MB Reed

Author and mathematician


Footnotes for 'Conjecture', Chapters 7-16

Chapter 7: Rescue

  1. Goonhilly Downs: Site in Cornwall of the UK’s first satellite communications station, built in 1962, it received images from the USA, including the Apollo 11 Moon Landing, via the Telstar satellite.

  2. Dolphin Square: A large riverside complex of flats in Pimlico, with a history of scandals. Residents have included the 1930’s Fascist leader Oswald Mosley being a neighbour of MI5 spymaster Maxwell Knight (who recruited Ian Fleming there), Charles de Gaulle’s government in exile during the War, Soviet spy John Vassall, the Profumo scandal’s Christine Keeler and Princess Anne. BBC news story. It was also the alleged site of a paedophile sex ring involving MPs and Establishment figures. The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse is investigating, including “claims by retired police officers that they were ‘warned off’ investigating possible cases of child sexual abuse committed by senior politicians in the 1960s, 70s and 80s” Guardian report.

  3. To bugger up one’s first operation…: based on a line in The Importance of Being Earnest.

  4. My father was Secretary of State for India: Samuel Hoare, 1st Viscount Templewood held this post 1931-1935. He assured Gandhi that Britain would grant eventual self-government to India, though this was opposed by Churchill.

  5. This box of tricks is called a VCR: The Philips N1500 was the UK’s first domestic video recorder. It was first sold in the UK in 1972.

  6. A family of ducks: See photos in Vintage Everyday.

  7. The 1971 Eurovision Song Contest was held in the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin on 3rd April.

  8. Arthur Scargill led an unofficial strike by miners in 1969, and an official NUM strike in 1972.

  9. until his face was pressed against the tarmac. And then he kissed it: A gesture copied by Pope John Paul II on his arrival at Gatwick in May 1982.

  10. Beauftragte des Fuhrers…: The titles are taken from the 1943 edition of the Almanach de Gotha.

  11. Tarnopol was a city in Eastern Poland, invaded by the Soviets in 1939 and by the Nazis in 1941. It is now Ternopil in Ukraine.

  12. A detailed account of Churchill’s failures is in the biography by Clive Ponting.

  13. For a ‘forbidden history’ of Hess’s 1941 flight and the role of the Duke of Kent, see Double Standards by Lynn Picknett, Clive Prince and Stephen Prior (Sphere 2002).

Chapter 8: Kurt

  1. The Kaiser Wilhelm Institutes were renamed Max Planck Institutes after the War.

  2. Werner Heisenberg was a key pioneer of quantum mechanics. He was a principal scientist on the Nazi nuclear weapon project. See Wikipedia entry.

  3. Heisenberg visited Tagore in India in 1929. Their discussions are described by Fritjof Capra, whose book The Tao of Physics contains the quote from Lama Govinda.

  4. The Black Friar is a London pub with a unique art nouveau interior. It was almost knocked down in the 1960’s.

  5. Remote viewing is the practice of seeking impressions about a distant or unseen target, purportedly using extrasensory perception (ESP) or “sensing” with the mind. In the early 1970s, studies of remote viewing were performed at the Electronics and Bioengineering Laboratory at Stanford Research Institute. See Wikipedia entry. RV also formed part of the 1991 secret Stargate Project, featured in the 2004 book and 2009 film, both titled The Men Who Stare at Goats.

  6. Edward Wood, 1st Earl of Halifax was Foreign Secretary in May 1940 when Chamberlain resigned. He declined the post of Prime Minister under mysterious circumstances, allowing Churchill to become PM. A few weeks later, with the Allies facing apparently catastrophic defeat and British forces falling back to Dunkirk, Halifax favoured approaching Italy to see if acceptable peace terms could be negotiated. He was overruled by Churchill after a series of stormy meetings of the War Cabinet. From 1941 to 1946, he served as British Ambassador in Washington. See Wikipedia entry.

  7. The Black and White Minstrel Show was one of the BBC’s most popular entertainment shows. It was finally ended in 1978. Here’s what the BBC says about it now.

  8. The Angry Brigade was ‘Britain’s Baader Meinhof group’, a far-left guerrilla group responsible for 25 bomb attacks between March 1968 and May 1971. In January 1971 the target was the home of Robert Carr, a Tory cabinet minister. See New Statesman article.

  9. The more well-known Rote Armee Fraktion (RAF) was led by Andreas Baader and Ulrike Meinhof. Meinhof was involved in Baader’s escape from jail in 1970. See Wikipedia entry.

Chapter 9: Easter

  1. Lebensborn, Ahnenerbe: The Lebensborn (Fount of Life) organisation was set up by the SS to increase the birth rate of racially-pure Aryan children. The Ahnenerbe (Ancestral Heritage) was an SS research organisation dedicated to proving the superiority of the Aryan races.

  2. Abbazia: A spa town on the Istrian peninsula, part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until it was assigned to Italy after WW1. After WW2 it passed to the new Yugoslavia, and is today known as Opatija.

  3. The 1933 photograph is at rebeccastarrbrown.com It shows the Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VIII, standing with his brothers Prince Albert Duke of York (who succeeded him as King George VI), Prince Henry Duke of Gloucester and Prince George Duke of Kent. The webpage also describes the mysterious death of Prince George in 1942. The ‘largely implausible book’ it mentions must be Double Standards: the Rudolf Hess Cover-up.

  4. We were taken to Wembley Stadium: In the 1973 coup in which General Pinochet seized power in Chile, some 7,000 prisoners were held in the National Stadium in the capital; many were tortured and executed.

  5. The Volkshalle was to be the largest building in Hitler’s and Speer’s plan for the postwar German capital. The dome was to be 290 metres high, and with up to 180,000 people inside it is thought that clouds would have formed beneath the roof. See Wikipedia

  6. Gypsy Moth IV, in which Francis Chichester circumnavigated the globe single-handed in 1967, was put on display at Greenwich, alongside the Cutty Sark. It was bought by the Gypsy Moth Trust in 2004 for a price of £1 plus a gin-and-tonic, and restored. It can frequently be seen at Bucklers Hard, and is featured on the inside back cover of British passports. See Wikipedia.

Hospital Diary VII

  1. The Elizabeth Loftus ‘lost in the mall’ experiment, see also Wikipedia. Later research described here.

  2. The Robert May bifurcation diagram. A short description of chaos theory in howstuffworks.

Chapter 10: Dieppe

  1. Kraft durch Freude: KdF, Strength through Joy - Wikipedia. The Volkswagen Beetle originated as the KdF-Wagen. The ‘Empire Windrush’ was a KdF liner before the War.

  2. Photograph of the future Edward VIII playing golf at Le Touquet.

  3. Mother’s Little Helper: The 1966 Rolling Stones song may be about meprobamate (Miltown) or diazepam (Valium).

  4. The Dieppe invasion of August 1942 was another of Churchill’s disastrous failures. Nearly 1,000 Canadian troops died in the first hours of the raid, as the Germans fired from the beachfront hotels. See the German View. Ian Fleming was a Naval Intelligence officer on a British destroyer observing a secret mission by commandos to obtain German cypher codes.

  5. The Army Intervention and subsequent period of Normalisation is based on the 1968 Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia.

  6. The characters of Bill and Koo Tong are based on people who emigrated from Britain to Rhodesia in the 1970’s.

Chapter 11: La France Profonde

  1. The tramps are my attempt at the dialogue in Waiting for Godot.

  2. Oran: On 3rd July 1940 Churchill ordered the Navy to attack the French fleet at Oran. Nearly 1,300 French sailors were killed in the first ten minutes. I hitchhiked through France in 1969 and remember seeing the slogan ‘OTAN Non!’ painted on bridges, opposing France’s membership of NATO.

  3. Julian’s speech: Based on the Kenneth Williams character in Round the Horne. The language used is Polari.

  4. The border with the German Zone is based on the 1970’s border of West Germany with the GDR.

  5. Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori: An anti-war poem by Wilfred Owen

Hospital Diary VIII

  1. The patient nicknamed Pelé is based on patients with this ability described in footnote 14 of Awakenings, in particular one at Highlands Hospital who was nicknamed Puskas after a famous footballer of the time.

  2. Jimmy Savile’s hospital abuse included having rings made from the glass eyes he took from dead bodies.

  3. Oliver Sacks wrote in ‘Hallucinations’ about his use of Artane.

  4. There are claims that the UFO sightings at RAF Bentwaters were due to aliens searching for nuclear weapons.

  5. Porton Down nerve gas tests.

  6. The death of Prince George: See Wikipedia and rebeccastarrbrown.com. Both sites describe the theory in Double Standards as ‘implausible’. His relationship with Noel Coward is described here.

Chapter 14: Durbar Court

  1. There is a 360-degree virtual tour of the Durbar Court here. In the 1960’s there were proposals to demolish the Foreign Office.

  2. Jeremy Thorpe and Cyril Smith.

  3. Artur Axmann: A real-life character, as described in the novel. He lost his right arm below the elbow on the first day of his posting to the Ukraine. There is a photograph of him saluting Hitler with his left arm here; his prosthetic right hand is also visible. In our world he was with Hitler in the Bunker in 1945, but escaped the Red Army. His post-war activities read like a Hollywood film; they are described in The Axmann Conspiracy.

  4. National Socialism with a Human Face: A counterpart of the 1968 programme of Alexander Dubcek.

Chapter 15: Axmann Speaks

  1. The European Economic Community (EWG) was proposed in a 1942 paper, summarised here.

  2. The Battle of Belgrave Square: A counterpart of the 1968 Battle of Grosvenor Square outside the US Embassy.

Chapter 16: EWG Theory

  1. The Many Worlds Interpretation: Wikipedia article gives a history and also mentions weak coupling between worlds. Bryce DeWitt coined the term EWG theory.