28 April 2007

This day in history: 28 Apr

1192: Conrad of Montferrat, King of Jerusalem, was assassinated.

1788: Maryland became the seventh state to ratify the US Constitution.

1789: Mutineers led by Fletcher Christian took over HMAV Bounty; its captain, Lieutenant William Bligh, and 18 others were set adrift in a ship's longboat.*

1862: American forces commanded by Admiral David Farragut captured Forts Jackson and St Philip, south of New Orleans.

1917: Near St Quentin, France, CSM Edward Brooks, Ox & Bucks Light Infantry, rescued a British attack which had been pinned down by a German machine-gun. His single-handed attack succeeded in killing or driving away the gun's crew, after which he turned the captured weapon on the neighbouring German defences and secured the success of the British raid. Elsewhere on the Western Front, when the Germans launched heavy attacks on British troops in an exposed position, 20-year-old Second Lieutenant Reginald Haine, Honourable Artillery Company, organised a succession of counter-attacks on a German position; his efforts led to the capture of the German position, fifty prisoners and two machine guns. Brooks and Haine were both awarded the Victoria Cross.

1943: A Company, 6th Armored Infantry, 1st Armored Division, was advancing in the vicinity of MedjezelBab, Tunisia, when they were held up by flanking fire from an enemy machinegun nest. Pvt Nicholas Minue, acting alone, charged the enemy position with fixed bayonet, killing approximately 10 enemy machinegunners and riflemen. After destroying this position, Pvt Minue continued forward, routing enemy riflemen until he was fatally wounded. Minue was awarded the Medal of Honor.

1945: Benito Mussolini and his mistress, Clara Petacci, were executed by members of the Italian resistance movement.

1947: Thor Heyerdahl and five others set sail from Peru on the Kon-Tiki, bound for Polynesia.

1967: Expo 67 opened in Montreal, Quebec.

1986: USS Enterprise (CVN 65) became the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to transit the Suez Canal.

2001: Millionaire Dennis Tito became the world's first space tourist, launching from Baikonur on Soyuz TM-32.

2006: Olav Heyerdahl (Thor's grandson) and five others set sail from Peru on the Tangaroa, bound for Tahiti.

Besides Conrad (1140s–1192), Mussolini (1883-1945) and Petacci (1912-1945), Henry Percy, 4th Earl of Northumberland (c. 1449–1489), Prince Mikhail Illarionovich Golenishchev-Kutuzov (1745—1813) and Rory Calhoun (1922-1999) died on this date.

And happy birthday to King Edward IV (1442–1483), President James Monroe (1758–1831), Lionel Barrymore (1878–1954), Jan Oort (1900–1992), Kurt Gödel (1906–1978), Oskar Schindler (1908–1974), Odette Sansom GC MBE (1912-1995), Ferruccio Lamborghini (1916-1993), William J. Guarnere (1922-TBD), Ann-Margret (1941-TBD), Alice Waters (1944-TBD), Terence Pratchett OBE (1948-TBD) and Jay Leno (1950-TBD).

* The photo shows the replica built in 1978 for the Mel Gibson film The Bounty.

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