26 April 2007

This day in history: 26 Apr

1607: English colonists, en route to found the Jamestown settlement, made landfall at Cape Henry, Virginia.

1805: Meriwether Lewis and William Clark reached the mouth of the Yellowstone River, in what is now western North Dakota.

1865: John Wilkes Booth was killed by Union soldiers led by Lieutenant Edward Doherty, 16th New York Cavalry Regiment.

1915: Second Lieutenant William Rhodes-Moorhouse, 2 Squadron Royal Flying Corps, set off on a bombing mission against the German-held rail junction at Courtrai, Belgium. His approach took him through heavy ground-fire; his aircraft was badly damaged, and he suffered a severe wound in the thigh, but made a successful bombing run. He managed to fly back to base and insisted on making his report before receiving medical treatment. He died of his wounds the next day. His posthumous Victoria Cross was the first VC awarded for air action. Five other men - two in Belgium, three at Gallipoli - also were awarded the VC for their actions that day.

1933: The Geheime Staatspolizei (Gestapo) was established.

1937: Guernica, Spain was bombed by the German Luftwaffe.

1962: Ranger 4, which had been launched from Cape Canaveral on 23 April, crash-landed on the Moon.

1964: The nations of Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged to form Tanzania.

1986: A nuclear reactor accident occurred at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, in the Ukraine*.

In addition to Booth (1838-1865), Ludwig Freiherr von der Tann (1815-1881), Gypsy Rose Lee (1911/1914–1970), Irene Ryan (1902–1973), "Count" Basie (1904–1984), Broderick Crawford (1911-1986), Lucille Ball (1911–1989) and Maria Schell (1926-2005) died on this date.

And happy birthday to Marie de' Medici (1573–1642), Esek Hopkins (1718–1802), Emma, Lady Hamilton (1765–1815), John James Audubon (1785–1851), Frederick Law Olmsted (1822–1903), Rudolf Hess (1894–1987), Ernst Udet (1896–1941), A E van Vogt (1912–2000), Lilian Rolfe (1914-1945), Carol Burnett (1933-TBD), Jet Li (1963-TBD) and Jessica Lynch (1983-TBD).

* Yes, I know - it's officially "Ukraine," not "the Ukraine." So sue me.

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