On this day: Coventry Cathedral destroyed in Blitz

EVENTS, births, anniversaries

On this day in 1940, 1,000 civilians were killed and Coventrys cathedral was devastated in a German air raid. Picture: Getty Images

1380: Charles VI of France was crowned at the age of 12.

1647: King Charles I was recaptured and imprisoned.

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1666: Diarist Samuel Pepys recorded the first blood transfusion – between two dogs.

1770: British explorer James Bruce discovered the source of the Blue Nile - Lake Tana in north-west Ethiopia.

1834: Student William Thomson entered Glasgow University at the age of ten years and four months.

1890: British-Portuguese agreement on Zambesi and Congo granted Britain control of lower Zambesi and colonising rights up to the Congo.

1896: The Highway Act raised the speed limit for horseless carriages on Britain’s roads from 4mph (2mph in towns) to 14mph.

1904: King C Gillette patented the Gillette razor blade.

1908: Albert Einstein presented his quantum theory of light.

1910: A Curtiss biplane, piloted 
by Eugene Ely, made the first take-off from a ship, the United States light cruiser Birmingham.

1922: BBC began transmitting daily from 2LO in the Strand, London.

1940: A thousand civilians were killed and Coventry’s historic cathedral was devastated in German air raid.

1941: The aircraft carrier Ark Royal sank near Gibraltar the day after being hit by a German torpedo.

1952: Britain’s first music chart was published in the New Musical Express, with Al Martino’s Here in My Heart at No 1.

1956: The Hungarian uprising was quashed by Soviet troops.

1959: The Dounreay fast reactor went into operation.

1963: The island of Surtsey was formed off Iceland by the eruption of an underwater volcano.

1966: Muhammad Ali defeated Cleveland Williams by a technical knockout in the third round in Houston to retain the WBC world heavyweight title.

1969: Second manned Moon mission, US Apollo 12, launched from Cape Kennedy with astronauts Charles Conrad, Richard Gordon and Alan Bean aboard.

1973: Princess Anne married Captain Mark Phillips.

1977: Firemen, claiming a pay increase of 30 per cent, went on strike leaving armed forces to cope with fires.

1983: First Cruise missiles arrived at Greenham Common base in Newbury, Berkshire.

1988: Picasso’s Maternité sold for £13.7 million, a record for a Picasso painting.

1990: Desmond Ellis became first IRA suspect to be extradited from Republic of Ireland to mainland Britain.

1991: Murder warrants were issued in Scotland against two Libyan intelligence officers who were alleged to have carried out Pan Am airliner bombing in which 270 died at Lockerbie.

1993: In a referendum, Puerto Rica voted against becoming the 51st state of USA.

1994: More than £7 million worth of National Lottery tickets were sold in the first 12 hours of going on sale.

2008: The cancer-stricken Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, failed in his bid to be freed on bail.

2013: Boston gangster Whitey Bulger was sentenced to two consecutive life terms plus five years for his crimes.

Karen Armstrong OBE, writer, 71; Tommy Coyne, Govan-born footballer, 53; Letitia Dean, actress, 48; Michael Dobbs, Baron Dobbs, politician and novelist, 67; Stefano Gabbana, fashion designer, 53; Paul McGann, actor (eighth Dr Who), 56; PJ O’Rourke, political satirist and author, 68; Condoleezza Rice, former US secretary of state, 61; Bernard Hinault, five-time winner of Tour de France, 61.


Births: 1797 Sir Charles Lyell, 1st Baronet, Scottish lawyer and geologist; 1840 Claude Monet, Impressionist painter; 1889 Jawaharlal Nehru, first prime minister of independent India; 1900 Aaron Copland, composer; 1907 Astrid Lindgren, children’s author; 1908 Joseph McCarthy, US anti-communist Senator; 1922 Boutros Boutros-Ghali, secretary-general of United Nations; 1922 Veronica Lake, actress;1934 Dave Mackay, Scottish footballer.

Deaths: 1687 1687 Nell Gwynne, orange seller, actress and mistress of King Charles II; 1841 Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin and 11th Earl of Kincardine, nobleman who took Elgin Marbles from the Parthenon; 1916 Saki (HH Munro), writer; 1990 Malcolm Muggeridge, writer, broadcaster.