On this day: The Blitz started | Paris liberated

Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 23 August

On this day in 1990 Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein appeared on state television with a group of hostages, including children. Picture: Reuters
On this day in 1990 Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein appeared on state television with a group of hostages, including children. Picture: Reuters

23 August

AD410: Rome was taken by the Visigoths.

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1617: The first one-way streets were introduced in London.

1775: King George III proclaimed existence of open rebellion in American colonies.

1839: Hong Kong was taken by British in war with China.

1914: The Battle of Mons, in Belgium near the French frontier, took place – the first important engagement fought by the British Expeditionary Force commanded by Sir John French.

1937: Japanese military forces landed at Shanghai, China.

1938: Len Hutton scored a world record 364 in 13 hours and 20 minutes in England’s 903 for seven declared against Australia.

1939: Germany and Russia signed a short-lived non-aggression pact which left Hitler free to attack Poland.

1940: The Blitz started as German bombers began an all-night raid on London.

1944: Paris was liberated – having been occupied by German forces since 14 June, 1940. Allied troops also captured port of Marseilles.

1952: Arab League security pact went into effect.

1962: United States Telstar satellite relayed first live television programme between United States and Europe.

1975: Communists completed takeover of Laos.

1986: Leaders of nine southern African nations, meeting in Angola, expressed support for international economic sanctions against South Africa.

1987: Iraqi warplanes bombed key Iranian petrochemical complex of Bandar Khomeini.

1990: Saddam Hussein appeared on Iraqi television surrounded by British hostages, smiling and patting children on the head.

1994: UK government closed a loophole National Insurance contributions to be paid in diamonds and expensive wines.

1996: Osama bin Laden issued message entitled “A declaration of war against the Americans occupying the land of the two holy places”.

2000: Gulf Air Flight 072 crashed into the Persian Gulf near Manama, Bahrain, killing 143.

2006: Natascha Kampusch abducted at the age of ten, escaped from her captor Wolfgang Priklopil after eight years of captivity in his home outside Vienna in Austria.


Edwyn Collins, Edinburgh-born singer (Orange Juice), 54; Mark Butcher, English Test cricketer, 41; Scott Caan, American actor, 37; Geoff Capes, British strongman, 64; Shelley Long, American actress, 64; Ritchie Neville, pop star (5ive), 34; David Robb, actor, 66; John Rocha CBE, fashion designer, 60; Willy Russell, British playwright, 66; Shaun Ryder, rock singer (Black Grape), 51; Rick Springfield (born Richard Springthorpe), Australian pop singer, 64; Sir Roy Strong, British art historian, critic and garden designer, 78; Peter Thomson, golfer, five times Open champion, 84.


Births: 1754 King Louis XVI of France; 1852 Arnold Toynbee, social philosopher; 1912 Ed Benedict, animator (notably The Flintstones); 1915 Henry Steinway, piano maker; 1945 Bob Peck, actor; 1947 Keith Moon, rock drummer (The Who).

Deaths: 1305: Sir William Wallace, Scottish patriot (hung, drawn and quartered in London); 1926 Rudolph Valentino, romantic film idol; 1960 Oscar Hammerstein II, lyricist; David Donaldson, painter and limner to the Queen in Scotland.