On this day: The Queen visits Dunblane Primary

Watched by the Princess Royal, the Queen lays flowers at the entrance to Dunblane Primary School. Picture: PA
Watched by the Princess Royal, the Queen lays flowers at the entrance to Dunblane Primary School. Picture: PA
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EVENTS, birthdays and anniversaries on March 17.

St Patrick’s Day – national day of Ireland.

1649: Oliver Cromwell declared England a Commonwealth and abolished the position of king.

1776: American revolutionaries forced British to evacuate Boston, Massachusetts.

1845: Elastic bands were patented by Stephen Perry, a member of a firm of vulcanised rubber manufacturers of London.

1876: The first ever recorded high jump of 6ft was made by the Hon Marshall Jones Brooks at Marston, near Oxford. He wore his top hat while jumping.

1880/1912: Captain Laurence Oates was born and died on this day. On Scott’s Antarctic Expedition, suffering from frostbite, he told his companions: “I am just going outside and may be some time.”

1883: Crofters Commission appointed by Royal Warrant.

1921: The first birth control clinic, founded by Doctor Marie Stopes, opened in London in face of bitter opposition from clergymen and doctors.

1921: Andrew Bonar Law resigned as Conservative leader.

1931: Stanley Baldwin condemned press lords Rothermere and Beaverbrook, saying: “What the proprietorship of these papers is aiming at is power, and power without responsibility – the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages.”

1941: All single women aged 20 and 21 were mobilised for war work.

1944: United States aircraft bombed Vienna.

1952: British Standards kite mark was born as post-war utility scheme ended.

1963: First Tristan da Cunha islanders returned home from Britain. They had been taken off when the south Atlantic island’s volcano erupted in 1961.

1969: Crew of eight died when Longhope lifeboat, TGB, capsized in a storm while on her way to aid Liberian-registered Irene, ashore on South Ronaldsay. The coxswain, his two sons and five other men all lived in Walls on island of Hoy. Irene’s crew of 17 were rescued by South Ronaldsay Rocket Brigade.

1978: The oil tanker Amoco Cadiz ran aground on the coast of Brittany, broke in half and disgorged some 220,000 tons of crude oil.

1982: Robert Mugabe ordered new Zimbabwe constitution to replace document agreed with British at independence talks.

1989: Paul Channon, secretary of state for transport, started up the tunnelling machine at the Dover end of the Channel tunnel.

1990: Thousands marched in Baghdad and other Iraqi cities in protest at British censure for hanging Observer journalist Farzad Bazoft, accused of spying.

1990: Scotland defeated England 13-7 at Murrayfield to win rugby’s Triple Crown, Grand Slam and the Calcutta Cup.

1994: American skater Tonya Harding admitted in court covering up a conspiracy to wound her Olympic rival, Nancy Kerrigan, and was fined.

1995: Gangland killer Ronnie Kray, serving a life sentence in Broadmoor, died in hospital after a heart attack, aged 61.

1996: The Queen visited Dunblane to meet the families of victims of the school massacre and led the country in a minute’s silence at 9:30am in memory of the 16 children and teacher who died.

2003: Labour MP Robin Cook resigned from the Cabinet in protest against prime minister Tony Blair’s decision to invade Iraq.


Clare Grogan, singer (Altered Images) and actress (Gregory’s Girl), 53; Jeff Banks CBE, fashion designer, 72; Leslie-Anne Down, actress, 61; Patrick Duffy, actor (Dallas), 66; Sir Robin Knox-Johnston CBE, yachtsman, 76; Professor John Lill CBE, pianist, 71; Dame Penelope Lively DBE, novelist, 82; Rob Lowe, actor, 51; Alex MacDonald, former football player and manager, 67; Frank McGarvey, footballer, 59; Stuart Rose, Baron Rose of Monewden, executive chairman, Marks & Spencer 2008-11, 66; Kurt Russell, actor, 64; Max Stafford-Clark, artistic director, Royal Court Theatre 1979-93, 74; Jim Telfer, Scottish rugby player and administrator, 75; Michael Whitaker, showjumper, 55.


Births: AD389 St Patrick, patron saint of Ireland; 1834 Gottlieb Daimler, engineer; 1846 Kate Greenaway, artist and illustrator; 1902 Bobby Jones, golf champion; 1911 Patrick Maitland, 17th Earl of Lauderdale, journalist, MP 1951-1959; 1917 Nat “King” Cole, American singer and entertainer; 1938 Rudolf Nureyev, ballet dancer and choreographer; 1969 Alexander McQueen CBE, fashion designer.

Deaths: 1040 Harold I, King of the English; 1806 David Dale, Scottish industrialist and philanthropist; 1871 Robert Chambers, publisher; 1927 James Scott Skinner, fiddler; 1999 Rod Hull, entertainer; 2011 Michael Gough, actor (Alfred Pennyworth in Batman films).