On this day: HMS Hawke sunk off coast of Scotland

A policeman sureveys some of the damage after a hurricane hit Britain on this day in 1987, killing 18 people. Picture: Getty
A policeman sureveys some of the damage after a hurricane hit Britain on this day in 1987, killing 18 people. Picture: Getty
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Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 15 October

15 October

1783: The first manned balloon ascent took place when Pilatre de Rozier rose 84ft in a hot-air craft before it reached the end of its tether.

1839: Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were betrothed. She proposed to him and confided to her diary: “It was a nervous thing to do, but Albert could not propose to the Queen of England. He would never have presumed to take such a liberty.”

1851: The Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace at London’s Hyde Park closed after five months.

1851: Gold was discovered in Melbourne, Australia.

1894: Alfred Dreyfus was arrested in France on treason charges.

1895: The first motor show in Britain was held at the Agricultural Showground, Tunbridge Wells.

1915: HMS Hawke was sunk off the east coast of Scotland by submarine action and more than 400 of her crew perished.

1917: Spy Mata Hari was shot in Paris, having been found guilty of espionage for the Germans.

1928: German dirigible Graf Zeppelin made first commercial flight across Atlantic, landing at Lakehurst, New Jersey, US.

1928: The voting age for women was reduced from 30 to 21 in Britain, equal with men.

1940: A 500lb bomb hit Broadcasting House, London, killing seven people. Bruce Belfrage was reading the news at the time, and paused for only a second before continuing.

1945: Pierre Laval, French leader of Vichy government’s collaboration with the Germans, was executed for treason.

1962: King Olav V of Norway arrived in Edinburgh on first royal state visit to Scotland since the Union of the Crowns.

1964: Nikita Khrushchev was replaced as First Secretary of Communist Party in Soviet Union.

1987: Fiji’s governor-general resigned, ending decade of allegiance by the South Pacific island to British crown.

1987: A hurricane killed 18, destroyed millions of trees and caused estimated £300 million of damage to buildings, mainly in south-east England.

1990: Mikhail Gorbachev was awarded Nobel Peace Prize.

1990: In France, a man’s foot was reattached to his leg after being stitched to his arm for seven months – a first in plastic surgery.

1993: Nelson Mandela and South African president FW de Klerk were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to dismantle apartheid.

1995: There were fresh demands for boxing to be banned after Scottish bantamweight champion James Murray died in hospital from injuries he received in a British title fight in Glasgow two days earlier.


Sarah, Duchess of York, 54; Chris de Burgh, singer, 65; Richard Carpenter, singer, 67; Craig Chalmers, rugby player, 45; Andy Cole, footballer, 42; Elena Dementieva, Russian tennis player, 32; Bruno Senna, Brazilian racing driver, 30; Roscoe Tanner, American tennis player, 62; Stephen Tompkinson, actor, 48; Dominic West, actor (The Wire), 44.


Births: 70BC Virgil, poet; 1608 Evangelista Torricelli, Italian scientist who devised the barometer; 1686 Allan Ramsay, poet; 1880 Marie Stopes, Edinburgh-born scientist and sex education reformer.

Deaths: 1946 Hermann Goering, Nazi war criminal (suicide); 1964 Cole Porter, composer and lyricist; 1976 James McAuley, poet; 1998 Iain Crichton Smith, poet 2008 Eddie Thompson OBE, chairman of Dundee United FC.