125 years of the Daily Mail: How the paper broke open Tutankhamun's tomb

As Egyptian Pharaoh’s grave is discovered, LORD CARNAVON'S gripping dispatch for the Mail on the wonders he discovered

December 18, 1922

On the edge of the cultivation on the western bank of the Nile, and extending for five miles in length and a mile and a quarter in depth, lies the Necropolis of ancient Thebes.

Here the arid plain and foothills are everywhere dotted with burial pits, with a royal mortuary temple here and there, while mingled among these relics of ancient days stand the mud houses of the modern inhabitants of Gurnah.

In this area some of the greatest, richest, and most powerful inhabitants of ancient Egypt were buried: hence this cemetery has been the happy hunting ground for generation upon generation of native grave-robbers.

At the northerly end of this vast cemetery, by following a winding track or road for about 2½ miles leading us in a south-westerly direction, we come to the most celebrated portion of the Theban Necropolis — the Valley of the Kings.

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The more we examined the contents of this first chamber, the more convinced we became that it was the tomb of King Tut-ankh Amen

The more we examined the contents of this first chamber, the more convinced we became that it was the tomb of King Tut-ankh Amen

All have certainly been opened and heavily plundered, but the tomb of Tut-ankh Amen without doubt is by far the least disturbed that has ever yet been found or probably ever will be. Arriving to Luxor, we at once started operations. A staircase of some 18 steps had first to be cleared. 

At the bottom of the staircase, we came upon a wall covered with seals. Some bore the name of Tut-ankh Amen. It then became apparent that the tomb had been opened, if not plundered, in ancient days, and had been resealed by the officials of Necropolis. At the end of a passage we cleared of roof-high rubble, another sealed door was visible. We made a small hole.

This was done, and by the uncertain light of a candle, a wonderful sight was exposed to our excited eyes. Gilt couches, boxes of all sorts and other objects in the dim light were visible.

Luckily, just above us was the large tomb of Ramses VI. This is a favourite tourist tomb, and is lit by electric light. Having tapped the wire and enlarged the opening we were able to enter and examine by electric light what proved to be the first chamber.

The more we examined the contents of this first chamber, the more convinced we became that it was the tomb of King Tut-ankh Amen.

The first thing that one noticed against the wall facing the door were three gigantic gilt wood beds, the ends of the beds having carved heads, one head in particular with a large ivory tongue and teeth looking most weird.

Above: Howard Carter (left) and Lord Carnarvon break through into the inner tomb

Above: Howard Carter (left) and Lord Carnarvon break through into the inner tomb

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Upon these beds were heaped chairs, smaller carved couches, and boxes made of ebony inlaid with ivory, covered with inscriptions. Others were inlaid with gold and porcelain. Beneath the coach were heaped 20 or 30 wide wooden boxes containing mummified legs of mutton, ducks, geese, etc.

Between two of the couches, we noticed four of the most beautiful alabaster vases ever found: in fact, I may say nothing to touch them has ever come to light. 

Beneath we found a throne. This is one of the most wonderful Egyptian works of art ever found. The back is a picture of the King and Queen represented in the well-known Amarna style.

Propped against the wall is a most beautiful portrait of the King — everywhere a mass of boxes, some opened and plundered, others untouched. At the present moment, we have not a notion of a thousandth part of the contents of even this chamber.

Moving on a little, we find four chariot bodies in gilt wood inlaid with semi-precious stones, wheels and axles stacked nearby.

A further careful scrutiny of the first chamber revealed to us, at the northern end, a walled and plastered up entrance, again covered with the royal cartouche and the seal of Necropolis.

In all probability behind that wall, we shall come to the funerary chamber of King Tut-ankh Amen, and should we be fortunate enough to find his sarcophagus and coffins undisturbed, then those who are privileged to be present will look upon a sight that has never yet been witnessed by any living person.

Revealed: Boers murdered wounded British troops after surprise attack 

July 8, 1901

From Our War Correspondent Edgar Wallace (Author of King Kong)

The Vlakfontein fight is one which will assuredly call forth criticism, for anything in the nature of a surprise in a country through which columns are continually passing, and which, moreover, is studded with block-houses and observation posts, demands some sort of explanation.

The country through which General Dixon was passing was of that deceptive character which has so often been responsible for minor disasters, a grassy undulating country, where waving grasses veil yawning ravines, and the apparently flat plain is scarred and seamed with sluits and waterways, where a child commando might ride parallel to the column that is pursuing it and remain undetected.

There can be little doubt that the Boers made use of such a hiding place to creep up to our force until almost within striking distance, and half a dozen lighted matches applied to the tinder-dry grass, the wind being in proper quarter, completed the screen.

General Dixon’s force consisted of three squadrons of Imperial Yeomanry, four guns 28th and 8th Royal Field Artillery, 400 King’s Own Scottish Borderers, 400 Derbyshire Regiment, one squadron Scottish Horse, one pom-pom and one five-inch howitzer.

The well-armed foe: The field gun 'Long Tom' at the siege of Mafeking

The well-armed foe: The field gun 'Long Tom' at the siege of Mafeking

The force had been out in the morning, and was returning to camp at about 1.30 in the afternoon. To guard as far as possible from surprise, the force was split up into two wings, moving simultaneously in the same direction, but a considerable distance apart.

As the column advanced leisurely along the top road, the scouts skirting the grass fire, some shadowy forms were seen to be moving about.

Through the smoke they were indistinguishable, but they were challenged, and replied satisfactorily enough: ‘All right; we are Scottish Horse.’ 

As they seemed to be dressed in khaki and wore the regulation cocks’ feathers in their hats, very little notice was taken until a heavy gust of wind rent for a moment the veil of smoke — there was the Boer army!

With a yell, the whole Boer force dashed forward, galloping through the low, hanging smoke, the hooves of a thousand horses tramping down the fire. Firing from their saddles, the Boers came on with a rush, and as the little English force fell back in confusion the gunner officer, seeing that the fate of his guns was settled, pistolled his horses.

The confusion was only for a moment, for, rallied by their officers, the raw Yeomen, who two months ago had never fired a rifle, took cover and held the Boers in play, while the good old Derbys, grown wise in warfare, prepared to retake the guns.

Jubilant Boers had reached the spot where the guns stood, the dying horses lying in the traces and victims of the first volley lying around, and demanded of an officer who had not time to get away a lesson in gunnery. He refused to turn the guns on his own comrades and was shot dead for his refusal. A sergeant-major met with the same fate.

What happened then may be described in the words of my informant. ‘A couple of Boers armed with Martinis [rifles] walked around the forms of the dead and dying men, who were stretched in every conceivable attitude on the ground. Some they turned over to see if they were dead. If they weren’t, two Boers shot them, just slipping a cartridge into the breech of the Martini and shooting them as you’d shoot an ox. I saw four men killed this way.

‘The Boers went to a Lieutenant and turned him over. Then, thinking that he was dead, they took off his spurs. One officer was lying wounded, and a sergeant who was slightly wounded went across to him with some water, a third Boer shot them both dead.

‘One youngster — I think he was a Yeoman — pleaded for his life. I heard him say “O Christ — don’t!” and then the bang of the rifle.’

That is what happened.

By this time, the Derbys were ready. Bayonets rattled on to barrels, and they came on with a rush. Raw Yeomen and seasoned Derby Tommies mingled together, in the final rush, and the Boers, who for the moment had been the victors, turned and fled, leaving their bayoneted dead to be buried.

The balloonless airship takes off

New York, Friday, December 18

Messrs. Wilbur and Orville Wright, of Ohio, yesterday successfully experimented with a flying machine at Kittyhawk, North Carolina. The machine has no balloon attachment, and derives the force from propellers worked by a small engine.

In the face of a wind blowing twenty-one miles an hour the machine flew three miles at the rate of eight miles an hour, and descended at a point selected in advance. The idea of the box-kite was used in the construction of the airship.

June 16, 1920

Dame Nellie Melba, the famous prima donna, sang to the world by wireless telephone last night at the invitation of the Daily Mail.

Dame Nellie Melba, the famous prima donna, sang to the world by wireless telephone last night at the invitation of the Daily Mail

Dame Nellie Melba, the famous prima donna, sang to the world by wireless telephone last night at the invitation of the Daily Mail

The concert was given at Chelmsford, and the audience included all ‘listeners-in’ within a radius of 1,000 miles. 

The singer’s glorious voice was clearly heard in Paris and Berlin and at the Hague, and messages from listeners-in in all parts of England record the success of this unique and wonderful concert.

Outside in the roadway a crowd, silent and eager to hear the great singer, was collected.

‘I have enjoyed it most tremendously,’ Dame Nellie told the Mail when she had finished.

‘It is perfectly marvellous. The microphone seems a very small thing to sing to the world through, and wireless seems to me a sort of wizardry. It was the most wonderful experience of my career.

Titanic mystery as she hits iceberg

April 16, 1912

Seldom indeed has a more thrilling tale been told to the people of two continents than that of the strange accident to the White Star liner Titanic, which all day and night was coming in by instalments, as the wireless messages sped over the waters of the Atlantic from the stricken ship and the vessels which she had called up to her rescue.

Their alternate burden of dismay and hope held the world in suspense. That so vast and splendid a liner should be in mortal peril verged on the incredible. For the Titanic is a marvel in herself. With her sister, the Olympic, she is the largest ship in the world and the most luxuriously appointed.

She carried on her maiden voyage the population of a small town. She was fitted with every device that the wit of man can provide to tame the treachery of the sea. The most perfect system of subdivision, the finest mechanical contrivances of the engineer, all were embodied in her design. 

Yet this wonder among the vessels of the world has all but succumbed to one of the most familiar if most insidious of ocean perils. On Sunday night, she struck an iceberg with such terrific violence that those in charge of her were evidently in fear of her immediate loss.

How the Mail helped to snare Dr Crippen

Suspected wife murderer caught on ship, thanks to our stories — and the wonders of wireless 

August 1, 1910

Notorious Camden Town murderer Dr H. H. Crippen and his mistress Miss Ethel Le Neve were arrested on-board a ship, off Father Point, about 170 miles from Quebec, shortly after nine yesterday morning (2pm Greenwich time).

Scotland Yard at 4.5pm received the following message from Inspector Dew, who had formally identified them: ‘Crippen and Le Neve arrested. Will wire later. Dew’

Inspector Dew and the Canadian police were disguised as pilots when they boarded the Montrose at Antwerp. Crippen was taken quite unawares when the police accosted him. Miss Le Neve almost collapsed.

Both were subjected to lengthy examination by Mr Dew, and it is understood that Crippen admitted his identity and said that he was glad that the suspense was over. Several diamond rings were found in his possession.

Notorious Camden Town murderer Dr H. H. Crippen and his mistress Miss Ethel Le Neve were arrested on-board a ship, off Father Point, about 170 miles from Quebec, shortly after nine yesterday morning (2pm Greenwich time)

Notorious Camden Town murderer Dr H. H. Crippen and his mistress Miss Ethel Le Neve were arrested on-board a ship, off Father Point, about 170 miles from Quebec, shortly after nine yesterday morning (2pm Greenwich time)

He is charged with the murder and mutilation of his second wife, Mrs Cora Crippen, known as Belle Elmore on the music-hall stage.

This capture of Crippen is due alone to the acumen, astuteness, and ability of Captain Kendall, of the Montrose, whose help in apprehending Crippen and Le Neve has been a triumph of detective journalism.

The Paris Daily Mail [the Continental edition of the Mail], which circulates not only in all parts of France but throughout Europe, has been issuing special photographs and descriptions of the wanted couple.

Scotland Yard offered a reward of £250 for information leading to their apprehension, open to any person other than a police officer of the United Kingdom.

Tens of thousands of people throughout the country have been on the look-out. The hue and cry has spread to every civilised country in the world. Ships arriving at every port have been watched by detectives.

So when the two baggageless voyagers, ‘Mr and Master Robinson’, boarded the Montrose, Captain Kendall marked at once that ‘Mr Robinson’ closely resembled the Paris Daily Mail’s photograph of Dr Crippen.

As well as the modern newspaper Press, the second agent which progress has placed at the disposal of those like Captain Kendall who are engaged in the combat with crime was wireless telegraphy. It enabled him to communicate with the police and keep them closely in touch with developments, and Scotland Yard could despatch to him full instructions. He will no doubt receive the reward of £250.

It was on July 9 that Crippen disappeared; on the 13th the search for him began; on the 22nd Scotland Yard was informed of his exact whereabouts by a wireless message from the Montrose — at the very moment when it seemed to the world the scent had been hopelessly lost. In its last stages the pursuit was the triumph of wireless telegraphy.

No escape! Dr Crippen fled on the Montrose (above) and was the first person in history arrested thanks to wireless signals

No escape! Dr Crippen fled on the Montrose (above) and was the first person in history arrested thanks to wireless signals

And, indeed, never before has wireless telegraphy been so exploited in the work of journalism as on this occasion in the service of the readers of the Daily Mail, too. It enabled us to obtain from Captain Kendall two long telegrams. In the first he gave a business-like statement of the facts. In the second he sent a detailed account of everything essential that had happened from the beginning to the end of the voyage.

Captain Kendall is not merely a seaman, a comedian, a raconteur of resource, a diplomat and a detective; he is also an able journalist.

In the end, the arrest was the work of three agencies — namely, Captain Kendall, wireless telegraphy, and the modern newspaper Press. If the police committed a grave error at the outset in permitting Crippen to get away, they at least were quick to realise their blunder when he had gone and to understand the precious assistance which the newspaper could render. They wisely took the Press into their confidence and used it as an auxiliary.

The brilliant success which has attended such a departure, new in British criminal investigation, will act as a fresh deterrent on crime.

Scotland Yard has found the man who was ‘wanted’ and the woman who disguised herself as a boy and accompanied him in his flight after a thrilling pursuit.

The muffled ‘killer’: Dr Crippen (right) is led down the gangplank

The muffled ‘killer’: Dr Crippen (right) is led down the gangplank

WINSTON CHURCHILL: Germany is a great power once more, but England will never succumb

Armistice Day, 1932

Fourteen years ago at ‘the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month’ the World War ended. As, at the stroke of an enchanter’s wand, silence fell upon the hundreds of miles of cannonading, fusillading front where armies of millions straining onward in fierce pursuit, or reeling backward in exhaustion and disintegration, faced each other.

Silence along the battle lines! And here at home in England and in all the Allied countries, then comprising three-fourths of mankind, outpoured the cheering crowds thronging the streets in a tumult of joy because victory and peace had come. Victory was precious then, and peace seemed sure for ever. Fourteen years ago, today!

Not a few changes have been placed both in the fortunes of nations and in the mood of peoples since that date. We may measure some of them by the position of public men.

Fourteen years ago, Mr Lloyd George was acclaimed as the man who had saved the State and won the war, and our vast new electorate eagerly awaited the opportunity to express their gratitude to him by overwhelming majorities. 

Fourteen years ago, Mr Ramsay MacDonald, dwelling in chilly obscurity, was about to be hounded out of his own Socialist constituency of West Leicester.

Who would have thought fourteen years ago that the wheel of politics would revolve so violently that the triumphant Lloyd George can now count his parliamentary followers in his own family circle; and the hated, hunted Ramsay MacDonald is able to stride through the lobbies, Prime Minister, at the head of the largest Tory majority seen at Westminster for two hundred and fifty years?

But let us turn our eyes from individuals to nations. Are there not equal surprises in what has happened to them? Who would have predicted on Armistice Day 1918 that Germany, even though as yet only partially armed, would still be the greatest Power in Europe; that she would have been relieved of all indemnities and reparations to the countries whose territory or prosperity she laid waste; that she would have equipped herself for every form of scientific production with the money of her victorious opponents, then so intent upon her dire punishment; and that she would now be looking forward hopefully to restoring her kings and Kaiser, and claiming to rearm her valiant, patriotic, and teeming manhood?

And what of Britain and the Empire that centres around her? Certainly, she has walked a humble path. She rose to conquer; she stoops in victory.

She has surrendered that command of the seas ... we faithfully sustain a load of debt without precedent or equal ... we are bowed beneath by far the heaviest of taxes now levied upon any people.

If it was not the rooted conviction of every true Briton here and throughout the Empire that we are still masters of our fate, we might indeed feel that our great days were over.

The phrase ‘The War to End War’ also has an odd look to those who survey the armaments of the world or gauge the fears, the grievances, and the ambition of its various peoples.

signals approval of the German claim to equality in ‘armed status’, whatever that may mean. The whole line of countries, small and large, many of them newly born, from the Baltic to the Black Sea are oppressed by the threatening aspect of the Russian giant, that Ishmael of the modern world, vowed to the destruction of all existing civilisations, whose innumerable armies are growing in power and cost with every year that passes.

Far away across the expanse of Asia, the year 1932 has witnessed a tremendous increase in the armaments and warlike preparations of Japan. The United States has vastly expanded all her forces since 1914, while preaching disarmament to the rest of us. Decidedly we cannot feel so sure about ‘The War to End War’ as we did 14 years ago.

But there is one belief that must never die in our , ‘England never succumbs’. However dark and stormy is the outlook, bitter as the winter winds may blow, our race has still the strength — if it has the will — to hold its own, and has still the gratitude and resolution to make sure that those who have sacrificed their all for King and Country shall not have done so in vain.

The clarion notes of the ‘Cease Fire’ rolled across the land 

November, 1918

From W. Beach Thomas, with the British, Monday

A general I saw this morning, a few minutes after the news of the Armistice had come in, issued an order that his men were to occupy certain high ground before 11.

So with an inspired sense of historic fitness, the Canadians swore to be in Mons while the war lasted, even if it cost life. They eyed its capture to the spirit of the Old Contemptibles. The 5th Lancers shared the historic event with them and heard, twice repeated as a clarion, the three notes of the ‘Cease Fire!’ repeated alongside smouldered houses, ruined by German howitzers when the imperial army set forth to dominate the world. 

I saw it this morning, from corps to battalion, but the British Army received the news at 7.41. The 3rd Corps in Tournai, whom King Albert had visited and thanked the night before, received the following telegram: ‘Troops will stand down on the conditions reached at 11am. A line of outposts will be established and reported to Army Headquarters. The remainder of the troops will be collected ready to meet any demand.’

General Butler at once wrote orders, which were telephoned to units, and two staff officers, who ate the general’s breakfast while waiting, were at once dispatched in cars to inform in person divisions, brigades and battalions, and to give fuller instructions.

They had one difficulty. A hue and cry was expected in search of the cavalry patrols who were all over the place in small scattered groups in touch with the enemy.

A special mobile column of cavalry, of cyclists, of tunnellers, and others had also been mobilised and sent forth the day before. They had gone so quickly as to stop the blowing up of several score mines along the roads.

No one along the road, which was packed with every sort of traffic, civilian and military, yet had wind of the good news. The war seemed in full flood. We might have been back in 1914.

Thrilling quest begins as Mail sends expedition to the roof of the world in search for creature that made these prints...An abominable idea? No, the Yeti can still be found

December 3, 1953

The Daily Mail is financing and organising an expedition to the region of Everest in an attempt to solve the great mystery of the Himalaya — the identity of the Yeti, or Abominable Snowman.

Planning for the expedition began as long ago as last May, when Mr Ralph Izzard of the Daily Mail, who reported the activities of Sir John Hunt’s triumphant Everest Expedition, indicated that belief in the existence of the Yeti was stronger than ever among the Sherpas, and that members of that expedition believed that a thorough investigation should be made.

Since then work has been going steadily ahead in London. The Government of Nepal have given their official permission.

Both Mr Eric Shipton’s Everest Reconnaissance Expedition of 1951 and the Swiss Everest Expedition of 1952 have brought back photographs of tracks which must be allowed to prove existence of an animal.

The Daily Mail is financing and organising an expedition to the region of Everest in an attempt to solve the great mystery of the Himalaya — the identity of the Yeti, or Abominable Snowman

The Daily Mail is financing and organising an expedition to the region of Everest in an attempt to solve the great mystery of the Himalaya — the identity of the Yeti, or Abominable Snowman

That the Daily Mail project is important and timely is evident from interviews which we publish below with Sir John Hunt and Mr Eric Shipton.

The idea that an expedition be sent to the Himalayas for the sole purpose of establishing the identity of the Abominable Snowman originated with Brigadier Sir John Hunt.

Interviewed in Katmandu after the successful ascent of Everest [by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay], Sir John told reporters that it was his opinion that sufficient evidence of existence had been brought to light to justify the sending of such an expedition.

In London, in an

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