24 January 2008

This day in history: 24 Jan

1679: The Cavalier Parliament, sitting since 8 May 1661, was dissolved by Charles II.

1848: James W Marshall found gold at Sutter's Mill, near Sacramento, California.

1865: Captain Hugh Shaw, 18th Regiment, was ordered to occupy a forward position about a half mile from camp near Nukumaru, New Zealand. After two men were wounded in an attack by the Maoris, Shaw ordered a withdrawal to a palisade about sixty yards from the enemy. One of the wounded, however, was unable to move, and Shaw, with four privates, advanced under heavy fire to within thirty yards of the enemy to rescue him. Shaw was awarded the Victoria Cross.

1945: C Company, 161st Infantry, 25th Infantry Division, encountered intense enemy fire whilst crossing an open field near San Manuel, on Luzon, and was ordered to withdraw to cover. Technician 4th Grade Laverne Parrish, a medic, was treating the casualties when he noticed two men still lying in the field. He crawled out into the field twice, to rescue both men, then made several more trips to tend to other casualties, bringing three more of them back to cover, ignoring enemy fire. He managed to tend to almost all of the company's 37 casualties before being hit by mortar fire and killed. Parrish was awarded the Medal of Honor.

1972: Sgt Shoichi Yokoi was found hiding in the jungle on Guam, where he had been since the end of World War II.

1986: Voyager 2, launched on 20 August 1977, passed within 50,680 miles (81,500 km) of Uranus. It would continue on to a flyby of Neptune in 1989, and then head out into interstellar space.

C Caesar Augustus Germanicus (12-41), Ira Hayes (1923–1955), Elsa (1956-1961), Sir Winston Churchill KG OM CH TD FRS (1874–1965), Bill Wilson (1895-1971), Larry Fine (1902–1975) and L Ron Hubbard (1911–1986) died on this date.

And happy birthday to P Aelius Hadrianus (76–138), Frederick II the Great (1712–1786), Ernst Heinkel (1888–1958), Ernest Borgnine (1917-TBD), Desmond Morris (1928-TBD), Doug Kershaw (1936-TBD), Ray Stevens (1939-TBD), Neil Diamond (1941-TBD) and Mary Lou Retton (1968-TBD).

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