1475 Michelangelo was born on 6th March 1475 in Caprese near Arezzo, Tuscany. At the time of Michelangelo’s birth, his father, Ludovico di Leonardo di Buonarotto Simoni, was the town’s Judicial administrator. Michelangelo’s mother was Francesca di Neri del Miniato di Siena.
Michelangelo would become a world renowned Renaissance sculptor, painter, architect, poet, and engineer and who exert an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art.
Portrait of Michelangelo by Daniele da Volterra. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michelangelo
1521 ‘Magellan’s Voyage around the World (1519-1522): The three remaining ships, of the five that set out from Spain under the command of Ferdinand Magellan, reach the Marianas and Guam. Magellan called Guam the “Island of Sails” because they saw a lot of sailboats. They renamed it to “Ladrones Island” (Island of Thieves) because many of Trinidad’s small boats were stolen there.
An anonymous portrait of Ferdinand Magellan, 16th or 17th century (The Mariner’s Museum Collection, Newport News, VA) Legend: “Ferdinan[dus] Magellanus superatis antarctici freti angustiis clariss.” (Fedinand Magellan, you overcame the famous, narrow, southern straits.) Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferdinand_Magellan
1706 (Admiral Sir) George Pocock (KB, RN) is born in Chieveley, Berkshire. The son of Thomas Pocock, a chaplain in the navy. George Pocock would enter the navy in 1718, serving aboard HMS Superb. Eventually holding several positions as an officer until, in 1761, he would be made a Knight of the Bath and admiral.
Vice-Admiral George Pocock, by Thomas Hudson. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Pocock
1709 Portland captured the French Coventry 40 miles N. by W. of Puerto Bastimentos.
See 4 March 1709.
Johann Schranz – HMS Portland In The Harbour Of Malta. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Portland_(1693)
1741 Vice-Adm Edward Vernon (Strafford) bombarded Puerto Cartagena, Colombia – ineffectively.
Admiral Edward “Old Grog” Vernon. Portrait by Thomas Gainsborough. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Vernon
Attack of the British army commanded by the Vice-Admiral Edward Vernon on Cartagena de Indias.
1788 Following the arrival of the First Fleet at Port Jackson in January 1788, Arthur Phillip ordered Lieutenant Philip Gidley King to lead a party of 15 convicts and seven free men to take control of Norfolk Island and prepare for its commercial development. On 6th March 1788, King and his party arrived, but landed with difficulty, owing to the lack of a suitable harbour.
Arthur Phillip – 1786 portrait by Francis Wheatley (National Portrait Gallery, London). Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Phillip
Philip Gidley King – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Gidley_King
1797 Phaeton (38) captured the French privateer Actif 120 miles to the southward of Ushant.
Contemporary Japanese drawing of HMS Phaeton (Nagasaki Museum of History and Culture). Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Phaeton_(1782)
1811 Landing parties from Rear-Adm Sir Richard Keats’ squadron destroyed French batteries between Rota and Puerto de Santa Maria on Spanish coast. Ships: Milford, Implacable, Warrior. Bombs: Hound, Thunder.
Admiral Sir Richard Goodwin Keats (1757-1834) ©National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Goodwin_Keats
1836 Voyage of HMS Beagle (1831-36): The Beagle arrived at King George’s Sound at the town of Albany, in Prince Royal Harbour, about 250 miles south-east of Perth, and remained there for eight days. Darwin was not very impressed with the landscape, it was a very dull looking place with no mountains, no rivers and no trees.
A watercolour by HMS Beagle‘s draughtsman, Conrad Martens. Painted during the survey of Tierra del Fuego, it depicts native Fuegians hailing the Beagle. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_voyage_of_HMS_Beagle
1838 Pincher, schooner (5), capsized with all hands off The Owers.
1869 Russian chemist and inventor, Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev (8th February 1834 – 2nd February 1907 N.S.), formally presents the first version of the periodic table of elements to the Russian Chemical Society. He would use the table to predict the properties of elements yet to be discovered.
Dmitri Mendeleev in 1897. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dmitri_Mendeleev
1881 Horatia Nelson (29th January 1801 – 6th March 1881), the daughter of Horatio Nelson and Emma Hamilton, dies at Beaufort Villas, Woodridings, Pinner, aged 80 years. The mother of ten children, she was laid to rest in Pinner Parish old cemetery, in Paines Lane, Pinner.
Miniature of Horatia Nelson, c.1822 (National Maritime Museum). Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horatia_Nelson
1890 First promotion to new warrant rank of Signal Bosun: M.H.W. Evans, the top of the list, also became the first Chief Signal Bosun and, in 1903, the first Signal Warrant Officer.
1902 Queen Alexandra’s Royal Naval Nursing Service constituted by Order in Council, replacing the naval nursing sisters.
QARNNS – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen_Alexandra%27s_Royal_Naval_Nursing_Service
1908 German armoured cruiser SMS Gneisenau was christened and commissioned by Field Marshal Alfred von Schlieffen, the former Chief of the General Staff. One of the two-ship Scharnhorst class, she was named after August von Gneisenau, a Prussian general of the Napoleonic Wars. Captain Franz von Hipper was the ship’s first commanding officer; taking command on the day she was commissioned. He was tasked with conducting the ship’s shakedown cruise, which lasted from 26 March to the middle of July.
Alfred von Schlieffen – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_von_Schlieffen
1913 Direct public school entry to RN College Dartmouth announced.
1918 GC (ex-AM): Flt Lt V.A. Watson for saving life in blazing naval warship. (Gazette date.)
1918 Submarine H 5 sunk in collision with SS Rutherglen, not as some thought a Q-ship, but a merchant vessel whose ramming a friendly submarine was not denounced by the Admiralty, in order to encourage others. First USN submarine casualty on active service – Ensign E.F. Childs, USN, appointed H 5 for experience.
A view from the bridge of HMS H5. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_H5.
HMS H5 was mistaken for a German U-boat and rammed by a British merchant ship off the north Wales coast.
The merchant ship, the Rutherglen, later docked at Holyhead, Anglesey.
Other events in the town on Saturday include a military parade and a visit from a Royal Navy minehunter.
All 26 sailors on HMS H5 lost their lives, including a US lieutenant who was an observer on board and was the first member of the US Navy to die in World War I.
The Rutherglen later docked at Holyhead and reported sinking a German U-boat.
HMS H5 was overdue by four days and it became apparent that the merchant ship had actually struck a British submarine.
The reality of what had happened was not revealed to the crew of the Rutherglen or the families of those who died.
It was some 50 years later before the tragic circumstances emerged.
1920 Light cruiser Calcutta dealt with serious fire in the American Balabac at Port of Spain, Trinidad. Admiralty approved acceptance of rare award of the Presidential Life Saving Medal, made without reference to Congress, by President Wilson.
1938 Spanish Nationalist heavy cruiser Beleares torpedoed and sunk in action with Republican units off Cape Palos E. of Cartagena during Spanish Civil War. Patrolling British destroyers Boreas and Kempenfelt rescued 470 men but lost one of their own men and 4 wounded when Government bombers attacked sinking cruiser.
See 23 July 1938.
1941 ‘We must assume that the Battle of the Atlantic has begun’ – Winston Churchill. Five years later it was defined by the Admiralty as ‘the most protracted and bitterly fought campaign in which the British Empire and her allies have ever been engaged’.
1944 Swordfish X/816 (Chaser) sank U-973 off northern Norway. Convoy RA 57. Second Chaser success in two days.
1944 Icarus and Kenilworth Castle, with Chaudiere, Chilliwack, Fennel, Gatineau and St Catherines (all RCN), sank U-744 in N. Atlantic (52-01N, 22-37EW). Convoy HX 280.
HMCS Chilliwack‘s boat crew boards U744 in the North Atlantic. Forty men of her crew of 51 were taken prisoner. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_submarine_U-744
1945 Midget submarine XE 11 collided with boom defence vessel Norina in Loch Striven and sank. CO and two men lost. Last RN submarine loss of the Second World War.
See 19 January 1945.
HMS XE11 – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XE-class_submarine
1987 Cross-Channel ferry Herald of Free Enterprise capsized off Zeebrugge. RN clearance divers assisted in rescue operations and returned on 10 April to help recover bodies.
With her bow ballast tanks filled to facilitate loading, Townsend Thoresen RO-RO ferry, ‘Herald of Free Enterprise’, left her berth in Zeebrugge inner harbour at 18:05 (GMT), whilst untrimmed and with her bow doors open.
Carrying 80 crew members, 459 passengers, and 131 assorted vehicles, she passed the outer mole at 18:24hrs, and started to build speed. As soon as she reached 18.9 knots, seawater began flooding the car deck.
The subsequent free surface effect destroyed her stability and she developed a 30-degrees list to port. Righting herself briefly, she listed to port once more and capsized. Almost immediately, both main and emergency electrical systems failed, which left the ship in darkness.
The Herald of Free Enterprise ended on it’s side, half-submerged in ‘shallow’ water, approx half-a-mile from shore. Only a fortuitous turn to starboard in her last moments, and capsizing onto a sandbar, prevented the ship from sinking entirely in much deeper water.
The entire event took place within 90 seconds. It would result in the loss of 193 passengers and crew.
The disaster would bring about improvements to the design of RO-RO vessels, with watertight ramps, bow-doors indicators, and the banning of undivided decks.
After so much adverse publicity, Townsend Thoresen was renamed P&O European Ferries.
Spirit-class RORO Ferry Herald of Free Enterprise. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MS_Herald_of_Free_Enterprise
1993 Retirement of CPO W. Price, last of the ‘promised men’ who joined the RN in 1948 and in 1970 were guaranteed employment until age 65. He served for twenty-two years in the RN Detention Quarters, Portsmouth.
wrecksite.eu – On This Day – http://wrecksite.eu/wrecked-on-this-day.aspx