On this day: Lockerbie bomber leaves Scotland

EVENTS, birthdays and anniversaries on August 20.

Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi left Scotland on this day in 2009 after being freed on compassionate grounds. Picture: AFP/Getty

1158: St Ronald, Earl of Orkney, was killed. He was canonised in 1192.

1619: The first known African Americans landed at Jamestown, Virginia, to be traded as slaves.

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1745: Bonnie Prince Charlie reached Blair Castle.

1866: US president Andrew Johnson formally declared the Civil War to be over.

1897: Ronald Ross, first Scot to win a Nobel prize (1902), dissected an anopheles mosquito and discovered the link with malaria.

1913: Adolphe Pegoud baled out from a Bleriot aeroplane 700 feet above Buc in France. He was the first parachutist to jump from an aircraft.

1918: British offensive on Western Front opened in First World War.

1924: The Scottish sprinter, Eric Liddell, refused to run in the heats of the 100 metres at the Paris Olympics on a Sunday as it was against his religious convictions to do so. He had been tipped as the likely winner.

1940: Leon Trotsky, exiled Russian revolutionary, was hit on the head with an ice pick at his home near Mexico City. He died 26 hours later, and his killer was sentenced to 20 years in jail.

1940: Winston Churchill made his famous tribute to the RAF in the House of Commons, when he said: “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”

1956: Calder Hall in Cumbria, the world’s first large-scale atomic power station, began generating.

1966: The Beatles were pelted with rotten fruit during a concert at Memphis.

1975: United States spaceship Viking I, bound for Mars, was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

1977: Nasa launched Voyager 2 towards Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.

1979: The East Coast mainline rail route between Scotland and England was re-opened after the completion of the Penmanshield Diversion – a realignment of the railway following the collapse of the Penmanshield Tunnel, in which two people were killed.

1980: Reinhold Messner of Italy completed the first solo ascent of Mount Everest without the aid of supplementary oxygen.

1988: “Black Saturday” of the forest fires which raged throughout the Yellowstone National Park for several months. On this day, high winds propelled the rapidly burning fires across 150,000 acres, doubling the area already burned.

1989: Fifty-one people partying on the Thames pleasure cruiser Marchioness drowned when it was hit by a dredger in central London.

1991: Estonia formally declared its independence from USSR.

1993: Britain’s Colin Jackson set a new world record of 12.91 seconds for the 110-metre hurdles.

1993: Mother Teresa was hospitalised with malaria.

1994: There were calls for an urgent investigation by the Lord Advocate into a third drugs-related death in three months at a “rave” at the Hangar 13 nightspot in Ayr.

1998: The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Quebec could not secede from Canada with the federal government’s approval.

2009: The Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, left Scotland, bound for Libya, after being freed from prison on compassionate grounds.


Amy Adams, actress, 41; Sylvester McCoy, Dunoon-born actor, seventh Dr Who, 72; Ronnie Browne, folk singer (The Corries) and painter, 78; Finlay Calder, former Scotland rugby captain, 58; Jamie Cullum, singer, 36; Lord Macdonald of Tradeston CBE, Minister for the Cabinet Office 2001-03, 75; Joe Pasquale, comedian and television presenter, 54; Robert Plant CBE, singer (Led Zeppelin), 67; Simon Shepherd, actor, 59; David Walliams, comedian, actor and TV presenter, 44; Andrew Garfield, actor, 32; Don King, boxing promoter, 84; Joan Allen, actress, 59; Sventlana Omelchenko, cosmonaut, 64; Jim Bowen, comedian and TV game show host, 78.


Births: 1818 Emily Brontë, writer; 1905 Duncan Macrae, Scottish actor; 1907 Alan Reed, actor and voice actor (Fred Flintstone); 1918 Jacqueline Susann, novelist; 1922 Tetsuzo Akutsu, Japanese surgeon who built the first artificial heart; 1923 Jim Reeves, singer-songwriter; 1935 1941 Slobodan Milosevic, president of Serbia 1989 to 1997, president of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia 1997 to 2000; 1942 Isaac Hayes, singer-songwriter; 1944 Rajiv Gandhi, prime minister of India 1984-1989; 1949 Phil Lynott, singer and musician (Thin Lizzy).

Deaths: 1912 General William Booth, social reformer, founder of the Salvation Army; 1914 Pope Pius X; 1936 Frederico Garcia Lorca, dramatist and poet; 1969 Dudley D Watkins, cartoonist (The Broons, Oor Wullie and Desperate Dan); 2012 Phyllis Diller, actress and comedienne; 2012 Dom Mintoff, prime minister of Malta 1971 to 1984.