On this day: the Black Thursday Bushfires

William Strutt, Black Thursday, February 6th (detail), 1864. Australian Art. Bushfires.

As depicted by English-born artist William Strutt in 1864.

One of the worst bushfire disasters in recorded Australian history, the Black Thursday fires took place on the 6th of February, 1851, in the colony of Victoria.

Severe drought in 1850 helped to create the conditions ideal for bushfires. An estimated maximum temperature of 47 °C and strong winds on the day of the disaster magnified the situation.

It is believed the fire started when two bullock drivers left burning logs unattended.

The disaster claimed the lives of twelve people and many animals, and caused significant damage to the countryside.

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On this day: the death of Frederic Leighton

1880_Frederic_Leighton_-_Self_portrait Frederic Leighton, 1st Baron Leighton PRA (3 December 1830 – 25 January 1896). English painter.

Self-portrait, 1880.

On the 25th of January, 1896, the bearer of the shortest-lived title in the history of the English peerage died aged sixty-five.

Famous painter and sculptor Frederic Leighton, known as 1st Baron Leighton at the time of his death, succumbed to angina pectoris only one day after being awarded the title.

Flaming_June,_by_Frederic_Lord_Leighton_(1830-1896) Flaming June, by Frederic Lord Leighton English Painting Art 1895.

One of his most famous works, Flaming June, painted the year before his death.

Leighton was also an enthusiastic volunteer soldier, and his funeral at St Paul’s Cathedral in London was accompanied by a guard of honour.

Winter 1916

Pow_Winter_Recreation_Art_IWMART17084 German Prisoners of War Recreation Alexandra Palace London 1916 First World War One

This painting, from the collection of the Imperial War Museum, shows German prisoners of war playing in the snow outside Alexandra Palace in London.

At the beginning of the First World War the area housed Belgian refugees, but as the war continued it was transformed into an internment camp for Germans and Austrians.

On this day: a Russian attack on Warsaw

This 1837 painting by Mikhail Lermontov depicts Russian Guard Hussars attacking Warsaw, Poland on the 7th of September, 1831. The original date given was the 26th of August, as the Russian Empire followed the old calendar.

The Battle of Warsaw was part of the Polish–Russian War of 1830–31 (otherwise known as the November Uprising). Tens of thousands were killed in the battle that resulted in the defeat of Polish uprising and victory for the Russians.

Russian_Guard_Hussars_attacking_Warsaw_7th_September_1831 Russian Guard Hussars attacking Warsaw 7th September 1831. Mikhail Lermontov

On this day: a Peace Treaty is Signed

The Treaty of Versailles, the most important of the peace treaties to end the First World War, was signed in the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles on the 28th of June, 1919.

The war also began on the 28th of June, when Serbian assassin Gavrilo Princip murdered Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife, Sophie five years before.

The Signing of Peace in the Hall of Mirrors, Versailles, 28th June 1919.

Painted by Irish artist William Orpen

The Signing of Peace in the Hall of Mirrors, Versailles, 28th June 1919.

On this day: the death of a war hero

Only hours after being awarded the French Légion d_honneur, British Lieutenant Reginald Warneford was killed in an aeroplane crash on the 17th of June, 1915.

Only hours after being awarded the French Légion d’honneur, British Lieutenant Reginald Warneford was killed in an aeroplane crash on the 17th of June, 1915.

Lieutenant_Warneford's_Great_Exploit-_the_first_Zeppelin_to_be_brought_down_by_Allied_aircraft,_7th_June_1915__the_Vc_was_conferred_at_once_on_Lieutenant_Warneford__Art_IWMART307

A 1919 painting depicting the moment the Zeppelin was brought down.

Only twenty-three at the time of his accident, Warneford, a member of the Royal Naval Air Service had been hailed a hero ten days earlier when he’d brought down a German Zeppelin in the First World War.

After the presentation ceremony and reception Warneford was transporting American journalist Henry Beach Newman from an aerodrome at Buc when the plane crashed, killing both passengers. Newman died instantly, while Warneford died of his injuries shortly afterwards.

The funeral took place in July. X

In addition to his French award, he was also given the Victoria Cross.