18 April 2007

This day in history: 18 Apr

1775: "One if by land and two if by sea...." Two lanterns were hung in the steeple of the Old North Church in Boston, Massachusetts; Paul Revere, William Dawes and Samuel Prescott rode to warn of the impending arrests of Samuel Adams and John Hancock.

1899: St. Andrew's Ambulance Association was granted a Royal Charter by Queen Victoria.

1906: An earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 7.9 destroyed much of San Francisco, California.

1915: French fighter pilot Roland Garros was shot down and captured by the Germans.

1942: Sixteen B-25B Mitchell bombers, led by Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy Doolittle and launched from the carrier USS Hornet (CV 8), bombed Tokyo. The raid actually did little material damage, but it boosted American morale and caused the Japanese to recall some fighters for homeland defence.

1943: US P-38G Lightning fighters, flying a mission called Operation PEACOCK, shot down a Mitsubishi G4M1 "Betty" bomber carrying Fleet Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto over Bougainville, in the Solomon Islands. 1st Lt Rex T. Barber, USAAC, is credited with the kill, though Capt Thomas G. Lanphier Jr also claimed it.

1946: The League of Nations was dissolved and its assets were transferred to the United Nations.

1983: 63 people were killed when a suicide bomber destroyed the United States embassy in Beirut, Lebanon.

In addition to Admiral Yamamoto (1884-1943), Erasmus Darwin (1731–1802), Ernie Pyle (1900–1945), Albert Einstein (1879–1955) and Thor Heyerdahl (1914-2002) died on this date.

And happy birthday to Lucrezia Borgia (1480-1519), Franz von Suppé (1819–1895), Clarence Darrow (1857-1938), Leopold Stokowski (1882–1977), Pigmeat Markham (1904-1981), Hayley Mills (1946-TBD) and Rick Moranis (1953-TBD)

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