10 September 2007

This day in history: 10 Sep

1419: John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy, was assassinated by followers of the Dauphin, the future Charles VII of France.

1608: Captain John Smith was elected council president of Jamestown, Virginia.

1813: A US squadron under Master Commandant Oliver Hazard Perry defeated the British, commanded by Commander Robert Heriot Barclay, at the Battle of Lake Erie.

1898: Empress Elisabeth of Austria was assassinated by Italian anarchist Luigi Lucheni.

1918: At Kefr Kasim, Palestine, a British patrol from 1st/5th Battalion The Bedfordshire Regiment was ambushed by Ottoman forces, suffering heavy casualties. A group of some forty Turks then closed in to complete the patrol's destruction. Private Samuel Needham ran out alone to confront this fresh force, and held them off in a firefight at a range of only thirty yards. This action allowed the surviving members of the patrol to extricate themselves, taking all their wounded with them. Needham was awarded the Victoria Cross.

1919: Austria and the Allies signed the Treaty of Saint-Germain, which amongst other things established between the opposing sides and recognised the independence of Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia.

1939: HMS Oxley (Lieut Cmdr H G Bowerman, RN) was sunk by mistake by HMS Triton (Lieut Cmdr H P DeC Steele, RN) off the coast of Norway - the Royal Navy's first loss of World War II.

That same day, Canada declared war on Germany.

1942: British forces carried out an amphibious landing at Majunga, in Vichy-held northwestern Madagascar, as part of the Madagascar Campaign.

1945: Vidkun Quisling was sentenced to death for collaboration with Nazi Germany. The sentence was carried out by firing squad on 24 October 1945.

1950: 16th Reconnaissance Company, 1st Cavalry Division, attacking an enemy-held hill near Kasan, Korea, came under intense grenade, mortar and small-arms fire. Corporal Gordon M Craig, with four other men, moved forward to eliminate an enemy machine-gun nest. When an enemy machine gunner hurled a hand grenade at the advancing men, Craig threw himself on the grenade and smothered its burst with his body. Craig was awarded a posthumous Medal of Honor.

1967: The people of Gibraltar voted 12,138 to 44 to remain a British dependency, rather than becoming part of Spain.

1977: Hamida Djandoubi, convicted for torture and murder, was executed at Baumettes Prison in Marseille - the last execution by guillotine in France.

In addition to John the Fearless (1371-1419), Empress Elisabeth (1837-1898) and Gordon Craig (1929-1950), the Empress Matilda (1101–1167), Henry II of Champagne (1166–1197), Sir Richard Grenville (1542–1591), Jason Fairbanks (1780–1801) and Tāufa'āhau Tupou IV of Tonga (1918–2006) died on this date.

And happy birthday to Don Alonso Pérez de Guzmán el Bueno, 7th Duke of Medina Sidonia (1550-1615), Henry Purcell (1659–1695), Jacques Boucher de Crèvecœur de Perthes (1788–1868), Joseph Wheeler (1836–1906), Maria de Jesus (1893-TBD), Robert Wise (1914–2005), Charles Kuralt (1934–1997), Stephen Jay Gould (1941–2002), Christopher Hogwood CBE (1941-TBD) and Colin Firth (1960-TBD).

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