Death of an Admiral
1757 British admiral John Byng was court-martialled and executed by firing squad on board HMS Monarch at Plymouth, for “failing to do his utmost” to relieve Minorca from the French fleet following the Battle of Minorca. In practice, his ships badly needed repair and he was relieved of his command before he could see to his ships or secure the extra forces he required.
1805 Master Betty (William Betty) played Hamlet on the London stage, aged just 14. He was such a success that the House of Commons was adjourned to enable members to watch his performance. His success was short-lived and, not long afterwards, he was hissed off the stage.
1885 The Mikado, a light opera by W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan, had its first public performance in London.
1891 The submarine Monarch laid telephone cable along the English Channel bed to prepare for the first telephone links across the Channel.
A Long Story
1930 A proposed tunnel linking England and France was approved by the Channel Tunnel Committee. It eventually opened on 6. May, 1994.
The Grand Slam
1945 The 617 Dambuster Squadron of the RAF dropped the heaviest bomb of the war (the 22,000-pound “Grand Slam”) on the Bielefeld railway viaduct in Germany. Although known officially as the Bomb, Medium Capacity, 22,000pound, it was nicknamed ‘Ten Ton Tess’.The bomb was designed by Barnes Wallis, who also designed the earlier ‘bouncing bomb’. The Dambuster Pilots practiced their techniques at the Derwent Dam in Derbyshire. Bielefeld is now twinned with many European towns including Enniskillen in Northern Ireland and Rochdale in Lancashire.
The Date in Space
1960 Jodrell Bank’s radio telescope in Cheshire set a new record, making contact with the American Pioneer V satellite at a distance of 407,000 miles. The previous record was 290,000 miles.