On this day: The 16th of April 1746

Battle of Culloden

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The Battle Of Culloden was the last pitched battle to be fought on British soil. And typically, for Scottish springtime, the weather was bitterly cold – wind and sleet battered the men massed on the moors of Culloden. The wild conditions and increasingly heavy terrain would not favour the Jacobites.
eBonnie Prince Charli ’s men were ravaged by hunger and fatigue; the road to Culloden was long, barren and morale-sapping. English propaganda was rife with rumour that the Jacobites were becoming mutinous – there was indeed some substance to this notion. Charles’ campaign would be hamstrung by diminishing resources; his soldiers would go without pay, their supplies that were so desperately needed would be intercepted by government forces.
The health of the Jacobite campaign was ailing – as was its leader’s. A bout of pneumonia had left Charles weakened. This could all have been the result of a protracted campaign. After the victory at Prestonpans , Scotland could have been secured by the Jacobites. But Charles chose to head south, taking the fight to England. Reaching as far as Derby , the Jacobites made a calculated retreat after learning that a large Hanoverian army lay in wait, just north of London at Finchley . In fact, such rumours were false. Charles’ relationship with Lord George Murray was becoming fractious, the retreat shook the Jacobite’s self-belief, their momentum reversed.
The Jacobites remarkably spread panic throughout London. King George II was making arrangements to secure his valuables. There was a sense of dread; London could fall. But the Jacobite retreat was a body-blow to their cause, and lead to the sad inevitability of Culloden. The government forces – led by King George II’s son, William Augustus, Duke Of Cumberland – were well equipped. By contrast, the Jacobite forces were armed with only a primitive arsenal; improvised spears, stolen weapons, swords and Lochaber axes.
Retreating from Derby, the Jacobites fought sporadically with the government’s troops; defeating Hawley at Falkirk , but Stirling and Inverness refused to fall. By mid-April, the redcoats under Cumberland were enjoying the upper hand. Celebrating Cumberland’s birthday atNairn , the government forces’ morale would soar. For the Jacobites the preamble to the conflict was chaotic and dispiriting.

By the morning of battle, the government’s army had arrived from Nairn, refreshed and outnumbering the Jacobites. Unlike Prestonpans, there was no intelligence affording the Jacobites a safe route through Culloden’s heavy moorland. The Jacobites’ fearsome charge would be leaden, their frontline famished and weary. The ground underfoot was akin to running in treacle – Cumberland’s dragoons, riddled them with musket fire. Those that did reach the Hanoverians would be bayoneted; stiletto blades piercing the resistance.
And at once the Jacobite cause was slain. Cumberland would be known as ‘The Butcher’. His troops suffered only minimal losses in what was a merciless slaughter. Bonnie Prince Charlie escaped, later fleeing to Rome. The highland clan structure was dismantled by the government. Jacobitism met a bloody conclusion.

 

The regiments present at the battle were: Cobham’s (10th) and Kerr’s (11th) dragoons, Kingston’s Light Dragoons, the Royals (1st), Howard’s Old Buffs (3rd), Barrel’s King’s Own (4th) Wolfe’s (8th), Pulteney’s (13th), Price’s (14th), Bligh’s (20th), Campbell’s Royal Scots Fusiliers (21st), Sempill’s (25th), Blakeney’s (27th), Cholmondeley’s (34th), Fleming’s (36th), Munro’s (37th), Ligonier’s (48th) and Battereau’s (62nd) Foot.

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On this day: 15th April 1912

Titanic sinks

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The sinking of the Titanic is a story that has been dramatised and romanticised since shortly after the great liner sank with the loss of more than 1,500 lives. While there are undoubtedly heroic elements to the tale, there are far more that speak of stupidity, ill-preparedness, and idiotic class distinction.

On her maiden voyage to New York the Titanic, supposedly unsinkable, struck an iceberg at 11.40pm on April 14 1912. Bad weather meant that in spite of the ship’s course being moved about ten miles further south than would have been usual, there were icebergs around it and even still to the south of it. Wireless messages were sent regarding this situation, but ignored.

The lookouts on the Titanic were set to watch for danger, but were not equipped with binoculars. On a moonless night there was little or no light to reflect off the iceberg and warn of its presence. Thus it was only seen an estimated 37 seconds before the ship hit it, attempting at the last moment to veer away from danger. Though the decision to veer away can surely not be criticised, it meant the ice scraped along the side of the ship, holing it in five compartments. The ship had been designed to be able to stay afloat if four were flooded.

By 12.45am it was obvious the ship was doomed, and the first lifeboat was lowered, rapidly followed by the rest. Tragically there were only enough places on lifeboats for 1,178 people, just over half of those on board. Even more tragically, only 712 of these places were taken, boats leaving with places empty in the panic to depart before the ship went down, and in at least one case leaving almost empty to satisfy the cowardly desires of certain rich passengers for their own safety and comfort.

After deaths from hypothermia of several of those who did make the lifeboats, 705 passengers survived. In spite of the ‘women and children first’ rule, more first class male passengers than third class women and children survived – in the lower decks reserved for the poorest voyagers most did not know how to get up to the higher decks where the boats were kept, or even that there were boats available.

That survival depended on financial status, or rather the class of travel, is starkly illustrated by the statistics: 60 per cent of first class passengers survived; 44 per cent of second class; 25 per cent of third class. While some of this is possibly down to the varying numbers of women and children in each class of voyager, there is no escaping the conclusion that on that night money talked.

Captain Smith went down with his ship, as naval tradition demanded. Famously the orchestra played on, supposedly making their final piece ‘Near My God to Thee’.

The only real positive that can be taken from the story is that the subsequent enquiries forced through changes in safety drills, lifeboat provision, and wireless communication protocols. But for the hundreds who died these changes obviously came far too late.

Scarborough v Darlington

Terror on the terraces as hooligans hit fans

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A Scarborough Athletic fan was knocked out when rioting football hooligans hurled glasses and stools in front of terrified children.Loutish Darlington fans then caused terror on the terraces, as trouble spilled on to the stands and streets surrounding Scarborough’s Queensgate ground when the two sides clashed.Two men were arrested in the aftermath of Saturday’s fracas, while one Boro fan has recalled how he was left in a crumpled unconscious heap after being hit with a “cheap shot” during the melee.

“We were in the Harbour Tavern having drinks before the game, I was sat at the bar and each pub we went into during the day we noticed two or three Darlington fans walk in,” said Thomas Manson, who called for the troublemakers to be banned.

“I thought nothing of it, but then all of a sudden loads of Darlington fans came in and started throwing glasses, stools – anything they could get their hands on.

“I was caught up in the middle of it, then bang – a punch straight to my head. I remember coming round with police standing around me.”

Exclusive CCTV footage shows around 40 rival fans flood inside the Bridlington family pub before violence ensues.

Cameras capture one terrified father fleeing with his infant child clutched in his arms.

Pub manager Sonja Olsen-Kjolnes said she has never had any trouble with Scarborough fans, and that Darlington supporters stalked their rivals before calling for reinforcements.

“I have been here 15 years and that was the first time I have ever seen anything on that scale,” said Sonja, whose staff called police.

“A gang of Darlo’ fans came through the door and started attacking them.

“There were families with babies and young children. There were a lot of glasses being thrown.”

 “They have brought shame on their club.”

Police quickly broke up the trouble, but further ugly scenes unfolded in and around Queensgate.

Pictures circulating on Twitter show fans squaring up to police inside the ground, with sources claiming the bar was shut during the game to try to curb rowdy behaviour.

Scarborough’s chairman Dave Holland said: “There was trouble at the game, but we were able to deal with it due to the Darlington stewards who came down to help us at the game. Without them we would have struggled.”

Humberside Police confirmed “a number” of fans were slapped with section 35 dispersal orders at the match, and the two men arrested – one for breaching that order and the other for drunk and disorderly – have been respectively dealt with a caution and a fine.

But the ugly scenes at the match, which Darlington won 2-1, mirror those at Whitby’s last week when they entertained FC United.

A teenager was arrested after flares were hurled onto The Turnbull Ground’s pitch.

It’s understood at least one Scarborough Athletic supporter plans on penning a letter to Darlington, calling for action in the wake of Saturday’s trouble.

But a spokesperson for Darlington Football Club’s Official Supporters’ Club claimed they “did not know of any trouble” involving their fans. They added: “If any fans were involved then it will be down to the club to potentially ban them.”

Extreme Sports – Get your kicks this summer..

Summer’s just around the corner, encouraging some to dust off the tennis racket or rummage round the cupboard for the cricket bat. But for some in Britain traditional outdoor pursuits are just not enough. So how do extreme sports devotees get their kicks?

Extreme sports are about exhilaration, skill and danger. They do not normally involve teams and there are very few rules. People who take part use their skills and experience to control the risks. That control is what makes them sports and not just dangerous behaviour.images

Here are just some of the extreme sports which are popular in Britain:

Kitesurfing: a growing band of enthusiasts have been discovering the thrilling combination of kite, board and waves. These kites can be up to 17 metres long. Catch a gust and you’re motoring – up, down and across the surf.

 British Ladies kitesurfing champion Jo Wilson says: “It’s always an adrenalin rush. It’s unpredictable. You could jump 5ft or 35ft. You never know if you’re going to go up in the air, and your heart is just going boom, boom, boom all the time.”

Coasteering: this is exploring the coastline without worrying about a coastal path or finding a rocky cliffy cove blocking your route. You climb, dive, swim and clamber from A to B. There are about 15 operators in the UK offering coasteering.

Sky diving: traditional parachuting just doesn’t sound risky enough, does it? So now skydiving is the name for jumping from a plane and listening to your heart pounding as youhurtle towards earth before you open your parachute at the last moment. Once you’ve got a few jumps under your parachute you can throw in some extra risks, for example try a ‘hook turn’. Dean Dunbar is a participant of extremedreams.com and his first sky dive was in 1998. Since then he’s been hooked on the buzz of the extreme, saying: “Every so often I have to go out and do something scary.”

Mountain biking: it’s been around so long that bikers are no longer satisfied with just going up and down a mountain. Nowadays thrill seeking mountain bikers want a big slope to go down very, very fast. “It’s pure mad, downhill,” according to Dean Dunbar. “People go to old ski resorts, take the chair lift to the top then bomb down – amazingly not killing themselves.”

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Vocabulary

Learn the lingo with our brief guide on the vocabulary used

 

get their kicks
get a strong feeling of excitement or pleasure

exhilaration
extreme excitement

kite
a paper- or cloth-covered frame flown in the air at the end of a long string using the power of the wind

motoring                                                                                                                 moving

surf
the foam formed by waves on the sea when they come in towards a shore

an adrenalin rush
a strong feeling of excitement mixed with fear

coastline
the shape of the land on the edge of the sea

cove
a small sheltered opening in the coastline, a bay

clamber
climb with difficulty, using both the feet and hands

pounding
beating heavily

hurtle
move very fast

throw in
add

‘hook turn’
a fast turn close to the ground used to land at high speed

hooked on the buzz of the extreme
addicted to the excitement of doing extreme sports

thrill seeking
looking for excitement

bomb down
go down with great speed