The ace with one arm
Did a onearmed tennis player once compete at Wimbledon in the Forties or Fifties? THiS was Vienna-born Hans redl (1914-1976). Before World War ii, he was a decent player, who made the 1937 Davis cup team for Austria. Following the anschluss (union with germany), redl played under the german flag in 1938 and 1939.
conscripted into the german army, he was dispatched to the eastern Front where his left arm had to be amputated after he was wounded during the Siege of Stalingrad.
After an intense programme of rehabilitation, incredibly he went on to become Austria’s best tennis player, and when Austria was invited to the 1947 Wimbledon championships, the rules were amended to permit a one-armed player to use the racquet to toss the ball and redl caused a sensation.
redl’s technique was to rest the ball on his racquet and flip it in the air to serve. His powerful game saw him through to the fourth round, where he was knocked out by American Bob Falkenburg, who went on to take the 1948 title.
Although redl continued to play in the singles and doubles tournaments at Wimbledon until 1956, that fourth round exit was his best effort in the singles.
in doubles, he and his partner Alfred Huber made the 1953 quarterfinals and almost caused a major upset after taking a set off Australian pair lew Hoad and Ken rosewall, the eventual champions.
redl played for Austria in the Davis cup from 1948 to 1955 and won three doubles and one singles match. After 1956, he entered tennis administration and later became president of the Austrian Tennis Federation.
He continued to play tennis and could be found on an outside court playing Seniors tennis at Wimbledon as late as 1968. He died in Vienna.
alan Budge, Cranleigh, Surrey.
What became of Karla Perez, a Mexican woman who was expecting nine babies? in APril, Mexican broadcaster Televisa ran the story of Karla Perez after she provided supposed evidence to welfare officials of multiple pregnancy.
She claimed fertility treatment meant that her first batch of children were triplets and that she was due to be the mother of nonuplets. Perez appears to have been either delusional or was staging a hoax. it later emerged that her children were four, 12 and 15 years old and that doctors had surgically removed her fallopian tubes in 2008.
However, nonuplets are not unheard of: a set was born on June 13, 1971, in Sydney, Australia, to geraldine Brodrick, but none of the five boys and four girls lived. Two were stillborn and the last to survive died six days after birth.
nonuplets were also born on March 26, 1999, to Zurina Mat Saad in Malaysia. She had five boys and four girls (Adam, nuh, idris, Soleh, Hud, Aishah, Khadijah, Fatimah and Umi Kalsom), but none survived more than six hours.
With her eight babies nadya Suleman — or ‘ octomum’ — holds the world record for the most children delivered at a single birth to survive.
Cathy leeson, Stourbridge, West mids.
Further to RAF and USAF aircrews seeking sanctuary in Sweden during World War II, did any aircrews seek sanctuary in neutral Switzerland? FUrTHer to the earlier answer, on october 14, 1943, a badly damaged B-17 of the 305th Bomb group staggered from the bomber formation with most of its plexiglass nose missing and an engine shut down.
‘lazy Baby’ was unlikely to make it back to england, and of the tenman crew, three were badly injured and two had bailed out. Her captain, lt edward Dienhart, steered a course for Switzerland, and with the help of a gravely injured navigator managed to crash-land his aircraft in a field near Aesch, four miles from german- held Alsace. The navigator, Donald T. rowley, died of his injuries and was buried with full military honours in nearby Hornli cemetery. His funeral was attended by the Swiss authorities, sympathetic locals and high-ranking British, Polish and French officers.
A Swiss honour guard fired a threevolley salute over the coffin, which was reciprocated by german troops on the border a few miles away.
The rest of the crew, who were deemed to have entered the country ‘bearing arms’, were interned and made to sign an agreement not to attempt to escape.
Four of them spent the rest of the war living like civilians but three became fed up with captivity — two of whom, including Dienhart, made it back to england. The third was caught by Swiss guards, jailed for 42 days and returned home in March 1945.
one member of the crew, gunner christy Zullo, married a local girl.
Gary Thornley, Nottingham.
What’s the story of The Beale Treasure, a hoard of gold and jewellery supposedly buried in Virginia in 1820? Its location is supposedly guarded by a numerical code. in 1817, Thomas J. Beale and a party of men went on a hunting trip from Montvale, Virginia, into the Western plains towards colorado. en route, they discovered gold and silver, and spent the next 18 months mining the ore. They returned to Virginia to hide their hoard in Bedford county. After a further trip, Beale returned with more bullion and $ 13,000 of jewels, which were also buried at the site. The party are then said to have decided to put into the keeping of a trustworthy person an iron box with a letter explaining the enterprise and a set of ciphers which would reveal the nature and location of the treasure as well as the names of the miners and their heirs. Beale entrusted the box to robert Morriss, of lynchburg.
in the event of an accident, the decoding key was to be mailed to Morriss after ten years. it never arrived, so after about 25 years Morriss opened the box.
in it were three ciphers: Beale cipher no 1, giving directions to the Beale treasure site; cipher no 2, describing the contents of the Beale treasure; and cipher no 3, giving the names in the Thomas J. Beale party, and their heirs, who were to receive shares of the Beale treasure if no one returned to reclaim the box.
in 1862, Morriss gave the papers to a friend, James B. Ward, who published The Beale Papers, in 1885. The pamphlet purported to supply clues to find the treasure. Ward had solved cipher no 2, which consecutively numbered the words in the Declaration of independence and substituted the first letter of each word for the corresponding number in the code.
it translates: ‘i have deposited in the county of Bedford about fo[u]r miles from Bufords in an e[x]cavation or vault si[x] feet below the surface of the ground the following articles belonging jointly to the parties whose names are given in number three herewith.
‘The first deposit consist[e]d of ten hundred and fourteen pounds of gold and thirty eight hundred and twelve pounds of silver deposited nov eighteen nineteen.
‘ The second was made Dec eighteen twenty one and consisted of nineteen hundred and seven pounds of gold and twelve hundred and eighty eight of silver, also jewels obtained in St louis in e[x]change to save transportation and valued at thirteen [t]housand dollars.
The above is securely packed i[n] [i]ron pots with iron cov[e]rs. The vault is roughly lined with stone and th[e] vessels rest on solid stone and are covered [w]ith others. Paper number one describes th[e] e[x]act locality of the va[u]lt so that no difficulty will be had in finding it.’
efforts to crack the other two codes have failed. it’s convenient that Ward cracked the second code, tempting potential buyers of his 50-cent pamphlet with the promise of great riches. A full copy of the pamphlet can be found at smd173. tripod.com/Beale/BealePapers.htm
P. Wright, Birmingham.
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