On this day: 2,500 people trapped on Eurostar

On this day in 2009 five Eurostar trains broke down due to cold, trapping 2,500 people and causing huge delays. Picture: Getty
On this day in 2009 five Eurostar trains broke down due to cold, trapping 2,500 people and causing huge delays. Picture: Getty
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Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 19 December

1154: Henry II became King of England on the death of Stephen.

1688: William of Orange entered London.

1783: William Pitt the Younger became prime minister of Britain at the age of 24.

1842: United States recognised independence of Hawaii.

1846: James Robertson, a London dentist, performed the first dental extraction under anaesthesia in Britain, to test reports of the success of using ether in America.

1939: German luxury liner Columbus was scuttled by her crew after being intercepted by a British destroyer.

1957: Passenger fights between London and Moscow began.

1971: Pakistan’s president, Agha Mohammed Yahya Khan, quit offce after military defeat in fghting with India in East Pakistan.

1972: US Apollo 17 spacecraft splashed down in Pacifc Ocean, winding-up Apollo programme of landing men on Moon.

1981: The Penlee lifeboat was lost with her crew of eight attempting to rescue the crew of the coaster Union Star, wrecked in violent seas off the Cornish.

1984: Ted Hughes was appointed Poet Laureate in succession to Sir John Betjeman.

1989: The Prince of Wales condemned the “wasteland of banality, cliche and casual obscenity” in modern English.

1989: The government agreed to pay £150m compensation to Barlow Clowes investors.

1990: Seven George Medals were awarded, two posthumously, for bravery during the Piper Alpha disaster.

1991: Twelve Tory MPs, including Margaret Thatcher, abstained from voting to support the government after a debate on the Maastricht summit.

1996: The Duke of Edinburgh caused an outcry among gun law reformers and Dunblane massacre families when he said that gun clubs were no more dangerous than squash clubs or golf clubs. He later apologised.

1998: The US House of Representatives forwarded articles I and III of impeachment against president Bill Clinton to the Senate in relation to the Lewinsky scandal.

2009: Around 2,500 people spent hours trapped inside the Channel Tunnel after five Eurostar trains broke down due to cold weather.


Jake Gyllenhaal, actor, 34; Béatrice Dalle, actress, 50; Jennifer Beals, actress, 51; Steven Isserlis CBE, cellist, 56; Limahl (Christopher Hamill), singer, 56; Syd Little, comedian, 72; Tim Parks, novelist, 60; Karen Pickering MBE, swimmer, 43; Ricky Ponting, Test cricketer, 40; Professor Christopher Smout CBE, director, Institute for Environmental History, St Andrews University 1992-2001, and Historiographer Royal in Scotland, 81; Richard Hammond, TV presenter and journalist, 45; Marianne Faithfull, singer, 68; Alberto Tomba, triple Olympic gold medal-winning skier, 48; Richard Leakey, paleoanthropologist and conservationist, 70.


Births: 1790 Sir William Edward Parry, Arctic explorer; 1832 John Kirk, Scottish physician, naturalist, companion to explorer David Livingstone; 1906 Leonid Brezhnev, Soviet Communist Party chief; 1915 Edith Piaf, singer; 1923 Gordon Jackson, OBE, Scottish actor.

Deaths: 1813 James McGill, Scottish businessman and philanthropist; 1848 Emily Brontë, poet and novelist; 1915 Joseph Mallord William Turner, painter; 2010 Anthony Howard CBE, journalist.