On this day: Apollo 14 launch | McDonald’s in Moscow

Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 31 January

Apollo 14 launched in 1971, and two of the three on board, Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell, later made the third Moon landing. Picture: Getty

1858: The five-funnelled 692ft-long Great Eastern, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and John Scott Russell, was launched at Millwall.

1867: The lions arrived in Trafalgar Square, London. The four bronze figures at the base of Nelson’s Column were completed by Sir Edwin Landseer.

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1876: The United States government banished all Sioux Indians to reservations, starting the Sioux wars.

1910: Dr Crippen poisoned his wife, Cora, for which he was executed on 23 November.

1918: In a chaotic series of collisions involving battleships, destroyers and submarines during a night naval exercise off the Isle of May in the Firth of Forth, 103 officers and ratings were lost. Two K-class submarines were sunk and two other submarines and a cruiser were seriously damaged.

1928: Leon Trotsky exiled from Russia by Stalin.

1953: British Rail passenger and car ferry, Princess Victoria, capsized and sank, with the loss of 133 lives, in a storm off Irish coast at Donaghadee, after her stern doors had been smashed soon after leaving Stranraer. Only 44 were saved; 39 of the 49 crew members were among the dead.

1953: Sixty-six crewmen were saved when cargo vessel Clan MacQuarrie went aground near Borve, Lewis. The rescue, in winds gusting to 100mph, was the biggest ever carried out using breeches buoy in a single operation.

1958: America’s first satellite, Explorer I, was launched from Cape Canaveral.

1971: Apollo 14 launched with Alan Shepard, Stuart Roosa and Edgar Mitchell. Shepard and Mitchell later made the third Moon landing.

1983: The wearing of seat belts in cars became compulsory in Britain.

1989: A symbolic burial service, with a single casket of ashes, was held for the victims of the Lockerbie airliner disaster.

1990: Huge queues formed as McDonald’s opened its first hamburger emporium in Moscow.

1991: Saudi and Qatari troops liberated Khafji in Gulf war.

1994: The Rover car company was sold to BMW for £1.7bn.

2000: Dr Harold Shipman, 54, was given 15 life sentences for the murder of 15 of his female patients.

2011: BMI announced its decision to axe flights between Glasgow and Heathrow, in London.


Minnie Driver, actress, 44; Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, 76; George Benjamin CBE, composer, 54; Carol Channing, actress, 93; Lloyd Cole, singer, 53; John Collins, Scottish footballer and manager, 46; Philip Glass, composer, 77; Carol Hawkins, actress, 65; Anthony LaPaglia, actor, 55; John Lydon, rock singer (Johnny Rotten), 58; Phil Manzanera, guitarist (Roxy Music), 63; Justin Timberlake, pop star, actor, 33.


Births: 1797 Franz Schubert, composer; 1885 Anna Pavlova, prima ballerina; 1892 Eddy Cantor, comedian and dancer; 1903 Tallulah Bankhead, actress; 1923 Norman Mailer, writer; 1929 Jean Simmons OBE, actress.

Deaths: 1606 Guy Fawkes, plotted to blow up Houses of Parliament; 1788 Prince Charles Edward Stuart, leader of Jacobite rising (in Rome); 1933 John Galsworthy, novelist; 1951 Sir CB Cochran, theatrical producer; 1956 AA Milne, writer of children’s books; 1974 Sam Goldwyn, film producer; 1983 Winifred Atwell, pianist; 2006 Moira Shearer (Lady Kennedy), Dunfermline-born ballerina.