24 June 2007

This day in history: 24 Jun

1314: Scottish forces led by Robert the Bruce defeated Edward II of England in the second day of the Battle of Bannockburn.

1340: The French fleet was almost totally destroyed by the English Fleet, commanded in person by Edward III of England, at the Battle of Sluys.

1497: John Cabot landed in Labrador.
That same day, Cornish traitors Michael An Gof and Thomas Flamank were executed at Tyburn, London.

1509: Henry VIII, who had been king since the death of his father on 22 April, and Catherine of Aragon were crowned King and Queen of England.

1535: The Anabaptist Kingdom of Münster was conquered and disbanded.

1813: After being warned by Laura Secord, British soldiers (Lieutenant James Fitzgibbon) and their Mohawk allies defeated US invaders (Colonel Charles Boerstler, 14th US Infantry) at the Battle of Beaver Dams, near Thorold, Ontario.

1821: South American independence fighters, led by Simón Bolívar, defeated royalist forces in the Battle of Carabobo, Venezuela - the decisive battle in Venezuela's war for independence from Spain.

1859: Sardinia and France defeated Austria in the Battle of Solferino (the Battle of the Three Sovereigns), in northern Italy. Swiss businessman Jean-Henri Dunant, who witnessed the battle in person, was motivated by the suffering of wounded soldiers left on the battlefield to begin a campaign that would eventually result in the Geneva Conventions and the establishment of the International Red Cross.

1898: At Las Guasimas, Cuba, Assistant Surgeon James R Church, 1st US Volunteer Cavalry (the "Rough Riders"), voluntarily and unaided carried several seriously wounded men from the firing line to a secure position in the rear, despite very heavy enemy fire. Church was awarded the Medal of Honor.

1902: Sir Frederick Treves CB KCVO performed an appendicectomy on King Edward VII of the United Kingdom. The King survived, but his coronation, scheduled for 26 June, had to be delayed until 9 August.

1916: The Battle of the Somme began with the start of a week-long artillery bombardment on the German lines.

1948: The Berlin Blockade began.

1983: Space Shuttle Challenger, launched from Cape Canaveral on 18 June as mission STS-7 (R L Crippen, F H Hauck, J M Fabian, S K Ride and N E Thagard), landed at Edwards AFB, California.

Lucrezia Borgia (1480-1519), Thomas McKean (1734–1817), President Grover Cleveland* (1837–1908), Jackie Gleason (1916-1987), Brian Keith (1921–1997), Vera Atkins (1908-2000) and Paul Winchell (1922–2005) died on this date.

And happy birthday to Sir John Ross CB (1777–1856), Ambrose Bierce (1842–1914?), Field Marshal Horatio Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener, KG KP GCB OM GCSI GCMG GCIE (1850–1916), Phil Harris (1904-1995), Pearl Cornioley CBE (1914-TBD), Sir Frederick Hoyle (1915–2001), Lawrence Block (1938-TBD), Ellison Onizuka (1946-1986), Mercedes Lackey (1950-TBD) and Craig Shergold (1979-TBD).

* Quick - without looking, what was Grover Cleveland's middle name?

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