On this day: The Blitz reached its climax

Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 17 April

On this day in 1941  the height of the Blitz  500 German aircraft dropped 100,000 bombs in all-night attack on London. Picture: Getty
On this day in 1941  the height of the Blitz  500 German aircraft dropped 100,000 bombs in all-night attack on London. Picture: Getty

1746: The Jacobites were defeated by the Duke of Cumberland’s forces at the battle of Culloden, terminating attempts by the Stuarts to regain the throne.

1804: War between British East India Company and Holkar of Indore began in India.

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1856: Declaration of Paris abolished privateering, defined nature of contraband and blockade, and recognised principle of “free ships, free goods”.

1906: Pacific cable between US and China was completed.

1912: American pilot Harriet Quimby became the first woman to fly the English Channel, from Dover to Hardelot.

1917: A large crowd in Petrograd welcomed Lenin back from exile in Switzerland.

1922: Treaty of Rapallo between Germany and Soviet Union recognised Soviet Union as a “great power” and led to resumption of diplomatic and trade relations.

1924: The Metro Goldwyn Mayer film studio was formed – a merger between Metro-Goldwyn and the Louis B Mayer Company.

1929: The first machine for making tea bags was patented by Paul von Korosy.

1941: The Blitz reached climax as 500 German aircraft dropped 100,000 bombs in all-night attack on London.

1942: India’s Congress rejected terms of self-government offered by Britain.

1943: Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann discovered the hallucinogenic drug LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide).

1945: American troops entered Nuremberg, Germany.

1948: The Organisation for European Economic Co-operation (EEC) was set up.

1951: The British submarine Affray sank in the English Channel with the loss of 75 lives.

1953: The Royal yacht Britannia was launched by the Queen from John Brown’s yard on the Clyde.

1964: Twelve members of the Great Train Robbery gang were sentenced to a total of 307 years in jail.

1972: Apollo 16 was launched with John Young, Charles Duke and Thomas Mattingley; Young and Duke made the fifth Moon landing.

1975: Cambodian government in Phnom Penh asked for truce and offered to yield to Communist forces sweeping into city.

1979: Seven killed, 63 injured, in head-on collision between trains at Wellneuk Junction, Paisley.

1990: Nelson Mandela was hailed by a 70,000 crowd at Wembley Stadium.

1991: First 300 United Nations observers arrived in Kuwait to monitor ceasefire.

1992: President Mohammad Najibullah of Afghanistan was deposed in an army coup.

1993: The year’s second national rail strike kept thousands of commuters at home for a second Friday in two weeks.

1994: A British Sea Harrier was shot down over Gorazde in Bosnia, as United Nations jets tried to halt a Serbian assault on the town.

2003: The Treaty of Accession was signed in Athens admitting ten new member states to the European Union.

2004: The super liner RMS Queen Mary 2 embarked on her first trans-Atlantic crossing.

2014: A ferry carrying 475 passengers, mostly schoolchildren, capsized and sank off the coast of South Korea. Rescuers reported 14 people confirmed dead and more than 280 missing.


Baroness Joan Bakewell DBE, broadcaster and writer, 82; Akon, hip hop singer, 42; Ellen Barkin, actress, 61; Pope Benedict XVI, 88; Nick Berry, actor, 52; Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, 75; Paul di Resta, Scottish racing driver, 29; Lynne Franks, public relations consultant, 67; Vince Hill, singer, 78; Martin Lawrence, actor, 50; Ruth Madoc, actress, 72; Conchita Martinez, Spanish tennis player, 43; Jimmy Osmond, pop singer, 52; Sir Frank Williams CBE, managing director, Williams motor racing team, 73; Gordon Wilson, MP 1974-87, 77.


Births: 1800 William Chambers, author and publisher; 1821 Ford Madox Brown, artist; 1867 Wilbur Wright, aviation pioneer; 1889 Sir Charles Chaplin, actor, producer and director; 1911 Guy Burgess, civil servant and traitor; 1918 Spike Milligan KBE, comedian and author; 1921 Sir Peter Ustinov, actor, dramatist and film director; 1922 Sir Kingsley Amis, poet and novelist; 1924 Henry Mancini, composer and arranger; 1939 Dusty Springfield, singer; 1939 Donald MacCormick, Scottish broadcaster; 1947 Gerry Rafferty, Paisley-born singer and songwriter.

Deaths: 1828 Francesco de Goya, painter; 1850 Madame Tussaud, founder of the London wax museum; 1879 St Bernadette of Lourdes; 1995 Arthur English, actor and comedian; 2014 Frank Kopel, Dundee United football legend.