October 26th, 2012

The Great Hummus Shortage

Previously posted to ljgenie a couple of years ago but nobody was able to help, I shelved the story this depended on but would really like to have another go at it if I can find the answer. It's a weird one that doesn't seem to be responding well to googling etc.

Some time in the eighties or nineties (don't know the exact date) a factory in (I think) one of the Scandenavian countries had some sort of fire or explosion, halting pretty much all industrial production of hummus outside the Middle East. As a result there was a global hummus shortage for several months.

Can anyone find me the details of this - exactly when and where it happened etc.?

Later Apologies, it turns out I have posted this here before:


But didn't really track down the truth (if any) of this story.

Minor WW2 Mystery (British)

For several years my family has been trying to find out about this picture, which shows my late father Arthur Rowland talking to a naval officer during WW2.

[Image links to larger version which links to very large 968k graphics file.]

The picture is stamped as copyright the News Chronicle, and the Imperial War Museum believes that the officer is Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsey, who was Commander of Dover and responsible for the evacuation of Dunkirk. They also say that the helmet my father was wearing identifies him as a Stretcher Party Supervisor in the Civil Defence Services (aka ARP for Air Raid Precautions), which we did more or less know. He was in the ARP in London, I think throughout the war, and is possibly one of the sources for a story that Gerald Kersh wrote about the ARP - my father knew his publisher, and may have known Kersh although I'm not 100% sure about that. About the only thing I can add is that I think that the man on the extreme left has the words "Depot Supervisor" on his helmet, which to me suggests that the picture was taken at an ARP depot.

The trouble is that this picture was more or less forgotten until after both of my parents had died, and we have no idea when or where it was taken, or what the occasion for it was - records appear to be more or less non-existent, and so far the picture hasn't turned up in microfilmed archives of the News Chronicle at the British Newspaper Library in Colindale. It would be nice to know more.

There's some evidence that this was after October 1943. In this picture Ramsay has the rank insignia of a full admiral. During Dunkirk he was still a Vice Admiral. In the summer of 1942 he was promoted and sent to Gibraltar to plan for and later command the naval aspects of Torch. In October 1943 he came back to the UK as the Naval Commander for Overlord.

later forgot to say that Ramsay died on 2nd January 1945, so this is presumably 1943-4.

Since this is a large community with a lot of people with detailed historical knowledge, it's just occurred to me to ask here. If anyone can shed any light on this, or suggest any sources we could try, I'd be grateful for their help. Please feel free to pass this on to anyone who might know anything relevant.