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Author Topic: This Day In 'Boating' History  (Read 179665 times)


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Re: This Day In 'Boating' History
« Reply #300 on: April 28, 2013, 10:58:03 pm »

April 28th, 1982

His Royal Higness The Duke of Edinburgh presented the Design Council Award to Mr. P. Denham Christie, Chairman of the RNLI Boat committee and Lt. Cdr. H. E. Over, Chief Technical Officer of the RNLI for 'the excellence of design of the Arun class lifeboat'.

By the end of summer 1981, Arun lifeboats had been at sea on service for more than 3000 hours, rescuing 455 people and landing 256. Although rescues had been performed in winds up to hurricane force and tremendous seas, no Arun has capsized and no crew member lost or seriously disabled. Three services for which gold medals had been awarded had been carried out aboard Aruns. By the time the last left service in 2009, three gold, six silver and twenty bronze medals have been awarded to Arun crews. Their safety record remained perfect.



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This Day In 'Boating' History - April 29th
« Reply #301 on: April 29, 2013, 07:48:01 pm »

April 29th

1483: After more than a century of European (French, Portuguese, etc) incursions and attempts at conquest, Gran Canaria, the main island of the Canary islands, was conquered on 9th April 1483, following a 5-year campaign by the Kingdom of Castile, with the support of Queen Isabella I. The conquest would turn out to be an important step towards the expansion of the unified Spain.

1587: At dusk, an English fleet under the command of Sir Francis Drake, entered the Bay of Cádiz. As they did so, there were sixty carracks (naus) and various smaller boats in the port. Further sightings revealed twenty French ships in the bay, and other smaller vessels seeking refuge in Port Royal and Port Saint Mary, which were protected by sand banks.
Spanish galleons sailed out to meet the English expedition fleet but were forced to retire back to Cádiz before the superiority of the English. Gun positions on the shore opened fire on the English fleet with little effect, but did manage to repulse an attempted landing by launches at El Puntal.

The battle in the bay raged until dawn on the 1st May when the English withdrew, having destroyed up to 33 Spanish ships, with a combined weight of 10,000 tons. Furthermore, they had captured four other ships, laden with provisions.

The incident became known by Drake's phrase, “Singeing the beard of the King of Spain”.

During the next month, Drake patrolled the Iberian coasts between Lisbon and Cape St. Vincent, intercepting and destroying ships on the Spanish supply lines. Drake estimated that he captured around 1600 -1700 tons of barrel staves, enough to make 25,000 to 30,000 barrels for containing provisions. The damage caused by the English delayed Spanish plans to invade England by more than a year.

1770: Captain James Cook and some members of his crew made their first landfall on the mainland of Australia, at a place now known as the Kurnell Peninsula. Cook originally christened the area as 'Stingray Bay', but he later crossed it out and named it Botany Bay after the unique specimens retrieved by the botanists Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander. It is here that James Cook would makde first contact with an Aboriginal tribe known as the Gweagal.

Captain Cook's Landing at Botany Bay, 1770.

1781: British and French ships clash in the Battle of Fort Royal off the coast of Martinique in the West Indies during the American War of Independence, between fleets of the British Royal Navy and the French Navy. After an engagement lasting four hours, the British squadron under Sir Samuel Hood broke off and retreated. De Grasse offered a desultory chase before seeing the French convoys safely to port.

1893: The British racing yacht 'Valkyrie II' is launched on the River Clyde, Scotland. The gaff-rigged cutter was designed by George Lennox Watson and built alongside H.M.Y. 'Britannia' at the D&W Henderson shipyard, Meadowside, Partick, Scotland, for owner Lord Dunraven of the Royal Yacht Squadron. She sailed to the U.S. that October to compete in the eighth America's Cup.

Racing Yacht ' Valkyrie 11'.

1945: H.M.S. 'Goodall' (K479) is torpedoed by German submarine U-286 outside the Kola Inlet, to  become the last ship of the Royal Navy sunk in the European theatre of World War 2.
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Re: This Day In 'Boating' History
« Reply #302 on: April 29, 2013, 11:06:11 pm »

Monday, 29th April 1940   'HM Submarine Unity' sank after a collision with 'SS Atle Jarl' off Blyth at 55°13'30"N - 01°19'00"W. Four of her crew were killed.
 Tuesday, 29th April 1941   'SS Kalua' (722t) was attacked and sunk by enemy aircraft off the Tyne, ˝ a mile NNE of the T2 Buoy at 55°00'02"N - 01°17'34"W.


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This Day In 'Boating' History - April 30th
« Reply #303 on: April 30, 2013, 03:39:42 pm »

April 30th...

1940: Shortly after lunch-time on the afternoon of 30th April, the inhabitants of Greenock, Scotland were startled by a loud explosion, the blast from which shattered hundreds of windows along the water-front, and shook houses for miles around.
The explosion occurred aboard the French destroyer 'Maillé Brézé' lying at anchor, about half-a-mile off the town, when her aft-facing torpedo tube malfunctioned,  discharging an armed torpedo across the deck into her own forward section. The explosion wrecked the whole forepart of the ship, setting fire to the fuel oil and everything combustible, and trapped many men below deck. She sank several hours later with those still trapped in the forward part. The accident killed (at least) 25 and wounded 48.

French destroyer 'Maillé Brézé'.

1941: En route to Liverpool from Nova Scotia, passenger & cargo steamer, SS 'Nerissa', was carrying 145 Canadian servicemen; RAF and Royal Norwegian Air Force personnel; Northern Electric technicians; members of the press; and a number of civilians. She had sailed across the Atlantic alone and was only 200 miles from her destination when, at 23:30hrs, she was struck amidships by a torpedo fired from German submarine U-552.
As the lifeboats were being lowered, an explosion split the ship in two, destroying the unlowered boats. U-552 had fired an additional torpedo to ensure the ship's sinking, striking 'Nerissa' three minutes after the first.
In the short time between the two impacts and her rapid sinking, the ship's radio operator was able to send a Mayday signal along with the ship's position.
At first light a Bristol Blenheim of Coastal Command circled the scene. The British destroyer H.M.S. 'Veteran' arrived an hour later and picked up the survivors who were transferred to the Flower class corvette H.M.S. 'Kingcup' and landed at Derry. All but 84 of the ship's complement of 290 passengers abd crew were lost.
SS ' Nerissa' was the only transport carrying Canadian troops to be lost during World War 2.

SS 'Nerissa' - She was originally built for the Bowring Brothers' "Red Cross Line" service.

1943: On 30th April at 04:30hrs, Operation Mincemeat commences when British submarine H.M.S. 'Seraph' surfaces in the Mediterranean Sea to deposit the body of a dead man, planted with false "top secret" invasion plans and dressed as a downed British military intelligence officer.
About a mile off the coast of Spain, near the town of Huelva, a life jacket was put on the body, before it was dropped it into the sea, allowing the tide to wash it ashore. This location was selected as the British knew an Abwehr agent operated in Huelva, who was friendly with the Spanish officials there.
The story was used as the plot in Duff Cooper's 1950 novel 'Operation Heartbreak', but revealed as a true story in the 1953 book 'The Man Who Never Was'. A film of the same name was made in 1956.

Screen-shot from the film, "The Man Who Never Was."

1961: K-19, one of the first two Soviet nuclear submarines equipped with nuclear ballistic missiles, is commissioned. Due to the large number of accidents during its construction and service life, it gained an unofficial nickname 'Hiroshima' among naval sailors and officers.

This image is believed to be the photo the U.S. Navy had of K-19.

2012: In one of the worst boat tragedies in Assam in North-east India, 103 people drowned (including women and children), with over 100 reported as missing, when a packed ferry, carrying up to 350 passengers, capsized and sank in the Brahmaputra river after being caught in a severe storm.
Reuters reported that a police officer had said that the ferry had neither lifeboats nor life jackets and was overloaded with people and goods. Most of the passengers were farmers and farm families from the local area.
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This Day In 'Boating' History - May 1st 'May Day'
« Reply #304 on: May 01, 2013, 07:24:21 pm »

May 1st...

May Day (on May 1st), is an ancient Northern Hemisphere spring festival and usually a public holiday, it is also a traditional spring holiday in many cultures.
Traditional British May Day rites and celebrations include Morris dancing, crowning a May Queen and celebrations involving a maypole. Much of this tradition derives from the pagan Anglo-Saxon customs held during the month of May, along with many Celtic traditions.

"Mayday" is an emergency procedure word used internationally as a distress signal in voice procedure radio communications. It derives from the French venez m'aider, meaning "come help me".

1500: Whilst Pedro Álvares Cabral's fleet is anchored in a natural harbour on the Northeast coast of the 'island' they had discovered (actually present-day Brazil), Cabral ascertained that the new land lay east of the demarcation line between Portugal and Spain that had been specified in the Treaty of Tordesillas. The territory was thus within the sphere allotted to Portugal.
On 1st May, to solemnise Portugal's claim to the land, a massive wooden cross (built a few days earlier) was erected and a second religious service was held. In honour of the Cross, Cabral named the newly discovered land, Ilha de Vera Cruz (Island of the True Cross).

A ceremony was held before the Cross, and Cabral claimed 'Ilha de Vera Cruz' for Portugal, 1st May 1500.

1707: The Acts of Union join the Scottish Parliament and the English Parliament to form the Parliament of Great Britain, based in the Palace of Westminster in London, the home of the English Parliament.

1730: (Admiral) Sir Joshua Rowley,(1st Baronet) was born at the family home of Tendring Hall in Suffolk (probably) on May 1st. The eldest son of Admiral Sir William Rowley, he would enter the the navy and first serve aboard his father’s flagship HMS Stirling. He would go on to serve with distiction in a number of battles throughout his career and become highly praised by his contemporaries.

1898: The Battle of Manila Bay took place on 1st May, when the American Asiatic Squadron under Commodore George Dewey engaged and destroyed the Spanish Pacific Squadron under Admiral Patricio Montojo. The engagement took place in Manila Bay in the Philippines, and was the first major engagement of the Spanish-American War.

U.S.S. 'Olympia' leading the U.S. Asiatic Squadron in destroying the Spanish fleet at battle of Manila Bay, 1898.

1965: The Battle of Dong-Yin took place on 1st May when a Republic of China Navy (ROCN) Northern Division Dong-jiang-class destroyer on patrol northeast of Dong-Yin Island encountered a People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) force consisting of 8 fast-attack gunboats. The PLAN combatants attempted to encircle the ROCN destroyer, and the two sides exchanged fire from a distance of 500 - 1000 yards. In the ensuing exchange, 4 PLAN gunboats were sunk, and 2 damaged. Both sides subsequently claimed victory.

2003: U.S. President George 'Dubya' Bush became the first sitting President to make an arrested landing in a fixed-wing aircraft on an aircraft carrier, arriving on the U.S.S. 'Abraham Lincoln' in a Lockheed S-3 Viking, dubbed Navy One, as the carrier lay just off the San Diego coast.
Later, he gave what becomes known as the "Mission Accomplished" speech, declaring that "major combat operations in Iraq have ended", far above him was the warship's banner stating "Mission Accomplished."
Bush's assertion - and the sign itself - became controversial after guerrilla warfare in Iraq increased during the Iraqi insurgency. The vast majority of casualties, both military and civilian, occurring after the speech.

President Bush addresses sailors during the "Mission Accomplished" speech.
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This Day In 'Boating' History - May 2nd
« Reply #305 on: May 02, 2013, 04:26:23 pm »

May 2nd...

1194: King Richard 1 of England (aka Richard the Lionheart) gives Portsmouth its first Royal Charter granting permission for the borough to hold a fifteen-day annual 'Free Market Fair', weekly markets, to set up a local court to deal with minor matters, and exemption from paying the annual tax, with the money instead used for local matters.

1500: Under the command of either Gaspar de Lemos or André Gonçalves (sources vary), Portuguese navigator and explorer, Pedro Álvares Cabral, despatched one of his fleet of supply ships back to Portugal, to appraise the King of his discovery. The remaining eleven ships left Porto Seguro to resume ther voyage on 2nd or 3rd May, sailing south, along the coast of 'Ilha de Vera Cruz' (Present-day Brazil).

1521: Magellan's Voyage around the World (1519-1522): The casualties suffered in the Philippines, including the death of Magellan on 27th April 1521, at the Battle of Mactan, left the expedition with too few men to sail all three of the remaining ships. Consequently, on 2nd May they decided to abandoned 'Concepción' and burned the ship. The fleet, now reduced to the 'Trinidad' and 'Victoria', fled westward to Palawan.

Ferdinand Magellan (1480 - 27th April 1521)
Fernăo de Magalhăes (Portuguese).

1670: King Charles II of England grants a permanent charter to the Hudson's Bay Company to open up the fur trade in the region watered by all rivers and streams flowing into Hudson Bay, in northern Canada. The area was called Rupert's Land after Prince Rupert - the first director of the company and a first cousin of King Charles.

1829: After anchoring off nearby Garden Island, Captain Charles Fremantle of the H.M.S. 'Challenger', declares the Swan River Colony in Western Australia for Britain.

1866: The Battle of Callao occurred on 2nd May 1866, between a Spanish fleet under the command of Admiral Casto Méndez Núńez and the fortified battery emplacements of the Peruvian port city of Callao during the Chincha Islands War.
The Spanish fleet bombarded the port of Callao (or El Callao), and eventually withdrew (either); without any notable damage to the city structures - according to the Peruvian and American sources, or; after having silenced almost all the guns of the coastal defences - according to the Spanish accounts and French observers.

The ironclad 'Numancia', flagship of the Spanish fleet.

1964: In the early hours of the morning, while Bogue-class escort carrier U.S.N.S. 'Card' was moored dockside in Saigon's shallow harbour, North Vietnamese frogmen were busily attaching explosive charges to her.
When the explosives detonated, they killed five of 'Card's civilian crewmen and blew a large hole in her hull near the engine compartment. Taking on water, she settled into the mud of the harbour floor.
After she was patched and pumped out, she was raised on 19th May, then towed to Subic Bay and on to Yokosuka for repairs. U.S.N.S. 'Card' returned to service on 11th December.

U.S.N.S. 'Card' arriving in Yokosuka, Japan, for repairs.

1969: The Cunard ocean liner 'Queen Elizabeth 2' departs from Southampton on her official maiden voyage to New York City.

The QE2 making its official maiden voyage from Southampton to New York, 2nd May 1969.

1974: Principal photography began on the island of Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, for the movie 'Jaws'. The location was selected as it represented "a vacation area that was lower middle class enough so that an appearance of a shark would destroy the tourist business".

1982: In the South Atlantic, at 15:57 hrs FKT (Falkland Islands Time), the Royal Navy nuclear-powered submarine H.M.S. 'Conqueror', fired three 21 inch Mk 8 mod 4 torpedoes (conventional, non-guided, torpedoes), each with an 805-pound (363 kg) Torpex warhead, at the Argentinian Navy light cruiser ARA 'General Belgrano'.

Two of the three torpedoes found their target. One of them blew off the ship's bow, but the ship's internal torpedo bulkheads held and the forward powder magazine for the 40 mm gun did not detonate. The second torpedo struck about three-quarters of the way along the side of the ship, punching through the hull before exploding in the aft machine room. The explosion tore upward through two messes and a relaxation area before ripping a 20-metre-long hole in the main deck.

Twenty minutes after the attack, with the ship sinking rapidly, her captain ordered the crew to abandon ship. Inflatable life rafts were deployed, and the evacuation began without panic.
323 lives were lost in the attack, while 772 were rescued between 3rd and 5th May.

Life rafts evacuate ARA 'General Belgrano', sinking in the South Atlantic, 2nd May 1982.
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This Day In 'Boating' History - May 3rd
« Reply #306 on: May 03, 2013, 09:21:17 pm »

May 3rd...

1855: On Thursday 3rd May, the 'John' a 468-ton sailing ship that traded primarily between the South West of England and the United States and Canada, departed from Plymouth bound for Quebec. Captained by Edward Rawle (the Rawle family co-owned the ship), she was carrying around 268 passengers (including 100 children and infants), plus 19 crew.
Later that night, in reasonable conditions, she ran onto the Manacle Rocks, St Keverne, Cornwall.

Although her hull was breached, she was not in immediate danger of sinking and it should have been possible to evacuate the ship. However, the captain refused to lower the life boats, and showed scant regard for welfare of the passengers, as he and his crew prepared to save themselves.

The following morning, the conditions worsened and the tide swamped the ship. Around 194 passengers drowned, while all the crew survived.
The bodies of 120 victims were buried in a mass grave at the Church of St. Keverne, many more were never found.The incident is believed to be ths biggest single loss of life on 'The Manacles'.
Captain Edwin Rawle was later found guilty of gross negligence, but acquitted on the charge of manslaughter.

The memorial stone for the 120 people interred at the Church of St. Keverne, Cornwall.

1939: H.M.S. 'Prince of Wales', a King George V-class battleship of the Royal Navy, is launched at the Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead, England.
'Prince of Wales' was originally to be named 'King Edward VIII' but upon the abdication of Edward VIII the ship was renamed even before she had been laid down.
She was still fitting out when war was declared in September 1939, causing her construction schedule, and that of her sister, 'King George V', to be accelerated. Nevertheless, the late delivery of gun mountings caused delays in her outfitting.

H.M.S. 'Prince of Wales' is launched at the Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead, England.

1945: Anchored in Lübeck Bay off Neustadt, three German ships, the SS 'Thielbek', a 2,815 GRT freighter, along with the ocean liners SS 'Cap Arcona' and the SS 'Deutschland' were attacked and sunk by several RAF Hawker Typhoons of 83 Group of the 2nd Tactical Air Force.

The ships had been previously used to transport soldiers and refugees escaping from German eastern territories to the west, but at the time of the air raid, they were laden with prisoners who had survived the Neuengamme, Stutthof, and Mittelbau-Dora concentration camps. It is estimated that more than 10,000 lives were lost as a result of the attack, with around 5000 of those being from 'Cap Arcona' alone.

A grim irony relating to the incident was later revealed by the head of the Hamburg Gestapo, when he stated in compliance with orders from Himmler, the prisoners were to be killed anyway. It was suggested that they planned to do this by scuttling the ships with the prisoners alive and aboard.

The German luxury ocean-liner 'Cap Arcona', on 1st January, 1927.
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This Day In 'Boating' History - May 4th
« Reply #307 on: May 04, 2013, 10:00:27 pm »

May 4th...

1626: Dutch explorer Peter Minuit arrives in New Netherland (present day Manhattan Island) aboard the See Meeuw.

1675: King Charles II of England orders the construction of the Royal Greenwich Observatory. Situated on a hill in Greenwich Park, overlooking the River Thames, it would play a major role in the history of astronomy and navigation, and is be known as the location of the prime meridian.

The Royal Observatory, Greenwich. A time ball sits atop the Octagon Room.

1904: The United States begins construction of the Panama Canal. Under President Theodore Roosevelt, the U.S. had bought the French equipment and excavations for US $40 million, made an initial payment of U.S. $10 million to the new country of Panama, and began work on the canal on 4th May. In 1921, the United States paid Colombia US $10 million, plus US $250,000 per annum for several years; in return, Colombia recognized Panama under the terms of the Thomson-Urrutia Treaty.

1910: The Royal Canadian Navy is established (as the Naval Service of Canada) following the introduction of the Naval Service Bill by then Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier, the Naval Service of Canada was intended as a distinct naval force for the Dominion, that, should the need arise, could be placed under British control. The bill received royal assent on 4th May 1910. Initially equipped with two former Royal Navy vessels, H.M.C.S. 'Niobe' and H.M.C.S. 'Rainbow', the service was renamed Royal Canadian Navy by King George V on 29 August 1911.

Badge of the Royal Canadian Navy.

1912: Commander Charles Samson of the Royal Naval Air Service took off from H.M.S. 'Hibernia' in his modified Shorts S.38 “hydro-aeroplane” to be the first pilot to take off from a ship underway at sea. The S.38 T.2 aircraft had air-bag floats to enable landing on water and was launched via a trolley-shuttle system off of a ramp which stretched from Hibernia’s bridge to bow, over her forward 12 inch guns."

The moment Commander Charles Samson of the Royal Naval Air Service took off from H.M.S. 'Hibernia' in his modified Shorts S.38 “hydro-aeroplane”.

1917: SS 'Transylvania' was torpedoed and sunk in the Gulf of Genoa, by the German U-boat U-63. At the time of her sinking she was carrying Allied troops to Egypt; she sank with the loss of 412 lives.

1945: A representative of Grand Admiral Karl Doenitz, Hitler's successor as chief of state and commander-in-chief of the armed forces surrendered the Netherlands, Denmark and north-western Germany to Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery at Luneberg Heath, south-east of Hamburg.

1946: In San Francisco Bay, U.S. Marines from the nearby Treasure Island Naval Base stop a two-day riot at Alcatraz federal prison. Five people are killed in the riot.

1953: Ernest Hemingway wins the Pulitzer Prize for his novel 'The Old Man and the Sea'. It was the last major work of fiction to be produced by Hemingway and published in his lifetime. One of his most famous works, it centers upon Santiago, an aging, experienced fisherman who struggles with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream.

Cover illustration from 'The Old Man and the Sea'.

1982: Twenty sailors are killed when the British Type 42 destroyer H.M.S. 'Sheffield' is hit by an Argentinian Exocet missile, fired from an Argentinian aircraft. The ship caught fire when a French-made Exocet missile penetrated deep into the ship's control room, causing a poisonous smoke and leaving litle option but to abandon ship.
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This Day In 'Boating' History - May 5th
« Reply #308 on: May 05, 2013, 10:23:44 pm »

May 5th...

1494: On his second voyage to the New World, Christopher Columbus arrives at the island of Jamaica, annexing the island in the name of his master and mistress, the King and Queen of Spain. Jamaica would not be occupied until Juan de Esquivel arrives from Santo Domingo in 1509. (Note: Some sources give 4th May as date of Columus landing).

1500: After despatching a ship to Spain to impart news of the newly-discovered land (present-day Brazil), Pedro Alvares Cabral's fleet of ships sailed south, along the east coast of South America for a couple of days. During this time Cabral became convinced that the newly-claimed land mass - which he had named 'Ilha de Vera Cruz' (Island of the True Cross) - was an entire continent, rather than an island.
Around 5th May, the fleet of (11 remaing ships) veered sharply eastwards, resuming their voyage to India, with the intendion of establishing trade links and to purchase valuable spices.

1860: Sailing from Genoa aboard two ships - named 'Piemonte' and 'Lombardo' - Giuseppe Garibaldi leads an expedition of around a thousand volunteers, called i Mille (the Thousand), or, as popularly known, the Redshirts, to conquer the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.

Garibaldi departing on the Expedition of the Thousand.

1903: RMS Carpathia was built by Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson at their Newcastle upon Tyne, England shipyard. She was launched on 6 August 1902 and underwent her sea trials between 22 and 25 April 1903. 1903: Following sea-trials, conducted between 22nd-25th April 1903, the R.M.S. 'Carpathia' makes her maiden voyage from Liverpool, England, to Boston, USA. She would also run services between New York City, Trieste, Fiume, and various Mediterranean ports.

1937: The MV 'Wilhelm Gustloff' is launched at the Blohm & Voss shipyards. She measured over 684-ft long and 77-ft wide, with a capacity of 25,484 gross register tons, and was was named after Wilhelm Gustloff, a leader of the National Socialist Party's Swiss branch, who had been assassinated in 1936.

German cruise liner 'Wilhelm Gustloff being launched in Hamburg, 5th May 1937.

1943: An Airborne Lifeboat is used operationally for the first time, when it is dropped from an aircraft of No.279 Squadron, Royal Air Force.
The Mark 1 Airborne Lifeboat was the brain-child of the famous boat designer Uffa Fox. They were initially carried underneath Hudson bomber's and dropped by parachute to assist aircrew who had ended up in the sea after being shot down.

Overall 500 Airborne Lifeboats were built, and helped 600+ aircrews survive.

1961: Commander Alan Shepard is recovered from his space capsule in the Atlantic after becoming the first American in space.37-year-old Cdr Shepard of the U.S. Navy was launched into sub-orbital flight from Cape Canaveral in Florida in a Mercury 3 capsule attached to a Redstone rocket.
He travelled 115 miles into space and landed in the Atlantic just 15 minutes later. His first words after he was picked up by a helicopter were: "Boy, what a ride!"

Alan Shepard and the 'Freedom 7' capsule, on board aircraft carrier U.S.S. 'Lake Champlain', shortly after recovery.
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This Day In 'Boating' History - May 6th
« Reply #309 on: May 06, 2013, 09:51:48 pm »

May 6th...

1621: Having sailed from Plymouth, Massachusetts, at the beginning of April, 'Mayflower' made excellent time on her voyage back to England. The westerlies that had buffeted her going out, now pushed her along going back and she arrived at the home port of Rotherhithe in London on May 6th, 1621 - less than half the time it had taken her to sail to America.

'Mayflower' under full sail in the North Atlantic" (Image cropped).

1902: SS 'Camorta', built at A. & J. Inglis in 1880 and owned by the British India Steam Navigation Company, was caught in a cyclone as she sailed from Madras, India, to Rangoon, Burma, across the Bay of Bengal. She was reported missing when she failed to arrive at Rangoon on 13th May. Other British India vessels were sent to search for her. Initially a lifeboat was found near the Krishna lightvessel. The wreck was subsequently found by the SS 'Purnea' on 4th June 1902 in fifteen fathoms of water; her masts still stood six feet above the surface. The 'Camorta' had sank in an area called the Baragua Flats, just off the Irrawaddy Delta with the loss of all 655 passengers and 82 crew.

SS 'Camorta', in a painting by Tom Robinson.

1956: On 6th May, the U.S. battleship. U.S.S. 'Wisconsin' (BB-64) collided with the destroyer 'Eaton' in a heavy fog. 'Wisconsin' put into Norfolk with extensive damage to her bow, and one week later entered dry dock at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. A novel expedient sped her repairs and enabled the ship to carry out her scheduled midshipman training cruise that summer. A 120 ton, 68 foot section of the bow of the uncompleted Iowa-class battleship 'Kentucky' was transported by barge, in one section, from Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Corporation of Newport News, Virginia, across Hampton Roads to the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. Working around the clock, 'Wisconsin's ship’s force and shipyard personnel completed the operation which grafted the new bow on the old battleship in 16 days. On 28th June 1956, the ship was ready for sea.

The bow of the U.S.S. Kentucky (BB-66) being transported on a large crane barge to repair U.S.S. 'Wisconsin' (BB-64). The tug closest to camera is Alamingo (YTB-227). Tug on other side of barge is Apohola (YTB-502), c.May-June 1956.

1994: The Queen and France's President Francois Mitterrand formally opened the Channel Tunnel during two elaborate ceremonies in France and Britain. After travelling through the tunnel, which took eight years and billions of pounds to build, the Queen said it was one of the world's great technological achievements.

Opening the Channel Tunnel in 1994.
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This Day In 'Boating' History - May 7th
« Reply #310 on: May 07, 2013, 07:54:17 am »

May 7th...

1765: H.M.S. 'Victory' is launched at Chatham. She had cost Ł63,176 and 3 shillings, and used around 6000 trees in her construction -  90% of which were oak and the remainder elm, pine and fir, as well as a small quantity of Lignum Vitae.
Because there was no immediate use for her, she was placed in 'ordinary' - in reserve, roofed over, dismasted and placed under general maintenance - moored in the River Medway for 13 years until France joined the American War of Independence.

A 1:78 scale static model of H.M.S. 'Victory', Nelson's Flagship, by Panart.

1838: Isambard Kingdom Brunel's Paddle-steamer 'Great Western', departs from New York at the start of her first return voyage to Avonmouth, England. 

1875: Launched in 1873, the 3,421 ton German ocean liner SS 'Schiller',  was one of the largest vessels of her time. She was operated by the German Transatlantic Steam Navigation Line to carry passengers between New York and Hamburg.
At around 22:00hrs on the night of 7th-8th May 1875, whilst carrying 372 passengers and crew (who were mainly German) plus a cargo of valuable goods including gold coins, she was sailing into the English Channel from the west. Encountering thick fog and heavy seas, her captain knew they were in the region of the Bishop Rock lighthouse and was trying to locate it when the ship hit the Retarrier Ledges in the Isles of Scilly causing significant damage.
Signals were fired from her cannon but only one was heard on shore, and was presumed to be a normal arrival or passing signal.

By the following morning it was obvious that a ship was amongst the western rocks and rescue attempts began, but by this time the ship had broken up and only a few men remained clinging to the rigging. Of the 372 people carried only 37 survived.
Over a hundred bodies were buried in the churchyard at Old Town.

In respect to the great assistance that the Scillonians (inhabitants of the Scilly Isles) made to assist the mostly German people on board, orders were given in the two World Wars to spare the Isles of Scilly from being attacked by German forces.

SS 'Schiller' - Her signal cannon is preserved in the Museum of the Isles of Scilly.

1915: The sinking of the Cunard ocean liner R.M.S. 'Lusitania' occurred as Germany waged submarine warfare against Britain. The ship was identified and torpedoed by the German U-boat U-20 and sank in 20 minutes. The vessel went down 11 miles off the Old Head of Kinsale, Ireland, killing 1,198 and leaving 761 survivors. The sinking turned public opinion in many countries against Germany, contributed to the American entry into World War I and became an iconic symbol in military recruiting campaigns of why the war was being fought.
'Lusitania' had the misfortune to fall victim to torpedo attack relatively early in the First World War, before tactics for evading submarines were properly implemented or understood. The contemporary investigations both in the UK and the United States into the precise causes of the ship's loss were obstructed by the needs of wartime secrecy and a propaganda campaign to ensure all blame fell upon Germany.

The headline on the cover of the New York Times.

1940: A Bristol Beaufort torpedo bomber of RAF Coastal Command drops the first 2,000 pound bomb to be delivered by the Royal Air Force (RAF) during the Second World War. The target is an enemy cruiser near Nordeney, but the weapon missed the warship.

A Bristol Beaufort.

1943: Royal Air Force maritime patrol aircraft sink three U-boats in one day. A Handley Page Halifax of No.58 Squadron sinks U-109 and a Short Sunderland of No.10 Squadron Royal Australian Air Force sank U-663, both engagements take place in the Bay of Biscay. Meanwhile a Lockheed Hudson of No.233 Squadron sinks the U-447 off Gibraltar.

1945: As the representative of Karl Dönitz, General Alfred Jodl signs the German instruments of unconditional surrender at Reims, France 7 May 1945, effectively ending the six-year European phase of history's most destructive war. The document takes effect the next day.

1952: The concept of the integrated circuit (also referred to as an IC, a chip, or a microchip), the basis for all modern computers was conceived by a radar scientist working for the Royal Radar Establishment of the British Ministry of Defence, Geoffrey W.A. Dummer (1909 - 2002). Dummer presented the idea to the public at the Symposium on Progress in Quality Electronic Components in Washington, D.C. on 7th May 1952, some six years before Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments was awarded a patent for essentially the same idea. As a result he has been called "The Prophet of the Integrated Circuit".
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This Day In 'Boating' History - May 8th
« Reply #311 on: May 08, 2013, 06:07:31 am »

May 8th...

1791: H.M.S. 'Pandora', the ship dispatched to search for the 'Bounty' and her mutineers, departs from Tahiti with fourteen men held captive in a makeshift prison cell on the quarter-deck, which they derisively called "Pandora's Box".
Under the command of Captain Edward Edwards, 'Pandora' would spend the next three months searching the islands in the South-West Pacific to the west of Tahiti, without finding any traces of the pirated vessel.

Static model of H.M.S. 'Pandora', from a 1:85 scale kit by Constructo.

1941: H.M.S. 'Cornwall' (56), a County-class heavy cruiser of the Kent subclass, engaged in a single-ship action on 8th May and sank the notorious German commerce raider 'Pinguin' after it was been spotted by one of her Sea-planes. 'Cornwall' sustained a hit to her stern during the action and returned to Durban for repair - which were completed on 10th June 1941.

German commerce raider 'Pinguin', destroyed by H.M.S. 'Cornwall', 8th May, 1941.

1942: Gunners of the Ceylon Garrison Artillery on Horsburgh Island in the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, rebel in the 'Cocos Islands Mutiny'. The mutineers tried to seize control of the islands and disable the British garrison. It was claimed that the mutineers also planned to transfer the islands to the Empire of Japan.
However, their mutiny was crushed and three of them were executed - the only British Commonwealth soldiers to be executed for mutiny during the Second World War.

1942: The Battle of the Coral Sea comes to an end with aircraft from an Imperial Japanese Navy aircraft-carrier, attacking and sinking the United States Navy aircraft carrier USS 'Lexington' (CV-2). The battle is notable as it marked the first action in which aircraft carriers engaged each other.
It was also the first time in naval history in which the participating ships never sighted or fired directly at each other. Instead, manned aircraft acted as the offensive artillery for the ships involved. Thus, the respective commanders were participating in a new type of warfare, carrier-versus-carrier, with which neither had any experience, and as a result, both sides made mistakes.

U.S.S. 'Lexington', burning and sinking after her crew abandoned ship during the Battle of Coral Sea, 8th May 1942.

1945: A public holiday celebrates Victory in Europe Day (aka known as V-E Day or VE Day) on 8th May 1945 (in Commonwealth countries, 7th May 1945) to mark the date when the World War 2 Allies formally accepted the unconditional surrender of the armed forces of Nazi Germany and the end of Adolf Hitler's Third Reich, thus ending the war in Europe.

The Daily Mail front page for 8th May, 1945.
(Click on the Headline)

1972: In a nationally televised address, U.S. President Richard Nixon announces his order to place mines in major North Vietnamese ports in order to stem the flow of weapons and other goods to that nation.
Timed to become active after 72 hour, the mines, were dropped at Haiphong harbour by nine American attack aircraft flying from the carrier U.S.S. 'Coral Sea', and at six other ports, which were blocked for 300 days until the mines were removed by the U.S. in 1973.

1984: The River Thames Flood Barrier is officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II. The total construction cost was around Ł534 million with an additional Ł100 million for river defences.
Operational since 1982, it's purpose was, and is, to prevent the floodplain of all but the easternmost boroughs of Greater London from being flooded by exceptionally high tides and storm surges moving up from the North Sea.

The Thames Barrier - Note: The second gate from the left is rotated into the closed position.
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This Day In 'Boating' History - May 9th
« Reply #312 on: May 09, 2013, 04:12:51 am »

May 9th...

1835: The first steamship to operate in the Pacific Northwest of North America, PS 'Beaver', was launched at Blackwall Yard, England on 9th May 1835. She was built of British Oak, Elm, Greenheart and Teak, and was Copper-fastened and Sheathed. She measured 101 feet long, and the beam over her paddle boxes was 33 feet.

The Paddle-steamer 'Beaver' in Burrard Inlet, Vancouver.

1860: (Sir) James Matthew Barrie(1st Baronet, OM), was born in Kirriemuir, Angus, to a conservative Calvinist family. His father David Barrie was a modestly successful weaver. His mother, Margaret Ogilvy, had assumed her deceased mother's household responsibilities at the age of eight. Barrie was the ninth child of ten (two of whom died before he was born), all of whom were schooled in at least the three Rs, in preparation for possible professional careers.
He would go on to develop a career as a novelist and playwright, and be best remembered today as the creator of Peter Pan.

Neverland, a fictional place featured in the works of J. M. Barrie and those based on them.

1864: The Battle of Heligoland (or Helgoland) was fought during the Second War of Schleswig between the navy of Denmark and the allied navies of Austria and Prussia, south of the (then-British) North Sea island of Heligoland where the Battle of Heligoland (1849) had taken place.
When the Danish forces had caused the flagship of the Austrian commander, Freiherr von Tegetthoff, to burst into flames, he withdrew his squadron to neutral waters around Heligoland. It was the last significant naval battle fought by squadrons of wooden ships and also the last one involving Denmark.

The Naval Battle of Helgoland 1864, by Josef Carl Berthold Püttner (c.1864-1881).
(The frigate 'Radetzky' is to the behind the burning Austrian frigate 'Schwarzenberg')

1940: Shortly after midnight, the surfaced French Circé-class coastal submarine, 'Doris' (Q-135), was torpedoed by the German submarine U-9 north west of the Dutch coast, 30 miles from Den Helder. The entire crew of 'Doris' and three Royal Navy personnel, were lost.
Dutch divers Hans van Leeuwen and Ton van der Sluijs discovered the wreck of 'Doris' in 2003.

1941: The German U-Boat U-110 is captured by the Royal Navy corvette 'Aubretia' and the destroyers 'Bulldog' and 'Broadway'. On board the submarine, 'Bulldog's boarding party find a number of secret cipher documents and the latest Enigma cryptography machine, which Allied cryptographers later use to break coded German messages.
The U-110 was taken in tow back toward Britain, but sank en route to Scapa Flow.
The capture of U-110, later given the code name "Operation Primrose", was one of the biggest secrets of the war, remaining so for seven months. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was only told of the capture by Winston Churchill in January 1942.

Captured German submarine 'U-110' beside Royal Navy destroyer H.M.S. 'Bulldog'.

1942: In a joint Anglo-American operation codenamed 'Operation Bowery', sixty-four Supermarine Spitfires are flown to Malta from the Royal Navy aircraft carrier H.M.S. 'Eagle' and the United States carrier U.S.S. 'Wasp' - (Sixty-two Spitfires arrived).
In an effort to ensure that they are not immediately destroyed on the ground, the Spitfires are operational within 35 minutes of their arrival and they fly 134 sorties during the day.

Supermarine Spitfire Mk.VCs on the deck of U.S.S. 'Wasp', with H.M.S. 'Eagle' visible in the background.

1956: British Prime Minister Sir Anthony Eden refused to reveal the details surrounding the disappearance of a naval diver during a goodwill visit by the Soviet leadership, but he told a packed House of Commons "the appropriate disciplinary steps" were being taken.
The diver, Commander Lionel Kenneth "Buster" Crabb OBE, GM, had been reported missing, presumed dead, by the Admiralty on 29th April. The official statement said he had died ten days earlier following a test dive at Stokes Bay, near Portsmouth, on the Hampshire coast.

It appears that Lionel Crabb was on a spying mission for MI6 - unbeknown to the Prime Minister. The statement by the Admiralty was an attempt to cover up the mission but when the Soviets claimed to have seen a frogman, Sir Anthony Eden was forced to speak out. Sir John Alexander Sinclair, head of MI6 was subsequently forced to resign.

The headless body of a man in the remains of a diving suit was found in Chichester harbour in 1957. A coroner concluded that it was Crabb's body and it was buried with his silver-mounted swordstick.

Ten years later a human skull was found partly buried in sand at Chichester harbour. Although there were several teeth in the jaw they had no distinguishing marks which could link them to Crabb, but a pathologist claimed the skull was the same age as the torso.

The Cabinet papers concerning the 'Crabb Affair' will remain secret until 2057.

A portrait of Lt. Lionel 'Buster' Crabb, RNVR, Officer in Charge of the Underwater Working Party in Gibraltar, April 1944.
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This Day In 'Boating' History - May 10th
« Reply #313 on: May 10, 2013, 03:40:00 pm »

May 10th...

1503: On his fourth voyage of discovery, Christopher Columbus sighted the Cayman Islands and named them 'Las Tortugas' after the numerous turtles there. The first recorded English visitor to the islands would be Sir Francis Drake in 1586. He subsequently named the islands 'Cayman' after caiman, a Neo-Taino word for 'alligator'.

1534: Jacques Cartier arrives at Newfoundland from Saint-Malo, France, after an Atlantic Ocean crossing of 20 days. From here he start his exploration of Newfoundland, the areas now the Canadian Atlantic provinces and the Gulf of St. Lawrence. During one stop at Îles aux Oiseaux (Islands of the Birds, now the Rochers-aux-Oiseaux federal bird sanctuary, northeast of Brion Island in the Magdalen Islands), his crew slaughtered around 1000 birds, most of them great auks (now extinct).

1773: The Parliament of Great Britain passes the Tea Act, designed to save the British East India Company by granting it a monopoly on the North American tea trade.

1798: Captain George Vancouver, an English officer of the British Royal Navy and one of Britain's greatest explorers & navigators, died in obscurity on 10th May 1798 at the age of 40, less than three years after completing his voyages and expeditions. His modest grave lies in St. Peters churchyard, Petersham, Surrey, in southern England.
Best known for his 1791-95 expedition, which explored and charted North America's northwestern Pacific Coast regions, including the coasts of contemporary Alaska, British Columbia, Washington and Oregon. He also explored the Hawaiian Islands and the southwest coast of Australia.
Vancouver Island (Canada), the cities of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and Vancouver, Washington, U.S., Mount Vancouver on the Yukon/Alaska border and New Zealand's fourth highest mountain are named after him.

Portrait believed to be George Vancouver.
(22nd June 1757 – 10th May 1798)

1916: In stormy seas, and after a journey of 800 nautical miles from Elephant Island, Ernest Shackleton with five members of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, eventually manage to land their 22.5-ft open lifeboat, 'James Caird', near the entrance to King Haakon Bay on the uninhabited south-west coast of South Georgia. Severely weakened by the voyage and all suffering from varying degrees of exposure and frostbite, the six men spent the next few days recuperating. Shackleton was later to describe the boat journey as "one of supreme strife".

Depiction of the 'James Caird' nearing South Georgia.
(From Shackleton's expedition account, 'South')

1960: The nuclear submarine U.S.S. 'Triton, surfaced off the coast of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, for her captain (Capt. Beach) to be collected and flown by helicopter to Washington, D.C., where news of the 'Triton's submerged around-the-world voyage was announced by President Dwight D. Eisenhower at the White House.
Beach flew back to his boat later that day, and the 'Triton' arrived back at Groton, Connecticut, on 11th May 1960, completing her shakedown cruise which incorporated the first submarine circumnavigation of the earth between 24th February and 25th April 1960 (Operation Sandblast).

1997: The Maeslantkering, a storm surge barrier in the Netherlands and one of the world's largest moving structures, is opened by Queen Beatrix (sic). Taking six years to construct, the barrier comprises two 22 metre high and 210 metre wide steel gates, controlled by a self-operating computer system linked to weather and sea level data. Under normal weather conditions the two doors themselves are well protected in their dry docks and a 360 metre wide gap in the waterway gives ships enough space to pass without any inconvenience.
A working 1:250 scale model of the barrier fis a feature of the Madurodam miniature village.

A ship passing through The Maeslantkering, The Netherlands.
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Re: This Day In 'Boating' History
« Reply #314 on: May 11, 2013, 09:31:28 pm »

May 11th...

330: Emperor Constantine the Great dedicates Constantinople, or Nova Roma (modern Istanbul), and moves the capital of the Roman Empire there from Rome. He has spent 4 years building the city on the site of ancient Byzantium, having chosen the site for its strategic location (a seaport with easy access to Anatolia and the Danube).
Constantinople would become the largest and wealthiest city in Europe from the 6th through the 12th century.

Constantinople in Byzantine times.
1502: Christopher Columbus embarks on his fourth and final voyage to the West Indies, nominally in search of the Strait of Malacca to the Indian Ocean. Accompanied by his brother Bartolomeo and his 13-year-old son Fernando, he left Cadiz, with his flagship Santa María and the vessels Gallega, Vizcaína, and Santiago de Palos.

1560: The naval Battle of Djerba took place near the island of Djerba, Tunisia, in which the Ottomans under Piyale Pasha's command overwhelmed a large joint European fleet, chiefly Spanish forces (Christian Alliance) under the command of Giovanni Andrea Doria, sinking half its ships. The battle was over in a matter of hours.

Piyale Pasha defeats the Allied European Fleet of Philip II at the Battle of Djerba in 1560.

1820: H.M.S. 'Beagle', a Cherokee-class 10-gun brig-sloop of the Royal Navy, is launched from the Woolwich Dockyard on the River Thames, at a cost of Ł7,803 and named after the beagle dog breed. After taking part in a fleet review celebrating the coronation of King George IV she "lay in ordinary", moored afloat but without masts or rigging.
She was then adapted as a survey barque and took part in three expeditions. On the second survey voyage with the young naturalist Charles Darwin was on board, his work would eventually make 'Beagle' one of the most famous ships in history.

H.M.S. 'Beagle' in the Galapagos.

1871: Sir John Frederick William Herschel, 1st Baronet, KH, FRS, died at Collingwood, his home near Hawkhurst in Kent, aged 79 years. He was an English mathematician, astronomer, chemist, and experimental photographer/inventor, who in some years also did valuable botanical work. Herschel originated the use of the Julian day system in astronomy. He named seven moons of Saturn and four moons of Uranus. He made many contributions to the science of photography, and investigated colour blindness and the chemical power of ultraviolet rays.
He was given a national funeral and buried in Westminster Abbey.

1955: The 'Siun Maru disaster' occurs in Japan, during a school field trip, killing 166 passengers and two crew members.
The 'Siun Maru' (aka 'Shiun Maru') ferry sank in the Seto Inland Sea after colliding with another Japanese National Railways (JNR) ferry, her sister ship the 'Uko Maru', in dense fog.
A lack of radar onboard contributed to the accident. The victims included 100 students from elementary and junior high schools in Shimane, Hiroshima, Ehime and Kochi prefectures who were on school trips.
The sinking of the 'Siun Maru' is credited as having encouraged the Japanese government to go ahead with the Akashi-Kaikyō Bridge project, currentlly the longest suspension bridge in the world.

The Akashi-Kaikyō Suspension Bridge

1972: In dense fog, the 7,113 ton British cargo liner 'Royston Grange', carrying 61 crew, 12 passengers (including six women and a five-year old child), and an Argentinian harbour pilot, was bound from Buenos Aires to London with a cargo of chilled and frozen beef and butter.

At around 05.40 hrs, as she traversed the Punta Indio Channel, 35 miles from Montevideo, Uruguay, she collided with the Liberian-registered tanker 'Tien Chee', carrying 20,000 tons of crude oil. The 'Tien Chee' immediately burst into flames and a series of explosions rapidly carried the flames to the 'Royston Grange', which burned particularly hot due to the cargo of butter and the oil escaping from the 'Tien Chee'.

Most of the crew and passengers were asleep. Although the 'Royston Grange' did not sink, every person on board was killed in the fire, most of them probably by carbon monoxide fumes emanating from the refrigeration tanks, which burst in the collision.

The 'Tien Chee' also caught fire and ran aground, blocking all traffic in and out of the port of Buenos Aires. Eight of her 40 crew, who were mostly Chinese, also died, but the remainder along with the Argentinian pilot managed to abandon ship and were picked up by cutters of the Argentine Naval Prefecture.

'Royston Grange' - Believed to be the first British ship lost with all hands since World War 2.
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This Day In 'Boating' History - May 12th
« Reply #315 on: May 12, 2013, 09:53:19 pm »

May 12th...

1780: During the 'Fall of Charleston' (a part of the American Revolutionary War) three Continental Navy frigates - U.S.S. 'Boston', U.S.S. 'Providence' and U.S.S. 'Ranger' - are captured, and another, the U.S.S. 'Queen of France', - is sunk to prevent it falling into enemy hands.

1797 Inspired by the example of their comrades at Spithead, the sailors at the Nore (an anchorage in the Thames Estuary) began a mutiny on 12th May, when the crew of 'Sandwich' seized control of the ship. Several other ships in the same location followed this example, though others slipped away and continued to slip away during the mutiny, despite gunfire from the ships that remained (attempting to use force to hold the mutiny together).- May 12 - Royal Navy crews mutiny at Nore, over poor pay and conditions.

1834: Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle (1831-36): After water and guanacos were brought on board, the 'Beagle' left the Rio Santa Cruz and sailed out towards the Falkland Islands to join the 'Adventure'. Later in the month the 'Beagle' headed back to Tierra del Fuego to survey around the Strait of Magellan. The 'Adventure' joined up with the Beagle on 23rd May and assisted in the survey of the Strait.

1926: The semi-rigid Italian-built airship 'Norge' ('Norway' in Norweigan) carried out what many consider the first verified overflight of (and the first verified trip of any kind to) the North Pole on 12th May, 1926.
The expedition was the combined 'brainchild' of, polar explorer and expedition leader Roald Amundsen, the airship's designer and pilot Umberto Nobile and American explorer Lincoln Ellsworth, who along with the Aero Club of Norway financed the trip.

1941: German civil engineer, inventor and computer pioneer, Konrad Zuse presents the Z3, the world's first working programmable, fully automatic computer, in Berlin. The Z3 was built with 2000 relays, implementing a 22 bit word length that operated at a clock frequency of about 5–10 Hz. Program code and data were stored on punched film.
The original Z3 was destroyed in 1943 during an Allied bombardment of Berlin. A fully functioning replica was built in the 1960s by Zuse's company, Zuse KG, and is on permanent display in the Deutsches Museum.

Fully-functioning Zuse Z3 replica on display at Deutsches Museum in Munich

1942: The U.S. tanker 'Virginia' was torpedoed in the mouth of the Mississippi River by the German U-Boat U-507, resulting in the loss of 27 of her 41 crew. The remaining survivors were rescued by U.S.S. PT-157.

1943: A Consolidated Liberator maritime patrol aircraft of No.86 Squadron drops a Mark 24 acoustic homing torpedo (codenamed Fido), seriously damaging U-Boat U-456 and driving it to the surface. It is originally thought to have been sunk as the result of subsequent attacks by a Short Sunderland of No.423 Squadron RCAF, and the warships H.M.S. 'Lagan' and H.M.C.S. 'Drumheller'. However, it now appears that U-456 was forced to dive by approaching destroyers and then sank because of the damage inflicted by the Liberator.
This may properly be said to mark the first successful use of an air-dropped precision weapon in air warfare.

A RAF Coastal Command Consolidated Liberator GR Mark V of No. 86 Sqdn RAF in flight.

1975: The 'Mayagüez incident' begins when the Cambodian navy seizes the American merchant ship SS 'Mayaguez' in international waters.
Taking place between 12th-15th May, the incident quickly escalated and led to an attack by U.S. forces against the Khmer Rouge. The names of the Americans killed, as well as those of three U.S. Marines who were left behind on the island of Koh Tang after the battle and who were subsequently executed by the Khmer Rouge, are the last names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
The merchant ship's crew, whose seizure at sea had prompted the U.S. attack, had been released in good health, unknown to the U.S. Marines or the U.S. command of the operation, before the Marines attacked. It was the only known engagement between U.S. ground forces and the Khmer Rouge. The resulting battle was the last official battle of the Vietnam War.

An aerial surveillance photo showing two Khmer Rouge gunboats during the initial seizing of the SS 'Mayagüez'.

1982: R.M.S. 'Queen Elizabeth 2' begins her part in the Falklands War, as she sails from Southampton carrying 3,000 troops of the 5th Infantry Brigade and 650 volunteer crew bound for the south Atlantic.
Her refit in preparation for war service included the installation of three helicopter pads, transforming the public lounges into dormitories, installing fuel pipes through the ship to the engine room to allow for refuelling at sea, and covering the carpets with 2,000 sheets of hardboard.
During the voyage the ship was blacked out and the radar switched off in order to avoid detection, steaming on without modern aids.

Converted for troop-ship duty, Queen Elizabeth 2 leaves Southampton, 1982.

1986: Whilst deployed with Battle Group Foxtrot, the Spruance-class destroyer U.S.S. 'David R. Ray' (DD-971) made worldwide news when it prevented the boarding of the U.S. merchant vessel 'President McKinley' by an Iranian Saam class frigate.
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This Day In 'Boating' History - May 13th
« Reply #316 on: May 13, 2013, 12:54:54 pm »

May 13th...

1572: The Papacy of Pope Gregory XIII begins. He is best known for commissioning and being the namesake for the Gregorian calendar, which remains the internationally accepted civil calendar to this date.

1604: French explorers Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Monts and Samuel de Champlain landed at Port Mouton in Nova Scotia and built a temporary camp at Bull Point. The village is alledgedly so named because a sheep, excited to see land after the long journey, jumped overboard from one of the vessels and swam to shore.
A contrary variation to the story claims that after arriving in the bay, a sheep fell from one of the the ships and drowned. Although a third version (from a Nova Scotia place name book) states that the sheep didn't drown, but was rescued...    ...and then eaten by the sailors.

Port Mouton road sign - Sheep Overboard!

1607: Led by Captain Christopher Newport, the 104 English colonists (all men & boys) who landed in North America two weeks earlier, find the location for the first permanent English settlement in the Americas on 13th May 1607 - Jamestown, Virginia - Named in honour of King James 1.

The site for Jamestown was picked as it met several criteria that the Virginia Company, who funded the settlement, said to follow. 1) The site was surrounded by water on three sides (it was not fully an island yet) and was far inland -  which meant it was easily defensible against possible Spanish attacks. 2) The water was deep enough that the English could tie their ships at the shoreline, and 3) At the time, the site was not inhabited by by the Native population.

Full-size Jamestown replicas of (from L to R) 'Susan Constant', 'Discovery' and 'Godspeed'.

1787: Under the command of Captain Arthur Phillip RN, eleven ships of what we know today as "The First Fleet", took their leave from Portsmouth, England early on Sunday 13th May 1787 bound for a virtually unknown shore eight long months and half a world away. The escort vessel, H.M.S. 'Hyaena' stayed with the fleet until it was clear of the English channel and into open waters.
The fleet was leaving England with two years provision and a cargo of 759 unwilling convicts from Britian's overcrowded prison system, their guards, and ships crew. In total 1530 people, were bound for Botany Bay, to establish the first European settlement on Australian soil.

The 'Charlotte' at Portsmouth, one of the ships of the First Fleet prior to departure, May 1787.

1915: On the night of 12th/13th May, 'H.M.S. 'Goliath', one of six Canopus-class pre-dreadnought battleships built by the Royal Navy, was anchored in Morto Bay off Cape Helles, along with 'Cornwallis' and a screen of five destroyers.

At around 01:00hrs, in foggy conditions, the Turkish torpedo boat destroyer 'Muavenet-i Milliye', eluded the destroyers 'Beagle' and 'Bulldog' and fired two torpedoes which struck 'Goliath' almost simultaneously abreast her fore turret and abeam the fore funnel, causing a massive explosion. 'Goliath' began to capsize almost immediately, and was lying on her beam ends when a third torpedo struck near her after turret. She then rolled over completely and began to sink by the bows, taking 570 of the 700-strong crew to the bottom, including her commanding officer, Captain Thomas Lawrie Shelford.

HMS Goliath (1898) in the summer of 1907.

1949: The prototype of the first British-produced jet-powered light bomber, the English Electric Canberra (A.1), makes its first flight. Variants of the aircraft would go on to serve with the RAF until the type is retired in 2006 - 57 years after it's first flight.

English Electric Canberra Prototype, VN799.

1958: The trade mark VELCRO® is registered for the 'hook and loop' fastening system invented in 1948 by the Swiss electrical engineer George de Mestral.
The term Velcro is now commonly used to mean any type of hook and loop fastener, but remains a registered trademark in many countries used by the Velcro company to distinguish their brand of fasteners from their competitors.

The word 'Velcro' is an amalgamation of two French words; 'velours' (velvet), and 'crochet' (hook).

1958: Australian mining engineer, soldier, and adventurer, Frederick Benjamin "Ben" Carlin (27th July 1912 - 7th March 1981) becomes the first (and only) person to circumnavigate the world by amphibious vehicle, travelling over 17,000 kilometres (11,000 miles) by sea and 62,000 kilometres (39,000 miles) by land during a ten-year journey in a modified Ford GPA (an amphibious version of the Ford GPW Jeep), named 'Half-Safe'.
Following Carlin's death in 1981, 'Half-Safe' was acquired by Guildford Grammar, his old school in Perth, Australia, where it remains on display.

'Half-Safe' - Just the job for crossing Continents and Oceans!.
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This Day In 'Boating' History - May 14th
« Reply #317 on: May 14, 2013, 04:20:34 pm »

May 14th...

1724 The book 'A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the most notorious Pyrates' is published in Britain. It's author, using the name Captain Charles Johnson, believed to be a pseudonym as no record of a captain by this name exists, remains unidentified.

'A General History...' contained biographies of contemporary pirates, and was influential in shaping popular conceptions of pirates, introducing many features which later became common in pirate literature, such as pirates with missing legs or eyes, the myth of pirates burying treasure, and the name of the pirates flag the 'Jolly Roger'.

In giving an almost mythical status to the more colourful characters, such as the infamous English pirates Blackbeard and Calico Jack, the book provided the standard account of the lives of many people still famous in the 21st century, and influenced pirate literature of Robert Louis Stevenson and J. M. Barrie.

'Capture of the Pirate, Blackbeard, 1718' depicting the battle between Blackbeard the Pirate and Lieutenant Maynard in Ocracoke Bay.

1747: (14th May 1747, N.S.) The First Battle of Cape Finisterre saw 14 British ships of the line under Admiral George Anson defeat a French 30-ship convoy commanded by Admiral de la Jonquičre during the War of the Austrian Succession. The British captured 4 ships of the line, 2 frigates and 7 merchantmen, in a five-hour battle in the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Finisterre in northwest Spain. One French frigate, one French East India Company warship and the other merchantmen escaped.

Lord Anson's victory off Cape Finisterre, 3rd May 1747 (O.S./Old Style Calendar).

1804: The Lewis and Clark Expedition departs from Camp Dubois and begins its historic journey by traveling up the Missouri River.
1879: Having sailed from Calcutta, India, on 3rd March 1879, the first group of 463 Indian indentured laborers arrive at Levuka, Fiji aboard the labour transport ship (schooner) 'Leonidas'.
1943: Following her early-1943 conversion to a hospital ship, 'Centaur' served as a medical transport between New Guinea and Australia. Before dawn on 14th May 1943, while on her second voyage, 'Centaur' was torpedoed and sunk by a Japanese submarine off North Stradbroke Island, Queensland.
The majority of the 332 aboard died in the attack; the 64 survivors had to wait for 36 hours before they were rescued. The attack resulted in public outrage as it was considered to be a war crime. Protests were made by the Australian and British governments to Japan and efforts were made to discover the people responsible so they could be tried at a war crimes tribunal. Despite this, it was not until the 1979s that identity of the attacking submarine, I-177, became public.

Starboard-bow view of A.H.S. 'CENTAUR', Sydney, NSW. 1943.

1964: President Gamal Abdul Nasser of Egypt and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev marked the first stage in the building of the Aswan High Dam at a dramatic ceremony in southern Egypt.
Together the two heads of state, along with President Arif of Iraq and President Sallal of Yemen, pressed a button to blow up a huge sand barrage and divert the ancient River Nile into a canal, allowing the next stage of the Dam to begin.
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This Day In 'Boating' History - May 15th
« Reply #318 on: May 15, 2013, 03:56:56 pm »

May 15th...

1602: English lawyer, explorer, and privateer, Bartholomew Gosnold, becomes the first recorded European to visit (and name) Cape Cod. Then, sailing alonging the coastline for several days, he discovered Martha's Vineyard, naming it after his daughter, Martha, and established a small post on Cuttyhunk Island, one of the Elizabeth Islands, near Gosnold, now in Massachusetts.

1718: James Puckle, a London lawyer, inventor and writer, patented the world's first machine gun. Puckle's 'Defence Gun' (or 'Puckle gun') was a tripod-mounted, single-barreled flintlock weapon fitted with a multi-shot revolving cylinder, designed for shipboard use to prevent boarding.
The barrel was 3 feet long with a bore of 1.25 inches and a pre-loaded 'cylinder' which held 11 charges and could fire 63 shots in seven minutes - at a time when a standard soldier's musket could at best be loaded and fired three times per minute.

Puckle demonstrated two versions of the basic design: one, intended for use against Christian enemies, fired conventional round bullets, while the second variant, designed to be used against the Muslim Turks, fired square bullets (designed by Kyle Tunis) which were considered to be more damaging and would, according to its patent, convince the Turks of the "benefits of Christian civilization."

Illustration of James Puckle's 1718 patent machine gun, shows various cylinders for use with round and square bullets.

1904: During the Russo-Japanese war, whilst sailing through dense fog in the Yellow Sea, the 'Yoshino', a protected cruiser of the Imperial Japanese Navy was involved in a collision with the 'Kasuga', a Japanese armoured cruiser. 'Kasuga's ram hit 'Yoshino's port side, and penetrated to the engine room. 'Yoshino' turned turtle and sank with the loss of 319 lives. Only 19 of the crew managed to survive.
As a result of this accident, the Imperial Japanese Navy removed the rams from the bows of all its warships

1916: After a few days' recuperation on the uninhabited south-west coast of South Georgia, Ernest Shackleton decided that the 22.5-ft open lifeboat, 'James Caird', which had carried him and five companions on a perilous 800 mile voayge from Elephant Island, was not capable of making a further 150 nautical mile voyage around the island's treacherous coastline, to reach the whaling stations on the northerly coast. Furthermore at least two of the men (Vincent and McNish) were unfit to travel that great a distance.

Shackleton determined that if they moved to a new location in King Haakon Bay, himself, Worsley and Crean, could cross the island on foot, aiming for the inhabited station at Stromness.

On 15th May the 'James Caird' made a run of about 30 nautical miles to a shingle beach near the head of the bay. Here the boat was beached and up-turned to provide a shelter. The location was christened "Peggotty Camp" (after Peggoty's boat-home in Charles Dickens's David Copperfield).

The 'James Caird', on permanent display at Dulwich College, South London.

1941: The first flight by a British jet-propelled aircraft, the Gloster Whittle E28/39 Pioneer (aka the Gloster Whittle), takes place at RAF Cranwell, near Sleaford in Lincolnshire. The aircraft was flown by test pilot D.E.G. 'Gerry' Sayer on a flight lasting 17 minutes.

1954: H.M.Y. 'Britannia' arrives in London after completeing her first royal voyage. The Royal Yacht met the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at Tobruk, Libya, to bring them home after their six-month tour of the Commonwealth. Prime Minister Winston Churchill was also on board after joining the ship earlier on the Isle of Wight.

H.M.Y. 'Britannia' passes under Tower Bridge, London. 15th May 1954.

1957: At Malden Island in the Pacific, Britain tests its first hydrogen bomb in Operation Grapple. The device was dropped by a Vickers Valiant bomber XD818 of No 49 Squadron RAF Bomber Command, normally based at RAF Wittering, Northants. The aircraft is preserved at RAF Museum, Cosford.
Altogether nine hydrogen bombs were detonated over Malden Island and Christmas Island during a two-year test programme, culminating in the UK becoming the third recognised possessor of thermonuclear weapons.

2010: Australian sailor Jessica Watson (born 18th May 1993), unofficially becomes the youngest person to sail non-stop and unassisted around the world. However, her route did not meet World Sailing Speed Record Council (WSSRC) criteria for circumnavigation of the globe, as her she remained below the equator for much of the voyage, therefore the distance sailed was less than that of the earth's circumference.

Jessica Watson leaving Brisbane for Sydney with 'Ella's Pink Lady' (Sept. 8th, 2009).
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This Day In 'Boating' History - May 16th
« Reply #319 on: May 16, 2013, 03:55:51 pm »

May 16th...

Saint Brendan's feast day is celebrated on 16th May by Catholics, Anglicans, and Eastern Orthodox Christians.

One of the most famous early Irish monastic saints, Brendan the Navigator (or Brandan or Brenainn), also called Brendan of Clonfert or Bréanainn of Clonfert, was born in what is now County Kerry, Ireland, about 486 A.D.

A great traveler and founder of churches and monasteries, including his most famous one at Clonfert, County Galway. According to medieval legend, Brendan and a band of intrepid monks embarked in a small boat upon a long voyage around the Atlantic in search of "Terra Repromissionis," or the "Promised Land."
The 'Navigatio Brendani', which dates from the 11th century, contains the earliest surviving version of this story and became a multi-language “best-seller” in its time. Brendan was over 80 years old at the start.

Brendan, aged  93, died at Annaghdown c.577, while visiting his sister Briga. He was buried in the monstery in Clonfert.

Saint Brendan is known the patron saint of Sailors, Mariners, Navigators, Travelers, Older Adventurers and Whales.

1568: Defeated at the Battle of Langside, Mary, Queen of Scots, flees south. On 16th May, she crossed the Solway Firth into England by fishing boat. After landing at Workington in Cumberland in the north of England, she stayed overnight at Workington Hall, before she was taken into protective custody at Carlisle Castle by local officials.

1943: At 21:28hrs 'Operation Chastise' begins as the first of 19 specially modified Avro Lancasters of No.617 Squadron, RAF Bomber Command, takes off from their base at Scampton, Lincolnshire, to attack a series of German dams in the Ruhr Valley using 'Upkeep' rotating mines, commonly known as 'bouncing bombs', designed by Barnes Wallis.

1960: Theodore H. Maiman operates the first functioning laser at Hughes Research Laboratories, Malibu, California. Maiman's functional laser used a solid-state flashlamp-pumped synthetic ruby crystal to produce red laser light, at 694 nanometres wavelength - however, the device was only capable of pulsed operation, because of its three-level pumping design scheme. Later in 1960, Iranian physicist Ali Javan, William R. Bennett, and Donald Herriott, constructed the first gas laser, using helium and neon that was capable of continuous operation in the infrared.

1963: Mercury-Atlas 9, the final manned space mission of the U.S. Mercury program, concludes 34 hours 19 minutes 49 seconds after liftoff when the spacecraft named 'Faith 7', piloted by astronaut Gordon Cooper (then an Air Force major), splashes down 70 nautical miles southeast of Midway Island in the Pacific Ocean. Just four miles from the prime recovery ship, the carrier U.S.S. 'Kearsarge', this was the most accurate landing to date.

Major Cooper completed 22 Earth orbits and entered the record books as the first American to spend over a day in space.

The crew of the aircraft carrier U.S.S. 'Kearsarge' (CVS-33) spell out the words 'Mercury 9' on the flight deck while on the way to the recovery area where the 'Faith 7' Mercury space capsule is expected to splash down.

2013: The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight's Avro Lancaster (in a new livery representing a previous aircraft of 617 Squadron - 'Thumper Mk.III') with a pair of Tornado GR4's of the present 617 Squadron, commemorate the 70th anniversary of the 'Dam Buster' raids of 16th/17th May 1943, with an overflight of the Derwent Reservoir (Ladybower dam) in Derbyshire, England.

The BBMF Avro Lancaster passes over the Ladybower Dam, 16th May 2013.
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This Day In 'Boating' History - May 17th
« Reply #320 on: May 17, 2013, 08:57:38 pm »

May 17th...

1673: Louis Joliet, a French-Canadian explorer and Father Jacques Marquette, with two canoes and five voyageurs of French-Indian ancestry (now recognized as the ethnic group Métis), begin exploring the Mississippi River. Their journey would demonstrate that the Mississippi ran to the Gulf of Mexico.

1795: Two Royalnavy frigates, H.M.S. 'Thetis' (38-gun fifth-rate), and H.M.S. 'Hussar' (28-gun Enterprise-class sixth-rate), engaged five French supply ships ('Normand', 'Trajan', 'Prévoyante', 'Hernoux', and 'Raison') off Cape Henry, Chesapeake Bay. 'Raison' and 'Prévoyante' struck their colours and were taken.
'Prévoyante' was taken into the Royal Navy as H.M.S. 'Prevoyante'.

Capture of 'La Prevoyante' and 'La Raison' by 'Thetis' and 'Hussar', by Thomas Whitcombe

1888: The 'Jeune Hortense' was swept on to the beach when she came into Mount´s Bay to land the body of a Fowey man who had died in France. The Penzance lifeboat 'Dora', was pulled on to the beach by a horse-drawn carriage and was rowed out to the grounded brigantine. Once the 3 crewmen and a boy were safely aboard 'Dora', the rider and horse drew the lifeboat ashore to safety.
Conflicting sources state the 'Jeune Hortense' was refloated and returned to France, whilst others say she was broken up on the beach - the latter suggestion is supported by a wooden keel which still remains in the general location of the grounded ship.

'Jeune Hortense' in 1888, and present-day image of her keel in the sand of Longrock Beach?

1942: H.M.S. 'Eagle' launched 17 Spitfire and 6 Albacore aircraft for Malta. The Spitfire fighters successfully reached Malta, but the Albacore torpedo bombers returned due to engine trouble. Later in the day, 6 Italian SM.79 torpedo bombers attacked her, but all torpedoes missed.

1943: The last of the nine surviving Avro Lancaster bombers of 617 Squadron, which attacked the German dams during the night, put its wheels on the ground at Scampton At 06:15hrs.
The raids had breached Möhne and Eder Dams, causing catastrophic flooding of the Ruhr valley, with the Sorpe dam sustaining only minor damage. Two hydroelectric powerplants were destroyed and several more were damaged. Factories and mines were also either damaged or destroyed. An estimated 1,600 people were drowned, whilst 53 of the 133 aircrew were also killed.

A Tornado of 617 Squadron with commemorative 'Dambusters' 70th Anniversary Tail-art, 2013

1970: Thor Heyerdahl's expedition sets sail from Safi in Morocco aboard a papyrus reed boat 'Ra II', bound for Barbados on the opposite side of the Atlantic Ocean.
Heyerdahl had used wall paintings of papyrus vessels from ancient Egyptian burial sites and reliefs in Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley and Central and South America as his starting points for the construction of his first reed boat, Ra (which failed during a similar attempt the previous year), but was determined to prove that reed boats could have carried people over wide expanses of ocean in ancient times.

Thor Heyerdahl's 'Ra II', named after the Egyptian Sun God.

1987: Sailing off the Saudi Arabian coast near the Iran-Iraq War exclusion boundary, the Perry class guided missile frigate, U.S.S. 'Stark' (FFG-31) was struck by two 1,500 pound Exocet anti-ship missiles fired from an Iraqi Dassault Mirage F1 plane, just after the plane was given a routine radio warning by the 'Stark'. The frigate did not detect the missiles with radar, which were spotted by the lookout only moments before they struck. Both missiles hit the ship, and one exploded in crew quarters, killing 37 sailors and wounding 21.

Guided-missile frigate U.S.S. 'Stark' listing to port after being struck by Iraqi-launched Exocet missiles.

2006: After 25 years of service to the Navy in operations in Korea, Vietnam and the Mediterranean, the decommissioned aircraft carrier U.S.S. 'Oriskany' is sunk as an artificial reef. A U.S. Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal team from Panama City, FL detonated C-4 explosive charges of approximately 500 lb net explosive weight, strategically placed on 22 sea connection pipes in various machinery spaces. The 888-foot ship took about 37 minutes to sink below the surface, coming to rest  (upright, as intended) in 210 ft of water in the Gulf of Mexico.

Detonations aboard the U.S.S. 'Oriskany', now popularly known as the 'Great Carrier Reef'.
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This Day In 'Boating' History - May 18th
« Reply #321 on: May 18, 2013, 05:42:09 pm »

May 18th...

1499: Commissioned by the Catholic Monarchs to sail for America, Alonso de Ojeda sets sail from Cadiz with three caravels, on his voyage to what is now Venezuela. He travelled with the pilot and cartographer Juan de la Cosa and the Italian navigator Amerigo Vespucci. This was the first of a series of what have become known as the "minor journeys" or "Andalusian journeys" that were made to the New World.

1565: The Siege of Malta begins as the Ottoman Empire invade the island, then held by the Knights Hospitaller (also known as the Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta, Knights of Malta, Knights of Rhodes, and Chevaliers of Malta).
The Turkish armada, which had set sail from Istanbul at the end of March, was by all accounts one of the largest assembled since antiquity. According to one of the earliest and most complete histories of the siege, the fleet consisted of 193 vessels, which included 131 galleys, seven galliots (small galleys) and four galleasses (large galleys), the remainder being transport vessels, etc.

The siege of Malta - 'Arrival of the Turkish fleet' by Matteo Perez d' Aleccio.

1756: Nearly two years after the first fighting of the Seven Years' War had broken out in the Ohio Country (North America), Great Britain formally declares war on France on 18th May.
The Seven Years' War  was a world war that took place between 1754 and 1763 with the main conflict being in the seven year period 1756-1763. It involved most of the great powers of the time and affected Europe, North America, Central America, the West African coast, India, and the Philippines.

1780: Admiral of the Fleet Sir Charles Hardy died at Spithead. The son of a vice admiral, Charles Hardy was born at Portsmouth, ca.1714. He joined the Royal Navy as a volunteer in 1731, becoming a captain in August 1741.
During his career, in which he was be involved in several notable naval engagements, he also served as governor and commander-in-chief of the British colony of Newfoundland; governor of the Colony of New York; the Member of Parliament for Rochester; and governor of Greenwich Hospital from 1771 to 1780. In 1779 he became Commander-in-Chief of the Channel Fleet remaining in that post until his death in May 1780.

Admiral of the Fleet Sir Charles Hardy (ca. 1714 – 18 May 1780).
Painted by George Romney, in 1780.

1803: The period now known as the Napoleonic Wars begins after Britain revokes the Treaty of Amiens and declares war on France on 18th May. Britain gave its official reasons for resuming hostilities as 'France's imperialist policies in the West Indies, Italy and Switzerland'.

1916: Early on the 18th May, Shackleton, Worsley and Crean - the three members of the island-crossing party - set out from the shelter provided by the up-turned 'James Caird', to make what would be the first-ever confirmed land crossing of the South Georgia interior. Aiming for the inhabited station at Stromness, their journey was far from straightforward, since they lacked any map and had to improvise a route which involved traversing mountain ranges and glaciers.

1940: Whilst supporting the Narvik campaign, Revenge-class battleship H.M.S. 'Resolution' is hit, but not sunk, by a 1,000 kilo bomb from a Junkers Ju.88 at Tjeldsundet.

H.M.S. 'Resolution', between the wars.

1972: Responding to a bomb threat received by the Captain of QE2, a specialist bomb disposal unit is flown from Britain to rendezvous with the liner in the mid-Atlantic. On arrival, and in far from ideal conditions, the unit parachutes into the sea close to the ship, for recovery by the ship's launch. No bomb was found and the incident eventually turned out to be a hoax (the FBI succeed in arresting the culprit).
The bomb disposal team were awarded the Queen's Commendation for Brave Conduct.

Two members of the combined SAS/SBS unit, parachuting into the Atlantic near the QE2.
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This Day In 'Boating' History - May 19th...
« Reply #322 on: May 19, 2013, 08:21:28 am »

May 19th...

1535: French explorer Jacques Cartier sets sail on his second voyage to North America with three ships, 110 men, and and the Iroquoian natives* that Cartier had taken back to France during his first voyage.
*Sources conflict regarding the identities and method of 'removing' the natives to France. Some say they went willingly, whilst other say they were kidnapped.

1838: The paddle-steamer 'Sirius' sets the record for the highest average speed of a passenger liner during a west-to-east transatlantic crossing when she arrives at Falmouth, England from New York. Previously, she set the fastest 'east-to-west' record, holding it for less than a day, before it was broken by PS 'Great Western' in April 1838.

A static model of the Paddle-steamer 'Sirius' (1837).

1845: On the morning of 19th May, Captain Sir John Franklin and his ill-fated Arctic expedition, departed from Greenhithe, England,  with a crew of 24 officers and 110 men on board the ships H.M.S. 'Terror' and H.M.S. 'Erebus'. The ships stopped briefly in Stromness Harbour in the Orkney Islands in northern Scotland, and from there they sailed to Greenland with H.M.S. 'Rattler' and a transport ship, 'Barretto Junior'.

H.M.S. 'Erebus' and H.M.S. 'Terror' sail from Greenhithe, 1845.

1916: 36 hours after setting out from "Peggotty Camp" (i.e. the upturned lifeboat 'James Caird'), and travelling continuously, Shackleton, Worsley and Crean, reached their destination at Stromness. They were, in Worsley's words, "a terrible trio of scarecrows", their haggard faces dark with exposure, wind, frostbite and accumulated blubber soot.

Later that evening, a motor-vessel was despatched to King Haakon Bay to pick up McCarthy, McNish, Vincent, and the 'James Caird'. Worsley wrote that the Norwegian seamen at Stromness all "claimed the honour of helping to haul her up to the wharf", a gesture which was "quite affecting".

Owing to the advent of the southern winter and the prevailing ice conditions, it was more than three months before Shackleton was able to achieve the relief of the men at Elephant Island but eventually, with the aid of the steam-tug 'Yelcho', the entire party was brought to safety, reaching Punta Arenas, Chile, in September 1916.

Crean, Shackleton, and Worsley, twenty-four hours after arriving in Stromness.

1919: SS 'Bandırma', an Ottoman mixed-freight ship, becomes famous for her historical role in taking Mustafa Kemal Pasha (Atatürk), accompanied with 22 officers, 25 soldiers and 8 administrative staff, from Constantinople (present day Istanbul) on the 16th May, to Samsun on the Anatolian Black Sea coast. Upon landing, on 19th May, Mustafa Kemal Pasha started the Turkish national movement - contrary to the orders given to him by the Ottoman government -resulting in the declaration of Republic of Turkey after the Turkish War of Independence almost four years later.

1931: 'Deutschland', the lead ship of her class of heavy cruisers (often termed a pocket battleship), was launched at the Deutsche Werke shipyard in Kiel. Christened by German Chancellor Heinrich Brüning, the ship accidentally started sliding down the slipway while Brüning was giving his christening speech.
After the completion of fitting out work and sea trials, the ship was commissioned into the Reichsmarine on 1st April 1933.
In 1940, she was renamed Lützow, after the Admiral Hipper class heavy cruiser Lützow was handed over to the Soviet Union.

Deutschland at her launch, 19th May 1931.

2003: In view of the important historical role in the birth of the Republic of Turkey, the governor and the mayor of Samsun Province initiated the building of a replica of SS 'Bandırma'.
Taşkınlar Shipbuilding Co. started construction of the vessel in May 2000, which was completed by mid-April 2001. The new 'Bandırma' was opened as a museum ship on 19th May 2003 at Doğu Park (East Park) in Samsun. Wax figures of Mustafa Kemal Pasha and his followers on the ship are on display along with historical items in the museum ship today.

Full-size replica of 'Bandırma' at Doğu Park in Samsun. Opened 19th May 2003.
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This Day In 'Boating' History - May 20th
« Reply #323 on: May 20, 2013, 06:00:41 am »

May 20th...
1497: Venetian navigator John Cabot sets sail from Bristol on the ship 'Matthew' (principally owned by Richard Amerike, a wealthy English merchant, royal customs officer and sheriff, of Welsh descent), to begin his second voyage of discovery (to the west) under the commission of Henry VII of England. (Some sources give 2nd May as the departure date).

A full-size replica of John Cabot's ship, 'Matthew'.

1498: Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama discovers the direct sea route from Europe to India, landing in Calicut on 20th May 1498.
The discovery paved the way for the Portuguese to establish a long lasting colonial empire in Asia. The route meant that the Portuguese wouldn't need to cross the highly disputed Mediterranean nor the dangerous Arabia, and that the whole voyage would be made by sea.
1506: Italian explorer and navigator, Christopher Columbus, aged probably 54, died in Valladolid, Crown of Castile, in present-day Spain.
Columbus's remains were first interred at Valladolid, then at the monastery of La Cartuja in Seville (southern Spain) by the will of his son Diego, who had been governor of Hispaniola. In 1542 the remains were transferred to Colonial Santo Domingo, in the present-day Dominican Republic. In 1795, when France took over the entire island of Hispaniola, Columbus's remains were moved to Havana, Cuba. After Cuba became independent following the Spanish-American War in 1898, the remains were moved back to Spain, to the Cathedral of Seville, where they were placed on an elaborate catafalque.

The tomb of Christopher Columbus, Seville cathedral, Spain.

1570: Gilles Coppens de Diest at Antwerp publishes 53 maps, created by Cartographer Abraham Ortelius, under the title 'Theatrum Orbis Terrarum' ("Theatre of the World"). It consisted of a collection of uniform map sheets and sustaining text (bound to form a book) for which copper printing plates were specifically engraved. The Ortelius atlas is considered the first true modern atlas and is sometimes referred to as the summary of sixteenth-century cartography.

The world map from Ortelius' 'Theatrum Orbis Terrarum', 1570.

1756: On 20th May, shortly after Great Britain declared war on the House of Bourbon, their squadrons met off the Mediterranean island of Minorca. The ensuing 'Battle of Minorca' between French and British fleets was the opening sea battle of the Seven Years' War in the European theatre. The fight resulted in a French victory. The subsequent decision by the British to withdraw to Gibraltar also handed France a strategic victory and led directly to the Fall of Minorca.
The British failure to save Minorca led to the controversial court-martial and execution of the British commander, Admiral John Byng, for "failure to do his utmost" to relieve the siege of the British garrison on Minorca.
1941: Codenamed 'Operation Merkur' (Mercury), the German invasion of the island of Crete begins with an airborne assault by the Luftwaffe's 7th Parachute Division. Although Allied ground units on Crete, and naval vessels in the surrounding waters, fight tenaciously, the defenders are forced to withdraw from the island during the period 28th May to 1st June.
1941: The German battleship 'Bismarck' and the heavy cruiser 'Prinz Eugen' pass through the Kattegat en route for the North Atlantic convoy routes.
1973: Britain sends three Royal Navy frigates - 'Cleopatra', 'Plymouth' and 'Lincoln' - to protect trawlers in the disputed Icelandic 50-mile zone as the so-called "cod war" escalates.
The skippers of the British trawlers (fishing in box formation), had said they would not return to the seas without naval protection against Icelandic gunboats which had been cruising the area since Iceland extended its no-fishing limit from three to 50 miles, eight months earlier.

H.M.S 'Plymouth' with the trawler 'Othello' during fishery protection duties off Iceland, 1973.
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Re: This Day In 'Boating' HistoryThe sinking of the "Maid of Kent"
« Reply #324 on: May 21, 2013, 10:05:06 am »

She was a Southern Railways Cross Channel Ferry, about 2,600 tons, could carry about 1,400 Passengers. At the outbreak of War she was converted to a Hospital Ship, Nr 21,she was painted white with prominate red crosses on her sides and funnel and a wide green band around her hull, at night she was illuminated with green lights to signify a non-combatant in addition the crew had rigged a white awning with a large red cross over the Upper decks, The area along side the dock was cleared of grass and covered with chalk and a massive red cross painted on it.,She was sent to Dieppe on the 20th May, 1940.  Shortly after arrival she was attacked but received no damage. The following morning she was due to load injured soldiers and sail for England at 9.30 AM. The harbour was attacked by 2 waves of German Bombers, the Hospital train was hit and began to burn then the second wave attacked the ship, one bomb went down the funnel and exploded in the engine room followed by another thru the engine room gratings and 2 more thru the decks and exploded in the wards where the wounded were.Within minutes the ship was ablaze from end to end, but the aircraft continued to attack with machine gun fire. 17 Crew died in this attack, the rest fled, some helping to rescue, survivors on deck, all below deck died, including many nursing and medical staff. The remainer made their way to Le Havre, where they got a Fishing boat to take them to Dover and home. The survivors received 6 pounds "Shipwreck" payment and 7 days leave. (Wow!!)
 How do I know thuis? Well the sole surviving member of the Crew is my Brother in Law, now 94 years old, He has a photo of The Maid the day after the raid, burnt out and riddled with machine gun bullet holes.He won't let me copy it, so you will just have to believe me!
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