Sunday, 16 August 2015

Today's the Day - 17th August

  • 75 years ago: On 17th August 1940, American RAF pilot and 1928 (5 man) & 1932 (4 man) Olympic champion bobsleigh pilot Billy Fiske, was killed in action in WW2. He was one of 11 American pilots who flew with RAF Fighter Command between 10 July and 31 October 1940 and was one of the first US servicemen to lose his life in the war. Flying a Hawker Hurricane and only 15 minutes into his mission, a German gunner put a bullet through his fuel tank. Rather than baling out, Fiske successfully managed to nurse his aircraft back, but shortly after landing it exploded. He was taken to the Royal West Sussex Hospital in Chichester, but died 48 hours later from surgical shock. He was just 29 years old.

  • 25 years ago: Pearl Bailey, award winning American stage, film and TV actress, singer, entertainer and writer died on this day in 1990. The winner of a Tony Award for playing the title role in an all-black version of Hello Dolly, she died of heart disease in Philadelphia at the age of 72.

  • 20 years ago: A bomb exploded at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, injuring 17 people. The Algerian Armed Islamic Group (GIA) claimed responsibility for the attack and followed it up with 3 further bombs in the next 3 weeks. Only one of which actually exploded, causing 14 further casualties at a Jewish school in Lyon.

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