On this day: Skytrain from London to New York begins

On this day in 1977, the maverick entrepreneur Freddie Laker began his Skytrain airline service from London to New York. Picture: Getty
On this day in 1977, the maverick entrepreneur Freddie Laker began his Skytrain airline service from London to New York. Picture: Getty
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Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 25 September

1066: The Saxon King Harold II defeated the Norwegians at the Battle of Stamford Bridge, Yorkshire, unaware that William of Normandy was already invading the south coast.

1493: Columbus set sail on his second expedition with a fleet of 20 ships.

1857: The relief of Lucknow by Havelock and Outram began.

1894: British annexed Pondoland, connecting Cape Colony and Natal, in Africa.

1911: The French battleship Liberté exploded in Toulon harbour, killing 226.

1915: British forces used poisonous gas for the first time in the First World War.

1915: The Battle of Loos began, in which Piper Daniel Laidlaw, 7th King’s Own Scottish Borderers, won the Victoria Cross for mounting a parapet during heavy bombardment and playing his regiment “over the top”.

1923: Forty miners died when water broke through from old workings and on to the 66-man nightshift at Redding No 23 pit, near Polmont, Stirlingshire.

1940: German High Commissioner in Norway set up a government headed by Vidkun Quisling.

1941: General de Gaulle announced over BBC World Service the creation of a French wartime government in exile.

1956: Inauguration of the first transatlantic telephone cable, running between Oban and Newfoundland.

1962: Sonny Liston won the world heavyweight boxing title, knocking out Floyd Paterson in the first round, in Chicago.

1970: Jordan’s King Hussein and Palestinian guerrilla leaders agreed on ceasefire to end fighting in Jordan.

1973: Three-man crew of US space laboratory, Skylab 2, splashed down in Pacific after record 59 days in orbit.

1977: Freddie Laker’s first Skytrain service began between Gatwick and New York.

1989: President George Bush said the US would destroy 98 per cent of its chemical weapons if the Soviet Union would do the same.

1990: At least 54 were killed in gas truck blast in Bangkok.

1996: The last of the Magdalene Asylums closed in Ireland.

2010: Ed Miliband beat his brother David by a wafer-thin margin to be elected leader of the Labour Party.


Catherine Zeta-Jones CBE, actress, 45; Leon Brittan, Baron Brittan of Spennithorne, member European Commission 1989-99, 75; Declan Donnelly, TV presenter and entertainer, 39; Michael Douglas, actor and producer, 70; Colin Friels, Glasgow-born actor, 62; Mark Hamill, actor, 63; Felicity Kendal CBE, actress, 68; Timothy Severin, author and historian, 74; Will Smith, actor and singer, 46; Robert Walden, actor, 71; Heather Locklear, actress, 53; Jessie Wallace, actress, 43; Cheryl Tiegs, model, actress, 67; Jodie Kidd, model, 36; Michael Madsen, actor, 56; Onnie McIntyre, Lennoxtown-born musician (Average White Band), 69.


Births: 1889 Charles Kenneth Scott-Moncrieff, Stirlingshire-born translator of Proust; 1897 William Faulkner, novelist; 1903 Mark Rothko, artist; 1906 Dmitri Shostakovich, composer; 1920 Ronnie Barker, comedian; 1952 Christopher Reeve, actor.

Deaths: 1849 Johann Strauss the Elder, composer; 1970 Erich Maria Remarque, author; 1980 John Bonham, drummer and songwriter (Led Zeppelin); 2003 Robert Palmer, rock singer.