On This Day, 10-3-2008: The Atomic Club

October 3, 1952

Britain successfully tests A-bomb

Britain successfully tests its first atomic bomb at the Monte Bello Islands, off the northwest coast of Australia.

During World War II, 50 British scientists and engineers worked on the successful U.S. atomic bomb program at Los Alamos, New Mexico. After the war, many of these scientists were enlisted into the secret effort to build an atomic bomb for Britain. Work on the British A-bomb officially began in 1947, and Los Alamos veteran William Penney served as the program head. In February 1952, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill publicly announced the plans to test a British nuclear weapon, and on October 3 a 25-kiloton device–similar to the U.S. atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan–was successfully detonated in the hull of the frigate HMS Plym anchored off the Monte Bello Islands. The test made Britain the world’s third atomic power after the United States and the Soviet Union.

“Britain successfully tests A-bomb.” 2008. The History Channel website. 3 Oct 2008, 03:29 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=5396.

See also:  Fatman

On This Day

1226 – St. Francis of Assisi died. He was the founder of the Franciscan order.

1863 – U.S. President Lincoln declared that the last Thursday of November would be recognized as Thanksgiving Day.

1922 – Rebecca L. Felton became the first female to hold office of U.S. Senator. She was appointed by Governor Thomas W. Hardwick of Georgia to fill a vacancy.

1935 – Italian forces invaded Abyssinia (now Ethiopia).

1941 – Adolf Hitler stated in a speech that Russia was “broken” and they “would never rise again.”

1942 – The Office of Economic Stabilization was established by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He also authorized controls on rents, wages, salaries and farm prices.

1981 – Irish Nationalist in Maze Prison in Belfast, Northern Ireland called off their hunger strike. The strike had lasted 7 months and ten people had died.

1989 – Art Shell became the first African-American head coach in the modern NFL when he took over the Los Angeles Raiders.

2006 – North Korea announced that it would conduct a nuclear test as a key step in the manufacture of atomic bombs that it viewed as a deterrent against a U.S. attack. A date for the test was not announced.

October 3, 1781

French and Americans cut off British supplies at Gloucester

On this day in 1781, British Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Dundas of the 80th Foot, leading 1,000 British troops, encounters French Brigadier General Marquis de Choisy, leading French troops and a battalion of the Virginia militia totaling 800 men. The action takes place in Gloucester, Virginia, across the York River from British-occupied Yorktown, which was under Patriot siege.

On September 28, 17,000 combined Continental and French forces commanded jointly on land by General George Washington and French Lieutenant General Count de Rochambeau and at sea by French Admiral Count de Grasse had arrived to encircle British General Charles Cornwallis’ camp at Yorktown and began the siege. Prior to the encounter as Gloucester, Dundas and the British had enjoyed complete control of a strategic countryside position on the Gloucester side of the York River. The control of this area allowed the British to forage for nearly unlimited food and supplies, not only for themselves, but for Cornwallis and his British troops located across the river in Yorktown, which limited the success of the Patriot siege.

While returning to camp on the evening of October 3, 1781, Dundas and the British were engaged in battle by General de Choisy. Although the ensuing battle between British and Patriot-allied forces was relatively small, it was nonetheless important, because it cut off supplies to General Cornwallis and the British troops across the river in Yorktown. The capture of Gloucester, Virginia, was one of the final steps toward the eventual Patriot victory at Yorktown just 16 days later.

“French and Americans cut off British supplies at Gloucester.” 2008. The History Channel website. 3 Oct 2008, 03:22 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=51305.

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