12 November 2007

This day in history: 12 Nov

1857: Lieutenant Hugh H Gough, 1st Bengal European Light Cavalry, charged across a swamp at Alumbagh, India. His horse was wounded twice, and Gough received several sword cuts through his turban, but he succeeded in capturing two well-guarded enemy guns. Gough was awarded the Victoria Cross for this and for his actions at Jellalabad on 25 Feb 1858.

1912: The bodies of Capt Robert Falcon Scott, Dr Edward Wilson and Lt Henry Bowers, who had died on 29 Mar 1912, were found on the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica.

1944: Technical Sergeant Forrest E Everhart, 359th Infantry, 90th Infantry Division, was a platoon leader when German forces attacked his position near Kerling, France, before dawn. When German armour penetrated his left flank and infantry threatened to overrun the remaining machine gun in that section, he ran 400 yards through woods, under intense artillery and mortar fire, to strengthen the defence. With the remaining gunner, he directed fire into the advancing troops until they came close. He then left the gun, charged the attackers and, after a 15-minute exchange of hand grenades, forced them to withdraw, leaving 30 dead behind. He then re-crossed the fire-swept terrain to his threatened right flank and directed fire from the single machine gun at that position. He again closed with the enemy in a hand-grenade duel and, after a 30-minute battle, forced the Germans to withdraw, leaving another 20 dead. Everhart was awarded the Medal of Honor.

That same day, Lancaster bombers from 617 and 9 Squadrons, RAF, sank the German battleship Tirpitz in Tromsö fjord.

1948: General Hideki Tojo, former prime minister of Japan, and six other Japanese officials were sentenced to death for war crimes.

1970: The Oregon Highway Division blew up a whale.

1980: Voyager 1 made its closest approach to Saturn.

1981: Space Shuttle Columbia (mission STS-2) was launched from Cape Canaveral. On board were commander Joseph H. Engle and pilot Richard H Truly. This was the first spaceflight for both Engle* and Truly, and the second for Columbia - the first manned spacecraft to make a second flight.

1996: 349 people were killed when a Saudi Arabian Airlines Boeing 747-100 collided in midair with an Ilyushin 76, near New Delhi, India.

The Hill Valley lightning storm in the movie Back to the Future took place on 12 November 1955.

King Canute the Great (ca 995-1035), Sir John Hawkins (1532-1595), Percival Lowell (1855–1916) and Penny Singleton (1908-2003) died on this date.

And happy birthday to Louis-Antoine, Comte de Bougainville (1729-1811), Gerhard von Scharnhorst (1755-1813), Maximilian Reichsfreiherr von Weichs zu Glon (1881-1954), Jo Stafford (1917-TBD), Grace Kelly (1929-1982), Brian Hyland (1943-TBD) and Nadia Comaneci (1961-TBD).

* Though Engle had earlier made three X-15 flights which carried him above 50 miles, the altitude at which astronaut wings are earned.

1 comment:

Mega Munch said...

Happy Veteran's Day, James. That tidbit about the Tromso fjord reminded me of my own visit to Tromso on 719 (twice). Still one of my favorite port calls.