On this day: Nuremberg executions | Harold Wilson

Harold Wilson became prime minister on this day in 1964. Picture: Getty
Harold Wilson became prime minister on this day in 1964. Picture: Getty
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Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 16 October

16 October

1793: Marie Antoinette, Queen of France as wife of Louis XVI, was convicted of treason and guillotined in Paris.

1815: Napoleon Bonaparte landed as exile on the Atlantic island of St Helena.

1834: The Palace of Westminster was burned down; firemen managed to save Westminster Hall and St Stephen’s Chapel.

1859: American anti-slavery campaigner John Brown, who inspired the song John Brown’s Body, raided the arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia. He was later hanged for the offence.

1869: Girton College, the oldest women’s college of Cambridge University, was opened.

1902: The first young offenders’ home opened in the village of Borstal, Kent.

1908: The first aeroplane flight in Britain was made, at Farnborough in Hampshire, by American Samuel Frank Cody.

1916: World’s first birth control clinic opened in Brooklyn, New York.

1922: The world’s longest main-line tunnel, the Simplon II under the Alps, was completed after four years’ work.

1942: Hurricane took 11,000 lives in Bengal, India.

1946: The Nuremberg executions took place. The war criminals hanged included Hans Frank, Wilhelm Frick, Alfred Jodl, Ernst Kaltenbrunner and Wilhelm Keitel.

1949: Civil war ended in Greece.

1958: Blue Peter started on BBC television with presenters Leila Williams and Christopher Trace.

1964: Harold Wilson became Labour prime minister.

1964: China said it had tested its first nuclear bomb.

1978: Cardinal Karol Wojtyla was elected Pope in conclave in Vatican, taking name John Paul II – the first non-Italian Pope since 1522.

1994: A biography of the Prince of Wales by broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby said he was forced into a loveless marriage by the Duke of Edinburgh. The Prince described life at Gordonstoun school as “absolute hell”.

1997: The government announced it would ban high-calibre handguns and semi-automatic weapons after Lord Cullen’s report into the Dunblane massacre in which 16 children and a teacher died. Labour and the SNP called for a total ban on guns.

2009: Three suicide attackers attacked a police station in north-west Pakistan and killed 13 people.


Tim Robbins, actor, 55; Peter Bowles, actor, 77; Dr Stefan Buczacki, biologist, broadcaster and writer, 68; Flea (Michael Balzary), bassist (Red Hot Chili Peppers), 51; Lord Forsyth of Drumlean, MP 1983-97, secretary of state for Scotland 1995-7, 59; Günter Grass, German novelist and poet, 86; Terry Griffiths, snooker player and commentator, 66; Gary Kemp, actor and musician (Spandau Ballet), 54; Angela Lansbury CBE, actress, 88; Davina McCall, television presenter, 46


Births: 1430 King James II of Scotland; 1758 Noah Webster, originator of the dictionary that bears his name; 1803 Robert Stephenson, civil engineer; 1854 Oscar Wilde, playwright and dramatist; 1886 David Ben-Gurion, first prime minister of Israel; 1890 Michael Collins, Irish politician and revolutionary; 1922 Max Bygraves OBE, entertainer; 1923 Bill McLaren CBE, rugby commentator.

Deaths: 1774 Robert Fergusson, poet; 1793 Marie Antoinette, Queen of France (guillotined); 1981 Moshe Dayan, Israeli military leader; 2007 Deborah Kerr, Helensburgh-born actress.