25 November 2007

This day in history: 25 Nov

1120: William Atheling, the only legitimate son of King Henry I of England, drowned after the White Ship sank in the English Channel.

1177: A Crusader army led by Baldwin IV of Jerusalem and Raynald of Chatillon defeated Saladin at the Battle of Montgisard.

1542: English forces under Sir Thomas Wharton defeated the Scots at the Battle of Solway Moss.

1809: Sir Benjamin Bathurst walked around the horses.

1863: Braxton Bragg's Army of Tennessee was defeated by Union forces led by General George Thomas at Missionary Ridge, near Chattanooga, Tennessee. During the battle, First Lieutenant Arthur MacArthur Jr, 24th Wisconsin Infantry, seized the colors of his regiment at a critical moment and planted them on the captured works on the crest of the ridge. MacArthur and 14 others were awarded the Medal of Honor for their actions this day.

1876: A Cheyenne village at Bates Creek, near the Powder River, was attacked and destroyed by US forces under Col Ranald Mackenzie. First Sergeant Thomas H Forsyth, M Troop, 4th US Cavalry, though dangerously wounded, held his position with a small party against a largely superior force, and rescued his wounded commanding officer and another trooper from the enemy. Forsyth was awarded the Medal of Honor.

1940: The De Havilland DH98 Mosquito prototype made its first flight.

1941: Battleship HMS Barham (Capt Geoffrey C Cooke) sank off the North African coast after being hit by three torpedoes from U 331 (Kptlt Hans-Diedrich Freiherr von Tiesenhausen). 841 men were lost, out of some 1250 on board.

That same day, near Tobruk, Captain James J B Jackman, commanding a motorised machine-gun company of the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers, led his company to ease the situation on the British right flank. Then, standing up in his vehicle, he led the trucks across the front - between the opposing tanks - into action on the left flank. He was killed in action the following day, but was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross.

1950: "The Great Appalachian Storm," a snowstorm which dumped up to 62 inches of snow on the Appalachians and the northeastern US, began.

In addition to William (1104-1120), Andrea Doria (1468-1560), Theobald Boehm (1794-1881), Hazel Ying Lee (1912-1944), U Thant (1909-1974) and Flip Wilson (1933-1998) died on this date.

And happy birthday to Piet Hein (1577-1629), Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919), Karl Benz (1844-1929), Carrie Nation (1846-1911), Ricardo Montalban (1920-TBD), Poul Anderson (1926-2001), Ben Stein (1944-TBD) and John Kennedy Jr (1960-1999).

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