On this day: Concorde’s first commercial flight for BA

On this day in 1976, Concorde took off from Heathrow Airport in London on its first commercial flight for British Airways. Picture: Getty
On this day in 1976, Concorde took off from Heathrow Airport in London on its first commercial flight for British Airways. Picture: Getty
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Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 21 January

AD304: Saint Agnes was martyred at the age of 13. A Roman girl, she refused to marry the husband chosen by her father, so he had her burnt at the stake.

1506: Formal founding of the Swiss Guard, the Vatican papal guard that was created in the 15th century and is the oldest army still in existence.

1793: Louis XVI, King of France since 1774, was guillotined in the Place de la Revolution after being found guilty of treason.

1876: Fourteen people were killed in a collision on the Great Northern Railway at Ripon. It prompted the end of the old-style semaphore signalling system.

1911: The first Monte Carlo Rally was held, won seven days later by Henri Rougier from France.

1914: Finishing touches were made to Victoria Memorial outside Buckingham Palace.

1922: Provisional Irish parliament voted narrowly to approve treaty with Britain and so begin independence moves.

1936: Edward VIII was proclaimed king.

1942: German forces started offensive in western African desert in Second World War.

1949: Chiang Kai-Shek resigned presidency of China after Nationalist Party reversals.

1954: Nautilus, first United States nuclear submarine, launched at Groton in Connecticut.

1970: Five members of the crew of the Fraserburgh lifeboat the Duchess of Kent, a non-self-righting type, were lost when she was turned over by a freak wave 36 miles off Kinnaird Head while escorting a Danish fishing vessel to safety. The only survivor was picked up by a Russian trawler.

1970: France’s sale of Mirage jet planes to Libya was announced.

1970: Iraq foiled attempt to overthrow its government and executed 12 men.

1974: United States rejected South Vietnam’s request for naval support in fighting with Chinese for Paracel Islands.

1976: Concorde entered supersonic service with simultaneous take-offs from London to Bahrain and Paris to Rio de Janeiro.

1986: Car packed with explosives blew up near office of President Amin Gemayel’s Phalange Party in east Beirut, Lebanon, killing 22 people and wounding 102.

1988: Microlight pilot Brian Milton touched down in Darwin, Australia, 51 days after leaving London’s Docklands in 440cc aircraft Dalgety Flyer.

1990: John McEnroe was disqualified from the Australian Open and fined £4,000 for swearing at officials.

1991: Latvia’s parliament formed volunteer home guard, and authorities bolstered defences at public buildings hours after Soviet commandos staged a pre-dawn assault on republic’s police HQ.

1992: United Nations Security Council urged Libya to surrender two agents indicted by United States in bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 which crashed on Lockerbie.

1994: Jury in Virginia found Lorena Bobbitt not guilty by reason of insanity of maliciously wounding her husband by cutting off his penis.

1996: Palestinians on the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip chose Yasser Arafat as their first democratically elected leader after almost 30 years of military and political struggle.

2008: Black Monday in world stock markets. The FTSE-100 had its biggest one-day points fall; European stocks had worst result since 11 September, 2001.


Emma Bunton, Spice Girl, 39; Geena Davis, actress, 59; Plácido Domingo, tenor, 74; Jill Eikenberry, actress, 68; Peter Fleming, American tennis player, 60; Lord Foulkes of Cumnock, Minister of State, Scottish Office, 2001-2, 73; Alex McLeish, Scottish football manager; 56; Jack Nicklaus, American 18-time Major-winning golfer, 75; Brian O’Driscoll, Irish rugby union player, 36; Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, President of the Supreme Court 2009-12, 77; Dame Seona Elizabeth Reid DBE, director, Glasgow School of Art (1999-2013), 65; Martin Shaw, actor, 70.


Births: 1824 Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, American Confederate general; 1855 John Moses Browning, American inventor of the automatic pistol and machine-gun; 1867 John Bratton, composer of songs, including The Teddy Bears’ Picnic; 1905 Christian Dior, French fashion designer; 1912 Sir Laurence Whistler, artist and poet; 1922 Paul Scofield, actor; 1925 Benny Hill, comedian; 1933 Norman Willis, British trade unionist; 1941 Richie Havens, American singer and songwriter.

Deaths: 1793 Louis XVI, King of France (guillotined); 1802 John Moore, physician and writer; 1836 Leo Delibes, composer; 1924 Lenin (Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov), founder of Bolshevism and Soviet Communist leader; 1932 Lytton Strachey, biographer and critic; 1933 George Moore, novelist; 1950 George Orwell (pen-name of Eric Arthur Blair).