On this day: Deadly train crash at Clapham Junction

On this day in 1988 a crash involving two trains at Clapham Junction in London killed 36 people and injured another 113. Picture: PA
On this day in 1988 a crash involving two trains at Clapham Junction in London killed 36 people and injured another 113. Picture: PA
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Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 12 December


National day of Kenya.

1642: Dutch navigator Abel Tasman discovered New Zealand.

1890: First electric underground train in the world opened in London.

1894: Japanese troops invaded Korea.

1901: The first transatlantic wireless message was sent from Cornwall, 1,800 miles to St John’s, Newfoundland, where it was received by Marconi. It was the letter “s”.

1911: King George V was crowned Emperor of India and founded New Delhi to replace Calcutta as the Indian capital.

1915: The German Junkers J1, the first all-metal aeroplane, was test flown at Dessau.

1917: A train carrying French troops home from Italy crashed at Modane, France, after a brake failure. The death toll was reported to be 543 – the world’s worst railway accident to that date.

1920: Martial law was declared in Cork, Ireland.

1925: The world’s first motel opened in California.

1941: Soviet forces launched their first major counter-attack against the German invasion.

1948: Conscription was introduced in Britain for men aged between 18 and 26.

1955: The hovercraft, or air cushion vehicle, was patented in Britain by Christopher Cockerell.

1963: Kenya attained independence, with Jomo Kenyatta as first prime minister.

1969: Greece, under fire on charges of violating human rights, withdrew from Council of Europe.

1977: Women were elected to Jockey Club for first time.

1982: Mass protest at Greenham Common by 20,000 women at the deployment of American nuclear cruise missiles in Berkshire. The women clasped hands to encircle the airbase.

1988: A train crash at Clapham Junction killed 36 people and injured 113 when a packed commuter train hit the rear of another train.

1992: The Princess Royal married Commander Tim Laurence.

1996: Thomas “TC” Campbell was freed pending an appeal after serving 12 years of a life sentence for murder of six members of a family in Glasgow ice-cream wars.

2000: The United States Supreme Court released its decision in Bush versus Gore, which would lead to the former becoming US president.

2007: Al-Qaeda car bombers killed 67 people in two explosions in Algiers, destroying United Nations offices and targeting a bus full of students outside the supreme court.


Tracy Austin, tennis player and commentator, 51; Honor Blackman, actress and Fairtrade campaigner, 86; Lionel Blair, dancer and entertainer, 82; Jasper Conran, fashion designer, 54; Kenneth Cranham, Dunfermline-born actor, 69; Jim Davidson, comedian, 60; David Elsworth, racehorse trainer, 74; Emerson Fittipaldi, motor racing driver, 67; Connie Francis, singer, 75; Bill Nighy, actor, 64; Brough Scott MBE, television racing presenter, 71; Dionne Warwick, singer, 73.


Births: 1731 Erasmus Darwin, scientist and poet; 1821 Gustave Flaubert, novelist; 1863 Edvard Munch, Norwegian artist; 1915 Frank Sinatra, singer and actor; 1929 John Osborne, playwright.

Deaths: 1600 John Craig, Kirk leader; 1889 Robert Browning, poet; 1977 Lady Spencer-Churchill, widow of Sir Winston; 1999 Joseph Heller, author (Catch-22); 2008 Van Johnson, film actor; 2011 John Gardner CBE, composer.