1967 – The Torrey Canyon oil spill

At its time, the worst ever oil spill, the wreck of the Torrey Canyon spilled more than 32 million gallons of crude oil into the waters of the Atlantic off Cornwall. The ship had collided with Pollard’s Rock on Seven Stones reef between the Cornish mainland and the Isles of Scilly as a result of human errors.

The ship broke up while a refloating was being attempted, leading to the death of one of the workers. In the weeks that followed, the slick from the spill spread to coasts of the United Kingdom, France, Spain and assorted Channel Islands, especially Guernsey. The wreck was bombed, both to set the oil ablaze (and thus remove it from the ocean) and destroy the ship (which now posed a hazard to navigation). Its remains now lie in 30 metres of water off the coast of Cornwall.

Referenced in:
Torrey Canyon — Serge Gainsbourg

1934 – Bonnie and Clyde’s criminal career ends in a hail of gunfire

After a killing, shooting and robbing spree that had lasted for more than two years by that time, Bonnie parker and Clyde Barrow were ambushed not far from their hideout in Bienville Parish, Louisiana, by a posse of six police officers. Only two of the police were Louisiana officers, the remaining four were Texas officers who been tracking the couple for some time. Two nights before the event, they had learned of the couple’s likely whereabouts while in nearby Shreveport, and had set up the ambush on the 22nd, lying in wait.

In the space of less than fifteen minutes, the variously armed sextet of police fired over 130 rounds into the car. Parker and Barrow were each hit at least 25 times, and died before firing halted. There was consierable controversy about this at the time, not least since the couple were folk heroes of a sort. In particular, there were no warrants in Bonnie’s name for any violent crime (although Clyde was a suspect in ten murders, in addition to numerous other crimes).

Referenced in:

B&C – Utada Hikaru
Bonnie & Clyde – Big Japan
’97 Bonnie and Clyde – Eminem
’97 Bonnie and Clyde – Tori Amos
Bonnie and Clyde – Belinda Carlisle
Bonnie and Clyde – Martina Sorbara
Bonnie Und Clyde – Die Toten Hosen
Demolition Lovers – My Chemical Romance
Bonnie Parker’s 115th Dream – Johnny Boy
Legend of Bonnie and Clyde – Merle Haggard
Bonnie and Clyde – Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot
The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde – Georgie Fame and His Blue Flames