Tag Archives: attack

Grangela: Labour’s Angela Rayner is grandmother at 37

Angela RaynerImage copyright Reuters

Labour MP Angela Rayner has become a grandmother at the age of 37.

The shadow education secretary announced the birth of her first grandchild in an early-morning tweet in which she gave herself the new nickname, Grangela.

The Ashton-under-Lyne MP had her first son, Ryan, at the age of 16 and said being a teenage mother “saved me”.

Writing on Twitter, she said: “At just before 6am today after an eventful evening, I became a grandma.”

The mother-of-three thanked “all the wonderful staff at NHS Tameside”, adding the hashtag #Grangela.

Earlier this year, Ms Rayner recalled her experience of being a teenage mother on a council estate, saying the birth of her son “actually saved me from where I could have been because I had a little person to look after”.

“I wanted to prove that I could be a good mum and somebody was finally going to love me as much as I deserved to be loved, and that’s what pregnancy was for me.”

In her maiden speech, after becoming MP in 2015, she recalled being told when she was 16 and pregnant that she would never amount to anything. “If only they could see me now,” she joked.

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Media captionLabour MP Angela Rayner‘s maiden Commons speech

In the past she has also defended her northern accent:


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‘This is our city’

Flowers and messages of condolence left for the victims of the Manchester Arena attackImage copyright Reuters
Image caption Hundreds of floral tributes were left to those killed in the arena attack

It has been six months since 22 people were killed and hundreds more injured in the suicide bombing at Manchester Arena. BBC News talks to people about how the city has changed since the attack.

‘This is our city

Image copyright Kestrel Cam
Image caption The Christmas market in Manchester attracts millions of visitors every year

At the Christmas market in Manchester’s Albert Square, shopper Nicola Depetrillo said people were “defiant” in the wake of the terror attack on 22 May.

“I think it’s the same for everybody now, life‘s changed for us,” she said.

“It will be in the back of your mind all the time and you are more aware of what is around you. But you’ve got to go about your everyday life. You can’t stop going out.

“Why should we stay away? This is our city.”

Image caption Nicola Depetrillo said life had changed since the attack but it would not stop her going out

Charlotte Powell said she recently took part in an event which involved chasing people in the city centre while collecting clues.

She described how one man thought they were running out of fear and began sprinting with them.

“His face was shocked and you could see the fear. He said ‘I thought it was another attack’ and all we were doing was running down the road,” she said.

“So people are a bit edgy.”

Image caption Charlotte Powell and Tibyan Sanoh said they felt people were scared of another attack

Tibyan Sanoh was on the tram when the attack happened and heard the bang as the bomb exploded in the arena.

She said: “For a couple of weeks it was really scary. But on the whole I feel like everyone’s just got back to normal, which is strange.

“When something happens people automatically think it’s a terrorist attack. But aside from that I feel Manchester is a hard-faced city anyway, so you just crack on.”

Image caption The city centre was filled with candles and tributes in the aftermath of the attack

Catherine Jones, from Cheadle Hulme, said on Remembrance Sunday a cannon fired to mark the beginning of the silence made her jump.

“My immediate reaction was it was a bomb again. You think about it more in the city centre when you’re in enclosed shopping centres. I’d rather be out where you can run if it happens again.”

She said people were more vigilant and the attack had increased awareness around reporting anything suspicious.

“We wouldn’t stop coming in to Manchester because of it [though]. Life has to go on.”

Image caption Catherine Jones said she is more vigilant since the attack

‘It is more secure’

Image caption The additional security measures were not in response to any specific threat, Greater Manchester Police said

As visitors enjoy German sausages at the markets and sip mulled wine, they are being joined by armed police.

Greater Manchester‘s mayor Andy Burnham announced officers would for the first time patrol the market to provide the “reassurance people will want”.

Armed officers have also been deployed to Manchester Airport and events such as the Great Manchester Run.

Hanouf Alosaimi, who was visiting the market, said: “If I see armed police, everything is safe and good. When I see police everywhere, everything is secure and I am very happy with it.

“[I think Manchester in general] is more secure. I feel very, very safe.”

Image caption David Adu-dwumaa said security has since been “massively vamped up”
Image caption Stephen Morrisroe and Caniko Behdjet said Manchester has a “you won’t knock us down” attitude

“Security has been massively vamped up,” says David Adu-Dwumaa who works in the city centre but lives in Leigh.

“Some people would see it and be paranoid about what could happen, but it can always happen, so I think it’s better for [reinforcements] to be there.”

However, Caniko Behdjet, from Whitefield, said she felt “concerned, rather than reassured and protected” when she saw police with guns.

“As soon as I got off the tram there was something over the loud speaker about keeping your belongings with you or they will be destroyed. It makes you feel a bit uneasy.”

Image caption New security measures, such as concrete barriers, have been put in place in the city centre

Barriers have also been put up at key locations in the city centre.

Councillor Pat Kearney said he had visited the market in Berlin where a lorry ploughed into shoppers and killed 12 people and had “learned lessons”.

“A year or two ago we wouldn’t talk so openly about the security measures. But now I think the public actually want to be reassured that the council and police have thought through the security,” he added.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Armed police watched over runners during the Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run

Tourism ‘as high as ever’

Image copyright Manchester Pride/TheVainPhotography
Image caption Thousands attended Manchester’s Pride festival which featured Coronation Street’s float in memory of attack victim Martyn Hett

Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce (GMCC) reported an “immediate dip” in tourism and hotel bookings following the attack.

But levels of tourism, visitors and conferences are now as “high as ever”, according to its head of research and policy, Christian Spence.

“This year’s festivals and events in the city centre have all been huge successes and the Manchester ‘buzz’ is very much in evidence,” he said.

Hotel occupancy rates initially “struggled” after the attack but showed signs of recovery by August, a report to Manchester City Council’s Economy Scrutiny Committee said.

Marketing Manchester said hotel occupancy up to the end of September was nudging ahead of the 2016 figures.

“We are confident we will end the year ahead of last year,” a spokesperson said.

This contrasts with hotel performance data following the terror attack in Paris in November 2015 which left 130 people dead, when “mixed performance levels were still evident a year later”.

Hate crime spiked

Reports of Islamophobic hate crimes and incidents in Greater Manchester rose by 500% in the month following the attack, police figures showed.

They included a bomb threat, racist taunts, and graffiti.

After this initial spike, and a high of 1,061 reported incidents, the figures have since dropped but remain slightly above 2016 levels.

In October there were 711 incidents of reported hate crime, compared to 564 the previous year.

Greater Manchester Police’s Assistant Chief Constable Rob Potts said events in Manchester and across the UK have had a “huge impact” on figures, but one month after the attack levels of hate crime “returned to similar levels” as before.

He said hate crime was often under-reported and encouraged people to come forward.

‘Psychological impact’

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption A police cordon was put up around the arena and Manchester Victoria station and some businesses were closed for several days

Firms closest to the arena, which had to be closed for several days in the immediate aftermath of the attack, were offered help by Manchester City Council.

Three applied for business rate relief and received support totalling £7,640, while others were contacted for potential support from a hardship scheme.

Several businesses responded and identified potential losses totalling about £50,000, the Economy Scrutiny Committee report found.

But Mr Spence said that when compared to “the physical devastation” of the IRA bombing in 1996, the biggest impact of the recent bombing was “on those who lost loved ones… those injured… and the psychological impact on people who live and work in the city centre.”

Anger as ‘mindless vandals’ damage rugby pitch

OTLEY Rugby Club is offering a £300 reward to catch vandals who have ruined one of its pitches.

The incident – caught on CCTV by the nearby Stephen H Smith’s Garden Centre – happened just after 10pm on Thursday.

Two vehicles went onto the playing and training field, off Pool Road, and proceeded to repeatedly drive over it, leaving deep ruts.

The rugby club, which has reported the attack to the police, says the damage has put the pitch out of action for a long time and left it facing a hefty repair bill.

The club has also put a reward notice up on social media, addressed directly to those responsible, in a bid to track them down.

It says: “£300 REWARD!

“I know you probably have nothing else to do and it is very exciting driving a car round a field but you have ruined the pitch where children, possibly your brother or sister, plays rugby.

“It will cost many hundreds of pounds to put right and that is why we are going to the police.

“The garden centre has you on CCTV and someone knows who you are – that is why we are offering the reward.”

Chairman Nick Girling said: “The CCTV at Stephen H Smith’s shows what looks like a Fiat 500 and a small 4×4 driving down the lane next to their premises, towards our back training pitch.

“Local residents heard the vehicles at about 10.15pm, on Thursday night but by the time we were able to get there the culprits had gone.

“The pitch is next to the garden centre, set back from the road, and is used for both senior and junior matches and training – but this damage will take about a year to repair itself.

“The police have been informed.”

Otley Town Council Chair Councillor Ray Georgeson (Lib Dem, Danefield) said: “I share the anger expressed by Otley Rugby Club at this act of mindless vandalism.

“That pitch is so well used by our community, providing great opportunity for children to have well organised, fun sport.

“I hope those responsible are quickly identified and brought to book.”

Otley residents have also been quick to express their condemnation of the vandalism online.

Posting on the Otley – The Community We Live In Facebook page, Suzanne Freer said: “Oh this so saddens me.

“Good people spend a lot of their free time working hard to get pitches in order for others to enjoy and then someone comes along and within seconds it is ruined.

“Really hope you catch him and name and shame him/ her/them.

“Come on you good folk of Otley, someone knows who’s done this.”

Simon Fisher added: “Make them repair the field when they are found, out of their own pocket and time.”

Wyatt ton sees England draw Ashes

Danni Wyatt became the first England batter to score a Twenty20 international century
Women’s Ashes: Third Twenty20 international, Canberra
Australia 178-2 (20 overs): Mooney 117*, Perry 22*, Brunt 1-25
England 181-6 (19 overs): Wyatt 100, Knight 51, Jonassen 2-25
England (2pts) won by four wickets; Australia retain the Women’s Ashes with multi-format series drawn 8-8

Danni Wyatt scored England‘s first Twenty20 International century to help her side chase a record 179 and draw the multi-format Women’s Ashes series.

Beth Mooney hit an unbeaten 117, the second-highest score in women’s T20s, as Australia posted an imposing total.

Wyatt hit two sixes and 13 boundaries in a 139-run stand with Heather Knight (51) to rescue England from 30-3 and win by four wickets in Canberra.

Australia had already retained the Women’s Ashes but the series ended 8-8.

A tale of two centuries

Prior to this game, there had only been four centuries in women’s Twenty20 international cricket – two of them struck by West Indies star Deandra Dottin.

The fifth was majestic, Mooney dispatching England’s ragged bowling attack to all areas of Manuka Oval with exceptional power and guile, her 19 boundaries the highest ever by a man or woman in Twenty20 internationals.

The 23-year-old smashed four in a row to finish the innings, taking Australia to 178-2 and seemingly on the cusp of victory.

England floundered in response as Tammy Beaumont and Sarah Taylor were both caught trying to attack every delivery and a nervy Nat Sciver was run out by Elyse Villani’s sharp throw.

Wyatt rode her luck – dropped on just 14 by wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy and 54 by Megan Schutt – but punished the increasingly panicked Australian bowlers with a series of hefty drives over cover.

With Knight proving perfect foil, Wyatt raced to 100 off just 56 balls and though she fell to Delissa Kimmince without adding to her century, the 26-year-old had done enough to steer England to a historic victory.

T20 international centurions

Beth Mooney is the first woman to score a Twenty20 international ton in Australia – Danni Wyatt the second

There have only been six T20 centuries in women’s international cricket, and two of those were made within three hours of each other.

  • Meg Lanning – 126 for Australia v Ireland, March 2014
  • Beth Mooney – 117 not out for Australia v England, November 2017
  • Shandre Fritz – 116 not out for South Africa v Netherlands, October 2010
  • Deandra Dottin – 112 not out for West Indies v South Africa, May 2010
  • Deandra Dottin – 112 for West Indies v Sri Lanka, October 2017
  • Danni Wyatt – 100 for England v Australia, November 2017

Pressure drop

England were on 27-2 when Wyatt skied a leading edge off spinner Molly Strano straight up, only for Healy to misjudge the flight and drop a simple chance.

Even then England looked far from capable of bettering their own record chase of 165 against Australia in 2009 to salvage a draw from an Ashes in which they were “lacking in a few areas”, according to coach Mark Robinson.

Yet Healy’s drop appeared to spread tension throughout the Australia fielders, the wicketkeeper spilling another easy opportunity with Knight on 24 – the fourth drop in the space of about 15 minutes after Strano and Schutt’s mistakes.

They recovered to a degree to take three late wickets but Wilson’s impudent ramp shot to the boundary for victory capped a disappointing end to an otherwise fine series from Rachael Haynes’ team.

Australia won two of the three one-day internationals to take a 4-2 lead in the series before the solitary Test match was drawn, earning another two points for each side.

The home side then won the first of three T20 internationals to lead 8-4 and ensure they would at least retain the Women’s Ashes but England won the last two to secure an 8-8 finish.

‘We’re gutted we didn’t win the Ashes’ – reaction

England’s Danni Wyatt, speaking to Test Match Special: “I tried a bit too hard in the first six overs, I lost my shape a little bit. But I backed myself and swung hard and it paid off. I was quite lucky, but you have to make it count when someone drops you, and I made it count.

“To contribute to a record chase is a special feeling. Heather batted really well – she backed herself and hit the ball in her areas. Outstanding by the skipper.

“It was hard sitting out for the ODIs and the Test match so I had to make the T20s count.”

England captain Heather Knight, speaking to Test Match Special: “What a game it was. I thought they had too many, but there is a hell of a lot of fight in this team and to level at 8-8 makes me really proud.

“We lost a few early wickets but it was a belter of a pitch so boundaries were easy to come by. I was just trying to get Danni on strike.

“We’re gutted we didn’t win the Ashes but to draw the series is the next best thing. It was a great innings from Beth Mooney. It’s tough for her to be on the losing side. What a game and what a spectacle for women’s cricket.”

Australia captain Rachael Haynes, speaking to BT Sport: “I certainly thought it was well within our grasp to win the match. It was disappointing. I guess it’s true, catches win matches, and we put a few down.

“Beth has been outstanding. She’s been hitting everywhere. She’s worked extremely hard on her game. For her to produce in international cricket is really exciting.”

Veteran of Korean War admits surprise as medal arrives in post

A VETERAN of Britain’s bloodiest conflict since the Second World War has been honoured with a medal from South Korea’s government.

Brian Maddocks, 85, was seriously injured fighting in the Korean War in 1951.

He was hit by shrapnel storming a hill with his unit, the Royal Leicestershire Regiment, in what became known as the Second Battle of Maryang San.

He has already had two medals recognising his service in the war but he has unexpectedly received a further medal from South Korea, expressing the country’s “everlasting gratitude” for his contribution towards preserving its freedom and democracy.

The citation accompanying the latest medal is from South Korea’s minister for patriots and veterans’ affairs.

Mr Maddocks, of Knowle Park, Keighley, said: “It arrived in the post in a presentation box but I hadn’t been expecting it at all. I feel rather shocked, but also pleasantly surprised.”

Mr Maddocks was born in Keighley and before joining the Army for his National Service worked as a labourer for Summerscales Washing Machines in Parkwood Street.

Once in the Army, having only just turned 19, he found himself sent to the other side of the world to support South Korea’s bitter struggle against Communist North Korea and its ally China.

After reaching South Korea in October 1951 he and his regiment were deployed to help another British unit which was under attack on a position called Hill 317.

Mr Maddocks said: “As we went up this valley the enemy started shelling us.

“We got to the trenches of the King’s Own Scottish Borderers, stayed there for a short while, then launched our attack.

“We were getting shelled, mortared and hit with hand grenades and I was struck by shrapnel in my right foot.

“I could hardly walk. Me and a friend had to make our own way back from the fighting but we got lost and had no idea where we were. I don’t know how we made it back to our own positions.

“The Indian Red Cross picked me up, put me in a wagon, and then in a helicopter which flew me to the Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH).

“I’d never been in a helicopter before, and the helicopters then were nothing like now. I was very scared.”

Mr Maddocks was evacuated to a military hospital in Japan where he remained for two months. He was sent back to Korea in early 1952, only to be injured again, this time in a non-combat accident.

Following a second spell of recovery in Japan he finally returned to England in September 1952.

After being discharged from the Army he initially went back to Summerscales, then spent ten years sailing the world as an engine room worker in merchant navy ships.

On returning to Keighley he worked as a plasterer and also as a machine moulder in a foundry.

Mr Maddocks, a father of three and a supporter of the Soldiers Sailors Airmen Families Association, said his experiences had made him staunchly anti-war.

He said Korea had effectively been a “forgotten war”, with few people in Britain today remembering the 1,100 British troops who died there.

“I’ve never been back to Korea since the war,” he said. “I’d liked to have gone back to visit the graves of some of my friends who are buried there, but it was too expensive.”

Audi stolen in violent car-jacking found abandoned

POLICE investigating a violent car-jacking in Wilsden have recovered the vehicle stolen in the attack.

A blue Audi RS6 V8 was found abandoned in the Rhodesway area of Allerton late on Saturday.

It was taken last Friday, when vet Terry Croud, who works for the Gatehouse Veterinary Group, was confronted by a group of men outside his home in Birchlands Avenue.

They demanded Mr Croud’s car keys and struck him from behind, leaving him needing treatment for “non-life threatening head injuries”.

Detective Inspector Ryan Bragg, of Bradford District CID, said: “We believe that at least two of the suspects were wearing balaclavas and that another vehicle left the scene in convoy with the stolen Audi.

“Our enquiries into this incident are continuing and we would be keen to hear from anyone who may have seen the Audi travelling together with another vehicle or anyone who saw any suspicious activity involving the vehicle in the Rhodesway area after the time of the offence.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Bradford District CID via 101, quoting crime reference 13170538835, or report it anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Morrissey defends Kevin Spacey and Harvey Weinstein

Morrissey and Kevin SpaceyImage copyright Getty / Reuters
Image caption Morrissey said one of Spacey’s accusers “did not sound very credible”

Morrissey has attracted controversy after defending Kevin Spacey over allegations of sexual abuse.

He said the star had been “attacked unnecessarily”, adding it was “ridiculous” that Spacey was being erased from an upcoming film.

The former Smiths singer also argued that definitions of harassment and assault have become too broad.

“Anyone who ever said ‘I like you’ to someone else is suddenly being charged with sexual harassment,” he said.

Speaking to Germany’s Der Spiegel newspaper, the 58-year-old began by stating “rape is disgusting [and] every physical attack is repugnant”.

Last month, actor Anthony Rapp accused Kevin Spacey of harassing him when he was 14.

Rapp told Buzzfeed that Spacey, then aged 26, laid on top of him at a party at his apartment in 1986 and alleged the star “was trying to seduce” him.

Spacey said he was “beyond horrified” by the claim, adding that he did not remember the alleged incident.

Morrissey said Rapp’s claims “did not sound very credible to me”.

“I don’t know about you, but I was never in situations like this in my youth,” he told Der Spiegel (his comments have been translated into German and back).

“Never. I was always aware of what could happen. When you are in somebody’s bedroom, you have to be aware of where that can lead to.”

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Morrissey added that many musicians had slept with people who were under the age of consent

The singer also cast doubt on the dozens of women who have accused film producer Harvey Weinstein of assault.

“People know exactly what’s going on,” he reportedly said when asked about Weinstein inviting actresses to his hotel room, “and they play along”.

“Afterwards, they feel embarrassed or disliked. And then they turn it around and say: ‘I was attacked, I was surprised’.

“But if everything went well, and if it had given them a great career, they would not talk about it.”

“I hate rape… But in many cases, one looks at the circumstances and thinks that the person who is considered a victim is merely disappointed.”

More than 50 women, many of them some of the biggest names in Hollywood, have accused the disgraced film producer of sexual assault, harassment, abuse and rape, which allegedly took place over four decades.

Morrissey added that many famous musicians had slept with fans who were under the age of consent.

“Throughout the history of music and rock ‘n’ roll there have been musicians who slept with their groupies,” he said, while clarifying that he was not one of them.

“If you go through history, almost everyone is guilty of sleeping with minors. Why not throw everyone in jail right away?

The BBC contacted Morrissey’s representatives for a response to Der Spiegel’s report, but were informed he would not be making any further comments.

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Popular vet ‘recovering well’ after car-jacking ordeal

A POPULAR vet is said to be “recovering well” after being subjected to a violent car-jacking outside his Bradford home.

Terry Croud, who works for the Gatehouse Veterinary Group, was attacked by a gang of four men who robbed him of his blue 2015-reg Audi RS6 V8 in Birchlands Avenue, Wilsden, on Friday night.

Hundreds of well-wishers took to social media to offer their best wishes to Mr Croud, who was described as a “special person” and a “super-kind” vet, who is known to sing to the animals he cares for.

People also contacted the Telegraph & Argus directly to pass on their regards, with one calling Mr Croud “the best vet in Bradford”.

Tonight, Mr Croud’s wife, Samantha, told the T&A: “Terry would like to thank everyone for their thoughts and best wishes, it’s meant a lot to him. He is feeling fine and recovering well.”

In messages on its Facebook page, Gatehouse said Mr Croud, who is in his 50s, was stable in hospital before receiving eight stitches to his head wound. Late on Saturday, a message stated that he was a “bit sore”, but out of hospital.

Mr Croud was hit over the head with a hammer during the attack, which took place at around 8.15pm.

Police said he had just parked up his vehicle when he was confronted by a group of men who made demands for his keys.

They are understood to have driven to the address in another vehicle, said to have been a Mini.

Mr Croud was struck from behind during the incident and was taken to Bradford Royal Infirmary with what police described as “non-life threatening head injuries”.

Car-jackers rob man of high-spec Audi

Detective Inspector Ryan Bragg, of Bradford District CID, said: “This appears to have been a group looking for a high-value car to steal, who have then used force to get what they want.

“We will not tolerate this kind of wanton violence in our communities and are making significant inquiries to identify those involved.


“We have already spoken to a number of witnesses and from our initial inquiries believe that the victim’s Audi RS6 was driven off in convoy with another vehicle.

“We would urge anyone who has seen these vehicles after this offence to please get in contact.”

Police are yet to provide descriptions of any of the suspects involved in the robbery.

Anyone with any information on the robbery is asked to either call Bradford District CID via 101, quoting crime reference 13170538835, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

England reach rugby league cup semi-finals

Highlights: England 36-6 Papua New Guinea
Rugby League World Cup quarter-final
England (14) 36
Tries: McGillvary 2, Walmsley, Currie, Watkins 2, Hall Goals: Widdop 4
Papua New Guinea (0) 6
Try: Lo Goal: Martin

England beat Papua New Guinea to set up a World Cup semi-final against Tonga despite an error-strewn performance.

England built a healthy half-time lead after a double from winger Jermaine McGillvary and Alex Walmsley’s score.

Ben Currie crossed after the break as Garry Lo got PNG on the board, but two tries from Kallum Watkins and a late try from Ryan Hall sealed the victory.

But the winning margin masked a 56% completion rate and an error count of 20 from Wayne Bennett’s side.

McGillvary was one of the bright points in Melbourne – the 29-year-old crossed for two almost identical scores as England found space down the right, taking his tally to six tries for the tournament.

Kato Ottio had PNG’s best chance of the first half but was denied on the hooter for a push on England’s Gareth Widdop.

The full-back, who was commanding at the back, then slipped through a delightful kick which was collected by Currie as England extended their lead in the second period.

When PNG scored through Castleford Tigers-bound Lo, a nervous wave rippled through the stadium, but McGillvary turned provider to set up centre Watkins before his diving effort and Hall’s finish out wide brought up seven tries for England.

England stuttering in attack

Papua New Guinea only scored one try but had a better set completion rate than England

Despite the flattering scoreline, coach Bennett is still waiting for an 80-minute performance from his side.

England’s inconsistency in attack has been a theme of the tournament, with wins against Lebanon and France in the group stage overshadowed by periods of sloppy play.

Against the French they made 13 handling errors, and managed 12 in the first half alone against PNG.

England half-back Luke Gale should have opened the scoring after two minutes when captain Sean O’Loughlin popped out a delicious offload in the tackle, but he failed to offload to the two men outside him.

A host of loose carries and spilled ball from forwards Sam Burgess and Chris Hill added to the error count, which increased further after the break.

James Graham carved open the PNG defence but a forward pass from interchange James Roby squandered another attacking set.

That was a rare mistake from Roby who otherwise put in a controlled performance from the bench and will be pushing for a starting berth ahead of Josh Hodgson against Tonga next weekend.

“I’m very pleased with the win,” Widdop told BBC Sport. “But we need to fix up a lot of areas of ball control – at the moment that is not good enough.”

And Bennett will also be keen to see how stand-off Kevin Brown is after he appeared to be briefly knocked out during the first half – an incident that led to his withdrawal at the break.

Brown knockout spotted by England player on social media

‘The best winger in the world’

McGillvary has scored six tries in the tournament and 11 in his past 10 games

McGillvary has caused quite a storm in Australia. The 29-year-old former warehouse worker has had a remarkable rise in the sport after packing in his job when he was persuaded to join the Huddersfield academy by his cousin, club captain Leroy Cudjoe.

England’s player of the tournament so far, his World Cup looked to be in doubt when he was alleged to have bitten Lebanon captain Robbie Farah during the group game in Sydney.

However, he was cleared and went on to score two tries in England’s final pool match against France.

Another clinical performance followed against Papua New Guinea, and he has now scored 11 tries in his past 10 games. He has also made more metres than any other player in the tournament.

Former England international Jon Wilkin told BBC Sport: “He’s the best winger, for me, in the world at the moment.

“I can tell you from personal experience, he’s probably the most difficult player to handle. I think if he was missing it would genuinely affect how England play.”

Widdop was another highlight for Bennett’s side and despite having few chances to stretch his legs in attack, he was in control at the back, making several telling tackles.

The St George Illawarra Dragon covered all of PNG’s testing grubbers, including anticipating a bounce off the posts and dominating the aerial battle.

With Jonny Lomax now fit after returning from injury, Bennett will have a few selection headaches for the semi-final.

Co-hosts PNG bow out

Papua New Guinea played all of their group games in Port Moresby

The Kumuls have been one of the most entertaining sides of the tournament.

They were unbeaten in the group stages, scoring 24 tries in their opening three matches and conceding just two in reply.

But against England they were rocked by an early injury to influential captain David Mead who looked to have been knocked out while tackling Gale and was unable to return to the field.

Playing outside of PNG capital city Port Moresby for the first time in the tournament, they were unable to unleash their attacking potential against a well-drilled England defence.

They were denied a try at the death for crossing but for the country where rugby league is practically a religion, their impressive run to the quarters will have further fuelled their obsession.

England: Widdop; McGillvary, Watkins, Bateman, Hall; Brown, Gale; Hill, Hodgson, Graham, S Burgess, Whitehead, O’Loughlin (capt). Interchange: Walmsley, T Burgess, Currie, Roby.

Papua New Guinea: Mead (capt); Olam, Ottio, Macdonald, Lo; A Boas, W Boas; Meninga, Segeyaro, Page, Martin, Minoga, Aiton. Interchange: Baptiste, Amean, Albert, Griffin.

‘Sense of victory’

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Media captionThe battle of Cambrai saw massed tanks smash a deep hole in German defences

After years of tiny gains at the cost of appalling casualties, Cambrai, fought 100 years ago, was heralded as the longed-for victory on the Western Front. But did a battle that left both sides almost where they started really change the course of the war?

L/Cpl Alfred Brisco recalled in the aftermath of the fighting that his battle, inside the tank “Hotspur”, came to a sudden and violent end: “There was a terrific roar and Hotspur shuddered from stem to stern.

“I saw our left caterpillar track fly in the air. Our left nose was blown off. If that last shell hand landed two feet closer the officer and I would most certainly have both been killed.”

Other crews nearby were not so lucky.

Image copyright DCMS
Image caption Tanks had not lived up to expectations at Passchendaele, with many sinking into the mud

“A tank close to our right received a direct hit and burst into flames. I only saw one man roll out of a side door,” Brisco said.

“The tank on our left also had a direct hit. I did not see anyone get out of that.”

It was a terrible end to what had actually been a day of great progress for the British, who advanced further in six hours than in three months at Passchendaele.

After months of planning, the largest tank force so far assembled in the war – nearly 480 machines in all – had on 20 November smashed a seven-mile wide, four-mile deep hole in the Germans’ toughest defences near the French town of Cambrai, just 25 miles from the Belgian border.

Image copyright IWM
Image caption German defences – called the Hindenburg Line by the British – featured belts of wire 50ft deep

“It was a stunning success,” said Bryn Hammond, head of collections at the Imperial War Museum. “For the first time since the war had begun, the church bells were allowed to ring.”

Tanks, first used only 14 months before, were still distrusted by many.

They had struggled in the mud of Passchendaele and were hellish places in which to serve.

Lt Kenneth Wootton, of the Tank Corps, wrote in his account of the war: “The noise inside was absolutely deafening; the eight-cylinder engine was going at full speed, both six-pounder guns were firing as rapidly as possible and I was emptying drum after drum from the machine-gun.

“Any order I gave to the driver, who was close beside me, had to be shouted in his ear…. everything else had to be done by signs.”

Image copyright Nord Tourisme
Image caption The ravaged remains of the tank “Deborah”, which fought at Cambrai, were found in 1998
Image copyright PA
Image caption Tank used fascines – bundles of wood – to help cross the extra-wide trenches built at Cambrai

But this battle was different.

Dr Hammond said: “The key was surprise.

“There had been no week-long artillery bombardment; everything had been brought up in secrecy.

“And it was an integrated battle plan: tanks, infantry, artillery and aircraft all had a specific role to play.”

Supporting the tanks were 1,000 artillery pieces, 110,000 infantry and 300 aircraft.

Belts of wire 50ft thick, which would have taken weeks to cut through in a traditional attack, were crushed by the tanks.

Image copyright Getty Images

Accusing as I do without exception all the great Allied offensives of 1915, 1916, and 1917 as needless and wrongly conceived operations of infinite cost, I am bound to reply to the question, ‘What else could have been done?’ And I answer it, pointing to the Battle of Cambrai: ‘This could have been done.’

Winston Churchill

Men and armour poured through the gaps. German defenders were overwhelmed. Soldiers described the advance as “a picnic” and “a cakewalk”.

Commanders were left giddy by the success.

In his memoirs, Maj Richard Foot, of the Royal Field Artillery, said: “That first day was a day to be remembered. We really had the sense of victory for the first time.”

But there was still savage fighting, as another officer, Maj William Watson, recalled finding in nearby trenches.

“The trench-boards were slippery with blood and 15 to 20 corpses, all Germans and all bayoneted, lay strewn about the road like drunken men.

“A Highland sergeant… who was in charge of the place, came out to greet us puffing a long cigar.”

But the punch of the first hours, which had taken months of planning and resources, could not be maintained.

Tanks broke down, men became exhausted.

Deborah – The lost tank of Flesquieres

Image copyright Nord Tourisme
Image caption Deborah was finally found in 1998

A sixyear “obsession” led one man to uncover one of the most striking and poignant reminders of the Battle of Cambrai.

A tank named Deborah had made it through the village of Flesquieres but was one of nearly 40 that were destroyed as the tide of the battle turned.

Image caption Clockwise from left: Frank Heap survived (along with two unknown crew) while George Foot, Joseph Cheverton, William Galway and Fred Tipping all died

Cambrai resident Philippe Gorczynski said: “An old woman told me about a tank being buried in the village after the war, and I just had to find it.

“I looked everywhere, I went ‘hunting’ in the woods and ‘fishing’ in the lakes – my wife said she had to share me with another woman!

“I looked at hundreds of aerial photographs and these, along with ground-penetrating scans, showed us where to go.

“The day we found Deborah was like finding the Grail. Here was an emblem of the battle, a tribute to all the men who served.”

Historian John Taylor researched the crew and found the commander Frank Heap, 20, from Blackpool, had survived and won the Military Cross.

Image copyright Staffordshire University
Image caption Deborah being lifted into her new home at the “Cambrai Tank Museum 1917”

But George Foot, 20, from north London, William Galway, 25, from Belfast, Joseph Cheverton, 20, from Cambridge, and father-of-three Fred Tipping, 36, from Nottingham, all died in the flaming wreck.

Mr Taylor said: “It is important to remember these were men from typical towns, who fought in terrible circumstances but achieved remarkable things.”

Deborah is now the centrepiece of a museum that will open to mark the 100th anniversary of the battle.

Dr Hammond said that after the Germans – who had no tanks of their own – had got over the “initial shock”, they fought back bravely, “almost hand to hand”.

“Bundled grenades were thrown under tracks, rifles fired through vision slits, even guns physically held down so they would fire into the ground – it got that close.”

Another week of fighting hardly moved the front lines but cost thousands more men.

The British army, exhausted by Passchendaele, simply did not have enough soldiers, guns and tanks to exploit the gap in the defences.

Image copyright Nord Tourisme
Image caption Flesquieres Hill British Cemetery is the final resting place of hundreds of the dead from the battle – including men who served in Deborah

Then on 30 November the Germans, backed by flamethrowers, counterattacked.

By 7 December, the armies held roughly the same amount of ground they had started with.

The British army had suffered more than 44,000 casualties, with nearly 180 tanks destroyed. The Germans had lost a similar number of men.

Had it all been for nothing?

Image copyright IWM
Image caption The huge tank attack carved a way through the defences for the infantry to exploit

Dr Hammond said: “The attack did not realise its potential due to lack of support, but these were the tactics which shattered German defences on the Western Front in 1918.

“It was a landmark in warfare. It establishes the principle of surprise attack, using each weapon in the role for which it is best suited, still used in the Gulf War.

“The era where the deadly combination of machine-guns, barbed wire, artillery and trenches defined the character of the battlefield was over.”