24 May 2008

This day in history: 24 May

1487: Ten-year-old Lambert Simnel was crowned in Dublin as King Edward VI.

1830: Passenger service began on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O), on a 13-mile stretch of track between Baltimore and Ellicott's Mills.

1861: US forces occupied the city of Alexandria, Virginia. Colonel Elmer E Ellsworth, 11th New York Volunteer Infantry, noticed a Confederate flag flying above the Marshall House Inn, and went up the stairs with four other men to cut down the flag. He was on the way down the stairs when the inn's owner, James W Jackson, killed him with a shotgun blast to the chest. Corporal Francis Brownell immediately killed the innkeeper. Brownell was awarded the Medal of Honor.

1883: After 14 years of construction, the Brooklyn Bridge, in New York City, was opened to traffic.

1930: Amy Johnson, who had taken off from Croydon on 5 May, landed her De Havilland Gipsy Moth in Darwin, Northern Territory, becoming the first woman to fly from England to Australia.

1941: Battlecruiser HMS Hood was sunk eleven minutes into a battle with German ships Bismarck and Prinz Eugen; there were only three survivors from Hood's crew of 1418.

1962: Astronaut Scott Carpenter, in the space capsule Aurora 7, made three orbits of the Earth, in just under five hours.

1975: Soyuz 18 was launched from Baikonur, carrying cosmonauts Pyotr Ilyich Klimuk and Vitali Ivanovich Sevastyanov to the Salyut 4 space station. They remained in orbit for 63 days, returning to Earth on 26 July.

In addition to Col Ellsworth (1837-1861), David I Sanctus, King of Scotland (ca 1084-1153), Nicolaus Copernicus (1473–1543), George Rodney, 1st Baron Rodney, KB (1719–1792), Vice Admiral Lancelot Holland CB (1887-1941), Robert Ritter von Greim (1892–1945), Archibald Wavell, 1st Earl Wavell, GCB GCSI GCIE CMG MC PC (1883–1950) and "Duke" Ellington (1899–1974) died on this date.

And happy birthday to Gabriel Fahrenheit (1686–1736), Queen Victoria of England(1819–1901), Jan Christiaan Smuts OM CH PC ED KC FRS (1870–1950), H B Reese (1879—1956), Edward "Mick" Mannock VC DSO** MC* (1887–1918), Bob Dylan (1941-TBD), Gary Burghoff (1940-TBD) and Rosanne Cash (1955-TBD).

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