On this day: Japanese fleet defeated at Leyte Gulf

EVENTS, birthdays and anniversaries.

In 1944 the Japanese fleet was heavily defeated in the worlds largest naval battle at Leyte Gulf. Picture: Getty
In 1944 the Japanese fleet was heavily defeated in the worlds largest naval battle at Leyte Gulf. Picture: Getty

27 October

1662: Charles II sold Dunkirk to Louis XIV of France.

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1904: The New York subway opened.

1927: Fox Movietone News, the first news film with sound, was shown at the Roxy Theatre, New York.

1931: National government won largest victory in British poll history; 554 seats against 56 for opposition.

1932: British government ordered withdrawal of Greek Memories by Compton Mackenzie because it revealed identity of the head of the Secret Service during the First World War.

1936: Wallis Simpson, the future Duchess of Windsor, was divorced in Ipswich from her husband Ernest.

1944: The Japanese fleet was heavily defeated in the world’s largest naval battle of Leyte Gulf, which started on 22 October and involved a total of 231 ships and 1,996 aircraft.

1953: Six of the seven members of the crew of the Arbroath lifeboat, Robert Lindsay, drowned when it capsized after a fruitless all-night search for the source of reported flares. It was thought that the flares had come from the Dundee sand ship Islandmagee which disappeared with her crew of six on passage from Dundee to Leith.

1958: The first edition of the BBC television programme Blue Peter was transmitted.

1967: Royal Assent was given to David Steel’s UK Abortion Act.

1971: The Republic of the Congo changed its name to the Republic of Zaire.

1986: “Big Bang” day in the Stock Exchange of the City of London with the computerisation of share dealings.

1989: The inquest into the death of Julie Ward, the British woman who died in a Kenyan game reserve in 1988, decided that the 28-year-old was the victim of foul play.

1993: Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams was widely condemned for helping to carry the coffin at the funeral of an IRA bomber killed in Belfast.

1994: Film censors postponed the British release of Natural Born Killers, a film said to have inspired a string of copycat murders in America.

1995: The Queen was hoaxed by a Canadian DJ into expressing her views on a Quebec separatism referendum.

1997: Stock markets around the world crashed because of fears of a global economic meltdown. The Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted 554.26 points to 7,161.15.

1999: Gunmen opened fire in the Armenian Parliament, killing prime minister Vazgen Sargsyan, parliament chairman Karen Demirchyan, and six other members.

2004: The Boston Red Sox won the World Series for the first time in 86 years.

2005: Riots began in Paris after the deaths of two Muslim teenagers.

2010: James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5, which was first driven by Sean Connery in Goldfinger, fetched £2.6 million at auction in London.


Simon Le Bon, pop singer, 56; Leo Baxendale, cartoonist (creator of The Bash Street Kids), 84; David Bryant CBE, British bowls champion, 83; John Cleese, British comic actor, 75; Peter Firth, British actor, 61; Sir Paul Fox CBE, British television executive, 89; Glenn Hoddle, football manager and former player, 57; Tom McKean, athlete, 51; Stewart McKimmie, Scottish footballer, 52; Vanessa-Mae Nicholson, violinist and alpine skier, 36; Kelly Osbourne, television personality and fashion designer, 30; Chris Tavare, England Test cricketer, 60; Mark Taylor, Australian Test cricketer, 50; AN Wilson, British author, 64; Eden Taylor-Draper, actress (Emmerdale), 17; Lee Greenwood, country singer, 72; Peter Firth, actor, 61; Lee Clark, football manager and former player, 42; Maria Mutola, Olympic gold medal-winning athlete, 42; K K Downing, musician (Judas Priest), 63; Nawal El Saadawi, feminist writer and activist.


Births: 1466 Erasmus, priest, teacher and theologian; 1728 Captain James Cook, naval officer and explorer; 1811 Isaac Singer, inventor and manufacturer of sewing machines; 1854 Sir William Smith, founder of the Boys’ Brigade movement in Glasgow in 1883; 1858 Theodore Roosevelt, 26th United States president; 1911 Leif Erickson, actor; 1914 Dylan Thomas, poet and author of Under Milk Wood; 1917 Oliver Tambo, South African anti-Apartheid politician; 1932 Sylvia Plath, American poet.

Deaths: AD901 King Alfred the Great; 1505 Ivan the Great, Tsar of Russia; 1605 Akbar “the Great”, Mughal emperor of India; 1988 Charles Hawtrey, film actor; 1998 Rosamund John, actress; 2004 Serginho. Brazilian footballer; 2007 Moira Lister, actress; 2013 Lou Reed, American rock musician (The Velvet Underground).