10 Amazing Pictures from History and the Backstories Behind Them

by Mrinal sarma2 years ago

6 Ali Mahmud was part of the Austro-Hungarian Army as the only Black soldier. He was first rejected by the army for being a foreign national but was later accepted due to his repeated tries. 

Simon Perris (Ali Mahmud)
Simon Perris (Ali Mahmud) Image credits: Titusz Várkonyi via rarehistoricalphotos.com

We can include Ali Mahmud’s photograph among the 10 amazing pictures from history because it has an interesting backstory. Simon Perris, also known as Ali Mahmud, was born either in Senegal or the Congo.

He was originally a servant for a Turkish man living in Budapest but came to Hungary at a very young age. After his master died, Ali Mahmud worked at a cinema in Nagyvarad as a porter. He was fluent in Hungarian, was patriotic, and was famous for his sense of humor. 

He then applied to join the Austro-Hungarian Army but was rejected for being a foreign national. However, Ali Mahmud didn’t give up and kept trying. It was reported in a news article that Ali Mahmud said that he was ashamed for sitting at home after becoming Hungarian when others were fighting and that he wanted to fight for his homeland too. 

Eventually, he was accepted by the army and fought on the Russian Front in 1915. He even won many military awards and was promoted to corporal. His photo was published on the front page of several newspapers describing him as szerecsen (saracen), meaning “Black people.” (Source)


7 These are British soldiers who were rehearsing for their Christmas charity performance. They were suddenly ordered to deal with the Luftwaffe bombers that were flying across the Channel to mount raids over southern England. The soldiers had no time to change their clothes. 

British Soldier
Image credits: TopFoto / Retronaut / mediadrumw via Mirror.co.uk

This picture was taken by John Topham in 1940 when he went to the base of the Royal Artillery Coastal Defence Battery at Shornemead Fort. This photograph is of British soldiers who were rehearsing for the Christmas charity performance. They usually kept themselves entertained through such activities. 

Suddenly, the soldiers were ordered to deal with the Luftwaffe bombers that were flying across the Channel to mount raids over southern England. They didn’t have time to change back from their costume and dress in their uniforms, therefore they went to the battle stations in women’s clothing and their helmets.  

The government, however, banned these photographs as they depicted the British army not being as manly as the people wanted them to be. (Source)


8 This is an iconic photo of a five-year-old kid when his family was about to be separated by World War II. This photo was captured when he asked his daddy to wait for him when his father was marching with the troop down the hill.  

British Columbia Regiment 1940
Image credits: Claude Dettloff, photographer/City of Vancouver Archives online database via Wikipedia

This heartwarming photo was captured by Claude Detloff in Vancouver when the five-year-old Warren Whitey Bernard asked his daddy to wait for him, and his mother is trying to hold the kid with her outstretched arm.

His father was one of the soldiers of the Duke of Connaught’s Own Rifles and was marching off to fight in World War II. The entire troop was marching down English Street at the Columbia Street intersection, Canada. 

When Dettloff was getting ready to capture the pictures of the soldiers marching down the street, he saw a small kid running on the road. He captured this iconic photo of Whitey running to his dad and his dad’s turning smile and his arm outstretched to hold his son for a moment by shifting his rifle to the left hand. 

This photo highlights the touching emotions of the kid and his parents and freezes the moment forever in our hearts. It was hung in every school of British Columbia during the war and achieved fame all over the world. Fortunately, the soldier returned from the war safe and sound in October 1945. (Source)


9 This photo was taken in 1933 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt repealed the 18th Amendment to the US Constitution that prohibited the manufacture or sale of alcohol. They thought that a great way to deal with economic hardship at that time would be reviving alcohol to raise taxes. 

The night they ended Prohibition, 1933
Image credits: rarehistoricalphotos.com

In 1917, the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed and was ratified in 1919 that prohibited the manufacture or sale of alcohol in the U.S. This was done to reduce the number of crimes and drunkenness, but Prohibition did the exact opposite of what was intended.

There was a significant rise in America’s thirst for alcohol which resulted in a significant increase in organized crime. Illegal methods of manufacturing and distribution of alcohol, as well smuggling and home-brewing, became extremely popular. 

In 1933, this amendment was repealed by the central policy of President Roosevelt’s campaign. He believed that reintroducing alcohol to the people of America would help by raising taxes during the economic hardship. 

Many places were secret bars that would distribute hidden whiskey in the underground corridor. The people in this photo are celebrating this day and having booze in their hands. (Source)


10 On 13th September 1962, the engine fire of the XG332 Lightning F1 weakened the tailplane actuator and the Lightning became uncontrollable. When the Lightning was 61 meters from the ground when the test pilot, George Aird, ejected. 

Pilot George Aird ejecting from his English Electric Lightning F1 aircraft
Image credits: The Daily Mirror

This photo was taken on 13 September 1962, by Jim Meads, a professional photographer living near the Hatfield airfield. Bob Sowray was his neighbor, and he told him that he was due to fly a Lightning on that day.

Meads took his children to watch the flight and also took his camera along. He planned to capture a photo of his kids with the Lightning returning to the land as a background. They got their desired view and waited for the Lightning to return. 

However, Bob Sowray didn’t fly his Lighting that day, but George Aird, another test pilot at De Havilland, did. 

The engine fire of the XG332 Lightning F1 weakened the tailplane actuator and the Lightning became uncontrollable. When the Lightning was 61 meters from the ground, the pilot, George Aird, ejected. Jim Mead captured a photo as soon as the pilot ejected with his unopened parachute. The Lightning plummeted towards the Earth and came close to him. 

The tractor driver in the photo turned quickly to see what was happening when he heard the explosion of the ejection seat. He was 15-year-old Mick Sutterby, working on the airfield that summer. He wasn’t posing for the picture but was telling Mead to move because he shouldn’t be standing there. Fortunately, the pilot survived landing on a greenhouse roof, although he suffered broken legs. (1, 2)

Also Read:
10 Unexplained Photographs and the Stories Behind Them

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