Brooklyn Boro

May 26: ON THIS DAY in 1954, 79 dead, 220 injured as fire rakes carrier

May 26, 2020 Brooklyn Eagle History

ON THIS DAY IN 1917, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported, “With their white uniforms making a pretty effect against the darker background of the crowds that hemmed them in on both sides, thousands of Brooklyn women began their march through the streets of the borough this afternoon, on an errand of mercy for the Red Cross. With bands playing, flags fluttering and under weather conditions that were ideal, the marchers gathered at Bedford and Willoughby avenues shortly after noon, and from then on to 3 o’clock, when the parade started, the members of the parade committee were kept busy forming the divisions and directing the different units to their respective places.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1930, the Eagle reported, “FLAGSTAFF, ARIZ. (AP) — Pluto is the name selected by officials of Lowell Observatory here for the recently discovered trans-Neptunian body previously designated as Planet X. Roger Lowell Putnam, trustee of the observatory and nephew of the late Dr. Percival Lowell who predicted the existence of the planet 16 years before it actually was seen, announced that the name Pluto was chosen after a host of suggested names had been narrowed down to three — Minerva, Pluto and Cronus.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1943, the Eagle reported, “HEADQUARTERS, ALLIED STRATEGIC AIR FORCE, NORTH AFRICA (UP) — While Virgil Pinkley, United Press correspondent, was talking to crew members of Flying Fortresses who had just returned from their devastating raid on Messina, Sgt. Edmund Pepper walked up and said: ‘How about Brooklyn, too? My home is at 409-A 20th St., Brooklyn, next door to Green-Wood Cemetery. I’m a waist gunner and I want the Brooklyn Eagle, which is a swell newspaper, to know that the good old Dodgertown was represented, too.’ Sergeant Pepper’s parents are dead and he lived at the 20th St. address with his brother, Charles, his sister-in-law and their two children until a year ago. He is 29 and a graduate of St. Francis High School.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1949, the Eagle reported, “CANTON (U.P) — Acting President Li Tsung-Jen of China said today that World War III may stem from the current military developments in South China. In the first interview granted a foreign correspondent since he replaced Chiang Kai-shek as head of the world’s most populous nation, Li pointed out that the Marshall Plan had effectively checked the Communistic flood in Europe. But the 58-year-old four-star general asserted that “Communism, like water, flows to lower ground, and consequently its diversion in Europe was causing it to overrun Asia’s teeming millions with direct immediate threats of involving the United States, Britain and France. Four southwest provinces of China are now the last defense line against direct Communistic invasion southward into French Indo-China, sweeping over the British flag in Hong Kong, Singapore, and inevitably involving the United States in its defense commitments to the Philippines. I will hold this last line of defense with every ounce of ability at my command, realizing fully that not only is the final fate of China involved, but that a breakthrough could not fail to involve three other nations and precipitate international war so obviously desired by the Communists.’”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1954, the Eagle reported, “QUONSET POINT, R.I. (UP) — At least 79 men were killed and 220 injured early today when fire swept the huge U.S. aircraft carrier Bennington while it was returning from a routine training cruise off the New England coast. The Navy said names of the dead and injured would be withheld at least until the stricken carrier arrived at Quonset … The Bennington, a 10-year-old warship displacing 33,100 tons and 899 feet long, was en route from Norfolk to Quonset when the disaster occurred. Cause of the fire was not disclosed in meager reports released by the Navy here … The first aircraft carrier built in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the U.S.S. Bennington was launched Feb. 27, 1944. A 27,000-ton vessel at the time, her displacement was increased to 32,000 tons by a two-year modernization and reconstruction job … She was in action during the last seven months of the Pacific war off Japan, at Iwo Jima and at Okinawa. During maneuvers off Cuba on April 27, 1953, one of her boilers exploded, killing 11 crewmen and injuring seven others.”


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