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* On April 18, 1775, Paul Revere and William Dawes set out on horseback from Boston to warn leaders Samuel Adams and John Hancock that British troops were marching on Concord on a mission to confiscate the Massachusetts militia arsenal and capture Adams and Hancock.
* On April 19, 1876, a Wichita, Kan., commission votes not to rehire policeman Wyatt Earp after he beats up a candidate for county sheriff. Earp’s Remington pistol made an effective club: Whenever possible, he preferred to pistol-whip his opponents rather than shoot them.
* On April 16, 1897, Frederick Winterbotham, one of Britain’s top code breakers, is born. Winterbotham would play a decisive role in the World War II Ultra code-breaking project, enabling British intelligence to intercept top-secret messages (even from Hitler) transmitted to and between German armed forces.
* On April 21, 1930, a fire at an Ohio prison kills 320 inmates, some of whom burn to death when they are not unlocked from their cells. The prison, built to hold 1,500 people, housed 4,300 prisoners at the time of the fire.
* On April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson, age 28, becomes the first black player in Major League Baseball when he steps onto Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, N.Y., to compete for the Dodgers. Baseball had been segregated for more than 50 years.
* On April 17, 1964, the Ford Mustang is officially unveiled by Henry Ford II at the World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows, N.Y. That same day, the new car also debuted in Ford showrooms across America, and almost 22,000 Mustangs were immediately snapped up by buyers. Ford sold more than 400,000 Mustangs in its first year.
* On April 20, 1971, the Pentagon releases figures confirming that “fragging” is on the rise in Vietnam, with hundreds of reported incidents. Fragging was a slang term used to describe U.S. military personnel tossing a fragmentation hand grenade (hence the term “fragging”) to kill or wound or a fellow soldier, usually a superior officer or NCO.
(c) 2013 King Features Synd., Inc.