Next month it will be a year ago that the cruise ship Costa Concordia sank (resulting in the death of 30 passengers), and that Captain Francesco Schettino was arrested for abandoning his passengers. “It’s a matter of honor that the master is the last to leave. Nothing less will do in this profession,” said Jorgen Loren, chairman of the Swedish Maritime Officer’s Association, in a reaction. I am certainly not the first to see a similarity between the unhappy captain and the story of Jim and his lost honor in Joseph Conrad’s novel Lord Jim (1900). Continue reading
On Dec 20, 1943, with most of his crew killed or incapacitated, American bomber pilot Charlie Brown was desperately trying to fly his battered B17 back to England. Rather than parachuting to safety, he and the rest of his able-bodied crew decided to try to save their injured comrades rather than parachuting to safety.
But to his horror, Brown looks to side and sees a German fighter plane flying just off his right wing. The German then repositions to the left of the bomber and gesticulates wildly to Brown, who could make no sense of what the German pilot was saying. After a few moments, the German salutes Brown, and peels away without firing a shot.
The German pilot’s side of this story wasn’t discovered until the early 1990s, when Brown tracked him down. The German pilot, Franz Stigler, related how he came upon the B17: