18 June 1918, West's aircraft was attacked by four Pfalz D. III scouts. West claimed one shot down, skillfully evaded the rest to return to base.

The next day West was bounced by a group of Fokker DVII scouts, West dropped to 200 feet altitude and flew through a network of kite balloons to escape. He was 22 years old, a captain in No. 8 Squadron, Royal Air Force during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC. On 12 August 1918, the British Army was intending to start a major offensive, but it needed information about the enemy positions. Setting off at dawn and his observer, Lt. William Haslam, flying an Armstrong Whitworth FK 8, spotted an enemy concentration through a hole in the mist. Avoiding severe ground fire immediately they came under attack from seven German fighter aircraft and West was hit in the leg, his radio transmitter was smashed. Continuing to identify his location, he remained under attack and manoeuvred his machine so skilfully that his observer was able to get several good bursts into the enemy machines, which drove them away. Only when he was sure of the enemy's position did he attempt to break off and head for his own lines.

He twisted his trouser leg into a tourniquet to stem the flow of blood from his wounds. Unable to make his airfield West landed behind the Allied lines and insisted on reporting his findings despite being in excruciating agony, his left leg had five wounds, one of which had shattered his femur and cut the femoral artery, had to be amputated. Shortly afterwards he was invalided back to Britain, where on 9 November 1918 he learned that he had been awarded the Victoria Cross. After recovering from his amputation, West was fitted with an innovatively designed Swiss artificial leg. West was awarded a permanent commission in the RAF during 1919. Posted to RAF Uxbridge, he returned to flying duties, he commanded No. 4 Squadron RAF in 1936, was appointed Air Attache to Finland and the Baltic States. He was influential in the 1938 purchase of the Bristol Blenheim light bomber by the Finnish Air Force. During World War II he commanded No. 50 Wing in France in late 1939. He was subsequently Air Attaché at the British Embassy in Rome in early 1940 and thereafter was part of the British Legation in Berne, where he assisted Allied airmen who had escaped into Switzerland.

At one stage the German Gestapo put a price on his head because of his underground activities. He could do little. At the end of the War he was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire for his work. West achieved the rank of air commodore. With the end of the war in Europe, he retired from the RAF and joined J. Arthur Rank Film Distributors in January 1946, working in overseas sales, he became Managing Director in 1947 until 1958. Subsequent directorships included Hurst Park Syndicate, Continental Shipyard Agencies, Technical Equipment Supplies Ltd, Tokalon Ltd and Terravia Trading Services. West was interviewed on 27 May 1979 by the art historian Anna Malinovska; the interview is reproduced in Voices in Flight. His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Imperial War Museum. Reid, Pat. Winged Diplomat: The Life Story of Air Commodore "Freddy" West. London: Chatto & Windus. OCLC 492663389. Air of Authority – A History of RAF Organisation – Air Cdre F M F West West F. M. F. West Ferdinand Maurice Felix West on Lives of the First World War

Evil customs

"Bad uses", "Bad customs", "Mals usos", "Malos usos" redirect here. Evil customs were a set of specific Medieval feudal customs levies, which peasants were subjected to by their feudal lords in the Kingdom of Aragon and in other European countries; these obligations are related to the Ius Maletractandi, a right approved by the Catalan Court of 1358, which empowered the feudal lords to treat their people in ways considered unjust. In the Principality of Catalonia, the population was controlled by the feudal nobility and a concrete number of benefits were established that would be considered evil customs; the customs were most found in relation to the lands of the so-called Old Catalonia. The submission of the peasant to the land he worked required him to pay a redemption if he wanted to leave it; the Usages of Barcelona collected only three of the most common obligations: the intestia and eixorquia. The evil customs with the possibility of being redeemed paying a tribute to the lord in the Sentencia Arbitral de Guadalupe, are: Intestia: a noble right that penalized peasants who died without making a will.

The penalty consisted in the confiscation of a portion of the farmer's property a third. Pella and Forgas said that this misuse was used "almost in general" in the diocese of Girona. Here, the "young man" who died intestate and without children, had his property divided into three parts: one for the family, one for the clergy, one to distribute among the poor. Eixorquia: law by which the feudal lord received one-third of the inheritance of the peasant who had no descendants. Cugucia: If the peasant's wife was found guilty of adultery, the feudal lord received half of the goods if the woman had the consent of her husband, or the whole of the goods if the woman did not. Arsia: indemnification of the peasant had to pay the feudal lord in case of accidental fire of his belongings. Ferma of forced plunder: the extraction of a part of the goods of the peasants when they guaranteed the dowry of the woman with the farm of their feudal lord, after the marriage of his vassals; the peasant had the useful domain and the feudal lord had the direct dominion.

Personal freedom: the peasants, subject to servitude, could not leave the farm they worked without having been redeemed by their feudal lord. Emancipation did not only affect the peasant, but his wife and, above all, his children; the price of freedom varied over time and were in line with the valuation of the farm. The incorruptible maidens were redeemed by paying their feudal lord a fixed amount. In the diocese of Gerona, this was two sueldos and eight dineros. In addition to these evil customs, other manorial customs existed, including: Forge of distress: the peasant had the obligation to repair his tools of work in the forge of the feudal lord, it was the noble monopoly of blacksmithing. Obligation of the mill: the peasant had the obligation to grind the corn in the mill belonging to the feudal lord. Obligation of the furnace: the peasant had the obligation to cook the bread in the oven belonging to the feudal lord on lands with a concentrated population. Obligation of the yoke: the peasant had the obligation to work with a yoke of animals in the lands of the feudal lord during certain determined days of the year.

Obligation of manipulation: the peasant had the obligation to manipulate corn or any other product belonging to the feudal lord. Another custom that did not only oppress peasants but humiliated them was the provision of arbitrary labor services; these included the use of a nursing woman to become a wet nurse for the lord's children.. In the Crown of Castile, it is difficult to determine what the evil customs were, since the region was more subject to the oral tradition. Reference is made to the so-called bad fueros, feudal regimes harder in benefits; as Castile tried to attract people from other areas or kingdoms, the fueros or laws were harsh. The evil customs were sporadic or were monetary payments; some examples include: Assignment of the peasant to the land, preventing him from abandoning it. Banalities such as the obligation to use the mill or oven belonging to the feudal lord, with the previous payment of a fee. Take out bread: in France and in Castile, for example, it was forbidden to take the grain out of the feudal lordship, to avoid scarcity and speculation.

However, in Castile, it could be done with the previous payment of a fee. The third: it was the obligation of the peasant to take over the administration of the property of the feudal lord; this burden meant hard obligations, among other things to replace any loss with the peasant's personal patrimony. This custom was banned by King Henry IV of Castile; the privilege of the corral: allowed the feudal lord to seize birds and all type of cattle. Without milk: if the wife of the feudal lord had a child and could not breastfeed him, the feudal lords selected peasant women who had had a child and forced them to go to the castle to breastfeed their children; the abolition of the evil or bad customs took a long time and this could be attributed to the way that it formed part of the identity of the serfs, serving as an essential element in the definition of their servile bond and legal status as subordinate to the lords. Before the series of peasant revolts that stemmed from the ius malectrandi, there were attempts on the part of the royal courts to eliminate this system of servitude.

For instance, Maria de Luna, queen of Aragon-Catalonia began raising the issue some time in the fifteenth century. She appealed to Pope Benedict XIII, her kinsman, citing the example of Christ who freed people from their bondage. King John