09 August 2007

This day in history: 9 Aug

48 BC: G Iulius Caesar defeated Gn Pompeius Magnus at Pharsalus, Greece.

378: A Roman army led by Emperor Valens was defeated by the Visigoths at Adrianople (modern-day Edirne, in present-day Turkey). Valens and two-thirds of his army were killed.

1173: Construction began on the campanile at Pisa, Italy. After a few pauses, it was finally completed in 1360.

1483: The first mass was celebrated in the Sistine Chapel. (The famous ceiling paintings by Michelangelo were done during the period 1508-1512.)

1842: The Webster-Ashburton Treaty, establishing the United States-Canada border east of the Rocky Mountains, was signed.

1862: Confederate General Thomas J Jackson narrowly defeated Union forces under General John Pope at Cedar Mountain, Virginia. After a regimental colour-bearer was killed, Captain George W Corliss, C Company, 5th Connecticut Infantry, seized his fallen flag and carried it forward in the face of a severe fire. Though he himself was also shot down, permanently disabled, he planted the staff in the earth and kept the flag flying. Corliss was awarded the Medal of Honor.

1877: US forces commanded by Colonel John Gibbon defeated Nez Percé Indians, led by chiefs Joseph and Looking Glass, at the Big Hole River in Montana. Five members of the 7th US Infantry and one from the 2nd US Cavalry were awarded the Medal of Honor for their actions during the battle.

1902: Edward VII, who had been King of the United Kingdom since his mother's death in January, 1901, was crowned in Westminster Abbey. (The coronation had originally been scheduled for 26 June, but was postponed due to the king's appendicectomy.)

1936: Track star Jesse Owens became the first American to win four medals in one Olympic Games.

1942: A Japanese force consisting of five heavy cruisers (Chokai, Aoba, Furutaka, Kako and Kinugasa), two light cruisers (Tenryu and Yubari) and one destroyer (Yunagi), commanded by Vice Admiral Gunichi Mikawa, entered the waters near Savo Island (off Guadalcanal). The Allied warships present - cruisers USS Vincennes (CA 44), USS Astoria (CA 34), USS Quincy (CA 39), HMAS Australia (D84)*, HMAS Canberra (D33) and USS Chicago (CA 29), and destroyers USS Helm (DD 388), USS Wilson (DD 408), USS Patterson (DD 392), USS Bagley (DD 386), USS Ralph Talbot (DD 390) and USS Blue (DD 387), under the command of Rear Admiral Victor Crutchley VC DSC, RN - were taken completely by surprise. The Japanese torpedoes and gunfire proved extremely effective; Quincy, Vincennes, Canberra and Astoria were sunk, and Chicago, Patterson and Ralph Talbot were damaged, with a loss of 1077 men. The Japanese had three ships (Chokai, Tenryu and Kinugasa) damaged, and lost 58 men.

1945: Some 40,000 people were killed when an atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan.
That same day, aircraft from HMS Formidable attacked Japanese ships in Onagawa Wan, near Tokyo. Lieutenant Robert Hampton Gray DSC, RCNVR, flying a Chance-Vought Corsair from HMS Formidable, was hit by anti-aircraft fire. Despite being wounded, and his plane's being in flames, he pressed his attack, sinking the escort ship Amakusa, before crashing into the bay. Gray was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross.

1969: Sharon Tate, Abigail Folger, Wojciech Frykowski, Jay Sebring and Steven Parent were murdered in Los Angeles by followers of Charles Manson.

1974: President Richard Nixon resigned from office, making Gerald Ford the only US president who was not elected to the office of either president or vice-president.

In addition to Fl Iulius Valens (c 328–378), Lieut Gray (1917-1945), and Sharon Tate (1943-1969) and her fellow victims, Sir Frank Whittle OM KBE FRS (1907–1996), Gregory Hines (1946–2003) and James Van Allen (1914–2006) died on this date.

And happy birthday to Izaak Walton (1593-1683), Amedeo Avogadro (1776–1856), William Barret Travis (1809–1836), Pamela L Travers OBE (1899–1996), Tove Jansson (1914–2001), Robert Shaw (1927–1978), Sam Elliott (1944-TBD) and Gillian Anderson (1968-TBD).

* HMAS Australia survived the Battle of Savo Island, but has the distinction of being believed to have been the first ship damaged by a kamikaze attack, and to be the ship hit the most times by kamikazes.

1 comment:

Mega Munch said...

Pompeius Magnus was a wimp.