19 December 2007

This day in history: 19 Dec

1154: Henry II of England was crowned at Westminster Abbey.

1606: Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery, commanded by Christopher Newport, departed England carrying settlers who would found the first permanent English colony in North America, at Jamestown, Virginia.

1899: At San Mateo, in the Philippine Islands, after scouts were unable to locate a ford, Sergeant Edward H Gibson and Corporal Antoine A Gaujot, Company M, 27th Infantry, US Volunteers, attempted to swim across a river under heavy fire in order to obtain a canoe. Both men were awarded the Medal of Honor.

1914: Near Neuve Chapelle, France, Lieutenant Philip Neame, Royal Engineers, held back attacking Germans for three-quarters of an hour, despite their heavy rifle fire and grenades, until all British wounded who could be moved had been withdrawn. Neame was awarded the Victoria Cross.*

1972: Apollo 17 (Eugene Cernan, Ronald Evans and Harrison Schmitt), the last - and longest - manned lunar mission, returned to Earth.

1974: Nelson A Rockefeller - the second US Vice President not elected to that office - was sworn in as the 41st Vice President, under President Gerald Ford.

1998: The US House of Representatives forwarded articles I and III of impeachment against President Bill Clinton to the Senate.

Vitus Bering (1681-1741), Alois Alzheimer (1864-1915), Hans Langsdorff (1894-1939), Desmond Llewellyn (1913/14-1999) and Hope Lange (1933-2003) died on this date.

And happy birthday to Édith Piaf (1915-1963), Al Kaline** (1934-TBD), Richard Leakey (1944-TBD), Zal Yanovsky (1945-2002) and Robert Urich (1946-2002).

* Ten years later, in Paris, Neame - shooting in the team 100m running-deer (double shots) event - became the only person to hold both the Victoria Cross and an Olympic gold medal.

** When I was in fifth grade - the last year I had any interest in baseball - Al Kaline was The Man. And this is probably the only mention of baseball you will ever see in this blog.

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