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 On this day in history

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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Mon 20 Oct 2014, 16:25

20 October 1977, a plane carrying US rock group Lynyrd Skynyrd crashes;

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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Tue 21 Oct 2014, 09:30

21 October 1805, the Battle of Trafalgar;
most paintings of this battle tend to concentrate on Nelson and HMS Victory, this is one of Admiral Collingwood's flagship,HMS Royal Sovereign, bearing down on the Spanish Santa Ana

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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Tue 21 Oct 2014, 18:26

In an unusual move, the "Mersey", Castle" and "Strath" class trawlers built in WWI were given the names of men taken from the Muster Rolls of Victory and Royal Sovereign at Trafalgar. Rare for the RN to name a vessel after anyone not of Flag Rank.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Fri 24 Oct 2014, 12:23

24 October 1648, the Treaty of Westphalia ends the Thirty Years War;

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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Fri 24 Oct 2014, 12:46

Sorry, just couldn't resist:

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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Fri 24 Oct 2014, 20:14

About the treaty of Westphalia.

I studied the treaty as it was the end of the Eighty Years war between Spain and the Dutch Republic with the peace of Munster, followed by the more global treaty of Westphalia.
In modern history it was the first inter European treaty that set the framework for later "international" treaties as the "Treaty of Utrecht"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Utrecht

About the importance of the treaty of Westphalia:
http://www.preservearticles.com/2011091413404/what-is-the-importance-of-treaty-of-westphalia.html
http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780199743292/obo-9780199743292-0073.xml
https://www.academia.edu/6266119/Is_Westphalia_relevant_to_the_evolution_of_international_law


Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Tue 28 Oct 2014, 14:37

28th October 1971 - the only occasion to date upon which a British-built satellite (Prospero) is launched using a British-built rocket (Black Arrow). This was the rocket's last of four missions, succesfully deploying Prospero into earth's orbit at 04:15 GMT, though not without some excitement. The final stage of Black Arrow, a WaxWing rocket, also entered earth's orbit - "rather too enthusiastically" as a technician in the Woomera launch centre commented at the time. The WaxWing collided with little Prospero, knocking off one of its radio antennae. Prospero happily survived the collision however and, though its own mission to test communication satellite technology has long ended, it is still buzzing around our planet on a flight that is not expected to decay until 2070 (unless something else whacks into it first).


A Black Arrow on display in the London Science Museum.


A copy of Prospero at the same location.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Thu 30 Oct 2014, 08:15

October 30th 1925

Using, amongst other ingredients, a tea chest, a biscuit box, darning needles, piano wire, motorcycle lamp lenses, old electric motors, cardboard scanning discs, glue, string and sealing wax, on this day in 1925 John Logie Baird's rudimentary transmitter broadcast the first ever TV signal to a public audience not in the same premises as the transmitter. Within three years Baird's transmitter would be refined and developed enough to transmit in colour and in stereoscopic (3D) vision. In the same year he even managed to fit in the first ever transatlantic broadcast. He'd come a long way in a short time from his initial image relays of "Stooky Bill" (pictured below), the ventriloquist dummy's head whose face was the first therefore ever to be seen on TV.



Television is the invention for which Baird is rightly remembered and respected. Spare a thought therefore for what his historical legacy might otherwise have been had TV not become the success it did and we were left to judge the man purely on his other less well known inventions. Diamonds made from pencil-lead, glass razor blades and inflatable shoes might well have been innovative in their time but somehow it is difficult to imagine them having quite the same global impact as his machine that let one "see through the wireless".
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Thu 30 Oct 2014, 09:20

30th October 1961, Soviet Nuclear Test programme detonates a 50 megaton device named the Tsar Bomba. The largest man made explosion ever;

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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Thu 30 Oct 2014, 09:53

Forty years ago - The Rumble in the Jungle - Mohammed Ali defeats George Foreman against all expectations to regain the World Heavyweight Boxing Title.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Fri 31 Oct 2014, 12:19

31st October 1888

A well-to-do Scottish-born veterinarian and enthusiastic Belfast garden shed inhabitant walks into the local city hall and hands in an application to patent something quite revolutionary - in every sense.

At first the clerk in the patent office is not a little bemused. It appears that the would-be inventor is claiming to have originated the wheel. Indeed in his hand he holds just such an object, crudely fashioned from planks of wood nailed together. However the vet draws the clerk's attention to the wheel's perimeter, clothed as it is in what looks suspiciously like a rather heavy-duty tea cosy.



The "decoration" around the perimeter of the wheel is indeed heavy-duty and not at all decorative. Instead it is comprised of two long strips of rubber glued together at their edges, the whole then covered with coarse linen. However it is what the vet has done next which catches the clerk's attention and has him reaching for the ink and blotter to record his client's signature. The good doctor, using a pump designed to inflate footballs, has injected air through a valve into the space between the rubber strips. On this basis he has elected to call his handiwork the "pneumatic tyre" and this is the name that duly goes on the patent.

Within a year the veterinary practise had been wound up and the vet was now founder and director of the "Pneumatic Tyre Comany" with a small Dublin-based factory churning out his product to a fast growing consumer base. With these wheel-cosies on their bicycles and tricycles they found not only that their journeys involved less disarticulation of joints, sinews and other sundry body bits, but also that they in fact could go even faster than before.

All was not plain sailing for the vet, John Boyd Dunlop, however. It turned out that a fellow Scotsman, Robert Thomson, had patented the exact same invention over 40 years beforehand. Moreover he'd had the foresight to take out separate French and US patents at the same time. And even worse than this; while Thomson was long dead his patent was still very much alive when Dunlop's own patent was being approved. There followed a lengthy legal battle between John and Robert's heirs, which Dunlop effectively won but which seems to have dampened his enthusiasm for the whole project. Despite already enjoying exclusive royalties from the likes of Michelin and Daimler as his design was adjusted for use in the new-fangled automobile thingies suddenly appearing everywhere, Dunlop sold his patent and his company at an early stage.

We can only hope that he made enough in the meantime to at least buy his son a new tricycle. The poor kid never got a chance to use his first one as his dad butchered it in the cause of experimental pneumatics!

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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Fri 31 Oct 2014, 18:58

Indian PM Indira Gandhi was assassinated at 9:20 AM on 31 October 1984, by two Sikh bodyguards in retaliation for the storming of Amritsar's Golden Temple. Thousands of Sikhs died, including numbers who were doused in petrol and set alight, in the Hindu retaliation,
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Fri 31 Oct 2014, 21:08

November 1st, 1914: Australian and New Zealand troops leave together for Egypt (though I don't think the soldiers realised that was where they were originally heading) from Albany near Perth.  The NZ troops had left New Zealand for Australia a couple of weeks before, with 8454 soldiers and almost 4000 horses in 10 merchant ships, and amid much cheering on the quaysides.  I read that when the troops left there was considerable anti feelings between the two contingents (the NZers felt the Australians were a bit uncouth), but this had dissipated by the time they arrived.

Yesterday I was reading a column in the Otago Daily Times from 100 years ago which talked about the news from the war becoming blase to readers, who were now getting used to hearing of thousands of casualties and were able to continue eating their breakfasts and sleeping soundly after accounts of these in the papers. I suppose that changed when the casualties came from New Zealand.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Sat 01 Nov 2014, 11:46

In the light of WW2 one tends to forget that Japan was a key ally in WW1 ... but even so I was a little surprised to discover that part of the naval escort for the first troop convoy from Albany to the Middle East - and indeed for many subsequent convoys - was provided by the Imperial Japanese Navy. Moreover this was not just a token presence. The escort for that first detachment sailing on 1 November 1914 comprised four warships: the Australian light cruisers HMAS Sydney and HMAS Melbourne and the British cruiser HMS Minotaur, but the largest and most heavily armed vessel in the flotilla was the Imperial Japanese Navy's battlecruiser Ibuki.

"At 8.55 the whole fleet moved ahead - thirty-six transports and three escorting cruisers. Two days later, the Ibuki with the great liners Ascanius and Medic carrying troops from South and Western Australia, was found waiting beside the route on the high seas, half-obscured by a rain squall. The two transports took up their places on the line. The Ibuki moved into the Melbourne's position on the starboard beam, while the Melbourne dropped immediately astern of the convoy. The whole fleet then headed for the Cocos Islands."

(From: C.E.W. Bean, "The Story of Anzac from the outbreak of war to the end of the first phase of the Gallipoli Campaign, May 4, 1915". Publ: Angus & Robertson, Sydney, 1939).


The flotilla had also originally been intended to include the Japanese cruiser Nisshin but she had run aground on 12 October while participating, along with the Ibuki, in the hunt for the German commerce raider SMS Emden, and so had been replaced by HMAS Sydney. As originally planned the escort flotilla would have comprised a cruiser from each of Australia and Britain, and two from Japan. I should perhaps also add that on arrival at the Cocos Islands it was HMAS Sydney, who had been called to escort duty only at the last moment to replace IJS Nisshin, that finally trapped and sank the German raider Emden on 9 November ..... but that perhaps is a story for another day.




IJS Ibuki circa 1910.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Sat 01 Nov 2014, 20:14

1 November 1914 was also the Battle of Coronel (just off the Chilean coast) when for the first time in over 100 years the Royal Navy lost a major naval engagement. This was obviously a major shock and a terrible blow to the morale of the navy, the country and the whole empire. The British commander, Rear Admiral Craddock, went down with his flagship leaving the German Admiral Maximillian von Spee as victor to be feted on his arrival in the nearby Chilean port of Valpariso. However mindful of the wider strategic issues, von Spee, when presented with a bouquet of flowers by an admiring crowd on landing at Valpiriso apparently said simply, "Thank-you, these will do nicely for my grave".

Indeed just one month later the RN had regrouped and re-engaged his squadron ....  and this time, just off the Falkland Islands, it was von Spee's turn to go down with his ship.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Sun 02 Nov 2014, 09:56

On 2 November 1944 the American industrial chemist Thomas Midgely died … and the planet breathed a huge sigh of relief. He was not by any means an evil man but, as author Bill Bryson says, he possessed, "an instinct for the regrettable that was almost uncanny," and there can be few other individuals who have wrought so much damage to the whole planet.

In 1921 as a brilliant young chemist at General Motors he discovered that adding the compound tetra-ethyl lead to petrol made engines run more efficiently, eliminating the uncontrolled knocking of early motorcars. The product was marketed as the benign-sounding "ethyl" to disguise the fact that it was an organic lead compound. When challenged about the dangers of the lead content, Midgley called a press conference at which he poured the chemical over his hands and breathed in its vapour for a full minute, claiming he could do so every day without ill effect. In reality, both before and after this incident, Midgley spent months plagued by the effects of lead poisoning. GM's ethyl plant in New Jersey, meanwhile, was forced to close after several workers went mad and five died in quick succession of acute lead poisoning.

Eventually though, under new management, the plant reopened and soon the addition of lead to petrol became standard worldwide for the next 50 years, resulting in the release of huge quantities of organic lead compounds into the environment. It was only in the 1970s, when the long-term effects, particularly on children, were realised, that its use was finally phased out, although even today lead is still routinely added to petrol in a few countries.

But Midgley’s deleterious effect on the atmosphere doesn’t end there.

In the late 1920s, air-conditioning and refrigeration systems employed compounds such as ammonia, chloromethane, propane and sulphur dioxide as refrigerants. These were toxic, flammable or explosive, and in the event of leakage, could result in serious illness, injury or even death. The Frigidaire division of General Motors, at that time a leading manufacturer of such systems, sought a non-toxic, non-flammable alternative to these refrigerants. The research team, headed by Midgley, came up with flourinated-hydrocarbons which were non-flammable, non-toxic and highly volatile (a requirement for a refrigerant). They called their product Freon.

Freon soon replaced the various toxic or explosive substances previously used as refrigerants, and were later used in other applications, such as propellants in aerosol spray cans, fire extinguishers and asthma inhalers. The Society of Chemical Industry awarded Midgley the Perkin Medal in 1937 for this work.

Again it would only be many years later that the problems with Freon compounds (CFCs) emerged, when they were shown to be responsible for destruction of the ozone layer and their use is now severely restricted by the 1987 Montreal Protocol. Brands of Freon containing hydrofluorocarbons (HCFCs) have replaced many uses, but they too are under strict control under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, as they are super-greenhouse effect gases. They are no longer used in aerosols but to date no suitable general use alternatives to these HCFCs have been found for refrigeration which are not flammable or toxic, problems the original Freon was devised to avoid.

As the environmental historian J R McNeill has remarked, Midgley, "had more impact on the atmosphere than any other single organism in Earth's history."

In 1940, at the age of 51, Midgley contracted polio which left him severely disabled and led him to devise an elaborate system of ropes and pulleys to lift himself from his bed. This system was the eventual cause of his own death when on 2 November 1944 he became entangled in the ropes of this device and died of strangulation.



Thomas Midgley circa 1940.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Tue 04 Nov 2014, 09:08

4 November 1966, the River Arno bursts it's banks a floods Florence killing 101 people and destroying many priceless paintings, frescoes and literature;

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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Wed 05 Nov 2014, 12:44

5 November ( old style calendar) 1688, King William of the Netherlands lands at Torbay;

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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Mon 10 Nov 2014, 10:19

10 November 1871, "Doctor Livingstone, I presume?", the words with which Henry Morton Stanley supposedly* greeted David Livingstone at Ujiji in modern day Tanzania;



* the pages in Stanley's diary for this date were torn out and Livingstone does not mention this phrase.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Tue 11 Nov 2014, 13:23

11 November 1918:



And today 11 November 2014 I'm pleased to report a good turnout at our village war memorial in rural France ... about 50 people, which represents some 20% of the current population and is about the same number as are listed on the memorial. Representatives were there from the gendarmerie, the fire brigade and the French equivalent of the British Legion, plus the local scout troop. A speech from the mayor, two minutes silence, and singing of the Marseillaise concluded the ceremony, before we all retired to the village hall for a reflective drink.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Tue 11 Nov 2014, 14:24

11th November 1918 - an armistice in "the war to end all wars" triggers civil war, class war, border wars, succession wars and bloody nationalist revolution in Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Finland, Russia, Ireland, Italy and Poland. And that's just in Europe.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Tue 11 Nov 2014, 17:24

Worth pointing out that the Armistice was NOT the end of hostilities - see the stories on this chap
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R%C3%BCdiger_von_der_Goltz
and
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johan_Pitka
and these guys
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Czechoslovak_Legion

These guys didn't learn of the Armistice till 14th Nov.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_African_Campaign_%28World_War_I%29
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Tue 11 Nov 2014, 22:47

Gil,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Czechoslovak_Legion

I did some research for a French language messageboard about the Czechoslovak Legion as there were also Belgians overthere and a French contingent of Marsouins
http://www.passion-histoire.net/viewtopic.php?f=48&t=7385&hilit=l%C3%A9gion+tch%C3%A8que
And also Brits, Americans and Japanese...
About the Belgians:
http://www.philatelicdatabase.com/postal-history/wwi-belgium-armoured-car-division-in-russia/
I have also a lot in French...

In English some photograph of the vehicles at the end of this article:
http://armoredcars-ww-one.blogspot.be/2011_11_01_archive.html
In fact in three years they did the voyage around the world...

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Wed 12 Nov 2014, 12:58

November 12th 1933

Hugh Gray, on a Sunday after church while ambling along the newly opened road that affords an unobstructed view out over the waters of Loch Ness, notices a disturbance amidst the waves which rouses both his curiosity and his photographic inclinations (he is fortuitously carrying his brownie camera with him). He says nothing until his photographs come back from the chemist, at which time he draws everyone's attention to one picture in particular.



This would be the first of many such images of the Loch Ness "Monster" snapped over the years - some blatant hoaxes, some cunning hoaxes, and some (like Gray's) that have never actually been confirmed either one way or the other, the photographers having long left this life along with the truth behind their efforts ...

(Hands up who can see the labrador swimming ashore with a stick in his mouth in Hugh's snapshot - and he had a labrador with him too!)
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Fri 14 Nov 2014, 08:40

November 14th 1940

An iconic image emerged from the devastation inflicted by the Luftwaffe on Coventry's ancient city centre, an onslaught that began at eight in the evening on the 14th and continued until around six o'clock the following morning as 500 tonnes of high explosives and 36,000 incendiary devices rained down on the medieval streets around St Michael's. The ruins of the cathedral after the entire building was destroyed by incendiary bombs became a symbol for the suffering and deprivation endured by many other cities whose hearts were ripped out of them by aerial bombing. The ruins stand to this day as a memorial to the city and people wiped out that night.



In Germany a gleeful Nazi high command adopted the term "Coventried" after the event when alluding to wholesale demolition of entire towns and cities. After the war Coventry, unsurprisingly, twinned itself with Dresden - a city whose own destruction had been partially motivated by Churchill's desire to "pay back" Germany for this November 1940 assault.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Fri 14 Nov 2014, 12:48

On this day in 1932 one of the greatest dilemmas facing friends and family in Britain, in the face of another approaching Christmas, was solved. The first book tokens were issued.

Was there ever a better present than a slim envelope containing a generous book token? All that anticipation followed by a trip into town to carefully select your purchases in the utter delight of a proper book shop. Sigh. New books, unread, crisp, smelling fresh and promising pleasure, do children today get the same thrill from a new app?
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Thu 20 Nov 2014, 13:46

On this day in 1917, at 6:20 in the morning, some 450 British Tanks attack, starting THE BATTLE OF CAMBRAI, the first real Tank Offensive in the history of warfare!

http://www.iwm.org.uk/history/the-battle-of-cambrai#
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Sat 22 Nov 2014, 17:00

Missed this one - should have been posted yesterday.
21st November, 1918 - German High Seas Fleet surrenders, and steams, under the watchful eye of the Royal Navy and the US Navy, to anchor in in the Firth of Forth, prior to being moved to Scapa Flow pending final peace terms being negotiated. Unfortunately, the Germans were not informed that the deadline for agreement had been postponed, and the fleet was scuttled - see
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scuttling_of_the_German_fleet_in_Scapa_Flow

For the fleet's final fate, take a look at http://www.naval-history.net/WW1z12aCox.htm
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Sun 23 Nov 2014, 05:50

This is late too:

20th November, 1948.  The takahe, (notornis, porphyria hochstetten) the world's largest rail thought to be extinct since only four of them had been seen in the 19th century and none in the 20th century, was rediscovered by doctor and tramper Geoffrey Orbell, and three youngsters who had joined his Jellicoe Sea Scout Troop.  The takahe were found in the Murchison Mountains in Fiordland, a very isolated area of New Zealand.  After the discovery the area was forbidden to anyone but a few scientists but when it was realised the birds were diminishing in number a big push was made to increase their numbers.  They are still critically endangered, but some have been taken to outlying islands with some success. There were 276 accounted for in 2013. 

One of the youngsters on the tramp was Rex Watson and his obituary was in yesterday's paper. He died two days after celebrating his 65th wedding anniversary with a cake and afternoon tea. He married the first Miss Southland who he met tramping in Fiordland and crowds came to watch the wedding of two celebrities. 

Once when I was on duty at our information a couple came in and insisted they had seen a takahe on the road into our town.  In vain did I try to convince them they had seen a pukeko, a common bird which is rather similar in looks.  They were certain they had seen a takahe.  "It was just like the pictures."  I had to give up.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Mon 24 Nov 2014, 12:24

A curious 24th November commemoration is to be found in Edinburgh.

Scotland's citizens might not (yet) be parking their Volvo Estates and Honda Civics on dead monarchs as their southern cousins have been known to do. But their fellow tendency to place knobs under carparks (or place carparks over knobs) should not be underestimated, as this picture taken round the back of St Giles Cathedral in the visitors' carpark (space number 23) will indicate:

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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Mon 24 Nov 2014, 17:15

I hope the space is reserved for women only.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Tue 25 Nov 2014, 08:47

@Priscilla wrote:
I hope the space is reserved for women only.

Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Mon 08 Dec 2014, 02:19

On this date in 1914, Graf Maximilian von Spee's East Asiatic Squadron decided to attack the Falkland Islands. only to find that, at the urging of Capt. Luce of the Glasgow, instead of his own more leisurely progress, Vice-admiral Sturdee's force had forestalled them by a day. Of the 5 German cruisers and three auxiliaries, only one light cruiser and a collier escaped - the light cruiser Dresden finally being tracked down and scuttled the following March.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Mon 08 Dec 2014, 10:22

December 8th 1813, Vienna.

Premiere of Beethoven's Symphony No. 7




(From the Wikipedia entry)
The work was premiered with Beethoven himself conducting in Vienna on 8 December 1813 at a charity concert for soldiers wounded in the Battle of Hanau. In Beethoven's address to the participants, the motives are openly named: "We are moved by nothing but pure patriotism and the joyful sacrifice of our powers for those who have sacrificed so much for us."

The program also included the patriotic work Wellington's Victory exalting the victory of the British over Napoleon's France. The orchestra was led by Beethoven's friend Ignaz Schuppanzigh and included some of the finest musicians of the day: violinist Louis Spohr, Johann Nepomuk Hummel, Giacomo Meyerbeer, Antonio Salieri, bassoonist Anton Romberg, and the Italian double bass virtuoso Domenico Dragonetti, whom Beethoven himself described as playing "with great fire and expressive power". It is also said that the Italian guitar virtuoso Mauro Giuliani played cello at the premiere.

The piece was very well received, and the second movement, the Allegretto, had to be encored immediately. Spohr made particular mention of Beethoven's antics on the rostrum ("as a sforzando occurred, he tore his arms with a great vehemence asunder ... at the entrance of a forte he jumped in the air"), and the concert was repeated due to its immense success.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Mon 08 Dec 2014, 11:47

8 December 1980;

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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Wed 17 Dec 2014, 10:07

17 December 1903; the Wright Brothers make the first aeroplane flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina:

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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Wed 17 Dec 2014, 11:53

25 years ago, the first full length Simpsons cartoon, Simpsons roasting on an open fire was screened.

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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Wed 17 Dec 2014, 17:46

@Triceratops wrote:
17 December 1903; the Wright Brothers make the first aeroplane flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina:



Don't tell the Brazilians! They contend that the launching ramp & trolley the Wrights used means that was not an "unassisted" flight, so doesn't count.

From wikimisleadia:

The first fixed-wing aircraft: The 14-bis versus the Wright Flyers



Mainstream aviation historians credit the Wright Brothers with the creation of the first successful heavier-than-air flying machine, able to take off under its own power and capable of sustained and controlled flight.
The Wrights used a launching rail for their 1903 flights and a launch catapult for their 1904 and 1905 machines, while the aircraft of Santos-Dumont and other Europeans had wheeled undercarriages. The Wright Brothers continued to use skids, which necessitated the use of a dolly running on a track for take-off. The Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, founded in France in 1905 to verify aviation records, stated among its rules that an aircraft should be able to take off under its own power in order to qualify for a record.

14-bis on an old postcard

Wristwatch

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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Wed 17 Dec 2014, 20:12

Yes, Gil I read now about the controversy.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santos-Dumont_14-bis
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alberto_Santos-Dumont


From the Wiki:
"Both aircraft made free, manned, powered flights. Authenticated written and photographic documentation by the Wrights shows that they made fixed-wing flights before Santos Dumont. Official records and motion picture documentation show that the 14-bis achieved unaided takeoff on wheels; Santos Dumont supporters claim that Flyer takeoffs were not unaided, although this is not the case with their first flights."

Kind regards and with esteem, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Fri 26 Dec 2014, 08:05

26th December 1943 - the Battle of the North Cape saw the sinking of the battleship (or battlecruiser if you prefer) Scharnhorst. Amongst the RN vessels which took part was HMS Belfast. http://www.iwm.org.uk/visits/hms-belfast/
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Thu 08 Jan 2015, 14:14

8 January 1935, Elvis Aaron Presley is born;

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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Mon 19 Jan 2015, 09:41

19 January 1915; the first Zeppelin raids on the U.K take place, with attacks on Great Yarmouth and Kings Lynn.



German propaganda postcard of the attack.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Mon 19 Jan 2015, 09:51

The postcard is a great find, Trike.

A bit different from the reality - the fatal bomb (10 fell in all) landed on St Peter's Plain in the town, and the victims, a spinster and a poor tailor, now have a blue plaque commemorating their dubious distinction as being the first citizens in Britain killed in an air raid.



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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Mon 19 Jan 2015, 09:55

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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Mon 19 Jan 2015, 10:11

I found this one too - a "then and now" image of one of the bombed premises in Great Yarmouth from the day after:

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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Thu 22 Jan 2015, 12:44

22 January 1879; the Battles of Isandlwana and Rorkes Drift during the Zulu War;

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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Fri 23 Jan 2015, 09:18

The events that began to unfold on January 23rd 1897 in Greenbrier County, West Virginia, USA led to one of the most remarkable cases and verdicts in the history of civil law, namely when a murderer was convicted based on the testimony of the ghost of his victim.

On that day a young errand boy found the body of Zona Heaster Shue at the foot of the stairs in her house. He raised the alarm and her husband, Erasmus (Edward) Stribbling Trout Shue, came immediately. Taking charge of events he carried his dead wife up to her bedroom, dressed her corpse in her Sunday finery with a veil over her face and sat by her until the local doctor came. The doc made a cursory assessment of Zona's body, speeded up in part by an increasingly agitated Edward who cradles his wife's head throughout and grew increasingly agitated. The cause of death, Doctor Knapp rather poetically noted on the death certificate, was "everlasting faint".

And so it might have remained if not for a remarkable turn of events that followed. Some weeks after Zona's death her mother, Mary Jane Heaster, claimed to have been visited by the ghost of her daughter over four successive nights. Zona's ghost on these occasions apparently demonstrated to her mother that she had been murdered, her neck broken, by swivelling her head so that it faced completely backwards. Mary Jane, armed with this rather startling revelation, marched down to local prosecutor John Preston and demanded her daughter be exhumed and re-examined.

Preston might already have heard rather less supernatural reports that had raised his suspicions anyway. Shue had buried his wife rather promptly by the local standards of the day, had padded her open coffin around her head (to help her rest easier) and tied a scarf around her neck (her favourite, he said). This, coupled with some other rather eccentrically energetic behaviour at the funeral, had puzzled the funeral guests. Given Mary Jane's allegation and dissatisfied with the doctor's vague cause of death cited on her cert Preston went to visit Knapp. Between them they agreed that maybe a second look might be worthwhile.

After exhumation an autopsy was performed (Shue obliged to be present by law). In it extensive damage to the neck vertebrae, trachea and muscle tissue was immediately discovered and Shue was arrested on the spot. At the trial the prosecution steered clear of the more supernatural events that had led them to pursue their case against Shue. However the defence had no such qualms and in their interrogation of Mary Jane Heaster they attempted to discredit her testimony by focussing on her bizarre claims. Heaster remained consistent and calm throughout however and her testimony, delivered under cross examination over days, simply highlighted this aspect to an already newsworthy case. At the end of the trial therefore the judge admitted problems when directing the jury regarding this testimony. There was no doubting the mother's honest belief in what she claimed to have seen and that this was indeed instrumental in bringing an injustice to light. The jury members it seems didn't share the judge's reticence and regarded Zona's ghost's related testimony as self-evidently relevant to the case and damning for the accused. Shue was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.

A hastily assembled lynch mob attempted to exact more immediate and permanent retribution on Shue as he was led from the court but they were foiled by the police. He was to live only another few years in captivity however, dying from an unspecified disease.

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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Fri 23 Jan 2015, 10:06

Interesting - and the sign above an elegant precis of events - my keyboard declines accents.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Fri 23 Jan 2015, 19:07

Nordmann,

you with your logical intellect, will admit I suppose that the mother had had already some hints about the circumstances and used a trick to force the exhumation? Thus just some manipulation of a gullible public?

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Fri 23 Jan 2015, 21:00

Mary Jane obviously reckoned it would impress the prosecutor Preston, but Preston seems to have suggested afterwards that he was already hearing enough rumours to have re-opened the investigation. I am not sure about the legalities of exhumation in 19th century West Virginia but there could well have been a proviso that a next of kin required to give access for a quick processing of the autopsy and that Mary Jane's story was designed to convince the authorities of unresolved mental anguish if permission was not promptly granted. The ghost aspect would never have been remembered at all, it seems, if Shue's defence attorney hadn't latched onto it as a means of discrediting the case. Given the other circumstantial evidence surrounding Shue, and there was quite a lot of it, their desperation might be understandable. It definitely seems to have been instrumental in letting him avoid the death penalty, a much more common punishment at the time for such crimes.
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PostSubject: Re: On this day in history   Fri 23 Jan 2015, 21:05

Paul : I think you may have hit the nail on the head - although there could be a touch more to the story, if Mama had severe suspicions (possibly based on what the victim had told her of the marital relationship) could that not have triggered repeated dreams on the subject?
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