EVENTS, birthdays and anniversaries on February 28.
1638: The Scottish National Covenant was signed in Edinburgh.
1784: John Wesley signed the “deed of declaration” of the Wesleyan faith.
1827: The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad was incorporated, becoming the first railroad in America offering commercial transportation of both people and freight
1874: Arthur Orton, claimant to the Tichborne estate, was found guilty of perjury and sentenced to 14 years’ hard labour.
1900: General Buller relieved Ladysmith, besieged by Boer forces for 118 days.
1912: The world’s first parachute jump from an aeroplane was made over Missouri, by Albert Berry.
1940: Sandy’s Half Hour began on radio, with Sandy MacPherson at the organ. It was the start of the modern listeners’ request programme.
1942: The heavy cruiser USS Houston was sunk in the Battle of Sunda Strait with 693 crew members killed, along with HMAS Perth, which lost 375 men.
1948: The Royal Family went to see Danny Kaye at the London Palladium, the first “non-command performance” attended by a reigning monarch.
1953: James D Watson and Francis Crick announce to friends that they have determined the chemical structure of DNA; the formal announcement takes place on 25 April.
1966: Liverpool’s Cavern Club, where The Beatles made their name, went into liquidation.
1975: A train from Drayton Park crashed through buffers at Moorgate Tube station, killing 42 people.
1985: The Provisional IRA carried out a mortar attack on the Royal Ulster Constabulary police station at Newry, killing nine officers in the highest loss of life for the RUC on a single day.
1997: Some 3,000 people were killed when an earthquake struck in Iran.
2001: Ten people died and 76 were injured when a Land Rover and trailer careered off the M62 and derailed a Newcastle-London express which collided head-on with a freight train, at Selby, in north Yorkshire.
2001: The Nisqually Earthquake, measuring 6.8 on the Richter Scale, hit the Nisqually Valley and the Seattle, Tacoma, and Olympia area of the US state of Washington.
2004: More than one million Taiwanese participating in the 228 Hand-in-Hand Rally formed a 310-mile-long human chain to commemorate the 228 Incident in 1947.
2005: A suicide bombing at a police recruiting centre in Al Hillah, Iraq killed 127 people.
2011: British actress Joanna Lumley attacked parenting in the country, claiming children were being brought up with “slack” morals.
2013: Pope Benedict XVI resigned as the Pope of the Catholic Church, becoming the first Pope to do so since 1415.
2014: Pro-Russian gunmen seize key buildings in Crimean capital. Simferopol, while gunmen in comat uniforms appear outside Crimea’s main airports.
Stephanie Beacham, actress, 68; Peter Alliss, British golfer and commentator, 84; John Carson, actor, 88; Julia Carling, television presenter, 50; Barry Fantoni, comic strip cartoonist and jazz musician, 75; Mike Figgis, film director, 67; Jelena Jankovic, Serbian tennis player, 30; Robert Sean Leonard, American actor, 46; Barry McGuigan MBE, former featherweight boxing champion, 54; Robin Phillips, actor and director, 73; Mercedes Ruehl, actress, 67; Sir Peter Stothard, editor, Times 1992-2002, 64; John Turturro, actor, 58; Cindy Wilson, American singer, 58.
Births: 1483 Raphael, artist; 1533 Michel Eyquem de Montaigne, French essayist and moralist; 1632 Henry Stubbs, physician and author; 1820 Sir John Tenniel, illustrator and cartoonist; 1824 Charles Blondin (Jean-Francois Gravelet), tightrope walker; 1890 Vladimir Nijinsky, dancer; 1894 Ben Hecht, novelist and film maker; 1896 Philip Showalter Hench, American scientist who discovered cortisone; 1901 Linus Pauling, American scientist; 1909 Professor Sir Stephen Spender, poet and critic; 1910 Vincente Minnelli, American film director; 1918 Alfred Burke, British actor; 1932 Brian Moore, football commentator; 1942 Brian Jones, rock guitarist (The Rolling Stones); 1946 Robin Cook, foreign secretary 1999-2001.
Deaths: 1887 Alexander Borodin, composer; 1869 Alphonse de Lamartine, poet and statesman; 1916 Henry James, novelist; 1967 Henry Luce, publisher and founder of Time and Life; 1986 Olave Palme, Swedish prime minister (assassinated); 1990 Greville Wynne, spy; 1993 Ruby Keeler, actress; 1998 Dermot Morgan, actor (Father Ted); 2011 Jane Russell, American film actress.