Talk:Battle of the River Plate
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- 1 Ship registry
- 2 River name
- 3 Which campaign?
- 4 Ship classification
- 5 Survivors in Uruguay
- 6 Marginal victory?
- 7 False Intelligence
- 8 name of the river
- 9 British victory
- 10 Footnote
- 11 Argentina and Uruguay -What do they think?
- 12 Nicely contradicts with the German captain's page
- 13 Intelligence Gathering and Salvage
- 14 Fair use rationale for Image:Admiral Graf Spee Scuttled.jpg
- 15 Photo
- 16 Total captives on board
- 17 Sections for "ship's name crew"
- 18 Objectivity of Tactical Decision
- 19 First Major Naval Battle of WW2
- 20 A 1940 book
- 21 Smoke ?
- 22 NOT the only episode of the war to take place in South America
- 23 Capt Langsdorf ... not a Nazi
- 24 The Commonwealth Did Not Win The Actual Battle.
- 25 Suggest new title - "The sinking of Admiral Graf Spee"
- 26 Pocket Battle-ship
I vaguely remember reading that Ajax and Achilles were New Zealand navy ships, but it's about 30 years since I read the book about the battle! Can anyone confirm? Arwel 01:00 Feb 24, 2003 (UTC)
- Achilles was a New Zealand navy (RNZNS) ship. Tony Vignaux 01:12 Feb 24, 2003 (UTC)
As the RNZN wasn't formed until 1941, why does the main article say that this battle was fought between Nazi Germany and "UK & NZ" in the Info Box? Yes, the Achilles was part of the NZ Division and she was mainly manned by NZ personnel. But she was part of the Royal Navy of the UK and she was fighting under the RN flag not the RNZN flag. I'm sure there were other nationalities on the other RN ships, but they don't get a mention -- SteveCrook (talk) 23:01, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
- All Commonwealth navies, including distinct navies such as the Royal Australian Navy and the Royal Canadian Navy, used the White Ensign at this time. It was only in the period after WW2 that these countries started developing foreign policies that were at variance to the UKs' and consequently felt the need to have distinct naval ensigns of their own. I think I've read that the RCN was involved in UN operations after the Suez Crisis and were somewhat embarrassed to be using the same flag as one of the principals in the crisis. -- Arwel Parry (talk) 13:13, 18 October 2009 (UTC)
While noting 22.214.171.124's point that Rio de la Plata is more accurately translated as "Silver River", I'm reverting much of his recent edits as the accepted name in English is River Plate -- most particularly it is not acceptable to rename the movie and magazine article which are definitely entitled "Battle of the River Plate". Arwel 07:01, 15 Sep 2003 (UTC)
Which campaign or theatre does this battle belong in? Battle of the Atlantic? Oberiko 15:37, 12 Jun 2004 (UTC)
I'm changing Duncharris' description of Graf Spee as a 'battleship' to simply 'ship' in the text, as technically, although pocket battleship was the term used in English at the time to describe them, the Panzerschiffe would more accurately be described as heavy cruisers, or perhaps as battlecruisers, as they lacked the heavy armour of true battleships (which indeed eventually proved fatal to Graf Spee). -- Arwel 14:48, 7 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Survivors in Uruguay
I would like to mention that information about the survivors in Uruguay is only "unreliable" for people outside the Riverplate. Is well-known by many Uruguayans that a Bakery located in the old city of Montevideo called "Oro del Rhin" (Gold of Rhin) helped some of the survivors.
An interesting fact that I learned in history class (whilst living in Uruguay) is that Oro del Rhin was closed during the Uruguayan military dictatorship (don't know for how long) accused of being "Nazi sympathisers" (isn't Gold of Rhin the name of a Wagner piece? That is, Hitler's favourite composer?)
- [...] Cuando el joven Jaime Bogacz apedreaba la vidriera del Oro del Rhin, donde flameaba una bandera nazi, en realidad apedreaba las injusticias que su padre había padecido cuando fue expulsado de su Polonia natal. [...]
--Pinnecco 22:25, 8 June 2006 (UTC)
How come the result is only listed as "Marginal United Kingdom victory"? I'd have thought the enemy finishing up being sunk (even by their own hand) without losing any of your own ships was more than "marginal" SteveCrook 03:44, Apr 5, 2005 (UTC)
- One suspects it is because of the battle's high cost. While the Germans lost Admiral Graf Spee, the British suffered many more casualties and two of their ships were heavily damaged without really hurting their opponent very much. --Kralizec! 05:39, 12 Apr 2005 (UTC)
The name of the British secret agent that provided the Germans with wrong information is Rolf Weinberg. He is a huge war hero back in the UK, and I think we should name him on this article.
--Pinnecco 21:56, 16 October 2005 (UTC)
name of the river
Duncharris, please stop arbitrarily (and very carelessly) reverting to your preferred name for the river. I have now commented on this issue twice on your userpage and have had a running commentary on the issue for the past two weeks on Talk:Río de la Plata, in which you haven't once seen fit to participate. Tomertalk 11:22, 6 January 2006 (UTC)
- Disgraceful attitude. How can one particuipate in a discussion that one is unaware of. This is the English name of the estuary. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 126.96.36.199 (talk • contribs) .
From the history page:
- 09:58, 13 April 2006 Philip Baird Shearer (A ship that had been commerce raiding was removed as a threat, that was a British victory and a German defeat, there is nothing symbolic in it
- (cur) (last) 10:20, 13 April 2006 Kurt Leyman m (With the word symbolic I'm refering to the fact that German and Allied losses comparable, but the battle was a major propaganda (ie. symbolic) victory.)
It was a real Commonwealth victory not just a propaganda victory. The losses were not comparable. It was a Commonwealth victory as the Germans no longer had a surface flotilla in the South Atlantic. As defence against, and hunting the Graf Spee took far more resources than the equivalent of one small task force, removing this threat was in itself a notable victory as it freed up more Commonwealth naval resources for redeployment than were lost in the battle. It was also a victory of subterfuge for the British something which would go on to from am important part of the British war effort. As to the partial loss of one cruiser, I am sure that the Admiralty would have been more than happy if they could have swapped one County class cruiser for each and every pocket battleship. The simplest way to measure this victory is to consider how much fire power the British were pretending to send to attack the Graf Spee, and that it was crediblely believed that that sort of force would be deployed to sink her shows what a large victory the Battle of the River Plate was. --Philip Baird Shearer 16:48, 13 April 2006 (UTC)
"The losses were not comparable. "
They were. Admiral Graf Spee's damage was not as severe as some think, unlike Exeter's. The ship was nearly a hulk. The only reason why she was repaired is because the British goverment wanted it to be done for propaganda reasons.
And British themselves did not "remove" Admiral Graf Spee. Mistakes made by captain Langsdorff effectively did. Hitler was quite right when he said that the Admiral Graf Spee should have been able to win the Battle of River Plate. Graf Spee's tactic was poor, she kept switching targets which threw off her gunners' aim - this was ordered by Lagsdorff.
Also, Langsdorff effectively LIED when he said he didn't have enough ammunition for a second battle if the ship would attempt to escape. Graf Spee used only slightly more than half her ammunition during the Battle of River Plate. She still had 324 280mm shells, enough for 54 six gun broadsides. She had used 378 280mm shells during the battle. She also had 423 shells for the secondary 150mm guns, enough for 104 four gun broadsides.
- What you claimed is in the copy of the article history above. Obviously you and I understand what you wrote differently. The losses were not comparable. The British could easily afford to loose one cruiser to remove the Germans surface flotilla in the South Atlantic, as it freed up more resources than they lost. That the GS should have been able to win the Battle of River Plate is not relevant to the outcome of the battle. That the German captain allegedly lied, or that the GS had enough ammunition to continue the battle is not relevant to the outcome of the battle. That he scuttled his ship is. The British won more than a symbolic victory and the Germans defeat was more than a symbolic. If the captain of the GS had called the British bluff and escaped into the wide blue yonder, then the battle might be seen as a British symbolic victory, or more likely as a German victory, but with the scuttling it became a British victory. --Philip Baird Shearer 22:41, 13 April 2006 (UTC)
Yes. NZ's war effort was quite significant.
- The result may look like a marginal defeat to some and this is probably due to a misunderstanding of the term seapower. The sea (as a rule) can be thought-of as a thoroughfare through which traffic (merchant shipping) flows, and during war the intention is to deny use of this "highway" to the enemy. Providing one has enough ships and can afford to lose one or two in the course of maintaining control of the sea lane, then losses are immaterial, it is the side that controls the "battlefield" after the battle that wins. This point is often misunderstood when talking about the earlier Battle of Jutland, in which the Germans inflicted heavier losses than the British, however after the battle the German Navy in-effect retreated, leaving the sea under the control of the British and at the River Plate this result was repeated.
- After both battles one side was able to more-or-less do as it wished over the battle "field" while the other, in-effect, avoided contact - in the case of the High Seas Fleet, for the remainder of the war. And again, in both cases, if the Germans had decided to repeat the confrontation, they may have been able to inflict similar losses on the British, but again the British could afford to lose them and they would have still maintained control over the sea lane - and so-on. Eventually, one side runs out of ships leaving the sea under the control of the other and that is the difference between a "fleet-in-being" and true "sea power" Ian Dunster 12:36, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
- It's the difference between a tactical and strategic victory, I would say. While it may have been a narrow tactical victory it can only be seen as a decisive strategic victory for the Allies. Trac63 16:33, 9 July 2007 (UTC)
Kurt's tried again! I will revert his change & refer him back here. I fear a war, but the consensus should prevail. Folks at 137 22:06, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
Remember, Wikipedia is not a place for original research, for personal opinion, or a discussion board about naval history. We should reach a consensus based on the established (and verifiable) facts, and not someone's personal interpretation of them. To suggest other than this being a British and Commonwealth victory clearly falls under one or many of the latter in my opinion. Emoscopes Talk 23:25, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
- OK, so I'm not really into military history at all -- I don't even remember how this page got on my watchlist -- but here goes anyway: I think you're all arguing about the wrong thing. The question isn't whether or not it counts a victory; the question is what does the word battle refer to. If the battle is just that -- the battle -- then it seems obviously a draw. If the battle includes subsequent events and political maneouvering, then it seems obviously an allied victory. And it shouldn't be hard to fit both those facts into the box! Doops | talk 21:10, 9 July 2007 (UTC)
- That's part of the trouble, and is what a lot of the argument/discussion is (or should be) about. The battle at sea and then the diplomatic and intelligence maneuverings could easily be regarded as all part of the same battle. Or at least parts 1 & 2 of the same battle. The first part (at sea) was a draw. The second part was an Allied victory. So the whole battle was an Allied victory. The Royal Navy was ready to continue the fight, even though they could well have got into trouble had the Graf Spee come out to face them. Even with the timely arrival of the Cumberland, the outcome would have been far from certain -- SteveCrook 04:13, 10 July 2007 (UTC)
In fact, as the whole battle was really the battle at sea plus the diplomatic battle in Montevideo, shouldn't the dates be changed? It wasn't just 13 December, it was 13-19 December -- SteveCrook (talk) 13:53, 24 March 2008 (UTC)
There was a link to a footnote after the first mention of the Achilles. But there was no footn ote so the link didn't go anywhere. Was there a footnote about it being in the Royal Navy at the time because the Royal New Zealand navy hadn't been formed yet. By the same token, the Achilles should be referred to as HMS Achilles in this article, she didn't become HMNZS Achilles until 1941. -- SteveCrook 13:45, 8 April 2007 (UTC)
Argentina and Uruguay -What do they think?
What would the people and governments of Argentina and Uruguay, those countries of South America, think about the naval battles between the forces of Nazi Germany and Allied Britian, two countries in Europe, occuring near their home territory? What would they think?The Anonymous One 07:29, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
Nicely contradicts with the German captain's page
If you read Hans Langsdorff's Wikipedia page, you will spot the differences between this page and that. On that page, the destruction of the fuel-cleaning machinery is mentioned, which i believe is quite a new finding. This "somewhat" changes the effect of the British "fooling", as the Graf Spee anyway couldnt go anywhere... Unsigned comment by [[User:188.8.131.52|184.108.40.206] 11:33, May 5, 2007 (UTC)
- I don't think it really contradicts what is here. 16 hours of fuel should have been enough to fight it out properly in the initial battle and doesn't explain why he sought refuge in Buenos Aires. He was presumably aware of the Hague Convention so would have known the consequences of that move. Once in BA, Langsdorff was consulting with the German authorities there and in Berlin so it wasn't just his decision. i also note that the reference in the Langsdorff article to the fuel cleaning system is unicited -- SteveCrook 17:27, 5 May 2007 (UTC)
- I've modified the article -as it did appear to contradict the Graf Spee article as well as Langsdorff. The ship was very short of ammunition and was an easy torpedo target in the estuary so nothing militarily could be achieved and the ship might even have been captured. The world didn't know that, hence it might have appeared as cowardice. —Preceding unsigned comment added by JRPG (talk • contribs) 13:01, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
- IIRC, the British 'leaked' false reports to the international press that the battlecruiser Renown was on her way down to the River Plate and that this may have had an influence on finally convincing Langsdorff to scuttle. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 220.127.116.11 (talk) 09:36, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
Intelligence Gathering and Salvage
I find it extremely hard to believe that the radar system or even the aerial was recovered. It would have been very heavy. I think this is just a mistake and either a reference to measuring the radar wavelength -which of course can be done by measuring the aerial -or the incident has been confused with The Bruneval Raid —Preceding unsigned comment added by JRPG (talk • contribs) 13:20, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
- There's a 1977 BBC The Secret War episode 'To See A Hundred Miles' on YouTube here;  that mentions L. H. Bainbridge-Bell, a TRE scientist, climbing up the mast to examine the array. The relevant part is at 06:27. The first part of the episode is here:  — Preceding unsigned comment added by 18.104.22.168 (talk) 10:01, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
Fair use rationale for Image:Admiral Graf Spee Scuttled.jpg
Image:Admiral Graf Spee Scuttled.jpg is being used on this article. I notice the image page specifies that the image is being used under fair use but there is no explanation or rationale as to why its use in this Wikipedia article constitutes fair use. In addition to the boilerplate fair use template, you must also write out on the image description page a specific explanation or rationale for why using this image in each article is consistent with fair use.
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Total captives on board
In the 'The trap of Montevideo' section of the article is a mention of '61 captive British merchant seamen who had been on board' with a reference to a The War Illustrated article from 1939. I thought it would be nice if the article was available on the internet, so I added it to my website , but will I was typing I didn't find a mention of the 61 British seamen. So I'm kinda wondering why this article is used as a reference. Wmartin08 (talk) 21:03, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
- Removed the reference, it's incorrect so it shouldn't be there. Hope someone else has a source for this. Wmartin08 (talk) 06:26, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
Sections for "ship's name crew"
It isn't clear what the sections:
HMS Achilles Crew HMS Ajax Crew Graf Spree Crew HMS Exeter Crew
are attempting to achieve. They seem to have been added last month (with no explanation in the edit summary), with odd names added subsequently. I see no obvious reason for those sections, so I intend to remove them. If they are needed, would someone please clarify their purpose? David Biddulph (talk) 03:56, 24 January 2010 (UTC)
- You're fine in removing them. It is the general consensus of both WP:SHIPS and WP:MILHIST that lists or sections of ship's crew are not appropriate in articles unless under exceptional circumstances which need to be discussed first. Plus, those sections were more like test edits to me than an actual content addition. -MBK004 04:01, 24 January 2010 (UTC)
Objectivity of Tactical Decision
In my judgment, too much ridicule is made of Langsdorf's decision to engage and close. He knew he was facing a faster and lighter force, and his best chance was to destroy it while he could with his heavier, slower ship. The British cruisers easily could move out of range. Any undamaged cruiser would shadow him, and bring in heavier forces somewhere between the River Plate and Germany, only 10,000 or so miles away and with a bight to make around Britain. Another point is made that his objective was to have a fight with enemy warships, somewhere on his cruise, that he was a fighting skipper along the lines of most classic fighting skippers. Langsdorf's greater failure was strategic.Xperrymint (talk) 02:53, 15 August 2010 (UTC)
My late father was MN and blockaded in Montivideo by the "Graf Spey". He reckoned that as this ship came into the harbour it was spouting black smoke and the engines sounded "rough". Was the damage caused that much of a secret? My Father reckoned that even if the "Graf Spee" had managed to stagger out of the River plate it was in no fit shape to fight its way back to Germany. Maybe the damage was too extensive to even make a run for Argentina.
He also went to Capt. Langsdorfs funeral. Prior to his suicide Cpt. Langsdorf visited all his crew and this may well have been when he (possibly) advised that these should make their way to Argentina.
Also that in the German Navy, all personnel were instructed by Admiral Raeder to use the usual hand salute and not the Heil Hitler. The Heil Hitler salute would have been difficult to use in the confines of a warship anyway.
Many years ago there was a British TV company visited Montevieo to do at least a partial reconstruction of the battle. I think that it was the producer who claimed to have interviewed the survivors from the "Graf Spee" and he had concluded "that Langsdorf had never intended to come out for a further fight" without being able to state why not. Footage of this may still be in a TV archive AT Kunene (talk) 12:40, 19 December 2010 (UTC)
Is this really considered a major naval battle, I think there should be a reference to support this claim. The Battle of Midway was a major battle involving dozens of ships while there were only four in this one, only one of which was German. There was no significant result of the battle either (it did not affect the outcome of the war), it only ended a commerce raiding cruise. When compared to naval battles throughout history, a naval battle involving only four ships is not major. Sure there were capital ships involved but this was no Battle of Jutland if you know what I mean.--$1LENCE D00600D (talk) 04:57, 18 March 2011 (UTC)
A 1940 book
Though I am not at all an expert on this subject I may have something interesting to add. I have in my possession a book called The Battle of the Plate, written by Comdr. A.B. Campbell, R.D., and published by Herbert Jenkins Ltd., London, in May 1940(!) My copy is the 5th edition of April 1941. The book describes the battle, but opens with the following story. On the evening of December 5 Ajax spotted a 8,000-ton ship sailing under a neutral flag which seemed rather heavily laden. She was called Ussukuma. They stopped and searched her, and from part of the cargo concluded that she was a supply ship for the Graf Spee. So they took off the crew and sank her. The next morning they spotted another cargo liner, which turned out to be a French vessel called Formose. She had "a strange superficial resemblance to the Ussukuma". Therefore, Harewood arranged with her master that in the early hours of December 13 she should sail out of the estuary of the Plate, ostensibly as the Ussukuma. Langsdorff was duly duped, and as a result he noticed the British cruisers approaching from the South just a bit later than he would otherwise have done. I suppose the story is probably apocryphal, but the appearance of this 250-page book only five months after the battle deserves, I think, mention. It even contains a chapter on the liberation of the prisoners aboard Altmark in Joessing Fjord in February 1940. ~~Henk ter Heide November 15 2011 — Preceding unsigned comment added by 22.214.171.124 (talk) 11:06, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
- The SS Ussukuma wasn't the main supply ship, that was the German tanker Altmark. The article about the Ussukuma says that she was scuttled by her skipper, not sunk by the Ajax. A book published in 1940 is unlikely to give the true story. It would give the story as modified for public consumption -- SteveCrook (talk) 12:30, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
In para 3 of 'The battle' section: "Meanwhile, Ajax and Achilles closed to 13,000 yd (12,000 m) and started making in front of Graf Spee,"
I would think that the word 'smoke' should be inserted between 'making' and 'in', but my reference is not detailed enough to include this incident. Would someone else like to do the honours?
NOT the only episode of the war to take place in South America
This article begins with a factual inaccuracy.
German U-Boats attacked and sunk Brazilian cargo ships in the coast of Brazil making this episode not the only one to happen in South America. Brazil declared war on Germany way earlier than Argentina and later even sent a small expeditionary force and warplanes to fight in the Italian campaign with the allies, becoming the only Latin American country to send troops to fight in Europe.
Brazil was under the dictatorship of Getúlio Vargas and maintained its neutrality until August 1942. There were several German submarine attacks against Brazilian ships between February and August that year in the Atlantic Ocean reaching 1,079 casualties. In response, the Brazilian government, pressured by a population sided with the Allies, declared war against Germany and Italy on 22 August 1942.
The Brazilian Navy as well as the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) were also engaged in searching and destroying German U-boats in the South Atlantic waters. This was necessary, due to the fact that after declaring war on the Axis, Brazil lost over 65 ships to German U-boats torpedoes. On July 31, 1943, the German U-boat U-199 was sunk by two Brazilian aircraft off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. In the same year, the following German U-boats were also sunk at different places off the coast of Brazil, U-662, U-590, U-164, U-598, U-591, U-128, U-161, and the U-513. After these intense campaigns of 1943, the Brazilian coast became off limits to German U-boats.
As I can not even sign this (out of lack of knowledge), and copied most of the text from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Participants_in_World_War_II#Brazil, please someone edit the actual article to remove that sentence. Thank you. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 126.96.36.199 (talk) 03:56, 7 February 2013 (UTC)
- NOT the only episode of the war to take place in South America: So correct the article then -- SteveCrook (talk) 04:21, 7 February 2013 (UTC)
Capt Langsdorf ... not a Nazi
At the very end of the Wikipedia article on the Battle of the River Plate, the question of whether Captain Langsdorff was a nazi, or supported Hitler, may also have some light by his funeral. I am not absolutely certain of this fact, but I believe his casket at his funeral was covered with the old german naval ensign, not the nazi flag. If so, then his antipathy toward the nazi regime was known to subordinates. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 188.8.131.52 (talk) 16:43, 7 March 2013 (UTC)
- No. The kriegsmarine required both an oath to Hitler/party for all crew, but unless one was nominally, at least, a National Socialist there is no way to become an officer.HammerFilmFan (talk) 09:01, 13 April 2013 (UTC)
- HammerFilmFan is completely, 180 degrees wrong. It was forbidden for officers of the regular Armed Forces (Army, Navy, Air Force) to be members of any political party, including the NSDAP. Only in the SS would you find Party members. And of course, senior officers like Langsdorff were veterans of the Imperial Navy and Reichsmarine, long, long before the Nazis ever came to power.
The Commonwealth Did Not Win The Actual Battle.
What they won is the propaganda battle in Montevideo, four days after the actual battle. It was in this "second battle" (even if there wasn't any) of Montevideo that the Graf Spee was eliminated - by no Commonwealth gun.
Gemany won the actual battle. It was the Commonwealth ships' choice to break the engagement - they had the speed advantage.
I just edited the encarta to put "strategical" into "British Commonwealth victory" (do we really need a reference to indicate who won? Seems insecure at this point.) and parts of the articles that refered to Graf Spee as a "Pocket Battleship" (a popular mis-nommer), since the Germans called them "armored ships" until february 1940 - when the two survivors were re-classified as heavy cruisers (althougth with bigger guns than specified by the signatories of the Washington Naval Treaty, to which Germany didn't have to abide). These changes are not set in stone, and are not mean to be offensive, but the result of a long-time proposition nobody objected. Please explain here your disagreement, if any. MVictorP (talk) 14:35, 3 November 2013 (UTC)
Suggest new title - "The sinking of Admiral Graf Spee"
In both British and other litterature, this event became known as "The sinking of Admiral Graf Spee". Example: "2194 Days of War" (Salmaggi & Pallasvini,1977, American) has a special article with this title. I've never red or heared anything of "Battle of River Plate". Boeing720 (talk) 07:25, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
- The sinking of Admiral Graf Spee is ambiguous because there were at least two ships called the Graf Spee. The Battle of the River Plate was also the title of a feature film (Royal Command Film in 1956). It was also the title of a book by Dudley Pope. Just because you've never read or heard anything about it you shouldn't assume that nobody else has -- SteveCrook (talk) 12:07, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
To Whom it may concern, My name is Ian D McPhee. During the 2nd world War my Father [Hugh Alexander McPhee] was a wireless Opperator Stationed in the Orkney Isle . British Army. He was the first Person too recieve the message of the sinking of the pocket Battle- Ship Graffe Spey ,which in turn was forwarded on to London. You may already have this information. Thank you. Ian D McPhee. e-mail address : email@example.com — Preceding unsigned comment added by 184.108.40.206 (talk) 08:05, 18 March 2014 (UTC)