1961 — Soviet submarine S-80 is lost with all hands in the Arctic Sea

Originally launched on October 21, 1950 at Krasnoye Sormovo Factory in Gorky, the S-80 was a Whiskey Class submarine, and was later overhauled between 1957 and 1959. On January 27, 1961, the S-80 was sailing through the Barents Sea (a portion of the Arctic Ocean between the Svalbard Islands and the Arkhangelsk Oblast, directly north of Murmansk). At about 1:27am, the S-80 dropped below snorkel depth, but a mechanical fault caused portions of the submarine to flood.

Alarm spread, but not as quickly as the water and the cascading mechanical faults. In the end, a total of 68 men – the complete complement of officers and crew – lost their lives in the sinking. The S-80 and the men aboard it were not found for seven and a half years.

Referenced in:
Reckless (Don’t Be So) — Australian Crawl

1912 – Scott of the Antarctic writes the final entry in his diary

It’s really not clear when exactly Robert Falcon Scott – better known as Scott of the Antarctic – actually died. Certainly, he, Henry Bowers and Edward Wilson were all still alive, albeit in rather poor shape, when his previous diary entry was written six days earlier. It is possible that Scott survived writing this last entry for as much as a day – from the positions of the three men in the tent when their bodies were recovered, he seems to have been the last one to die.

The three were found in their tent in November that year, after the long the southern winter had abated. Scott and his men became martyred heroes to the British empire. Amundsen, whose team had beaten Scott’s to the south pole by five weeks, stated that he “…would gladly forgo any honour or money if thereby I could have saved Scott his terrible death”. Later, as Antarctic exploration slowly transformed into colonisation, Scott’s reputation suffered as historians examined the records of his journey.

Referenced in:

A Human Body — Queen
Restless – Australian Crawl
Dr. Livingstone, I Presume — Moody Blues
History Is Made By Stupid People – Arrogant Worms

1861 – Burke and Wills die in the Australian outback

Robert O’Hara Burke and William John Wills led an expedition of 18 men with the intention of crossing Australia from Melbourne in the south to the Gulf of Carpentaria in the north, a distance of around 2,800 kilometres across largely unsettled lands. The expedition set off from Royal Park, Melbourne at about 4pm on August 20, 1860, watched by a crowd about 15,000 strong.

The 19 men of the expedition included five Englishmen, six Irishmen, four Indian sepoys, three Germans and an American. They took twenty-three horses, six wagons and twenty-seven camels.

The party arrived at what would become known as the “Dig Tree” on December 6, 1860. Some of the party stayed behind, while Burke, Wills and another man named King pushed on. Those who stayed behind planned to wait for 13 weeks. In the event, they stayed for 18 weeks, finally departing on Sunday 21 April 1861.

The three men returned only 9 hours later. Over the next few weeks, the two parties missed each other several more times. Although King found a tribe of Yandruwandha willing to give him food and shelter and in return he shot birds to contribute to their supplies, Burke and Wills both died at the Dig Tree. The exact date of their death is unknown and different dates are given on various memorials in Victoria. The Exploration Committee fixed June 28, 1861 as the date both explorers died. .

Referenced in:
Reckless (Don’t Be So) – Australian Crawl