On this day: Amy Johnson begins Australia journey

EVENTS, birthdays and anniversaries on May 5.

Amy Johnson became the first woman to fly solo from the UK to Australia. She arrived on 24 May. Picture: Getty
Amy Johnson became the first woman to fly solo from the UK to Australia. She arrived on 24 May. Picture: Getty

1641: England’s Star Chamber was abolished by the Long Parliament.

1646: Charles I surrendered to Scots at Newark.

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1762: Russia and Prussia signed Treaty of St Petersburg, under which Russia restored all conquests and formed defensive and offensive alliance.

1824: British troops took over Rangoon, Burma.

1862: Confederates were victorious at the Battle of Williamsburg.

1881: Louis Pasteur carried out successful inoculations against anthrax on an ox, cows and sheep.

1882: Excavation of Corinth Canal began in Greece.

1912: First issue of Pravda was published.

1930: Amy Johnson left Croydon in the Gypsy Moth Jason to become the first female to fly solo to Australia, arriving on 24 May.

1931: People’s National Convention in Nanking, China, adopted provisional constitution.

1936: Italian forces occupied Addis Ababa, ending Abyssinian (Ethiopian) War.

1941: Emperor Haile Selassie returned to Ethiopia from exile in Britain after the liberation of his country by British forces.

1942: British forces invaded Madagascar.

1949: The Council of Europe was set up in London.

1961: Alan Shepard became the first American spaceman, in a Mercury capsule Freedom VII.

1975: The Scottish Daily News, the first workers’ co-operative national newspaper, was published. It closed after seven months.

1978: Red Brigades in Italy announced they were carrying out death sentence against former premier Aldo Moro, whose body was found two days later.

1980: SAS stormed the terrorist-occupied Iranian Embassy in Knightsbridge, London, killing four of the five gunmen who took over the building, and rescuing 19 hostages.

1981: Bobby Sands, the IRA hunger striker, died in jail. He had been elected MP in Fermanagh and South Tyrone by-election on 11 April.

1988: The first live television broadcast from the summit of Mount Everest was transmitted by Japanese television.

1989: The first two-man flight in a microlight aircraft was made by Steve Mangan and Graham Jones of Hampshire, when they went from Cherbourg to Southampton for charity.

1990: So-called “Two-Plus-Four” talks on German unification, involving Britain, France, Soviet Union, United States and two Germanies, opened in Bonn.

1992: Twelve football supporters died and 527 were injured when a temporary stand collapsed at Bastia, Corsica.

1994: Despite United States protests, American Michael Fay, 18, received four strokes of the cane for spray-painting cars and other offences in Singapore.

1995: The Queen paid tribute to Second World War dead at the start of three days of celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of VE Day.

2005: Tony Blair secured an historic third term in government for Labour, with a majority down from 161 to 66.

2011: Voting took place in the Scottish election. A day later, the Scottish National Party emerged triumphant as it formed Scotland’s first ever majority government by taking 69 seats in the 129-seat parliament.


Adele, singer, 26; Jessie Cave, actress, 28; James Cracknell OBE, rower, 43; Craig David, singer-songwriter, 34; Richard E Grant, actor, 58; Lance Henriksen, actor, 75; Ian McCulloch, guitarist and singer (Echo & the Bunnymen), 56; Lord (John) Maxton, MP 1979-2001, 79; Michael Palin CBE, actor and author, 72; Roger Rees, actor, 71; John Rhys-Davies, actor, 71; Dilys Watling, actress, 72; Yossi Benayoun, Israeli-born footballer, 35.


Births: 1600 Jean Nicot, who introduced the French court to tobacco in the form of snuff and gave his name to nicotine; 1818 Karl Heinrich Marx, the Sage of Highgate and father of Communism; 1830 John Batterson Stetson, hat manufacturer; 1846 Henryk Sienkiewicz, novelist; 1867 Nellie Bly, American journalist and campaigner for women’s rights; 1890 Christopher Morley, novelist and playwright; 1904 Sir Gordon Richards, champion jockey 26 times; 1913 Tyrone Power, film actor; 1942 Tammy Wynette, singer and songwriter.

Deaths: 1672 Samuel Cooper, miniaturist painter; 1821 Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of France (in exile on St Helena); 1887 James Grant, novelist and historian; 1921 William Friese-Greene, cinema pioneer; 1936 Beatrice Harraden, novelist; 1977 Professor Ludwig Erhard, West German chancellor 1963-66; 1985 Sir Donald Bailey, wartime bridge designer; 1995 Mikhail Botvinnik, world chess champion.