July 18

Published in On this Day listing

  • 1969 Senator Edward Kennedy, returning from a party, drove off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island, Massachusetts, causing the death of his companion, Mary Jo Kopechne. His conviction for leaving the scene of an accident was to dog his subsequent political career.
  • 1969 US Senator Edward Kennedy’s car careered off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island, Massachusetts, killing his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne, a 28-year-old Washington secretary. Serious questions were asked about the 37-year-old senator’s conduct, not least his decision to leave the scene of the accident and not contact the police until several hours later.
  • 1966 Corporal Patrick ‘Bob’ Gallagher (22) from Ballyhaunis, Co. Mayo, serving with the US Marines in Vietnam, saved the lives of three companions during a Viet Cong attack, for which he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honour.
  • 1918 Nelson Mandela, anti-apartheid revolutionary and first democratically elected president of South Africa (1994–9), born in Mvezo, Cape Province.
  • 1862 Lord John George Beresford, Church of Ireland archbishop of Armagh and primate of all Ireland since 1822, died.
  • 1817 Jane Austen (41), English novelist, author notably of Pride and Prejudice (1813) and Emma (1815), died.
  • 1811 William Makepeace Thackeray, English novelist whose Irish sketch book (1843) caused controversy on account of his graphic descriptions of pre-Famine poverty, born in Calcutta.
  • 1610 Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, belligerent Italian painter best remembered for the uncompromising realism of his religious works, died in mysterious circumstances.
  • 1972 James Jones (18), a member of the King’s Own Regiment from Kirby, Liverpool, was shot dead by an IRA sniper at a sentry post in West Belfast. He became the 100th British soldier to die on active service in Northern Ireland since 1969.

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