On this day: Castro starts revolution in Cuba

Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 26 December

Harold Wilson, right, seen here with US president Richard Nixon, was voted Man of the Decade on this day in 1969. Picture: Getty
Harold Wilson, right, seen here with US president Richard Nixon, was voted Man of the Decade on this day in 1969. Picture: Getty


1677: Commission to the Marquess of Atholl to raise “the Highland Host” against the Covenanters.

1874: Boxing Day first officially recognised as a Bank Holiday.

1901: Uganda Railway from Mombasa to Lake Victoria completed.

1906: World’s first feature-length film, The Story of the Kelly Gang, was premiered in Melbourne.

1908: Jack Johnson became first black boxer to win world heavyweight title, knocking out Tommy Burns in round 14 in Sydney.

1912: SS Tripolitania driven by storms on to sandbank at Porthleven, Cornwall, where she broke up.

1932: An earthquake in Kensu, China, killed more than 70,000 people.

1932: BBC transmitted the first television pantomime.

1943: The last major German battleship, the Scharnhorst, was sunk by the Royal Navy off North Cape.

1956: Fidel Castro landed in Cuba, starting revolution against Batista regime.

1961: United Nations officials charged that northern Rhodesia was aiding secessionist Congo province of Katanga in its fight against United Nations forces.

1962: Eighteen died in a train crash near Crewe.

1962: Heavy snowfalls in south-east England heralded start of freezing conditions that persisted until mid-March.

1969: Labour prime minister Harold Wilson was voted “Man of the Decade”. Close second was Enoch Powell.

1971: Sixteen US veterans of Vietnam War seized Statue of Liberty in New York harbour to dramatise their anti-war stand.

1974: Soviet Union sent unmanned scientific station into Earth orbit.

1989: Desert Orchid equalled record of Wayward Lad by winning the George VI Rank Chase for the third time.

1990: Garry Kasparov retained the world chess championship in 24-match final against Anatoly Karpov in Lyons.

1990: King Michael returned to Romania after 43 years in exile. He was deported again within 12 hours of his arrival.

1995: Blizzards and Arctic temperatures caused havoc across Britain and a state of emergency was declared on Shetland, where more than 2,000 homes were without electricity for the fourth successive day.

2004: Huge tidal waves swept thousands of people, including many British holidaymakers, to their deaths as tsunamis up to 30ft high swept the coasts of Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and East Africa after the most powerful earthquake for 40 years devastated the region. 2009: Kauto Star created history by becoming the first horse to claim four consecutive victories in the King George VI Chase.


Dermot Murnaghan, broadcaster, 56; Harry Christophers CBE, conductor, 60; Rohan Kanhai, West Indian Test cricketer, 78; Jane Lapotaire, actress, 69; Jared Leto, actor, 42; Anna Scher, founder, Anna Scher Theatre, 69; Phil Spector, record producer and convicted murderer, 73; Adam Walker, flautist, 26.


Births: 1780 Mary Somerville, Jedburgh-born mathematician and author after whom the Oxford college was named; 1920 Walter Carr, actor and comedian; 1908 Sir Alastair M Dunnett, editor of The Scotsman 1956-1972.

Deaths: 1797 John Wilkes, radical politician; 1970 Lillian Board, athlete; 1983 Violet Carson, actress and pianist (Ena Sharples in Coronation Street); 1986 Elsa Lanchester, actress; 2012 Fontella Bass, American soul singer.