Friday, November 29, 2013

This Day in History: Nov 29, 1981: Actress Natalie Wood drowns

On this day in 1981, the actress Natalie Wood, who starred in such movies as Rebel Without a Cause and West Side Story, drowns in a boating accident near California’s Catalina Island. She was 43 years old.

 Natalie Wood and husband Robert Wagner (left) on their boat Splendour , with captain Dennis Davern (right), whose revelations have helped re-open the case into Ms Wood's death
 Ms Wood and Wagner, pictured ont he Splendour two weeks before she died, had apparently argued on the night she went overboard


Born Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko on July 20, 1938, in San Francisco, California, Wood began her acting career as a child. She gained acclaim for her role as Susan Walker, the little girl who doubts the existence of Santa Claus in Miracle on 34th Street (1947).

 Natalie Wood and Elvis Presley outside the Hotel Chisca Wednesday October 31, 1956.


Nick Ray directs Natalie Wood and James Dean in an early screen test for Rebel Without a Cause.

As a teenager, Wood went on to play James Dean’s girlfriend in Rebel Without a Cause (1955), for which she received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination. She also earned Best Actress Academy Award nominations for her performances in Splendor in the Grass (1961) with Warren Beatty and Love with the Proper Stranger (1963) with Steve McQueen. Wood’s film credits also include West Side Story (1961), winner of 10 Oscars, in which she played the lead role of Maria; Gypsy (1962), which was based on the hit Broadway musical of the same name and co-starred Rosalind Russell and Karl Malden; The Great Race (1965), with Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis; Inside Daisy Clover (1966), with Christopher Plummer and Robert Redford; and Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969) with Robert Culp, Elliott Gould and Dyan Cannon.

Wood was twice married to the actor Robert Wagner (Hart to Hart, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery), from 1957 to 1962 and from 1974 to the time of her death.

 Happy: Actress Natalie Wood pictured with her husband Robert Wagner on their first wedding day in 1957. They divorced only to remarry again six years later
 Family: Natalie with her husband and two children Natasha, left, and Courtney, pictured in 1976


On the night of November 29, 1981, the dark-haired beauty was with her husband on their yacht “The Splendor,” which was moored off Santa Catalina, near Los Angeles. Also on the yacht was the actor Christopher Walken, who at the time was making the movie Brainstorm with Wood. Neither Wagner nor Walken saw what happened to Wood that night, but it was believed she somehow slipped overboard while untying a dinghy attached to the boat. Her body was found in the early hours of the following morning. Brainstorm, Wood’s final film, was released in theaters in 1983.

Natalie Wood, 1981 (© AP)
 File:Natalie Wood star redone.jpg
  Natalie's grave - natalie-wood Photo
 Taken from: [29.11.2013]

This Day in History: Nov 29, 1947: U.N. votes for partition of Palestine

Despite strong Arab opposition, the United Nations votes for the partition of Palestine and the creation of an independent Jewish state.

The modern conflict between Jews and Arabs in Palestine dates back to the 1910s, when both groups laid claim to the British-controlled territory. The Jews were Zionists, recent emigrants from Europe and Russia who came to the ancient homeland of the Jews to establish a Jewish national state. The native Palestinian Arabs sought to stem Jewish immigration and set up a secular Palestinian state.

Beginning in 1929, Arabs and Jews openly fought in Palestine, and Britain attempted to limit Jewish immigration as a means of appeasing the Arabs. As a result of the Holocaust in Europe, many Jews illegally entered Palestine during World War II. Radical Jewish groups employed terrorism against British forces in Palestine, which they thought had betrayed the Zionist cause. At the end of World War II, in 1945, the United States took up the Zionist cause. Britain, unable to find a practical solution, referred the problem to the United Nations, which on November 29, 1947, voted to partition Palestine.

 Zipporah and other American students in Jerusalem display local newspapers announcing the UN vote approving the Partition Plan for Palestine (Nov. 29,1947).

The Jews were to possess more than half of Palestine, though they made up less than half of Palestine's population. The Palestinian Arabs, aided by volunteers from other countries, fought the Zionist forces, but the Jews secured full control of their U.N.-allocated share of Palestine and also some Arab territory. On May 14, 1948, Britain withdrew with the expiration of its mandate, and the State of Israel was proclaimed by Jewish Agency Chairman David Ben-Gurion. The next day, forces from Egypt, Transjordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq invaded.

The Israelis, though less well equipped, managed to fight off the Arabs and then seize key territories, such as Galilee, the Palestinian coast, and a strip of territory connecting the coastal region to the western section of Jerusalem. In 1949, U.N.-brokered cease-fires left the State of Israel in permanent control of those conquered areas. The departure of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arabs from Israel during the war left the country with a substantial Jewish majority.

Taken from: [29.11.2013]

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

This Day in History: Nov 27, 1940: Iron Guard massacres former Romanian government


Two months after General Ion Antonescu seized power in Romania and forced King Carol II to abdicate, Antonescu's Iron Guard arrests and executes more than 60 aides of the exiled king, including Nicolae Iorga, a former minister and acclaimed historian.

 File:Corneliu Zelea Codreanu.jpg

 File:Ion antonescu.png

The extreme right-wing movement known as the Iron Guard was founded by Corneliu Codreanu in the 1920s, imitating Germany's Nazi Party in both ideology and methods. In 1938, King Carol II managed to establish a stronger dictatorship in Romania and took steps to suppress the activities of the Iron Guard as well as its left-wing antithesis, the Romanian Communist Party. However, the control fell into violent turmoil after the Munich Pact of 1939 was signed, seen as an abandonment of Romania by its Western allies from World War I, followed by a Nazi-Soviet nonaggression pact in 1939, which ceded portions of Romania to the USSR.

 File:Bundesarchiv Bild 183-B03212, München, Staatsbesuch Jon Antonescu bei Hitler.jpg

 File:Standard of Marshal Ion Antonescu.svg

 File:Bundesarchiv Bild 183-B23201, Joachim von Ribbentrop und Ion Antonescu.jpg
 File:N. Ceauşescu şi alţi deţinuţi politici în lagărul de la Tg. Jiu.jpg

General Ion Antonescu emerged from the chaos victorious and established a dictatorship with Nazi leader Adolf Hitler's approval, killing, exiling, or imprisoning most of his former political opposition. Nevertheless, Romanian resistance to the Iron Guard and Nazi occupation persisted during the war, and in August 1944 a massive revolt toppled Antonescu's government in the Romanian capital of Bucharest, allowing the Soviet liberators to capture the city without firing a shot. In 1945, Romanian communists came to power with the backing of the Soviet Union.

 File:Grupuri de pogromişti, dintre cei care au bătut, chinuit şi ucis suflete evreeşti.jpg

 File:Antonescu execution.jpg


Taken from: [27.11.2013]

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

This Day in History: Nov 26, 1703: The Great Storm of 1703


The Great Storm of 1703 was one of the most severe storms or natural disaster ever recorded in the southern part of Great Britain. The storm came in from the southwest on November 26, 1703.

 File:William Derham.jpg

Observers at the time recorded barometric readings as low as 973 millibars (measured by William Derham in south Essex),[1] but it has been suggested that the storm may have deepened to 950 millibars over the Midlands.



In London, approximately 2,000 massive chimney stacks were blown down. The lead roofing was blown off Westminster Abbey and Queen Anne had to shelter in a cellar at St. James's Palace to avoid collapsing chimneys and part of the roof. On the Thames, around 700 ships were heaped together in the Pool of London, the section downstream from London Bridge. HMS Vanguard was wrecked at Chatham. Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell's HMS Association was blown from Harwich to Gothenburg in Sweden before way could be made back to England.[2] Pinnacles were blown from the top of King’s College Chapel, in Cambridge.[3]

File:HMS Duke.jpg

There was extensive and prolonged flooding in the West Country, particularly around Bristol. Hundreds of people drowned in flooding on the Somerset Levels, along with thousands of sheep and cattle, and one ship was found 15 miles inland.[4] At Wells, Bishop Richard Kidder was killed when two chimneystacks in the palace fell on the bishop and his wife, asleep in bed.[3] This same storm blew in part of the great west window in Wells Cathedral. Major damage occurred to the south-west tower of Llandaff Cathedral at Cardiff.

At sea, many ships (many returning from helping the King of Spain fight the French in the War of the Spanish Succession) were wrecked, including on the Goodwin Sands, HMS Stirling Castle, HMS Northumberland, HMS Mary, and HMS Restoration, with about 1,500 seamen killed particularly on the Goodwins. Between 8,000 and 15,000 lives were lost overall.

File:Henry Winstanley00.jpg

 File:Eddystone lighthouse00.jpg

The first Eddystone Lighthouse off Plymouth was destroyed[3] on 27 November 1703 (Old Style), killing six occupants, including its builder Henry Winstanley (John Rudyard was later contracted to build the second lighthouse on the site).

 File:Rudyard lighthouse.jpeg

A ship torn from its moorings in the Helford River in Cornwall was blown for 200 miles before grounding eight hours later on the Isle of Wight.[3] The number of oak trees lost in the New Forest alone was 4,000.

 The Great Storm of 1703 caused devastation in just one 24 hour spell

The storm of 1703 caught a convoy of 130 merchant ships and their Man of War escorts, the "Dolphin", the "Cumberland", the "Coventry", the "Looe", the "Hastings" and the "Hector" sheltering at Milford Haven. By 3pm the next afternoon losses included 30 vessels.[5]


 Detail: First Eddystone Lightouse (PLYMG 1911.121)

The storm, unprecedented in ferocity and duration, was generally reckoned by witnesses to represent the anger of God—in recognition of the "crying sins of this nation." The government declared 19 January 1704 a day of fasting, saying it "loudly calls for the deepest and most solemn humiliation of our people." It remained a frequent topic of moralizing in sermons well into the nineteenth century.[6]


 File:Daniel Defoe Kneller Style.jpg

The Great Storm also coincided with the increase in English journalism, and was the first weather event to be a news story on a national scale. Special issue broadsheets were produced detailing damage to property and stories of people who had been killed.

File:The Storm by Daniel Defoe cover page.jpg

Daniel Defoe produced his full-length book, The Storm, published in July 1704, in response to the calamity, calling it "the tempest that destroyed woods and forests all over England." He wrote: "No pen could describe it, nor tongue express it, nor thought conceive it unless by one in the extremity of it." Coastal towns such as Portsmouth "looked as if the enemy had sackt them and were most miserably torn to pieces." Winds of up to 80mph destroyed more than 400 windmills.[7] Defoe reported in some the sails turned so fast that the friction caused the wooden wheels to overheat and catch fire.[8] He thought the destruction of the sovereign fleet was a punishment for their poor performance against the Catholic armies of France and Spain during the first year of the War of the Spanish Succession.[9]

 File:Schellenberg 1704.jpg

Thirteen ships lost in the Royal Navy


In the English Channel, fierce winds and high seas swamped some vessels outright and drove others onto the Goodwin Sands, an extensive sand bank situated along the southeast coast of England and the traditional anchorage for ships waiting either for passage up the Thames estuary to London or for favorable winds to take them out into the Channel and the Atlantic Ocean.[10] The Royal Navy was badly affected, losing thirteen ships, including the entire Channel Squadron, [10] and upwards of fifteen hundred seamen drowned.[11]
  • The third rate Restoration was wrecked on the Goodwin Sands; of the ship's company of 387 not one was saved.
  • The third rate Northumberland was lost on the Goodwin Sands; all 220 men, including 24 marines were killed.
  • The third rate (battleship)[10] Stirling Castle was wrecked on the Goodwin Sands. Seventy men, including four marine officers, were saved, but 206 men were drowned.
  • The fourth rate Mary was wrecked on the Goodwin Sands. The captain and the purser were ashore, but Rear Admiral Beaumont and 268 other men were drowned. Only one man, whose name was Thomas Atkins, was saved. His escape was very remarkable - having first seen the rear admiral get onto a piece of her quarter-deck when the ship was breaking up, and then get washed off again, Atkins was tossed by a wave into the Stirling Castle, which sank soon after. From the Stirling Castle he was swept into a boat by a wave, and was rescued.[12]
  • The fifth rate Mortar-bomb was wrecked on the Goodwin Sands and her entire company of 65 were lost.
  • The sixth rate advice boat Eagle was lost on the coast of Sussex, but her ship's company of 45 were all saved.
  • The third rate Resolution was lost at Pevensey on the coast of Sussex; all her ship's company of 221 were saved.
  • The fifth rate Litchfield Prize was wrecked on the coast of Sussex; all 108 on board were saved.
  • The fourth rate Newcastle was lost at Spithead. The carpenter and 39 men were saved, and the other 193 were drowned.
  • The fifth rate fire-ship Vesuvius was lost at Spithead; all 48 of her ship's company were saved.
  • The fourth rate Reserve was lost by foundering off Yarmouth. The captain, the surgeon, the clerk, and 44 men were saved; the other 175 members of the crew were drowned.[13]
  • The second rate Vanguard was sunk in Chatham harbour. She was not manned and had no armament fitted; the following year she was raised for rebuilding.[14]
  • The fourth rate York was lost at Harwich; all but four of her men were saved.

 File:HMS Association (1697).jpg

Lamb (1991) claimed 10,000 seamen were lost in one night, a far higher figure, about 1/3 of all the seamen in the British Navy.[15] Shrewsbury narrowly escaped a similar fate. Over 40 merchant ships were lost.[16]