David Hobbs

David Hobbs

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Alabama Crimson Tide men's basketball

The Alabama Crimson Tide men's basketball team represents the University of Alabama in NCAA Division I men's basketball. The program plays in the Southeastern Conference (SEC). In the conference it trails only long-time basketball powerhouse Kentucky in SEC tournament titles, is third behind Kentucky and Arkansas in total wins, and it is also fourth behind Kentucky, LSU, and Tennessee in SEC regular season conference titles. Alabama was retroactively recognized as the pre-NCAA Tournament national champion for the 1929–30 season by the Premo-Porretta Power Poll. [3]

The men's basketball program has spent most of its history in the shadow of Alabama's football team, but has risen in stature over the past several decades. Under former coach Mark Gottfried, the team achieved a No. 1 national ranking briefly in 2003, and competed for an NCAA Regional Tournament Championship in 2004. The program was notable as a regular conference basketball contender in the 1980s and early 1990s under the direction of coach Wimp Sanderson and in the 1970s under coach C. M. Newton. Alabama has eight NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 appearances. In the 2003–04 season, the team defeated #1-seeded Stanford in the NCAA Tournament, and reached the Elite Eight round where they lost to the eventual national champion, Connecticut.

The Royal Navy's Pacific Strike Force

For the Royal Navy, the end seemed to come quickly in the Pacific war. Less than three days after the conflict’s outbreak, Japanese aircraft attacked and sank the most powerful British warships in Far Eastern waters, the modern battleship Prince of Wales and the battlecruiser Repulse. Their loss, followed within a couple of months by the capture of the naval bases in Hong Kong and Singapore, effectively drove the British navy out of the Pacific.

But the Royal Navy—in the form of the British Pacific Fleet (BPF)—returned to make a major contribution in 1945 to the defeat of Japan. The BPF, its vital bases, and logistical support organization did not exist until late 1944, but eight months later, the fleet had become the most powerful deployed force in the history of the Royal Navy.

First Steps

The BPF did not begin to come into focus until the August 1943 Quadrant Conference of Allied leaders in Quebec. Agreement was reached that greater priority should be given to the Pacific war, while retaining the “Germany first” principle. But for much of 1944, Prime Minister Winston Churchill and the British Chiefs of Staff argued over how best to implement the decisions.

Churchill wanted to reconquer Burma, Malaya, and the oil-rich former Dutch East Indies island of Sumatra. The Chiefs of Staff argued that fighting on the littoral of the Indian Ocean would not be seen as central to the defeat of Japan, but a British strike fleet fighting alongside the U.S. Navy would be recognized after the conflict as a major contribution to the defeat of the enemy.

By the second Quebec Conference, in September 1944 and code-named Octagon, it was clear that if Britain intended to play a part in direct operations against Japan, the pace of American progress meant that action must be taken immediately. Britain offered to send a balanced fleet including at least four aircraft carriers to the Pacific by the end of the year. Two months later the U.S. government agreed in principle that a British carrier task force should fight in the Pacific, but there was opposition from Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Ernest J. King.

King expressed concerns that the U.S. Navy had insufficient logistical support to supply such a force, which must, therefore, be entirely self-sufficient. He doubted that would be possible, failing to recognize that Britain could rely on the Commonwealth for help with manpower, ships, industrial capacity, and land for bases.

The commander-in-chief of the new fleet had to have formidable qualities as a diplomat as well as be an exceptional leader and tactician. The man chosen, Admiral Sir Bruce Fraser, was the outstanding Royal Navy leader of his generation, and no other contemporary British commander would bear such awesome responsibility. Fraser would be accountable to the Admiralty in London for the general direction of the forces under his command to the Australian government for the headquarters, dockyards, air stations, depots, and barracks that formed his main bases and to the individual Navy Boards of Australia, Canada, and New Zealand for the men and ships they provided him. Operationally he took orders from Admiral Chester Nimitz, Allied commander-in-chief of the Pacific Ocean Areas, but because of his own seniority, Fraser delegated sea command of the BPF to Vice Admiral Sir Bernard Rawlings, his second-in-command.

Laying the Foundation

Australia was the obvious location for the new fleet’s base. But in the autumn of 1944, it lacked much that would be needed and was heavily committed to supporting U.S. forces in General Douglas MacArthur’s South West Pacific Area. Men and matériel took time to travel the 12,000 miles from the United Kingdom, and the Japanese mainland was 4,400 miles from Sydney, requiring intermediate bases to be identified, negotiated for, established, and stocked.

Royal Navy plans in early 1944 had assumed operations off the Philippine Islands, but by March 1945 the BPF would operate nearly twice as far from its Australian bases, with a consequent need for more logistical shipping. Led by Rear Admiral C. S. Daniel, a mission tasked with examining in detail the U.S. Navy fleet-support organization and making recommendations was sent to the United States, U.S. Pacific Fleet Headquarters at Pearl Harbor, and Australia in early 1944.

The U.S. Navy made it clear that the Royal Navy would have to be self-sufficient with naval, food, armament, and aviation stores and that, while fuel oil could be drawn from shared bulk stores, British supply tankers would have to put in an amount equivalent to that taken out. Because most British ships, together with their weapons and ammunition, differed from their American equivalents, this was a sensible and reasonable approach. While by late 1944 the Royal Navy operated more U.S.-built than British-built aircraft, the planes were so extensively modified that they had effectively become different aircraft.

Detailed planning began in May 1944 when Admiral Daniel and his team arrived in Australia. At first they did not know when the BPF would arrive nor where or under what orders it would operate, but by November they had produced a plan that was forwarded to the Joint Administration Planning Sub Committee of the Australian Defence Committee. It included broad requirements for dockyards, port facilities, and stevedores naval air stations and air yards barracks, workshops, and transport and food and armament depots on a massive scale. The resulting Australian document formed the basis for the development of the BPF’s main base complex throughout 1945.

On 10 November 1944, Vice Admiral J. W. Rivett-Carnac was appointed as vice admiral (quartermaster), or VA (Q), with his headquarters in Melbourne. He had responsibility for the logistical support of the BPF, including activities ashore and ships of the Fleet Train, the British equivalent of the U.S. Navy service squadrons. In December 1944, the flag officer Naval Air Stations, Australia, Rear Admiral R. H. Portal, established his headquarters in Sydney. His title was changed in 1945 to flag officer Naval Aviation Pacific, and he was responsible to the VA (Q) for the supply of replacement aircrews, aircraft, and engines to the combat area. He was also responsible for training aircrews in Australia to meet the fleet’s requirements.

In other oceans, the Royal Navy had relied on an extensive system of bases to provide ships with logistical support. But in the late 1930s, consideration was given to the need for depot ships capable of moving to a remote anchorage. Many fleet auxiliaries were converted from merchant ships then under construction in Canada, and by July 1945 the Fleet Train would comprise 10 repair and maintenance ships, 22 tankers, 24 store carriers, 4 hospital ships, 5 tugs, 11 miscellaneous vessels, and 2 floating docks. Among them, the amenity ship Menestheus featured a 350-seat theater, bars, and even a brewery capable of producing 250 barrels of beer per week using distilled seawater. The repair and maintenance ships were commissioned into the Royal Navy and proved to be valuable assets.

The British Pacific Fleet was formally established on 22 November 1944, and in addition to British warships included the Canadian cruiser Uganda, the New Zealand cruisers Achilles and Gambia, and the Australian destroyers Quiberon, Queenborough, Nizam, Napier, Nepal, and Norman. Many of the Royal Navy vessels had Commonwealth sailors in their ships’ companies who integrated seamlessly into their duties. The fighting core of the BPF was the 1st Aircraft Carrier Squadron, commanded by Rear Admiral Sir Philip Vian, which in 1945 included all six of the Illustrious-class armored carriers, although only four were in action at any one time.

The Commonwealth contribution was especially important in terms of the aircrews that made up the BPF’s 36 naval air squadrons. More than half the Royal Navy’s pilots came from the Commonwealth, either serving in the Royal Navy and its reserves or as members of the Royal New Zealand Navy, Royal Canadian Navy, or Royal Australian Navy and their attached reserves.

British experience in Pacific strike warfare had been gained in 1943 when the carrier Victorious was loaned to the U.S. Pacific Fleet at a time when it had only one operational carrier, the Saratoga (CV-3). The Victorious’ fighter-control officers helped to improve the U.S. Navy’s air defense organization, and the Saratoga subsequently served briefly with the British Eastern Fleet in 1944, passing on the latest American techniques to British carrier air groups.

Initial Strikes

When Fraser and key members of his staff had called on Nimitz in Pearl Harbor in late 1944, the Pacific Ocean Areas commander asked the BPF to launch strikes against two important oil refineries near Palembang on Sumatra that provided Japan with much of its aviation fuel. U.S. Army Air Forces B-29 bombers had recently attacked the plants but failed to score significant hits. Understandably, Nimitz also wanted a demonstration of the Royal Navy’s capability to carry out strike operations so that he could judge for himself the potential value of the BPF to his command.

Fraser accepted without hesitation. The refinery at Pladjoe was attacked on 24 January 1945, and after delays caused by rain and low clouds, the facility at Soengi Gerong was hit on 29 January. The air strikes put both refineries out of action, and neither recovered full capacity before the end of the war. But the attackers lost 16 aircraft to enemy action and others to deck-landing accidents and engine failures. Thirty aircrews were lost, some of them without a trace.

The decision to attack the refineries on separate days had telegraphed the intention to return, and the second strike suffered in consequence. Subsequent underway replenishment using the inefficient “astern” method proved to be slow, with none of the carriers able to take on the amount of fuel oil they needed in the time available. Enemy aircraft located and attacked the BPF on 29 January, but combat air patrol (CAP) fighters splashed them all. Royal Navy aircraft losses were made good when the fleet arrived at Sydney in February. The maintenance carrier Unicorn had reached the port only days earlier with replacement aircraft and workshops able to prepare more planes for operations as they arrived in ferry carriers. Local air stations were ready just in time to provide shore-based facilities for the carrier squadrons.

The BPF meanwhile had to assimilate American tactics, signal codes, and procedures in a matter of days. The ships even had to adopt U.S. Navy hull numbers, which were painted onto their sides, replacing their Royal Navy pennant numbers. The Admiralty had been averse to the idea of using U.S. Navy signal codes, but Admiral Fraser, who had earlier incorporated American warships into the Royal Navy Home Fleet under his command using British codes, insisted and acted on his own initiative to use American signal codes. He also adopted U.S. Navy–style working dress for his ships’ companies—khaki for officers and blue for sailors.

Operation Iceberg

American acceptance of coalition operations by the BPF was not confirmed until March 1945, after the fleet had sailed from Sydney. Nimitz had insisted that the BPF serve as his Central Pacific command’s “flexible reserve,” a stance soon justified when the Intrepid (CV-11), Wasp (CV-18), and Franklin (CV-13) were damaged by enemy action. Designated Task Force (TF) 57, although it was only the size of an American task group, the BPF operated to the southwest of TF 58, the U.S. Navy’s main Pacific strike force, during Operation Iceberg, the Battle of Okinawa. The BPF was tasked with preventing enemy aircraft based on Formosa from staging through airfields on the Sakishima Islands to Okinawa. It operated in cycles of two strike days followed by two days of replenishment. Four U.S. escort carriers replaced the British carriers when they were absent.

Strikes commenced on 26 March, but the airfields proved unrewarding targets, as the enemy repaired their runways, made of crushed coral, every night. The BPF’s lack of night-flying capability was keenly felt, although some experienced Avenger pilots from the Indomitable flew predawn strikes to catch Japanese “early birds” staging through the islands.

On 1 April, D-day for U.S. soldiers and Marines landing on Okinawa, the Indefatigable became the first British carrier to be hit by a kamikaze when a Zero broke through the ship’s CAP and crashed into the base of her island. Despite damage to the carrier and casualties that included four officers and ten enlisted men killed, after repairs that took just an hour to complete the Indefatigable was able to operate aircraft.

Over the next month, all the British carriers, including the Formidable, which replaced the Illustrious in May, would be hit and damaged to varying degrees by kamikazes. But the ships’ armored decks prevented them from sustaining critical damage and all were able to remain in action. In the Indefatigable’s case, the kamikaze crash dented the armored deck by about three inches, started a fire in the deck head of B hangar under the point of impact, and wrecked an office in the island.

The U.S. Navy was impressed. On 8 April, a day after the Hancock (CV-19) was so badly damaged by a kamikaze hit that she had to return to the United States for extensive repairs, TF 58 commander Admiral Raymond Spruance requested that TF 57 strike at airfields on Formosa, believing that the armored British carriers would be less vulnerable than U.S. carriers to kamikaze counterattack. Admiral Rawlings agreed, and aircraft from his carriers conducted strikes against Formosan targets on 11 and 13 April. They damaged airfields, destroyed planes on the ground, hit road and rail targets, and shot down at least 16 Japanese aircraft at the cost of 3 BPF aircraft lost.

As TF 57 withdrew from Formosan waters, Spruance requested more BPF strikes against the Sakishima Islands in the fleet’s absence, U.S. escort carriers had not been able to maintain the same weight of attack as the British carriers. Again Rawlings agreed, reporting to Admiral Fraser that Spruance’s seasoned 5th Fleet had accepted the BPF as equals it was no longer a “flexible reserve” but an essential part of a coalition fleet under its commander’s orders. On 14 April HMS Formidable replaced the Illustrious, which had been steaming on only two of her three shafts, maintaining the number of TF 57’s operational carriers at four. After strikes on 20 April, the task force sailed for Leyte Gulf to repair damage and replenish stores. It had been at sea for 32 days, the longest sortie by any British fleet since the days of sail.

Back in Action

Task Force 57 sailed for further operations against the Sakishima Islands on 1 May. Three days later, after the battleships King George V and Howe and five cruisers had detached from the force’s screen to close the islands and bombard their airfields, a kamikaze hit the Formidable, releasing what appeared to be a 500-pound bomb a second before impact. A sheet of flame rose to funnel height, and the blast punched a two-foot-square hole in the armored flight deck. Later in the day a repair crew plugged the hole with a wood and cement patch, over which was tack-welded thin steel plates, and flight operations resumed.

When a group of four kamikazes attacked TF 57 on 9 May, one of them crashed into the Victorious’ flight deck, knocking out her single catapult. A second also targeted the carrier, but Captain Michael M. Denny put his ship’s helm hard over as the Japanese pilot committed himself in the dive, resulting in the plane crashing through the aft deck park, bouncing off the armored deck, and landing about 200 yards off the port beam. Antiaircraft fire splashed the third kamikaze however, the fourth slammed into the Formidable’s crowded aft deck park, destroying 18 aircraft but causing minimal damage to the ship.

On 18 May the Formidable suffered more serious losses on her hangar deck when a Corsair’s guns were accidentally fired into an Avenger, which exploded. The ensuing fire destroyed or seriously damaged 28 planes. The carrier left for repair in Sydney on 22 May and was followed by the remainder of TF 57 on 25 May.

During Operation Iceberg, the BPF had spent 62 days at sea, with a break of 8 days anchored in Leyte Gulf. Aircraft from five of its fleet carriers flew 5,335 sorties and expended 1,000 tons of bombs and 500,000 rounds of ammunition. The fleet destroyed 42 enemy aircraft in the air and more than 100 on the ground and prevented the Japanese from staging aircraft to Okinawa. In exchange, TF 57 lost 44 officers and men killed on board ships and 41 aircrew. All four operational carriers needed dockyard repairs on their return to Sydney to make good defects and damage inflicted by the enemy.

Striking the Home Islands

In June 1945, the carrier HMS Implacable and other BPF ships that had recently arrived in the Pacific carried out a series of strikes known as Operation Inmate against Truk Atoll in the Caroline Islands. The Implacable subsequently joined the remainder of the British fleet off northeastern New Guinea at the beginning of July. By then TF 57 had been redesignated TF 37, which formed an integral part of Admiral William F. Halsey’s 3rd Fleet.

Off the coast of Japan itself, the BPF’s 1st Aircraft Carrier Squadron included the carriers Formidable as flagship, Victorious, Indefatigable, and Implacable. The Indomitable remained in Sydney to become flagship of the newly arrived 11th Aircraft Carrier Squadron, which included the light fleet carriers Colossus, Venerable, Vengeance, and Glory. The carrier squadron was to form the nucleus of a second BPF task force for Operation Olympic, the first phase of the invasion of Japan, scheduled for the autumn. The Indefatigable and Implacable air groups both had Supermarine Seafire fighters, naval versions of Spitfires, that had been employed solely for CAP because of their limited endurance. But the air groups improvised fittings so the planes could carry large external fuel tanks, enabling them to carry out strike and escort missions and greatly increasing their usefulness.

Task Force 37 rendezvoused with Halsey’s TF 38 at dawn on 16 July. The three task groups that made up the American task force were still refueling and stretched from horizon to horizon, a sight that Admiral Rawlings described as both striking and unforgettable. Allied operations against the Japanese home islands began the next day.

Despite bad weather, on 17 and 18 July BPF Corsair squadrons dropped more than 14 tons of bombs. Subsequent replenishment of the fleet’s fuel and stores using the “alongside” method perfected by the U.S. Navy worked well. On 24 July, TF 37 aircraft flew 416 sorties against targets that included shipping in the Inland Sea and airfields and railways in the area between Nagoya and Tokyo. Typhoons slowed replenishment that had begun on 31 July, and then the Allied fleets were ordered to keep clear of southern Honshu until after the first atomic bomb had been dropped on Hiroshima.

Bad weather prevented flights until 9 August, when TF 37 launched strikes against northern Honshu. That day BPF aircraft dropped or fired 120 tons of ordnance—the Royal Navy’s highest total on any single day during World War II. Also on the 9th, Lieutenant Robert Hampton Gray earned the Victoria Cross, the highest British award for gallantry in action. The XO of 1841 Naval Air Squadron, Gray was leading the Formidable’s second bomb-armed fighter sweep of the morning when the Canadian pilot attacked the Japanese escort destroyer Amakusa anchored off Onagawa, Japan. Despite antiaircraft fire hitting his Corsair’s engine and setting it on fire, Gray was able to skip one of his plane’s two 500-pound bombs into the ship. An instant later his aircraft, trailing smoke and flames, flew over the destroyer, inverted, and crashed into the sea. The Amakusa sank in less than five minutes. Gray, who went down with his Corsair, was awarded the VC posthumously.

After more air strikes on 10 August, the BPF had planned to withdraw to prepare for Operation Olympic, but Admiral Halsey decided to prolong ongoing operations. Because the BPF’s logistical group had insufficient fuel to keep TF 37 in action, the U.S. Navy generously agreed to provide fuel for a smaller British force to remain on station. So while the Formidable, Victorious, and Implacable left for Australia, the Indefatigable, the battleship King George V, some cruisers, and a destroyer flotilla stayed behind to form Task Group 38.5. There was considerable disappointment on board the departing ships, but the war was ending sooner than expected and the joyous reception the crews received when they returned to Australia was more than adequate compensation.

Dawn strikes were launched from the Indefatigable on 15 August and led to the last fighter combat of the war. After a dozen Zeros intercepted a flight of the carrier’s Avengers, ten Seafires in turn engaged the Japanese fighters, shooting down eight of the enemy planes for the loss of one of their own. The pilot of that Seafire, Sub-Lieutenant Fred Hockley, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, parachuted safely to the ground. But his Japanese army captors reacted to Emperor Hirohito’s radio broadcast at noon that day—announcing Japan’s surrender and the cessation of hostilities—by murdering the lieutenant.

Postwar Legacy

On board the USS Missouri (BB-63) in Tokyo Bay on 2 September 1945, Admiral Fraser signed the Japanese surrender document on behalf of the United Kingdom. His flagship, the battleship Duke of York, was anchored close by, and he hosted other Allied leaders at an emotional sunset ceremony on her quarterdeck that evening. BPF ships were subsequently used for a number of urgent postwar tasks, including the relief of Hong Kong and the transport of former prisoners of the Japanese home to Australia, Canada, and the United States. They also helped to bring troops home, and the Victorious even ferried more than 600 Australian war brides to their new homes in the United Kingdom. The BPF continued as a peacetime fleet until 14 September 1948, when it officially ceased to exist, a victim of demobilization and reorganization.

Contemporary naval operations contain many features that are a legacy from the BPF, not least the ability to combine international assets and communicate within coalition forces. The BPF showed the United States that it had loyal allies that were capable of coming together to stand by it in its hour of need as equals, ready to learn but with their own ideas and high standards, even in the most intense and technically advanced form of warfare yet devised. This willingness to fight together in a good cause was demonstrated again in the Korean conflict and on many subsequent occasions. Hopefully, it remains just as relevant in the 21st century.

D. K. Brown, Nelson to Vanguard: Warship Design and Development, 1923–1945 (London: Chatham Publishing, 2000).

David Hobbs, Moving Bases: Royal Navy Maintenance Carriers and MONABS (Liskeard, UK: Maritime Books, 2007).

David Hobbs, The British Pacific Fleet: The Royal Navy’s Most Powerful Strike Force (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2011).

Potentialities of Australia as a Base for Royal Navy Forces, Joint Administration Planning Sub Committee, Australian Defence Committee, 1/44 dated 20 November 1944.

David Stevens, ed., The Royal Australian Navy (Melbourne, Australia: Oxford University Press, 2001).

David Stevens, ed., The Royal Australian Navy in World War II, 2nd ed. (Crows Nest, Australia: Allen & Unwin, 2005).

H. P. Willmot, Grave of a Dozen Schemes: British Naval Planning and the War against Japan 1943–45 (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1996).

A Litany of British Carrier Developments

American flier Eugene Ely made the first takeoffs from and landing aboard warships in 1910–11. But beginning with Lieutenant Charles R. Samson flying from a ramp built over the bow of the battleship Africa during the winter of 1911–12, the British took the lead in pioneered the development of carrier aviation.

Subsequently, the Royal Navy began fitting ships with flying-off decks to launch aircraft—landplanes as well as seaplanes on trollies. While deployed in the North Sea and Mediterranean during World War I, several of the seaplane tenders so fitted launched bombing and torpedo planes against German and Turkish targets.

The world’s first true “aircraft carrier” was HMS Furious. As laid down in 1915, she was to be a 19,000-ton “large light cruiser” mounting two 18-inch guns in single turrets. They would be the largest guns to be mounted in a warship until the 18.1-inch guns of the World War II Japanese battleships Yamato and Musashi.

But the Furious was completed in July 1917 with only one 18-inch gun (aft) and a flying-off deck forward. She originally carried four seaplanes and six wheeled aircraft, with a hydraulic lift transporting them between a hangar and the flight deck.

After numerous takeoff trials, on 2 August 1917 Squadron Commander E. H. Dunning made the world’s first aircraft landing on an underway warship. As he approached the stern of the Furious in a Sopwith Pup, the ship was steaming into a 21-knot wind at a speed of 26 knots, putting a 47-knot wind over the flight deck forward. He flew along the starboard side of the ship, turned onto the flight deck, and cut his engine. Several men grabbed straps attached to the wings to pull the aircraft onto the deck. (Five days later, Dunning was killed in a landing attempt.)

Back into the yard went the Furious, her big gun was removed, and she was fitted with a landing deck aft, with trackways around her superstructure connecting the two decks. But landing on the new deck was a most difficult proposition, and several years later the Furious was fitted with a full flight deck. She would see considerable action in World War II and served in the fleet until 1944.

Next the British completed an unfinished liner into HMS Argus as the world’s first flush-deck carrier, and an unfinished battleship as the carrier Eagle, and began the world’s first keel-up carrier as the Hermes. (The first keel-up carrier to be completed was the Japanese Hosho.) Later the British converted the large light cruisers Courageous and Glorious, each armed with four 15-inch guns, into full-deck carriers. Relatively advanced fighters and torpedo planes were produced for these ships.

The 1 April 1917 amalgamation of the Army and Navy air services eventually led to the eclipse of British carrier aviation, with Japanese and U.S. carrier developments pulling far ahead. Although the British built several large and small (escort) carriers during World War II, their most effective shipboard aircraft were U.S.-built Wildcats, Hellcats, Corsairs, and Avengers.

After the war, the Royal Navy retained a small carrier force, and although there was pitifully little new carrier construction, three enormously important British developments had a profound influence on carrier aviation. First came the steam catapult. The earlier hydraulic catapult was marginally effective launching jet-propelled and heavy aircraft the steam catapult changed the dynamics of carrier aviation.

Next came the angled flight deck. With a straight, or axial, flight deck, landing aircraft that missed the arresting wires would crash into net barriers or sometimes “jump” the barriers and crash into aircraft parked forward. Also, when aircraft were parked forward, planes could not take off. With the angled deck, an aircraft that missed the wires would accelerate and come around for another landing attempt. And aircraft could be launched from the angled deck without disturbing the forward deck park.

The third British development was the mirror landing system. With higher aircraft approach speeds, it was difficult for the pilot of a landing aircraft to see the landing signal officer (LSO)—“batsman” in the British vernacular—and for the LSO to react quickly enough to signal the pilot. With the mirror landing system, the pilot observed a mirror-like device on the carrier with a “bouncing light” indicating his plane’s approach position.

All three developments have become standard for modern aircraft carriers.

Beyond technical carrier innovations, the Royal Navy has been a leading practitioner of “vertical assault” operations. British carriers conducted history’s first helicopter assault when the light carriers Ocean and Theseus landed 415 Royal Marines and 23 tons of ammunition and equipment in an hour and a half at Port Said during the 1956 Suez invasion.

Faced with severe financial limitations, the Royal Navy was unable to construct new conventional carriers during the Cold War. Instead, once the Sea Harrier vertical/short takeoff and landing aircraft was in service, it turned to smaller “Harrier carriers,” which were either purpose-built or converted. Two of them, the Hermes and Invincible, were key components in the British force that recaptured the Falkland Islands in 1982.

Despite limited resources, the Royal Navy has often been at the forefront of carrier aviation.

David Hobbs - History

At 8:40 P.M. on May 5, 1993 the West Memphis Police Department received a call that a bleeding black man had entered the Bojangles restaurant (located near where the three bodies were eventually discovered) about thirty minutes earlier and gone into the women's rest room. Officer Regina Meek arrives on the scene at 8:50 and questioned Marty King, the restaurant's manager, through the drive-through window. King reported that the man (with muddy feet, wearing a white cap, black pants, and a blue shirt) had blood on his face and arm and appeared "mentally disoriented," but had left the restaurant a few minutes before the officer arrived. When employees entered the women's rest room they discovered blood smeared on the wall. The officer leaves the premises about 9:00 without ever setting foot inside the restaurant. The next day, Detective Byrn Ridge and Sergeant Mike Allen return to Bojangles to collect blood scrapings from the rest room wall. Unfortunately, the scrapings were never sent to a crime lab to be analyzed and were later reported lost. No additional interviews were ever conducted with Bojangles employees about the incident. In the Echols/Baldwin murder trial, prosecutor John Fogleman argued that it was "a complete absurdity" to think the criminals who took pains to hide bodies, clothing, and bicycles would, immediately thereafter, go "into a public place all covered in blood." Critics of the "Bojangles theory" also point out that the bleeding man reportedly wore a cast on one arm, a fact they say would have made it very difficult to tie up and murder the three boys.

West Memphis Police Department Station Log for the evening of May 5, 1993

Notes regarding May 6 visit to Bojangles by West Memphis Police:

2. Terry Hobbs, stepfather of victim Steven Branch, and his friend, David Jacoby, with the assistance of two teenagers?

A documentary film about the 1993 killings, West of Memphis (a film paid for and produced by well-known director Peter Jackson), suggests (without making a direct accusation) that Terry Hobbs, stepfather of victim Stevie Branch, participated in the murders of the three boys. The filmmakers note that the most significant piece of DNA evidence found at the crime scene, DNA in a hair found in one of the shoelaces used to tie up the boys, matched the DNA of Terry Hobbs (as well as 1.5% of the population). A second hair found on a tree stump near where the bodies were found matched that of David Jacoby, a friend of Terry Hobbs, whom Hobbs visited roughly an hour before the boys disappeared. They also question the alibi given by Hobbs, that he spent the evening of the murders with his friend, David Jacoby. In the film, Jacoby doubts whether he spent as much time with Hobbs that night as Hobbs suggests. The filmmakers also stress that Terry Hobbs had a long history of abuse, including an admitted assault on his wife and accusations of child beating and assaults on neighbors. An aunt of Stevie Branch, Judy Sadler, accuses Hobbs in the film of forcing his young son to watch him masturbate and of sexually molesting Stevie's sister, Amanda. (Amanda, incidentally, says she cannot recall any sexual abuse by her stepfather.) They also managed to find a neighbor who claimed to have seen Hobbs with the three boys on the night of the murder, something Hobbs strongly denied. To this mix of circumstantial evidence, the filmmakers add the fact that another of Stevie's aunts, Jo Lynn McAughey, alleges she saw Terry Hobbs doing laundry the night of the murders, presumably to clean the mud off of his clothes after killing the boys in the woods, and the fact that a prized pocket knife owned by Stevie, one he almost always carried with him, was later found among Terry Hobbs's possessions. Finally, and perhaps most damningly, the filmmakers produced three young men who now claim to have been told by a nephew of Terry Hobbs that the fact that Terry killed the three boys was a closely guarded "family secret." In statements under oath, the three witnesses say that Michael Hobbs told them, "My uncle killed three boys in West Memphis." John Mark Byers, stepfather of Chris Byers and initially the subject of considerable suspicion himself, is shown calling Terry Hobbs a "baby killer" outside an Arkansas courtroom.

Terry Hobbs, however, was not without his defenders. Todd Moore, father of victim Michael Moore, found the evidence against Hobbs unpersuasive. He noted that his son spent a lot of time in the home of Terry Hobbs and could easily have picked up the hair (with DNA matching that of Terry Hobbs) found in his shoelaces on one of those occasions. Todd Moore asserted, "Terry Hobbs did not murder my son. No credible law enforcement official believes so." [Jonesboro Sun editorial, 6/13/2012] Other critics of the Hobbs-as-the-murderer theory noted that the statements by three young men, two decades after the crime, about the Hobbs "family secret" are three or four times removed from any original source, and are far less probative than the second-hand testimony of two witnesses ("I heard Damien say. ") in the Echols/Baldwin trial. Hamish McKenzie, writing in The Atlantic, was critical of the decision of filmmakers in West of Memphis to place the blame for the murders on Terry Hobbs, calling Jackson a"self-appointed producer-prosecutor" and the charges made in the movie "reckless." Of course, reckless doesn't mean wrong.

In 2013, what seems likely to be close to the true story of the West Memphis murders finally emerged in separate affidavits signed by Billy Wayne Stewart and Bennie Guy. The level of detail and overall plausibility of the stories told in the affidavits make it seem highly credible, even if they do come from an admitted drug dealer and a convicted felon. On May 5, 1993, according to both Stewart and Guy, Terry Hobbs, David Jacoby, and two teenagers from a local trailer park, L. G. Hollingsworth and Buddy Lucas, showed up at his West Memphis home looking to buy some pot, which Stewart provided. While Stewart sold the two boys the pot, he noticed Hobbs and Jacoby kissing in a pick-up truck across the street. (According to Stewart, Hobbs was a bisexual with a preference for sex with young boys. Hobbs, he stated, had invited his own ten-year-old son, "Bill Bil," to pool parties--invitations which Stewart insisted his son decline.)

What happened after Stewart sold the pot on May 5 was told to Stewart by Buddy Lucas in April 1995. Getting back in the pick-up, Hobbs, Jacoby, and the two boys drove around town, smoking pot and drinking whiskey, before heading down a dirt road by the Blue Beacon Wood. At that point, according to Lucas's account, Terry Hobbs asked the two teenagers to get out and "wrestle" while he and Jacoby watched. While Lucas does not specifically say the wrestling soon turned into sexual activity involving him, L. G. Hollingworth and the two men, Stewart has no doubt that is what happened, asserting that the lowered head and shame evident on the boy's face as he told the story made it clear there was "more going on between the boys and the men than what Buddy had just told me." It was during this likely sexual activity that Chis Byers, Michael Moore, and Stevie Branch appeared on their bikes, at the wrong place at the wrong time. Stewart says Lucas told him that Terry Hobbs screamed, "Get them little fuckers!" While Jacoby beat one of the kids, Hobbs ordered Buddy and L. G. to pull off his pants. According to the Stewart affidavit, "Mr. Hobbs walked over to the boy that Mr. Jacoby had been beating and repeatedly bit the boy's penis and scrotum," then "cut the boy's genitals." Terry Hobbs then announced the other two boys had to be killed because of what they had seen, and Hobbs and Jacoby proceeded to do just that. The boys' clothes and bodies were gathered and dragged to the water, and their bikes thrown into the bayou.

Shockingly, according to Stewart, when he tried to call West Memphis Police investigator Bill Sanders to tell him the story he had heard from Buddy Lucas, Sanders never even bothered to return his phone calls. If this allegation is true--and it certainly rings so--readers can debate whether that decision, which meant the continued incarceration of three almost certainly innocent young men for another sixteen years, or the murders in the Blue Beacon Wood, was the greater tragedy.

Bennie Guy's affidavit tells a similar story. Guy stated that while Buddy (who Guy describes as "pretty bad slow') was staying in his home in 1994 he confessed his involvement in the killings. Guy stated in his affidavit that L. G. Hollingsworth also confessed to participating in the murders while both were incarcerated in the Crittenden County Jail in 1995. Hollingsworth's confession adds a few new details to that of Buddy's. According to Guy's account of Hollingsworth's confession, Terry Hobbs became enraged after one of the boys began kicking him. Hobbs hit the boy in the head and shouted, "I am going to teach your fucking ass." Hollingsworth said that he, Buddy, and the two older men all participated in beating the three eight-year-old boys, and confirmed Buddy's account that Hobbs ordered the two teens to take off the pants of the boys, before cutting the genitals of one of them with his knife. Guy stated that he sent a detailed letter to Prosecutor Scott Ellington in February 2012 describing the details of the two confessions, but that Ellington never responded.

3. The West Memphis Three?

Todd Moore, father of victim Michael Moore, prosecutor John Fogleman, most detectives involved in the case, and many others continue to contend that the murders were committed by Jesse Misskelley, Jason Baldwin, and Damien Echols. They begin by pointing out that two juries in 1994, after listening to all the evidence, found the three guilty. (They neglect to point out, however, that much of the most potentially persuasive evidence that defense attorneys hoped to introduce in those trials was excluded by Judge Burnett.) They argue that Jesse Misskelley confessed no less than five times to the killings after his arrest and in the year following the trials. They note that Damien Echols had a long history of mental health problems before the murders and described himself at one point as homicidal, suicidal, and schizophrenic. They also contend that the fact that three different knots were used to hogtie the young victims points to the involvement of three killers, not one or two. And, of course, they believe that much of the evidence produced in the Echols/Baldwin trial was quite probative, including the testimony of two twelve-year old girls who say they heard Damien confess to the murders at a softball park, and blue candle wax found on Chris Byers' shirt that was "consistent" with candle wax found in the bedroom of Echols. Others who continue to believe in the guilt of the West Memphis Three point to an interview given to police on May 18, 1993 by Laura Maxwell (another third-hand story, admittedly), in which she was told by a friend that Damien killed the boys after they "saw something they weren't supposed to have seen"--presumably Echols, Baldwin, and Misskelley engaged in "devil-worshipping meetings in that park."

After the filing of the Stewart affidavit in 2013, it remains to be seen whether those who have long maintained that the West Memphis Three were guilty as charged will continue to do so.


Family Edit

The First Book of Samuel and the First Book of Chronicles both identify David as the son of Jesse, the Bethlehemite, the youngest of eight sons. [15] He also had at least two sisters, Zeruiah, whose sons all went on to serve in David's army, and Abigail, whose son Amasa went on to serve in Absalom's army, Absalom being one of David's younger sons. [16] While the Bible does not name his mother, the Talmud identifies her as Nitzevet, a daughter of a man named Adael, and the Book of Ruth claims him as the great-grandson of Ruth, the Moabite, by Boaz. [17]

David is described as cementing his relations with various political and national groups through marriage. [18] In 1 Samuel 17:25, it states that King Saul had said that he would make whoever killed Goliath a very wealthy man, give his daughter to him and declare his father's family exempt from taxes in Israel. Saul offered David his oldest daughter, Merab, a marriage which David respectfully declined. [19] Saul then gave Merab in marriage to Adriel the Meholathite. [20] Having been told that his younger daughter Michal was in love with David, Saul gave her in marriage to David upon David's payment in Philistine foreskins [21] (ancient Jewish historian Josephus lists the dowry as 100 Philistine heads). [22] Saul became jealous of David and tried to have him killed. David escaped. Then Saul sent Michal to Galim to marry Palti, son of Laish. [23] David then took wives in Hebron, according to 2 Samuel 3 they were Ahinoam the Yizre'elite Abigail, the wife of Nabal the Carmelite Maacah, the daughter of Talmay, king of Geshur Haggith Abital and Eglah. Later, David wanted Michal back and Abner, Ish-bosheth's army commander, delivered her to David, causing her husband (Palti) great grief. [24]

The Book of Chronicles lists his sons with his various wives and concubines. In Hebron, David had six sons: Amnon, by Ahinoam Daniel, by Abigail Absalom, by Maachah Adonijah, by Haggith Shephatiah, by Abital and Ithream, by Eglah. [25] By Bathsheba, his sons were Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, and Solomon. David's sons born in Jerusalem of his other wives included Ibhar, Elishua, Eliphelet, Nogah, Nepheg, Japhia, Elishama and Eliada. [26] Jerimoth, who is not mentioned in any of the genealogies, is mentioned as another of his sons in 2 Chronicles 11:18. His daughter Tamar, by Maachah, is raped by her half-brother Amnon. David fails to bring Amnon to justice for his violation of Tamar, because he is his firstborn and he loves him, and so, Absalom (her full brother) murders Amnon to avenge Tamar. [27]

Narrative Edit

God is angered when Saul, Israel's king, unlawfully offers a sacrifice [28] and later disobeys a divine command both to kill all of the Amalekites and to destroy their confiscated property. [29] Consequently, God sends the prophet Samuel to anoint a shepherd, David, the youngest son of Jesse of Bethlehem, to be king instead. [30]

After God sends an evil spirit to torment Saul, his servants recommend that he send for a man skilled in playing the lyre. A servant proposes David, whom the servant describes as "skillful in playing, a man of valor, a warrior, prudent in speech, and a man of good presence and the Lord is with him." David enters Saul's service as one of the royal armour-bearers and plays the lyre to soothe the king. [31]

War comes between Israel and the Philistines, and the giant Goliath challenges the Israelites to send out a champion to face him in single combat. [32] David, sent by his father to bring provisions to his brothers serving in Saul's army, declares that he can defeat Goliath. [33] Refusing the king's offer of the royal armour, [34] he kills Goliath with his sling. [35] Saul inquires the name of the young hero's father. [36]

Saul sets David over his army. All Israel loves David, but his popularity causes Saul to fear him ("What else can he wish but the kingdom?"). [37] Saul plots his death, but Saul's son Jonathan, one of those who loves David, warns him of his father's schemes and David flees. He goes first to Nob, where he is fed by the priest Ahimelech and given Goliath's sword, and then to Gath, the Philistine city of Goliath, intending to seek refuge with King Achish there. Achish's servants or officials question his loyalty, and David sees that he is in danger there. [38] He goes next to the cave of Adullam, where his family join him. [39] From there he goes to seek refuge with the king of Moab, but the prophet Gad advises him to leave and he goes to the Forest of Hereth, [40] and then to Keilah, where he is involved in a further battle with the Philistines. Saul plans to besiege Keilah so that he can capture David, so David leaves the city in order to protect its inhabitants. [41] From there he takes refuge in the mountainous Wilderness of Ziph. [42]

Jonathan meets with David again and confirms his loyalty to David as the future king. After the people of Ziph notify Saul that David is taking refuge in their territory, Saul seeks confirmation and plans to capture David in the Wilderness of Maon, but his attention is diverted by a renewed Philistine invasion and David is able to secure some respite at Ein Gedi. [43] Returning from battle with the Philistines, Saul heads to Ein Gedi in pursuit of David and enters the cave where, as it happens, David and his supporters are hiding, "to attend to his needs". David realises he has an opportunity to kill Saul, but this is not his intention: he secretly cuts off a corner of Saul's robe, and when Saul has left the cave he comes out to pay homage to Saul as the king and to demonstrate, using the piece of robe, that he holds no malice towards Saul. The two are thus reconciled and Saul recognises David as his successor. [44]

A similar passage occurs in 1 Samuel 26, when David is able to infiltrate Saul's camp on the hill of Hachilah and remove his spear and a jug of water from his side while he and his guards lie asleep. In this account, David is advised by Abishai that this is his opportunity to kill Saul, but David declines, saying he will not "stretch out [his] hand against the Lord's anointed". [45] Saul confesses that he has been wrong to pursue David and blesses him. [46]

In 1 Samuel 27:1–4|NKJV, Saul ceases to pursue David because David took refuge a second [47] time with Achish, the Philistine king of Gath. Achish permits David to reside in Ziklag, close to the border between Gath and Judea, from where he leads raids against the Geshurites, the Girzites and the Amalekites, but leads Achish to believe he is attacking the Israelites in Judah, the Jerahmeelites and the Kenites. Achish believes that David had become a loyal vassal, but he never wins the trust of the princes or lords of Gath, and at their request Achish instructs David to remain behind to guard the camp when the Philistines march against Saul. [48] David returns to Ziklag and saves his wives and the citizens from the Amalekites. [49] Jonathan and Saul are killed in battle, [50] and David is anointed king over Judah. [51] In the north, Saul's son Ish-Bosheth is anointed king of Israel, and war ensues until Ish-Bosheth is murdered. [52]

With the death of Saul's son, the elders of Israel come to Hebron and David is anointed king over all of Israel. [53] He conquers Jerusalem, previously a Jebusite stronghold, and makes it his capital. [54] He brings the Ark of the Covenant to the city, [55] intending to build a temple for God, but the prophet Nathan forbids it, prophesying that the temple would be built by one of David's sons. [56] Nathan also prophesies that God has made a covenant with the house of David stating, "your throne shall be established forever". [57] David wins additional victories over the Philistines, Moabites, Edomites, Amalekites, Ammonites and king Hadadezer of Aram-Zobah, after which they become tributaries. His fame increased as a result, earning the praise of figures like king Toi of Hamath, Hadadezer's rival. [58]

During a siege of the Ammonite capital of Rabbah, David remains in Jerusalem. He spies a woman, Bathsheba, bathing and summons her she becomes pregnant. [59] [60] [61] The text in the Bible does not explicitly state whether Bathsheba consented to sex. [62] [63] [64] [65] David calls her husband, Uriah the Hittite, back from the battle to rest, hoping that he will go home to his wife and the child will be presumed to be his. Uriah does not visit his wife, however, so David conspires to have him killed in the heat of battle. David then marries the widowed Bathsheba. [66] In response, Nathan, after trapping the king in his guilt with a parable that actually described his sin in analogy, prophesies the punishment that will fall upon him, stating "the sword shall never depart from your house." [67] When David acknowledges that he has sinned, [68] Nathan advises him that his sin is forgiven and he will not die, [69] but the child will. [70] In fulfillment of Nathan's words, David's son Absalom, fueled by vengeance and lust for power, rebels. [71] Thanks to Hushai, a friend of David who was ordered to infiltrate Absalom's court to successfully sabotage his plans, Absalom's forces are routed at the battle of the Wood of Ephraim, and he is caught by his long hair in the branches of a tree where, contrary to David's order, he is killed by Joab, the commander of David's army. [72] David laments the death of his favourite son: "O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!" [73] until Joab persuades him to recover from "the extravagance of his grief" [74] and to fulfill his duty to his people. [75] David returns to Gilgal and is escorted across the River Jordan and back to Jerusalem by the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. [76]

When David is old and bedridden, Adonijah, his eldest surviving son and natural heir, declares himself king. [77] Bathsheba and Nathan go to David and obtain his agreement to crown Bathsheba's son Solomon as king, according to David's earlier promise, and the revolt of Adonijah is put down. [78] David dies at the age of 70 after reigning for 40 years, [79] and on his deathbed counsels Solomon to walk in the ways of God and to take revenge on his enemies. [80]

Psalms Edit

The Book of Samuel calls David a skillful harp (lyre) player [82] and "the sweet psalmist of Israel." [83] Yet, while almost half of the Psalms are headed "A Psalm of David" (also translated as "to David" or "for David") and tradition identifies several with specific events in David's life (e.g., Psalms 3, 7, 18, 34, 51, 52, 54, 56, 57, 59, 60, 63 and 142), [84] the headings are late additions and no psalm can be attributed to David with certainty. [85]

Psalm 34 is attributed to David on the occasion of his escape from Abimelech (or King Achish) by pretending to be insane. [86] According to the parallel narrative in 1 Samuel 21, instead of killing the man who had exacted so many casualties from him, Abimelech allows David to leave, exclaiming, "Am I so short of madmen that you have to bring this fellow here to carry on like this in front of me? Must this man come into my house?" [87]

Tel Dan Stele Edit

The Tel Dan Stele, discovered in 1993, is an inscribed stone erected by Hazael, a king of Damascus in the late 9th/early 8th centuries BCE. It commemorates the king's victory over two enemy kings, and contains the phrase Hebrew: ביתדוד ‎, bytdwd, which most scholars translate as "House of David". [88] Other scholars have challenged this reading, [89] but it is likely that this is a reference to a dynasty of the Kingdom of Judah which traced its ancestry to a founder named David. [88]

Mesha Stele Edit

Two epigraphers, André Lemaire and Émile Puech, hypothesised in 1994 that the Mesha Stele from Moab, dating from the 9th century, also contain the words "House of David" at the end of Line 31, although this was considered as less certain than the mention in the Tel Dan inscription. [90] In May 2019, Israel Finkelstein, Nadav Na'aman, and Thomas Römer concluded from the new images that the ruler's name contained three consonants and started with a bet, which excludes the reading "House of David" and, in conjunction with the monarch's city of residence "Horonaim" in Moab, makes it likely that the one mentioned is King Balak, a name also known from the Hebrew Bible. [91] [92] Later that year, Michael Langlois used high-resolution photographs of both the inscription itself, and the 19th-century original squeeze of the then still intact stele to reaffirm Lemaire's view that line 31 contains the phrase "House of David". [92] [93] Replying to Langlois, Na'aman argued that the "House of David" reading is unacceptable because the resulting sentence structure is extremely rare in West Semitic royal inscriptions. [94]

Bubastite Portal at Karnak Edit

Besides the two steles, Bible scholar and Egyptologist Kenneth Kitchen suggests that David's name also appears in a relief of Pharaoh Shoshenq (usually identified with Shishak in the Bible. [95] [96] The relief claims that Shoshenq raided places in Palestine in 925 BCE, and Kitchen interprets one place as "Heights of David", which was in Southern Judah and the Negev where the Bible says David took refuge from Saul. The relief is damaged and interpretation is uncertain. [96]

Biblical criticism Edit

Literary criticism Edit

Apart from these, all that is known of David comes from the biblical literature. Some scholars have concluded that this was likely compiled from contemporary records of the 11th and 10th centuries BCE, but that there is no clear historical basis for determining the exact date of compilation. [97] Other scholars believe that the Books of Samuel were substantially composed during the time of King Josiah at the end of the 7th century BCE, extended during the Babylonian exile (6th century BCE), and substantially complete by about 550 BCE. Old Testament scholar Graeme Auld contends that further editing was done even after then—the silver quarter-shekel which Saul's servant offers to Samuel in 1 Samuel 9 "almost certainly fixes the date of the story in the Persian or Hellenistic period" because a quarter-shekel was known to exist in Hasmonean times. [98] The authors and editors of Samuel drew on many earlier sources, including, for their history of David, the "history of David's rise" [99] and the "succession narrative". [100] [101] The Book of Chronicles, which tells the story from a different point of view, was probably composed in the period 350–300 BCE, and uses Samuel and Kings as its source. [102]

Biblical evidence indicates that David's Judah was something less than a full-fledged monarchy: it often calls him negid, meaning "prince" or "chief", rather than melek, meaning "king" the biblical David sets up none of the complex bureaucracy that a kingdom needs (even his army is made up of volunteers), and his followers are largely related to him and from his small home-area around Hebron. [103]

Beyond this, the full range of possible interpretations is available. A number of scholars consider the David story to be a heroic tale similar to King Arthur's legend or Homer's epics, [104] whereas others think that such comparisons are questionable. [105] Others hold that the David story is a political apology—an answer to contemporary charges against him, of his involvement in murders and regicide. [106] The authors and editors of Samuel and Chronicles did not aim to record history, but to promote David's reign as inevitable and desirable, and for this reason there is little about David that is concrete and undisputed. [11] [12]

Some other studies of David have been written: Baruch Halpern has pictured David as a lifelong vassal of Achish, the Philistine king of Gath [107] Steven McKenzie argues that David came from a wealthy family, was "ambitious and ruthless" and a tyrant who murdered his opponents, including his own sons. [85]

Jacob L. Wright has written that the most popular legends about David, including his killing of Goliath, his affair with Bathsheba, and his ruling of a United Kingdom of Israel rather than just Judah, are the creation of those who lived generations after him, in particular those living in the late Persian or Hellenistic periods. [108]

Isaac Kalimi wrote about the tenth century BCE that: "Almost all that one can say about King Solomon and his time is unavoidably based on the biblical texts. Nevertheless, here also one cannot always offer conclusive proof that a certain biblical passage reflects the actual historical situation in the tenth century BCE, beyond arguing that it is plausible to this or that degree." [109]

Archaeologic criticism Edit

Isaac Kalimi wrote in 2018 that: "No contemporaneous extra-biblical source offers any account of the political situation in Israel and Judah during the tenth century BCE, and as we have seen, the archaeological remains themselves cannot provide any unambiguous evidence of events." [110]

Lester L. Grabbe wrote in 2017 that: "The main question is what kind of settlement Jerusalem was in Iron IIA: was it a minor settlement, perhaps a large village or possibly a citadel but not a city, or was it the capital of a flourishing – or at least an emerging – state? Assessments differ considerably …" [111]

Hayes & Miller wrote in 2006: "On the other hand, if one is not convinced in advance by the biblical profile, then there is nothing in the archaeological evidence itself to suggest that much of consequence was going on in Palestine during the tenth century BCE, and certainly nothing to suggest that Jerusalem was a great political and cultural center." [112]

Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman have stated that the archaeological evidence shows that Judah was sparsely inhabited and Jerusalem no more than a small village. The evidence suggested that David ruled only as a chieftain over an area which cannot be described as a state or as a kingdom, but more as a chiefdom, much smaller and always overshadowed by the older and more powerful kingdom of Israel to the north. [113] They posited that Israel and Judah were not monotheistic at the time, and that later seventh-century redactors sought to portray a past golden age of a united, monotheistic monarchy in order to serve contemporary needs. [114] They noted a lack of archeological evidence for David's military campaigns and a relative underdevelopment of Jerusalem, the capital of Judah, compared to a more developed and urbanized Samaria, capital of Israel during the 9th century BCE. [115] [116] [117]

Amihai Mazar has written that the United Monarchy of the 10th century BCE can be described as a "state in development". [118]

The view of Davidic Jerusalem as a village has been challenged by Eilat Mazar's excavation of the Large Stone Structure and the Stepped Stone Structure in 2005. [119] Eilat Mazar proposed that these two structures may have been architecturally linked as one unit, and that they date back to the time of King David. Amihai Mazar, Avraham Faust, Nadav Na'aman and William Dever have also argued in favour of the 10th century BCE dating. [118] [120] [121] [122] [123]

Scholars such as Israel Finkelstein, Lily Singer-Avitz, Ze'ev Herzog and David Ussishkin do not accept these conclusions. [124] Finkelstein does not accept the dating of these structures to the 10th century BCE, based in part on the fact that later structures on the site penetrated deep into underlying layers, that the entire area had been excavated in the early 20th century and then backfilled, that pottery from later periods was found below earlier strata, and that consequently the finds collected by E. Mazar cannot necessarily be considered as retrieved in situ. [125] Aren Maeir said in 2010 that he has seen no evidence that these structures are from the 10th century BCE, and that proof of the existence of a strong, centralized kingdom at that time remains "tenuous." [126]

In 2018, Avraham Faust and Yair Sapir stated that a Canaanite site at Tel Eton, about 30 miles from Jerusalem, was taken over by a Judahite community by peaceful assimilation, and transformed from a village into a central town at some point in the late 11th or early 10th century BCE. This transformation used some ashlar blocks in construction, which they argued supports the United Monarchy theory. [127] [128]

Rabbinic Judaism Edit

David is an important figure in Rabbinic Judaism, with many legends around him. According to one tradition, David was raised as the son of his father Jesse and spent his early years herding his father's sheep in the wilderness while his brothers were in school. [129]

David's adultery with Bathsheba is interpreted as an opportunity to demonstrate the power of repentance, and the Talmud states that it was not adultery at all, quoting a Jewish practice of divorce on the eve of battle. Furthermore, according to Talmudic sources, the death of Uriah was not to be considered murder, on the basis that Uriah had committed a capital offense by refusing to obey a direct command from the King. [130] However, in tractate Sanhedrin, David expressed remorse over his transgressions and sought forgiveness. God ultimately forgave David and Bathsheba but would not remove their sins from Scripture. [131]

In Jewish legend, David's sin with Bathsheba is the punishment for David's excessive self-consciousness who had besought God to lead him into temptation so that he might give proof of his constancy as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (who successfully passed the test) whose names later were united with God's, while David eventually failed through the temptation of a woman. [129]

According to midrashim, Adam gave up 70 years of his life for the life of David. [132] Also, according to the Talmud Yerushalmi, David was born and died on the Jewish holiday of Shavuot (Feast of Weeks). His piety was said to be so great that his prayers could bring down things from Heaven. [ citation needed ]

Christianity Edit

The Messiah concept is fundamental in Christianity. Originally an earthly king ruling by divine appointment ("the anointed one", as the title Messiah had it), the "son of David" became in the last two centuries BCE the apocalyptic and heavenly one who would deliver Israel and usher in a new kingdom. This was the background to the concept of Messiahship in early Christianity, which interpreted the career of Jesus "by means of the titles and functions assigned to David in the mysticism of the Zion cult, in which he served as priest-king and in which he was the mediator between God and man". [135]

The early Church believed that "the life of David foreshadowed the life of Christ Bethlehem is the birthplace of both the shepherd life of David points out Christ, the Good Shepherd the five stones chosen to slay Goliath are typical of the five wounds the betrayal by his trusted counsellor, Ahitophel, and the passage over the Cedron remind us of Christ's Sacred Passion. Many of the Davidic Psalms, as we learn from the New Testament, are clearly typical of the future Messiah." [136] In the Middle Ages, "Charlemagne thought of himself, and was viewed by his court scholars, as a 'new David'. [This was] not in itself a new idea, but [one whose] content and significance were greatly enlarged by him". [137]

Western Rite churches (Lutheran, Roman Catholic) celebrate his feast day on 29 December, Eastern-rite on 19 December. [138] The Eastern Orthodox Church and Eastern Catholic Churches celebrate the feast day of the "Holy Righteous Prophet and King David" on the Sunday of the Holy Forefathers (two Sundays before the Great Feast of the Nativity of the Lord), when he is commemorated together with other ancestors of Jesus. He is also commemorated on the Sunday after the Nativity, together with Joseph and James, the Brother of the Lord. [ citation needed ]

Middle Ages Edit

In European Christian culture of the Middle Ages, David was made a member of the Nine Worthies, a group of heroes encapsulating all the ideal qualities of chivalry. His life was thus proposed as a valuable subject for study by those aspiring to chivalric status. This aspect of David in the Nine Worthies was popularised firstly through literature, and was thereafter adopted as a frequent subject for painters and sculptors.

David was considered as a model ruler and a symbol of divinely-ordained monarchy throughout medieval Western Europe and Eastern Christendom. David was perceived as the biblical predecessor to Christian Roman and Byzantine emperors and the name "New David" was used as an honorific reference to these rulers. [140] The Georgian Bagratids and the Solomonic dynasty of Ethiopia claimed a direct biological descent from him. [141] Likewise, kings of the Frankish Carolingian dynasty frequently connected themselves to David Charlemagne himself occasionally used the name of David as his pseudonym. [140]

Islam Edit

David (Arabic: داوود Dā'ūd or Dāwūd) is an important figure in Islam as one of the major prophets sent by God to guide the Israelites. David is mentioned several times in the Quran with the Arabic name داود, Dāwūd or Dā'ūd, often with his son Solomon. In the Quran David killed Goliath (Q2:251), a giant soldier in the Philistine army. When David killed Goliath, God granted him kingship and wisdom and enforced it (Q38:20). David was made God's "vicegerent on earth" (Q38:26) and God further gave David sound judgment (Q21:78 Q37:21–24, Q26) as well as the Psalms, regarded as books of divine wisdom (Q4:163 Q17:55). The birds and mountains united with David in uttering praise to God (Q21:79 Q34:10 Q38:18), while God made iron soft for David (Q34:10), [142] God also instructed David in the art of fashioning chain mail out of iron (Q21:80) [143] this knowledge gave David a major advantage over his bronze and cast iron-armed opponents, not to mention the cultural and economic impact. Together with Solomon, David gave judgment in a case of damage to the fields (Q21:78) and David judged the matter between two disputants in his prayer chamber (Q38:21–23). Since there is no mention in the Quran of the wrong David did to Uriah nor any reference to Bathsheba, Muslims reject this narrative. [144]

Muslim tradition and the hadith stress David's zeal in daily prayer as well as in fasting. [145] Quran commentators, historians and compilers of the numerous Stories of the Prophets elaborate upon David's concise quranic narratives and specifically mention David's gift in singing his Psalms as well as his beautiful recitation and vocal talents. His voice is described as having had a captivating power, weaving its influence not only over man but over all beasts and nature, who would unite with him to praise God. [146]

Literature Edit

Literary works about David include:

  • 1517The Davidiad is a neo-Latinepic poem by the Croatiannational poet, Roman Catholic priest, and Renaissance humanistMarko Marulić (whose name is sometimes Latinized as "Marcus Marulus"). In addition to the small portions that attempt to recall the epics of Homer, The Davidiad is heavily modeled upon Virgil's Aeneid. This is so much the case that Marulić's contemporaries called him the "Christian Virgil from Split." The philologistMiroslav Marcovich also detects, "the influence of Ovid, Lucan, and Statius" in the work.
  • 1681–82Dryden's long poem Absalom and Achitophel is an allegory that uses the story of the rebellion of Absalom against King David as the basis for his satire of the contemporary political situation, including events such as the Monmouth Rebellion (1685), the Popish Plot (1678) and the Exclusion Crisis.
  • 1893Sir Arthur Conan Doyle may have used the story of David and Bathsheba as a foundation for the Sherlock Holmes story The Adventure of the Crooked Man. Holmes mentions "the small affair of Uriah and Bathsheba" at the end of the story. [147]
  • 1928Elmer Davis's novel Giant Killer retells and embellishes the biblical story of David, casting David as primarily a poet who managed always to find others to do the "dirty work" of heroism and kingship. In the novel, Elhanan in fact killed Goliath but David claimed the credit and Joab, David's cousin and general, took it upon himself to make many of the difficult decisions of war and statecraft when David vacillated or wrote poetry instead.
  • 1936William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom! refers to the story of Absalom, David's son his rebellion against his father and his death at the hands of David's general, Joab. In addition it parallels Absalom's vengeance for the rape of his sister Tamar by his half-brother, Amnon.
  • 1946Gladys Schmitt's novel David the King was a richly embellished biography of David's entire life. The book took a risk, especially for its time, in portraying David's relationship with Jonathan as overtly homoerotic, but was ultimately panned by critics as a bland rendition of the title character.
  • 1966Juan Bosch, a Dominican political leader and writer, wrote David: Biography of a King, as a realistic portrayal of David's life and political career.
  • 1970Dan Jacobson's The Rape of Tamar is an imagined account, by one of David's courtiers Yonadab, of the rape of Tamar by Amnon.
  • 1972Stefan Heym wrote The King David Report in which the historian Ethan compiles upon King Solomon's orders "a true and authoritative report on the life of David, Son of Jesse"—the East German writer's wry depiction of a court historian writing an "authorized" history, many incidents clearly intended as satirical references to the writer's own time.
  • 1974 In Thomas Burnett Swann's biblical fantasy novel How are the Mighty Fallen, David and Jonathan are explicitly stated to be lovers. Moreover, Jonathan is a member of a winged semi-human race (possibly nephilim), one of several such races coexisting with humanity but often persecuted by it.
  • 1980Malachi Martin's factional novel King of Kings: A Novel of the Life of David relates the life of David, Adonai's champion in his battle with the Philistine deity Dagon.
  • 1984Joseph Heller wrote a novel based on David called God Knows, published by Simon & Schuster. Told from the perspective of an aging David, the humanity—rather than the heroism—of various biblical characters is emphasized. The portrayal of David as a man of flaws such as greed, lust, selfishness, and his alienation from God, the falling apart of his family is a distinctly 20th-century interpretation of the events told in the Bible.
  • 1993Madeleine L'Engle's novel Certain Women explores family, the Christian faith, and the nature of God through the story of King David's family and an analogous modern family's saga.
  • 1995Allan Massie wrote King David, a novel about David's career that portrays the king's relationship to Jonathan as sexual. [148]
  • 2015Geraldine Brooks wrote a novel about King David, The Secret Chord, told from the point of view of the prophet Nathan. [149][150]

Paintings Edit

  • 1599CaravaggioDavid and Goliath
  • c. 1610Caravaggio David with the Head of Goliath
  • 1616Peter Paul RubensDavid Slaying Goliath
  • c. 1619Caravaggio, David and Goliath

Sculptures Edit

  • 1440?Donatello, David
  • 1473–1475Verrocchio, David
  • 1501–1504Michelangelo, David
  • 1623–1624Gian Lorenzo Bernini, David

Film Edit

David has been depicted several times in films these are some of the best-known:

  • 1951 In David and Bathsheba, directed by Henry King, Gregory Peck played David.
  • 1959 In Solomon and Sheba, directed by King Vidor, Finlay Currie played an aged King David.
  • 1961 In A Story of David, directed by Bob McNaught, Jeff Chandler played David.
  • 1985 In King David, directed by Bruce Beresford, Richard Gere played King David.
  • 1996 In Dave and the Giant Pickle

Television Edit

  • 1976The Story of David, a made-for-TV film with Timothy Bottoms and Keith Michell as King David at different ages. [151]
  • 1997David, a TV-film with Nathaniel Parker as King David and Leonard Nimoy as the Prophet Samuel. [152]
  • 1997Max von Sydow portrayed an older King David in the TV-film Solomon, a sequel to David.[153]
  • 2009Christopher Egan played David on Kings, a re-imagining loosely based on the biblical story. [154]
  • King David is the focus of the second episode of History Channel's Battles BC documentary, which detailed all of his military exploits in the bible. [155]
  • 2013Langley Kirkwood portrayed King David in the miniseries The Bible.
  • 2016Of Kings and Prophets in which David is played by Olly Rix

Music Edit

  • The traditional birthday song Las Mañanitas mentions King David as the original singer in its lyrics.
  • 1738George Frideric Handel's oratorio Saul features David as one of its main characters. [156]
  • 1921Arthur Honegger's oratorio Le Roi David with a libretto by René Morax, instantly became a staple of the choral repertoire.
  • 1964Bob Dylan alludes to David in the last line of his song "When The Ship Comes In" ("And like Goliath, they'll be conquered").
  • 1983Bob Dylan refers to David in his song "Jokerman" ("Michelangelo indeed could've carved out your features"). [157]
  • 1984Leonard Cohen's song "Hallelujah" has references to David ("there was a secret chord that David played and it pleased the Lord", "The baffled king composing Hallelujah") and Bathsheba ("you saw her bathing on the roof") in its opening verses.
  • 1990 The song "One of the Broken" by Paddy McAloon, performed by Prefab Sprout on the album Jordan: The Comeback, has a reference to David ("I remember King David, with his harp and his beautiful, beautiful songs, I answered his prayers, and showed him a place where his music belongs").
  • 1991 "Mad About You", a song on Sting's album The Soul Cages, explores David's obsession with Bathsheba from David's perspective. [158]
  • 2000 The song "Gimme a Stone" appears on the Little Feat album Chinese Work Songs chronicles the duel with Goliath and contains a lament to Absalom as a bridge. [159]

Musical theater Edit

Playing cards Edit

For a considerable period, starting in the 15th century and continuing until the 19th, French playing card manufacturers assigned to each of the court cards names taken from history or mythology. In this context, the King of spades was often known as "David". [160] [161]

Rembrandt, c. 1650: Saul and David.

Mural of King David from an 18th-century sukkah (Jewish Museum of Franconia).

Miniature from the Paris Psalter: David in the robes of a Byzantine emperor.

King David playing the harp, ceiling fresco from Monheim Town Hall, home of a wealthy Jewish merchant.

King David, stained glass windows from the Romanesque Augsburg Cathedral, late 11th century.

Study of King David, by Julia Margaret Cameron. Depicts Sir Henry Taylor, 1866.

The Ark is brought to Jerusalem (1896 Bible card illustration by the Providence Lithograph Company)

Arnold Zadikow, 1930: The Young David displayed in the entrance of Berlin's Jewish Museum from 1933 until its loss during the Second World War.

David Hobbs - History

Terry Hobbs at the Misskelley trial.

For years, for those following this case, Terry Wayne Hobbs was a mystery, "the other stepfather," in the deep shadow of the oversized personality of Mark Byers. The stepfather of victim Stevie Branch, he was not interviewed by the police at the time of the crimes and was not called to testify at the trials. His whereabouts on the evening of the fifth could only be gleaned from brief notes from other witnesses. The Hobbs house was not searched for fiber matches. The Hobbs neighbors were not questioned during the door to door surveys.

Terry Hobbs was thrust to the center of the case after the results of the DNA examinations came back from the hairs left behind at the crime scene. While none of these hairs could have come from those convicted for the crimes, it was determined that Terry Hobbs could be a source of one hair that was found with a ligature of Michael Moore. Furthermore, a friend of Terry Hobbs, David Jacoby, was the possible source of another hair at the crime scene.

Then the revelations snowballed. Terry Hobbs' ex-wife, Pamela and her family came forward saying they had long suspected him of being the murderer. Their suspicions began shortly after the crime and continued through the trials and after the convictions. According to Terry Hobbs, even some of his clients at his work had accused him of the crimes. For Terry Hobbs, the accusations would pile higher and higher.

Terry Hobbs was born in 1958 in Northern Arkansas, one of four children, son of Edith Raylean McLeod Hobbs and Joe Dean Hobbs, Sr. Hobbs, Sr. learned his trade as a butcher while in the military and went on to open thirty restaurants. He was also a minister in the Apostolic Pentecost Church, a fundamentalist group. Terry Hobbs claimed to have seen evil spirits cast out.His upbringing was strict, the family faith did not allow a television at home or participation in sports. Along with his brothers, he was expected to work in the slaughterhouse, butchering pigs and cattle. He completed the 10th grade at Cave City High.

Terry first married Angela Hancock and had one son, Bryan Hobbs. He married Pamela Hicks Branch in 1986 at the time that Stevie Branch, Jr. was one and a half. They moved to West Memphis shortly after the great tornado had passed through (12/14/87). They lived at three addresses before renting 1601 S. McAuley where they lived when the murders took place. This house had a large swimming pool. Its backyard ran up against a bayou diversion channel.

Terry and Pam had one child together, Amanda Hobbs. She was four years old in 1993.

Terry Hobbs worked at the Memphis Ice Cream beginning in 1992 and continuing through 1998. He delivered ice cream products to customers in the tri-state area, Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee.

Pamela Hobbs, 1993

Terry and Pamela were having difficulties in their marriage prior to 1993. They had separated for a time. Shortly after the murders, the Hobbs retreated to Pam's family home in Blytheville, Arkansas. Two weeks after the murders, Terry left Pam to stay in Hardy, Arkansas, 120 miles from West Memphis. By doing this Terry avoided being brought in for questioning by the police.

From the beginning, Pamela's family accused him of the murders. According to Terry Hobbs, his brother-in-law, Jackie Hicks, Jr. had regularly threatened him for having killed Stevie. Their dispute came to a boil in November 1994 when Terry struck Pamela and Pamela called her family for help. Terry loaded his 357 Magnum with hollow point bullets. When Jackie Hicks, Jr. began fighting with Terry, Terry shot him in the gut. He survived for ten more years until he died from a clot released during a follow-up surgery. The Hicks blamed Hobbs for his death.

Terry Hobbs was arrested for drug possession in 2003. He was reported twice for abusing his daughter, Amanda. Pamela Hobbs took out a restraining order against him in 2005. They are divorced. Terry's name was removed from his stepson's tombstone.

Hobbs Whereabouts on May 5, 1993

In early 2007, Terry Hobbs mtDNA was found similar to that of a hair collected from the bindings of Michael Moore. This led to heavier scrutiny by the private detectives hired by the Echols appeal team and brought to light the accusations swirling around him.

On June 21, 2007, Terry Hobbs was interrogated by the West Memphis Police Department. Two events were undisputed that evening, framing a critical time period. At 5 pm he left off his wife, Pamela, at her place of work, Catfish Island. At 9 pm, he came to pick her up and inform her that her son was still missing.

  • Terry stated that after briefly searching his neighborhood with his daughter Amanda, he encountered Dana Moore and followed her to her house. There he met up with Mark Byers in front of Byers house before six p.m. and this was when they knew all three of the children were together. The time presented for this meeting was far from possible. The meeting between Dana Moore, Mark Byers and thereafter, Terry Hobbs would have to have taken place after the Byers missing person report had finished being filed, approximately 8:30 pm. Mark Byers filed an affidavit saying he didn't see Terry Hobbs during this time period.
  • Hobbs recounted visiting the Robin Hood Woods between 6 and 6:30 pm with his friend, David Jacoby. In one interview he described twenty to forty people out there searching, on three and four wheelers, motorcycles and bicycles. In another interview, he says probably a hundred were looking before dark. This account is a fantasy. The three victims were last seen at 6:00 pm, and not reported missing until after 8 pm. There was no immediate massive turnout for a search. And if there were so many witnesses that it would have made it impossible for Hobbs to have killed the children, these witnesses would have prevented others from committing the murders. Furthermore, David Jacoby has declared in an affidavit that he was not in the woods with Terry Hobbs at this time and that his searching with Hobbs consisted of briefly driving around.
  • Together, theseleft Hobbs no alibi witnesses for most of the time between 5 and 8:30 pm.

In the Dimensions Interview, Pamela Hobbs described experiencing fear in the area near where the victims were found. The time was "Probably about 10:30 [pm]." She described the place as "a certain point of as you go in, and you could go up like a hill, and then you go the other way to go to the pipe. As I come up on - where the hill was, that's when [she felt that fear] [p. 46-7, Dimensions Films Interview]

This contrasts with her other accounts.

With the new DNA evidence, forensic analyses and statements regarding Terry Hobbs, the Echols legal team filed a legal motion for a new trial. With great fanfare, Echols defense team and national experts announced their findings in a press conference on November 1st, 2007.

Hobbs vs. The Dixie Chicks

Like fellow country singer Cheryl Crow, Natalie Maines Pasdar, a member of the popular band, The Dixie Chicks, could lay claim to the verse, "I was born in the South / sometimes I have a big mouth / when I see something that I don't like."

A vocal supporter of the West Memphis 3, during a rally in Little Rock, Pasdar reiterated some of the recent findings presented by the lawyers and reasons why Terry Hobbs should be considered a suspect. Months later, on November 25, 2008 Terry Hobbs, declaring he had been defamed and publicly accused of murder, filed suit against Pasdar. For Terry Hobbs, it was a disaster.

Allegations became sworn depositions and Terry Hobbs was required to defend his past behavior, his criminal record and his actions the night the children went missing. Under scrutiny, Hobbs stories became inconsistent and incoherent.

  • Jo Lynn McAughey, Stevie's aunt, stated that Terry Hobbs repeated sexually molested his daughter, Amanda. She stated that he used cocaine, crystal meth and marijuana. She stated she was at the Hobbs house on May 6, 1993 and saw "Terry wash clothes, bed linens and curtains at an odd hour. [snip] . he was not just washing the dirty laundry, but he was also taking clothes out of the dresser drawers and washing those, too." She stated she found Stevie's prized pocketknife, one he always kept with him, among Terry Hobbs belongings. Pam declared she was surprised that the knife was not found on his body. Jo Lynn said that Terry Hobbs had told her that his experience as a butcher gave him the skill to make the cut on Chris Byers' genitals. She stated she discovered Terry had a large cache of knives. In response, Terry Hobbs admitted to the drug use, gave contradictory stories about Stevie's knife, denied washing items on May 6th, denied discussing the murders with Jo Lynn and denied the molestation charges.
  • Judy Sadler, Stevie's aunt, stated Stevie told her Terry Hobbs locked Stevie in the closet and beat him. She said he forced Stevie and his sister Amanda to watch pornography, and threatened to kill members of the Hicks family if Stevie told. She said Terry forced Stevie to sexually molest his sister and he made Stevie watch him masturbate. Terry Hobbs denied these accusations.
  • Sheila Hicks, Stevie's aunt, stated that Terry Hobbs whipped Stevie Branch leaving welts. She stated he forced Stevie to play "dead cockroach," lying on his back with his arms and legs raised and, when his limbs grew tired and he tried to lower them, Terry would "whoop" him. She also stated that Stevie talked about fights that Terry and Pam had and Stevie saw Terry strangling Pam. Finally, she stated in 1997 that she saw Terry Hobbs simulating sex with his then nine year old daughter, Amanda.
  • Marie Hicks, Stevie's grandmother, claimed that Terry Hobbs was physically and sexually abusive, used drugs and was alcoholic. She said that when Amanda Hobbs was young, she confided in her that Terry Hobbs stuck his finger in her "booty." Terry Hobbs denied all of this.
  • Amanda Hobbs, Terry's daughter, gave a devastating plea regarding her father's abuse. Terry denied the abuse and said he couldn't remember if he ever discussed this subject with her.
  • Sharon Nelson, Hobbs girlfriend, said that Hobbs claimed that he found the bodies before the police but left them there, undiscovered. Hobbs denied this.
  • David Jacoby, Hobbs friend, said that he only searched with Terry Hobbs briefly before dark. He also stated that when Terry Hobbs came to his house, he saw the three victims in the street behind him. Hobbs denied ever having seen the victims that evening and described repeated trips searching with Jacoby.
  • Mildred French, an elderly neighbor of his during the 1980s, said that she was sexually attacked by Terry Hobbs. She also stated that he claimed to have killed her cat. Charges were filed. Without actually denying the attack, Terry dismissed this as being ancient history. He admitted to being sentenced to counselling at the time. He denied saying he killed her cat.

Spotlight: Stevie's pocketknife.

In his 2007 police interview, Terry Hobbs denied having the knife. In his Pasdar deposition, he said he confiscated it years before the murders.

  • Hobbs was accused of molesting his son from his first marriage.
  • Like Mark Byers, Terry Hobbs had his teeth pulled by a dentist in the mid-nineties.
  • Terry Hobbs did not take a polygraph exam regarding the crime and refuses now to take an exam or provide handprints or footprints.
  • Hobbs had three guns in 1993. Among these, he named one Willy and one Smith.
  • Hobbs claimed to have visited the area of the pipe with Officer Meek. Officer Meek testified she did not see him that night.
  • Jamie Clark Ballard, a neighbor of Hobbs in 1993, along with two of her family, came forward to say that they saw Terry Hobbs with the victims at 6:30 pm that night. Hobbs denied this, saying he had not seen any of the victims that day.

Is it possible Terry Hobbs is not guilty?

The cumulative damning statements and physical evidence regarding Terry Hobbs make it seem that it is impossible that he was not responsible for the murders. Among the most incriminating of evidence is his own testimony in which he regularly contradicts himself and makes impossible claims. However, the hair matches for both Hobbs and Jacoby were one substitution from being perfect, making this evidence less conclusive. The DNA of a hair found on Christopher Byers' binding has not been matched to anyone suggesting another unidentified perpetrator. While various witnesses placed the victims with Hobbs that evening, other witnesses placed the victims elsewhere, in the direction of Robin Hood Woods. And, although Pamela Hobbs and her family have made accusations against him, Pam Hobbs has made vocal accusations against others, including the Moores. Still, these uncertainties can only explain away a part of the evidence against Terry Hobbs.

Topic Terry Hobbs Mark Byers
Family suspicions Ex-wife's family believes he may have committed the murders. Ex-wife's family contacted police saying he may have committed the murders.
Suspicions of others Some business clients accused him of guilt. Several neighbors named him as a suspect.
Accusations of violence Several, including beating his stepson and wife. Several, including beating his stepson and wife. Multiple old scars on stepson's corpse.
Criminal history of violence Shot brother-in-law after beating wife. Police intervention in dispute with daughter's boyfriend. Terroristic threats against ex-wife. Supervised child fight at gunpoint. Restraining order for spanking neighbor's child. Threatened victim whose house he burglarized. Her home later burnt down.
Other violent behavior Said to have confessed to killing neighbor's cat. Beat up someone who kissed his wife. Has threatened supporters of the West Memphis Three. Threatened to kill West Memphis Three if justice was not served.
Accusations of sexual deviancy Multiple accusations by ex-wife's family and his daughter regarding sexual acts involving his daughter and his stepson. Police record regarding groping neighbor in her shower. None.
Record of drug abuse Criminal record and admissions of drug use. Criminal record and admissions of drug use and dealing.
Other criminal history Restraining order by wife. Multiple charges and convictions for theft. Drug informant.
Knives under question Had Stevie's prize knife even though family believes Stevie kept it with him at all times and would have had it at the time of the murder. Possesses many knives. Knife with blood consistent with that of Mark Byers, Christopher Byers or all three victims. Gave this away the day before his house was searched. Denied using the knife or the possibility there was blood on it.
DNA under question Possible source of mtDNA found with binding of Michael Moore. Friend is possible source of mtDNA found at crime scene. Knife with blood. (above)
Questionable affiliations None Admitted to belonging to a violent white supremacist group.
Alibi Contradictory and impossible alibi for the crucial time period of 5 to 9 pm. Alibi unsupported or contradicted by some of those he claims to have been with, including Ryan Clark and the Garners. Other events are supported.
Presence at crime scene Admitted to concentrating his search efforts in the area where the victims were found. Said he was stopped by the presence of evil at a site "just a few feet from where. that ditch where they was found in." Contradictory explanations as to why his search focused near the discovery woods. Alleged to have admitted to having discovered the victims before the police. "I was out looking until 4:30 a.m. I walked within 10 or 15 feet of where the bodies were found."
Teeth Had his teeth pulled in the mid-90s. Had his teeth pulled in the mid-90s.
Other questionable statements Claimed to have told Pam to get over the murders. Claimed to have said people couldn't handle the truth about the crimes. Claimed to have said he could make the cut on Byers' penis because of his experience as a butcher. Others. "I got in a DWI after my wife was murdered." Described similar incident happening in his life. "When they were describing the injuries to my son. . it brought back things that had happened to me in my past, when, I was tortured. And when I was attacked. And when I had, uh, had 5 people beat me up and torture me but I lived through it." Others.
Other Multiple instances of contradictory statements. David Jacoby and the Ballards state they saw him with the victims shortly before their disappearance. Multiple instances of contradictory statements. Wife a lifelong heroin addict. She died at age 40 while in his presence. Cause of death undetermined, case still open. Exhibited violent temperment evening of murders.

A personal note.

When I visited the West Memphis Police Department in 2004, an officer brought up the subject of Pamela Hobbs. This officer said that Pamela had no idea her son was missing until Terry Hobbs arrived at Catfish Island at approximately 9:30 pm when the missing person report was filed. I commented at least Terry Hobbs had been searching for Stevie. The officer let out a loud "ha!" and then made the action of zipping her lips.


1984–1986: Group formation and breakthrough Edit

The 2 Live Crew, although seen as a main fixture in the Miami hip-hop scene, actually got their start in California and was created by DJ Mr. Mixx (David Hobbs) with fellow rappers Fresh Kid Ice (Chris Wong Won), and Amazing Vee (Yuri Vielot).

The group released its first single, "Revelation", on its own label "Fresh Beat Records" in 1984. The A-side of "Revelation" contained a song by the same where the only rapper featured was Amazing Vee, and on the B-Side it contained a song named "2 Live" where Fresh Kid Ice was the only rapper featured. "Revelation" was popular in Florida. Luke Skyywalker (Luther Campbell), who at the time was local DJ and promoter, invited The 2 Live Crew to relocate to Miami. Also due to the subsequent success of 2 Live Crew, this made Fresh Kid Ice the first rapper to be noted in Asian American in hip hop, and the first Asian rapper to gain notoriety. [7]

For their second single "What I Like" (1985), Fresh Kid Ice was the only rapper featured. Amazing Vee was only credited as writer, and left the group shortly after. [8]

The single "Throw The D" released in January 1986 gave a permanent blueprint to how future Miami bass songs were written and produced. [9] Wong Won said that the song came about when they noticed a new popular dance in Miami called "Throwing The Dick", when the Herman Kelly and Life's song "Dance to the drummer's beat" played. The dance consisted of men throwing their hips back and forth, while the girls would squat with their hands on their knees, bend over, and shake their butt. Wong Won suggested to Mr. Mixx that they should adapt the hook, and they scratched it into the song. Wong Won felt his voice was too high pitched for the hook, so Mr. Mixx who came up with the pattern did it using an emulator. Wong Won wrote the lyrics in twenty minutes on a plane ride returning to their base. Finally they booked a 16 track studios to record it. [10]

Rapper Brother Marquis (Mark Ross) joined The 2 Live Crew. Luke Skyywalker (Luther Campbell) gave The 2 Live Crew a record deal and worked as the group's manager. He also joined the group as its hype-man and spokesperson in their subsequent controversies. [11]

The 2 Live Crew's debut album, The 2 Live Crew Is What We Are, was released in 1986. Alex Henderson of AllMusic commented that the album "did take sexually explicit rap lyrics to a new level of nastiness", with tracks such as "We Want Some Pussy" and "Throw the 'D'". [12] With word-of-mouth attention, the album was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Bob Rosenberg of Will to Power remixed "Beat Box" (originally released as "Two Live") and was billed "King of Edits" by Luke Skyywalker. In 1987, a Florida store clerk was acquitted of felony charges for selling the album to a 14-year-old girl. [11]

1988–1998: Best selling albums and controversy Edit

In 1988, the group released their second album, Move Somethin' It was certified Gold and featured the singles "Move Somethin'" and "Do Wah Diddy Diddy". The album improved on the charts from the previous album, making in to #68 on the Billboard 200 and #20 on the Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart.

Campbell decided to sell a separate clean version in addition to the explicit version of the album, Move Somethin' (1988), produced by Mr. Mixx. A record store clerk in Alexander City, Alabama, was cited for selling a copy to an undercover police officer in 1988. [13] It was the first time in the United States that a record store owner was held liable for obscenity over music. The charges were dropped after a jury found the record store not guilty. [13]

In 1989, the group released their third album, As Nasty as They Wanna Be, which also became the group's most successful album. A large part of its success was due to the single "Me So Horny", which was popular locally with heavy radio rotation on Miami's WPOW-Power 96 FM. The American Family Association (AFA) did not think the presence of a "Parental Advisory" sticker was enough to adequately warn listeners of what was inside the case. Jack Thompson, a lawyer affiliated with the AFA, met with Florida Governor Bob Martinez and convinced him to look into the album to see if it met the legal classification of obscenity. [14] In 1990, action was taken at the local level and Nick Navarro, Broward County sheriff, received a ruling from County Circuit Court judge Mel Grossman that probable cause for obscenity violations existed. [11] In response, Luther Campbell maintained that people should focus on issues relating to hunger and poverty rather than on the lyrical content of their music. [15]

Navarro warned record store owners that selling the album might be prosecutable. 2 Live Crew then filed a suit against Navarro. That June, U.S. district court Judge Jose Gonzalez ruled the album obscene and illegal to sell. Charles Freeman, a local retailer, was arrested two days later, after selling a copy to an undercover police officer. This was followed by the arrest of three members of 2 Live Crew after they performed the As Nasty as They Wanna Be album at Club Futura in Hollywood, Florida, hosted by radio personality Tony the Tiger (Ira Wolf) from Power 96 FM, one of the few radio stations in the U.S. that continued airplay while the trial ensued. After international exposure with support from freedom of speech advocates like SCREW magazine's Al Goldstein (who owned a house in Broward County) and many others, they were acquitted soon after, as professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. testified at their trial in defense of their lyrics. Freeman's conviction was overturned on appeal as well. [11]

"A lot of people have gotten the impression that I'm this rude, sexual deviant or something," Campbell told journalist Chuck Philips. "But contrary to what has been printed about me in the papers, I'm no moral threat to anybody. I'm just a hard-working guy marketing a new product." [16]

In 1992, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit overturned the obscenity ruling from Judge Gonzalez, and the Supreme Court of the United States refused to hear Broward County's appeal. As in the Freeman case, Gates testified on behalf of 2 Live Crew, arguing that the material that the county alleged was profane actually had important roots in African-American vernacular, games, and literary traditions and should be protected. [17]

As a result of the controversy, sales of As Nasty as They Wanna Be remained brisk, [18] selling over two million copies. It peaked at number 29 on the Billboard 200 and number 3 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. A few other retailers were later arrested for selling it as well, including Canadian Marc Emery, who was convicted in Ontario in 1991, and would later gain fame as a marijuana activist. Later hard-rock band Van Halen sued over an uncleared sample of their song "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love" in the 2 Live Crew song "The Fuck Shop". The publicity then continued when George Lucas, owner of the Star Wars universe, successfully sued Campbell for appropriating the name "Skywalker" for his record label, Luke Skyywalker Records. Campbell changed his stage name to Luke (and changed the record label's name to Luke Records) and the group released an extremely political follow-up album, Banned in the U.S.A., after obtaining permission to use an interpolation of Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A.".

Banned in the U.S.A. is the group's fourth album. It was originally credited as Luke's solo album. The certified Gold album included the hits "Do the Bart" and the title track. It was also the very first release to bear the RIAA-standard Parental Advisory warning sticker. The eponymous title single is a reference to the decision in a court case that its album As Nasty as They Wanna Be was obscene (the decision would later be overturned on appeal).

Displeased over the decision of Florida Governor Bob Martinez who, on being asked to examine the album, decided it was obscene and recommended local law enforcement take action against it and over the subsequent action of Broward County, Florida, sheriff Nick Navarro, who arrested local record-store owners on obscenity charges for selling the group's albums and the subsequent arrest of members of the group on obscenity charges, the group included the song "Fuck Martinez", which also includes multiple repetitions of the phrase "fuck Navarro". The group found two other men with the same names, and had them sign releases, as they thought that this action would make it impossible for Martinez or Navarro to sue them.

Live in Concert is their fifth album. This was 2 Live Crew's first and only Live album, and was also the only 2 Live Crew release under the Effect subsidiary label of Luke Records, a move that was deemed necessary for the company to be able to release additional 2 Live Crew material outside of their distribution deal with Atlantic Records, which was signed in 1990 – the same year they released Banned In The U.S.A..

Sports Weekend: As Nasty as They Wanna Be, Pt. 2 is their sixth album. Released in 1991, it is the sequel of As Nasty as They Wanna Be. A clean version was released later that same year titled Sports Weekend: As Clean as They Wanna Be Part II. This would be the last studio album by all original members of the 2 Live Crew. It contains the very successful single Pop That Pussy. The album is certified Gold.

From that point on all the release by 2 Live Crew would always vary having one or two member of the original line up missing with the exception of Fresh Kid Ice.

In 1994, Back at Your Ass for the Nine-4 was released. This album the group was billed as "The New 2 Live Crew" as Brother Marquis and Mr. Mixx had left the group, the line-up for this album was Fresh Kid Ice, Luke and new member, Verb. It is the last album with the 2 Live Crew banner to feature Luke. The album became a moderate hit, peaking at #52 on the Billboard 200 and #9 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. [19] Two charting singles were produced, "Hell, Yeah" and "You Go Girl" who were both made into music videos.

1995 saw a reunion of Fresh Kid Ice, Brother Marquis and Mr. Mixx re-formed again to record "Hoochie Mama" for the soundtrack of movie Friday. The soundtrack reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200, where it held the position for two weeks, and the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart for six weeks.

Fresh Kid Ice, Mr. Mixx, and Brother Marquis left Luke and Luke Records to go to Lil' Joe Records and released Shake a Lil' Somethin' (1996) without Luther Campbell. Shake a Lil' Somethin' is their seventh album. It was released on August 6, 1996, for Lil' Joe Records and was produced by Mr. Mixx. The album would make it to #145 on the Billboard 200 and #33 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and two singles "Shake a Lil' Somethin'", which made it to #11 on the Hot Rap Singles chart and "Do the Damn Thing", which made it to #24 on the same chart. It peaked at number 59 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop and albums chart. At the time of this album, Fresh Kid Ice had left the New 2 Live Crew (which consisted of himself, Luke and Verb and Luke Records) to re-join original members Mr. Mixx and Brother Marquis. However, the reunion would be short lived as Mr. Mixx would leave the group after this album.

The Real One is their eighth and last studio album. It was released on April 7, 1998, for Lil' Joe Records and with the absence of Mr. Mixx, was produced by various producers. The album peaked at #59 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. Shortly after the release of this album, Brother Marquis left as well.

2000–2009: Hiatus and reformation Edit

In the early 2000s, both Brother Marquis and Fresh Kid Ice would pursue solo projects. [20] [21]

Circa 2006–2007 Fresh Kid Ice and Brother Marquis discussed their differences and decided to relaunch 2 Live Crew. They offered other past members to be involved but were declined. Both of them started to tour and release singles. [22]

2010–present: Awards, Mr. Mixx return, and death of Fresh Kid Ice Edit

In 2010, Brother Marquis and Fresh Kid Ice briefly reunited with Luther Campbell, and Mr. Mixx as they were honorees winners at the 2010 VH1 Hip-Hop Honors: The Dirty South Edition.

Later that year, the both of them released the singles I'm 2 Live featuring Mannie Fresh, Cougar, Boom featuring E-40. They announced the release of a new 2 Live Crew album called Just Wanna be Heard with guest Too Short, E-40, and Insane Clown Posse. It was set to be released in August 2010, but remains unreleased to this day. [23] [24] [25]

In June 2014, the 2 Live Crew released a new single Take It Off, the video clip features cameos by Mannie Fresh, Flavor Flav, Trina, Flo Rida, and Trick Daddy. The single is available on iTunes [26] [27] Later that year they made a cameo in the Flo Rida music video G.D.F.R.. [28]

Also in 2014, they announced an album called Turn Me On, which remains unreleased. [29] By Thanksgiving of that year, 2 Live Crew reunited with Luther Campbell for a series of shows until 2015. [30] [31]

In 2016, Fresh Kid Ice left the group to relaunch Chinaman Records. Shortly after Mr. Mixx returned to the 2 Live Crew. That same year the new 2 Live Crew duo released two singles How Bout Dem Cowboys (2016) and One Horse Sleigh (2016). [32] [33]

On July 13, 2017, at age 53, Fresh Kid Ice died in a Miami hospital from cirrhosis of the liver. [34] [35]

The Crew parodied Roy Orbison's "Oh, Pretty Woman" on the album As Clean As They Wanna Be. The copyright owners of the original song brought a lawsuit in 1990 claiming copyright infringement. In 1994 the United States Supreme Court unanimously adopted a rule from an earlier Ninth Circuit case involving Rick Dees, [36] and ruled that the 2 Live Crew's parody was fair use, and thus did not infringe. [37] [13]

20th C Naval Warfare history book – “The Dawn of Carrier Strike” (Seaforth Publishing, 2019) – David Hobbs- WarScholar written interview 5

When it comes to modern naval warfare, aircraft carriers have a huge hold on popular imagination. Giant behemoths sailing across vast expanses and sending off squadrons of deadly aircraft taking the fight to the enemy. But how often do people think about what it took to develop such formidable fighting machines?

The United States Navy was very successful in utilizing aircraft carriers in World War II and so might it be said were the Japanese except for the fact that they had to fight the Americans. Unfortunately, the work of the British Royal Navy in developing the aircraft carrier before WWII is not often considered. Their efforts are not as widely discussed.

David Hobbs is making the effort to remind us all of British aircraft carrier development and operations with his new book on the subject. I spoke with him about his book The Dawn of Carrier Strike and their struggle to ensure victory in the next great war that was expected to follow WWI.

How did you become interested in studying and writing on the subject of your book?

I have always been fascinated by the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm and have written extensively about its history. This book fills the gap between my earlier books on The British Pacific Fleet (Seaforth, 2011 and further editions) and The Royal Navy’s Air Service (Seaforth, 2017). Other titles in the series include The British Carrier Strike Fleet after 1945 (Seaforth, 2015), British Aircraft Carriers (Seaforth, 2013) and A Century of Carrier Aviation (Seaforth, 2009). I am working on the next book in the series which will cover the attack on the Italian Fleet at Taranto in 1940 by RN Swordfish torpedo-bombers and naval air warfare in the Mediterranean from 1940 to 1944.

What are the major themes of this book?

I describe the continuing development of naval aviation between 1918 and 1940, culminating in the first carrier strike operations ever carried out by any navy and use, as an example, the naval career of Lieutenant William Paulet (Bill) Lucy DSO RN. He was the first British fighter ‘ace’ of the Second World War and led the first air attack to sink a major enemy warship, the German cruiser Konigsberg.

After WWI, how much emphasis did the British government put on supporting the advancement of carrier operations and technology? Was there any post WWI war weariness that affected the Royal Navy’s development of new tactics and techniques?

WW1 war weariness had no discernible effect on RN tactics and techniques as they evolved from 1919 onwards. The Admiralty had invested heavily in aircraft prior to the Armistice as a means of taking the fight to the enemy in his harbours, locating enemy ships at sea and countering the U-boat threat. After the war the Admiralty wanted to go on developing aircraft as a means of maintaining its edge over any navy that might pose a potential threat to the British Empire. The problem was the existence of the newly independent air force which was seen by the Government as the focal point on all air matters but which had no interest in naval warfare and opposed every Admiralty attempt to increase the number of aircraft that could be embarked in His Majesty’s ships as well as the uses to which they could be put. The problem was not resolved until 1937 when the Minister for Defence Co-ordination returned full control of aircraft embarked in ships and their support facilities ashore to the Admiralty.

How much tension and how much cooperation was there between the RAF and the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm in developing flight technology and operations? I imagine resources were limited in the period between 1918 and 1940 and the two services might have been very competitive in the political arena.

The period of dual control which afflicted the Fleet Air Arm between 1918 and 1937 severely limited the development of aviation for naval purposes. The US and Japanese navies suffered no similar restriction and although they were far behind Britain in capability in 1919, both drew well ahead by 1939. The RAF concentration on strategic bombing was a disastrous policy that led to near defeat in 1940 when British forces were opposed in Norway, Belgium and France by German air units trained to give tactical support to their army and RAF bombers made no effective contribution to the war. It was not so much that the two services were competing for resources, more that the Government accepted every theory put forward by the RAF without realising that it needed to be tested. More could have been achieved with less had it not been for theoretical RAF dogma. Note the absurdity of RN pilots having to have RAF ranks, which were often not the same as their RN rank, whereas observers, who were not recognised as aircrew by the RAF did not.

Who were the major leaders in the Royal Navy as far as pushing the advancement of carrier operations forward?

All of them to a certain extent. If I had to single out any by name who were exceptional they would be:
Admiral Chatfield, the First Sea Lord who won back full control of the Fleet Air Arm for the RN in 1937.
Admiral J D Cunningham, Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff who helped Chatfield in his fight to regain full control of the Fleet Air Arm. Later became First Sea Lord himself.
Admiral Bell Davies VC, a veteran of the RNAS and the first pilot in the world to land on and take off from an aircraft carrier, he served in the Admiralty between the wars and was Rear Admiral Naval Air Stations when the Admiralty resumed full control from 1937.
Admiral Henderson, Rear Admiral Aircraft Carriers and the Third Sea Lord/Controller, who re-organised the Fleet Air Arm into the system of squadrons still in use today and was later responsible for the armoured carriers of the Illustrious class – the world’s biggest aircraft carrier construction programme in 1939.
Admiral Lyster, Rear Admiral Aircraft Carriers Mediterranean, the visionary behind the strike on the Italian Fleet at its harbour in Taranto.
Captain Boyd, another visionary who believed in naval aviation and commanded HMS Illustrious during the Taranto attack.
Admiral de Robeck, C-in-C Mediterranean in the early 1920s who first pointed out the failure of the RAF to provide the aircraft the navy needed to do its job.

The whole RN believed implicitly in the use of aircraft in sea warfare and agreed that it was let down by the RAF and successive Governments that failed either to recognise the problem or do anything to remedy it.

Are you able to touch on the major engineering changes that occurred in both the aircraft and with the carriers (landing area configurations, landing gear, locations of the island, elevators, etc.) during this period and how effective these changes were?

Changes in aircraft technology included brakes which allowed aircraft to run up to full power before starting a take-off roll, thus shortening it, and to taxi out of a densely-packed range aft, effectively increasing the number of aircraft that could be launched at any one time. Night/blind flying instrumentation that allowed aircraft to operate at night or in bad weather. Aircraft engines in the 1,000 horse power class not only enabled higher speeds but greatly increased the load-carrying capacity of naval aircraft. Aircraft of all-metal, monoplane construction proved to be faster and more robust than their biplane predecessors.

Aircraft armament improved dramatically in this period although here, too, the pedestrian policies followed by the RAF were of little value. Airborne torpedoes with explosive warheads designed specifically for them proved to be the best ship-killing weapons of the war. Armour-piercing bombs dropped by dive bombers (which the RAF said would never work) also proved effective. 20mm cannon replaced rifle-calibre machine guns in the air-to-air role and proved far more effective. Early depth charges specified by the RAF proved to be of little value and were replaced by Admiralty-designed weapons that proved far more effective in the Battle of the Atlantic.

Aircraft carrier developments included the safety barrier that protected aircraft that had just landed from those landing after them and allowed much quicker landing times by larger numbers of aircraft. The deck landing control officer or ‘batsman’ produced more accurate landings and helped to speed up landings by large numbers of aircraft. The starboard-side island proved a great success as did special flight deck lighting which allowed aircraft to take-off and land safely in the dark. Development of catapults for use in battleships and cruisers as well as aircraft carriers was carried forward successfully between the wars and the Admiralty invested heavily in the former to use aircraft for reconnaissance as well as correcting the gunfire of battleships and cruisers in surface actions. The 6 armoured carriers of the Illustrious class were a great technological achievement. Armoured flight decks saved at least two ships from probable destruction when hit by enemy dive-bombers in the Mediterranean and kamikazes in the Pacific and minimized damage to others.

Who were the major enemies that the Royal Navy was most worried about and how did that affect how they approached carrier operations? How did these worries change during the inter-war period?

Until Nazi Germany started to re-arm after 1933, Japan was seen as the most likely enemy since it coveted the oil and mineral wealth controlled by Great Britain and the Netherlands in the Far East. From 1935, Germany became the most likely enemy although Italy was seen as a major threat after the Abyssinian Crisis in 1935. The possibility of war with all three had to be accepted as a real possibility when British re-armament began in 1936. RAF bombers proved to be of no help to the RN in operations against Italy or Japan and of only marginal maritime use against Germany.

What resource materials did you use for your research?

I have an extensive library and archive of books, documents and images built up over many decades of research. The Lucy family made a number of invaluable documents and photographs available for which I was most grateful. The list of primary and secondary source material fills 5 pages in the book’s Bibliography, much of it researched from the collections in the National Archive at Kew, the Ministry of Defence Archive formerly at Hayes, the Naval Historical Branch at Portsmouth and the Fleet Air Arm Museum.

What part of the research process was most enjoyable for you?

I find all reading and research into the subject enjoyable.

Was there anything that you discovered that moved you?

Having access to the Lucy family archive meant a great deal. The letters written to Bill Lucy’s father after he was killed in action over Norway in May 1940 moved me. They ranged from His Majesty King George VI, through Admirals and Captains to the men of 803 Naval Air Squadron that he led so successfully in action from RNAS Hatston and the aircraft carriers Glorious and Ark Royal.

What do you hope the book will do for readers?

I hope it will inform the public how much was achieved by the Royal Navy’s air arm. Many people think that the leader in carrier aviation was the US Navy. However, much of the development was carried out by the Royal Navy and later adopted by the USN. There is also a mistaken view that the RAF carried out every air combat but I show that it was the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm that had to fight in the sky over Norway in the Spring of 1940. In the final chapters I explain that the German Luftwaffe deployed about 800 combat aircraft to this campaign. They were opposed by a handful of gallant RN carrier-borne aircrew with about 30 Blackburn Skua fighters which were actually slower in level flight than every enemy aircraft but for several weeks it was the Skuas that had the best of every airborne fight. Not only did they deter enemy bombers from attacking ships and the Allied troops ashore, the same aircraft and aircrew attacked enemy airfields, ships and forces on the ground with bombs. Their story deserves to be widely understood and remembered. More than half of them were killed in action, including Bill Lucy and his observer Lieutenant Michael Hanson DSC RN.

What is your next writing project?

My next writing project follows logically on from ‘The Dawn of Carrier Strike’ and describes the attack by Swordfish aircraft from HMS Illustrious on the Italian Fleet at Taranto in November 1940 and naval air warfare in the Mediterranean between 1940 and 1945. The manuscript is to be with Seaforth publishing in late 2020 for publication early in 2021.

Author Biography
Name Commander David Hobbs MBE RN (Retired)
Position Independent naval historian
Biography Mr. Hobbs served in the Royal Navy from 1964 to 1997 and retired with the rank of Commander. During that time he qualified as both a fixed and rotary-wing pilot and his log book contains 2,300 flying hours and over 800 deck landings. During one appointment in the Ministry of Defence he developed carrier operating techniques for the Invincible class light carriers including the operation of Sea Harriers at night and in bad weather which were facilitated by the Deck Approach Projector Sight, a concept he drove forward. For three years he was the RN representative in an Information Exchange Programme with the US Navy, through which he was closely involved with AV-8A Harrier trials at sea.

After retiring from the Royal Navy Mr. Hobbs was the Curator of the Fleet Air Arm Museum at Yeovilton for eight years and is now a full-time independent historian. He has written books and articles for journals over a number of years, winning the Aerospace Journalist of the Year, Best Defence Submission in Paris in 2005 and the Navy League of Australia Essay prize in 2008. He lectures on naval subjects world-wide, including on cruise ships, and has appeared on radio and television in several countries. his first book was published in 1982 while he was still serving in the RN and since then he has written many more.

Work being discussed THE DAWN OF CARRIER STRIKE
and the world of Lieutenant W P Lucy DSO RN
Seaforth Publishing – Barnsley – 2019

British Aircraft Carriers - Design, Development and Service Histories, David Hobbs

This book looks at the complete history of the British aircraft carrier, from the pre-First World War experiments with aviation and the very earliest aircraft operating warships to the upcoming Queen Elizabeth class carriers under construction as I write (2014).

The author served on aircraft carriers in the 1960s and 70s and developed the operating procedures for the Invincible class carriers. This is reflected in his detailed understanding of how a carrier works and what factors made for a successful design, but it does also mean that he was very closely involved in many of the cancelled carrier designs and misfiring projects of the period.

The majority of chapters (those looking at either individual British aircraft carriers or aircraft carrier class) follow a similar format. They start with a technical description of the ship or class, looking at the discussions that led to the eventual design and describing the type. This is followed by a series of individual ship histories looking at the service records of the different carriers.

Each chapter is supported by a good collection of high quality photographs and splendid deck plans (mostly from the author's collection). Perhaps the most impressive of the illustrations are the full colour reproductions of original Admiralty plans in the centre of the book, including a fold-out four-page spread showing a side plan of the first post-war Ark Royal.

This is an absolutely superb history of the British aircraft carrier. Hobbs understands every aspect of his topic and this is reflected in the text. The sections on the design of each type of carrier are particularly strong, reflecting his expert knowledge of carrier operations. The service records complete the picture for the British carriers, and there are also interesting sections on other nation's carriers. For me this is the definitive history of the British aircraft carrier and an invaluable book.

1 - Admiralty interest in aviation 1908-1911
2 - Early ship trials and demonstration
3 - Seaplane carriers
4 - Furious and Vindictive
5 - Argus
6 - Eagle
7 - Hermes
8 - The development of carriers in other navies
9 - Courageous class
10 - Ark Royal
11 - Illustrious class - first group
12 - Indomitable
13 - Implacable group
14 - British-built escort carriers and MAC-ships
15 - Archer class
16 - Attacker class
17 - Ruler class
18 - Project Habbakuk
19 - Audacious class
20 - Colossus class
21 - Majestic class
22 - Maltaclass
23 - A comparison with aircraft carriers in other navies
24 - The maintenance carriers Unicorn, Pioneer and Perseus
25 - Hermes class
26 - British carrierborne aircraft and their operations
27 - Post-1945 aircraft carrier designs that were not built
28 - The reconstruction - Victorious, Hermes and Eagle
29 - CVA-01: The unbuilt Queen Elizabeth
30 - Ark Royal - controversy, a single carrier and her aircraft
31 - Small carrier designs for a future fleet
32 - Short take-off and vertical landings
33 - Invincible class
34 - Ocean - landing platform (helicopter)
35 - Queen Elizabeth class
36 - Aircraft carriers in the Commonwealth navies
37 - British carrier concepts and foreign aircraft carriers compared
38 - Carrierborne aircraft in the twenty-first century
39 - Unmanned aircraft - a fast-moving technical and tactical evolution
40 - The Royal Navy's future prospects: the author's afterwords

A - Illustrative Royal navy carrierborne aircraft 1912-2012
B - Examples of aircraft from other services that have operated from RN aircraft carriers
C - The proposed aircraft carrying mail steamer of 1923
D - Fighter catapult ships and CAM-ships
E - British aircraft carrier losses
F - Pennant numbers and deck recognition letters

Author: David Hobbs
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 352
Publisher: Seaforth
Year: 2013

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