Information on the Main Characters, and links to their timelines.
01-Jun 04:30 @HGWells
Herbert George Wells
HG Wells was the author of the seminal work The War of the Worlds in which he documents his experiences during the Martian invasion. Born in Kent, on 21 September 1866, Wells died on 13 August 1946, aged 79, at his home overlooking Regent’s Park, London.
A prolific author he wrote more than 50 novels and dozens of short stories. His non-fiction output included works of social commentary, politics, history, popular science, satire, biography and autobiography.
In addition to his fame as a writer, he was prominent in his lifetime as a forward-looking, even prophetic social critic who devoted his literary talents to the development of a progressive vision on a global scale. A futurist, he wrote a number of utopian works.
Wells rendered his fiction convincing by instilling commonplace detail alongside a single extraordinary assumption per work – dubbed Wells’s Law – leading Joseph Conrad to hail him in 1898 with “O Realist of the Fantastic!”. His most notable science fiction works include The Time Machine (1895), which was his first novel, The Island of Doctor Moreau (1896), and The Invisible Man (1897), before the Martian invasion turned him to chronicling the ‘War’.
Wells’s earliest specialised training was in biology, and his thinking on ethical matters took place in a Darwinian context. He was also an outspoken socialist from a young age, often (but not always) sympathising with pacifist views.
01-Jun 10:00 @ToniWantsToVote
Antoinette Louise Clark
The Martian Landing of 1897, or as we now know it, the War of the Worlds, involved many people, including Antionette Louise Clark, whose contemporary was the brother of the renowned HG Wells himself. #WOTW #Martians
Antoinette (Toni to her friends) was a young medical student – one of the first of her era – heavily influenced by Grace Harwood Stewart, one of the first female doctors, and Millicent Fawcett, a noted suffragist #wedemandthevote
She was challenged by Wells’ brother, to keep a diary entirely in telegram style for a month. Despite the challenges, she kept the style throughout the Martian invasion. #memories
Her diary entries have been translated to current ‘text/tweet’ speak, for which telegram style was a forerunner, for ease of reading for the modern reader, since words such as Naloopen, or Empanel, are not in current usage. #technologyforthewin
Unsurprisingly, her twitter handle turns out to be @ToniWantsToVote, and her diary is a treasure trove of insight into the post invasion changes to society. She also sent some of her telegrams – we shall leave you to decide which ones #wedemandthevote #ihavepocketsinmytrousers
01-Jun 10:30 @BreakerMorant
Harry Harbord Morant
While researching the life of Marie Curie for this project, with the assistance of the Curie Museum in Paris, I found in her personal papers the diary of a fortune fighter called Breaker Morant. Marie Curie had written inside the front cover:
“This rapscallion saved my life during the Martian invasion.”
There were also letters to Morant stored in the diary from the editor of the Australian newspaper The Bulletin. It appears from the letters that these diary notes were being kept for poems and stories to be written for the paper (Morant having received commissions for other work). No evidence exists of publications from these notes, however, Morant’s diary required little editing other than the removal of some the language he has used which reflects the unconscious racism of his time, the replacement of initials with a name when he refers to an individual, and the addition of an occasional footnote to clarify the events he is describing.
Morant emigrated to Australia from England in 1883. A year after his arrival, Morant settled in outback Queensland where he adopted the name, Harry Harbord Morant, claiming to be a member of the British nobility and the estranged son of Admiral Morant. He drifted around Queensland, South Australia, and New South Wales for 15 years, earning a reputation as a boozer, womaniser, bush poet, and expert horseman.
Morant worked various occupations, reportedly trading horses in Charters Towers, and in 1884 working for a newspaper at Hughenden, before finding work as a bookkeeper and storeman at the Esmeralda cattle station. It was here he met Arthur James Vogan, who was researching a book and helped him prepare his “Slave Map of Modern Australia”, which showed the locations of slavery and massacres of the first nation people.
Morant then worked for several years as an itinerant drover and horse-breaker. He also wrote popular bush ballads and became friendly with famed Australian bush poets Henry Lawson, Banjo Paterson, and Will H. Ogilvie.
In 1896, Morant and his droving partner George Brown enlisted with the Second Contingent of the South Australian Mounted Rifles in Adelaide. Brown was Aboriginal-Scot, and avoided the ban on Aboriginals by claiming he was Italian to explain away the colour of his skin.
Morant was invited to visit the summer residence of South Australia’s governor, Lord Tennyson. This meeting must have gone well because he was appointed lance corporal at the end of his training.
At this time, Vogal published his novel ‘Black Police’, which documented the callous slaughter of indigenous Australians by the Queensland Native Police. Pilloried for releasing this book Vogal lost his job writing for a newspaper. Morant convinced his friend to join his brick of four soldiers in Adelaide.
Military records show that both Brown and Vogan were in Morant’s brick when their regiment was selected to participate as part of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations. The regiment embarked for London on 26 January 1897 and arrived in time to experience the Martian invasion.
03-Jun 04:00 #ThunderChild
HMS Thunder Child
HMS Thunder Child was a Majestic class battleship launched February 30, 1894, and commanded by Captain Allenby.
Although Wells described Thunder Child as a ‘ram’, the sole sole torpedo ram to see service with the Royal Navy from 1881 to 1903 was HMS Polyphemus, and it is possible that Wells’ use of the term ‘torpedo ram’ was merely referring to the ram bows common in Victorian warships of the time.
The Majestic class of 9 pre-dreadnought battleships were built for the Royal Navy in the mid-1890s under the Spencer Programme, named after the First Lord of the Admiralty, John Poyntz Spencer. 9 units were commissioned, including: HMS Majestic, Caesar, Hannibal, Illustrious, Jupiter, Magnificent, Thunder Child, Prince George, and Victorious between 1894 and 1897.
The Majestics introduced a number of significant improvements to British battleship design, including armoured gun shields for the barbette-mounted main battery guns. The ships were armed with a main battery of four BL 12-inch Mark VIII guns, the first large-calibre weapon in the Royal Navy to use smokeless propellant. They were also the first British ships to incorporate Harvey armour.
03-Jun 18:00 @LtCarver
Lieutenant Roger Carver
Lt. Roger Carver commanded HMS Thunder Child’s Royal Marine (Light Infantry) detachment during those crucial days in June 1897.
While no individual photograph of Lt. Carver exists, we were able to locate a photograph in “Black and White, November 13th, 1896,” titled the “Portsmouth Division Royal Marine Light Infantry – Winners of the Cup”, with both Lt Carver, and then Colour Sgt Howard in the front row. Lt Carver is on the left, Colour Sgt. Howard on the right. Lt Carver transfered to HMS #ThunderChild 2 months later, where he was joined by Sergeant Howard in March 1897, following the Colour Sergeant’s demotion.
11-Jun 05:20 @3rdMarquessOfSalisbury
Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury KG GCVO PC FRS DL (1830 – 1903) was a British statesman and Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom 3 times for a total of over 13 years, including during the Martian invasion.
Lord Robert Cecil, also known as Lord Salisbury, was first elected to the House of Commons in 1854. Following the death of his father in 1868 he became the 3rd Marquess of Salisbury, moving to the House of Lords. He was the last PM to serve from the House of Lords.
After Disraeli’s death in 1881, Salisbury emerged as Conservative leader in the Lords. He was prime minister three times (1885–86, 1886–92, 1895–1900), the most significant period being the last when he faced the Martian invasion.
Despite beating the Martians, the 1900 election resulted in Salisbury’s coalition of Unionists and Conservatives being reduced to a mere rump with the Liberals gaining 54% of the vote, and the Labour Representation Committee, later to become the Labour Party. winning 25%.
Historians generally agree that Salisbury’s loss was due to the anger those south of the Gascoyne-Cecil Line felt against the government who’d ‘left them behind’ to fend for themselves.
The organisation and grass roots support by groups, such as the NUWSS whose organisational ability had been built, and refined during the war, also proved vital to the size of the swing. Their reward, of course was the introduction of ‘The Universal Suffrage Act’ of 1902.
The historian, Paul Smith characterises Salisbury’s personality as “deeply neurotic, depressive, agitated, introverted, fearful of change and loss of control, and self-effacing but capable of extraordinary competitiveness.”
A representative of the landed aristocracy, Salisbury held the reactionary credo, “Whatever happens will be for the worse, and therefore it is in our interest that as little should happen as possible”
Dame Antoinette Louise Clark, GCVO (aka @toniwantsthevote), and Britain’s first female health minister was once heard to remark of Salisbury: ‘Only a neurotic control freak would think that drawing a line on a map would stop a Martian in a tripod. Fortunately, our earthly bacteria have more fortitude than that man. And so did the voting public.’