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Oh dear, it's 2020

Another year. Another decade.

My first official business will be to start filing my FBAR (FUBAR?)submission to the IRS. This is the form that expats need to fill in giving the name, addresses, numbers and the maximum amount of money in each bank account held outside the US. It's a pain in the butt because it's not easy with online accounts to find the highest amount. In my case, it's usually the same money that's counted three or four times. I get paid into one account, move the money to another one with free transfers to European banks, and move it. The same hundred bucks looks like three hundred.

If I wanted to move it to a US bank, it would cost £25.00 here and $17.00 there. Go figure.

FBAR aside, The Rock Pool is now available in both paperback and Kindle formats. Use your Christmas Amazon vouchers to get a copy.

I'm currently reading Richard Freeman's Atlantic Nightmare, the history of the Battle of the Atlantic. It has led me to resume research on Convoy NA-2 which sailed from Halifax to Clydeside in January-February 1942. My father was in that convoy, aboard the Dutch liner, Volendam.

Having received his commission before Pearl Harbor, the US sent him with six other Americans, to Halifax to head to England for further training. All physicists, they were headed to Radar school.

The first night out of Halifax, the convoy was attacked by U-boats and a destroyer escort, HMS Belmont, was sunk by U-82, with the loss of all hands. This convoy, which comprised two or three liners acting as troop ships, now had just one other ship to defend it, another destroyer escort, HMS Firedrake. The wolf pack took another shot at the convoy shortly before its arrival in the UK, but all torpedoes missed, and the subs lost the convoy in the fog.

In some accounts, this convoy was described as a fiasco for its lack of protection of some 7,000 troops.

I have, from time to time, picked up my amateurish research, and have, frustratingly found, that websites that once had good information are no longer there.

While inconvenient for me, this is enormous consequence for historians. If, in the future, they are to rely on digital sources, there must be some assurances that these sources a) remain on line, and b) retain their integrity. 

It is easier than ever for the Ministry of Truth to do its work - or is that just paranoia?

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