The Umbria
When WWII had broken out—but before Italy had formally declared war on the Allies—The Umbria was searched by British sailors, who noted that it was chock-full of arms and explosives which would inevitably go towards the Axis war effort. But Italy still had not declared war, so Britain couldn’t do a thing. That night, as the Umbria lay in British custody on the Red Sea, the Italian captain was the first to hear Italy’s war declaration over the radio. Wasting no time, he scuttled the ship—with 360,000 bombs still onboard. The ship and its contents have never been salvaged.


An Even Shorter Runway

John Pilot

In 1938, my father was flying over the English countryside when he realized he was running out of fuel. He managed to land in a very small field but, once the plane was fueled back up, there wasn’t enough ‘runway’ to take off, so the plane had to be taken apart and transported out by road.