Birthdays, anniversaries and events for 28 February
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 railway in the United States offering commercial transportation of both passengers and freight.
1900: General Redvers 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 announced to friends that they had determined the chemical structure of DNA; the formal announcement took place on 25 April.
1966: Liverpool’s Cavern Club, where the Beatles made their name, went into liquidation.
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.
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.
Stephanie Beacham, actress, 66; Peter Alliss, golfer and commentator, 82; Julia Carling, television presenter, 48; Barry Fantoni, comic strip cartoonist and jazz musician, 73; Mike Figgis, film director, 65; Jelena Jankovic, tennis player, 28; Robert Sean Leonard, actor, 44; Barry McGuigan, former featherweight boxing champion, 52; Sir Peter Stothard, editor, Times 1992-2002, 62; John Turturro, actor, 55.
Births: 1483 Raphael, artist; 1632 Henry Stubbs, physician and author; 824 Charles Blondin (Jean-Francois Gravelet), tightrope walker; 1890 Vladimir Nijinsky, dancer; 1896 Philip Showalter Hench, scientist who discovered cortisone; 1910 Vincente Minnelli, film director; 1932 Brian Moore, football commentator; 1942 Brian Jones, rock guitarist; 1946 Robin Cook, foreign secretary 1999-2001.
Deaths: 1916 Henry James, novelist; 1967 Henry Luce, publisher and founder of Time and Life magazines; 1990 Greville Wynne, spy; 1993 Ruby Keeler, actress; 1998 Dermot Morgan, actor; 2011 Jane Russell, actress.