On this day: Mikhail Gorbachev toppled in coup

Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 19 August

On this day in 1991, protesters and the military clashed in a dramatic coup that toppled Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev. Picture: Getty

1272: Coronation of Edward I took place.

1561: Mary, Queen of Scots, landed at Leith from France after an absence of 13 years.

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1685: Judge Jeffreys sentenced hundreds to death at what became known as the Bloody Assize.

1745: After travelling from France, Prince Charles Edward Stuart raised his father’s standard at Glenfinnan to start the ‘45 Rising.

1855: The first international voluntary organisation, the YMCA World Alliance, formed in Paris.

1897: The London Electric Cab Co began operating the first taxi-cab service in London’s West End and City. The black and yellow electric cars went at 9mph and cost 25 shillings for a whole day, including driver.

1934: Plebiscite in Germany gave sole power to Adolf Hitler.

1936: British government banned export of arms to Spain.

1940: British forces were driven out of Somaliland.

1942: In Operation Jubilee, about 6,000 troops, mainly Canadian, supported by British Commandos and American Rangers, raided the French port of Dieppe in Normandy. About 1,000 were killed and 2,000 captured.

1953: England, under captain Len Hutton, won the Ashes for the first time since the controversial Bodyline tour of 1932-3.

1987: Michael Ryan shot dead 16 people in Hungerford, Berkshire and then shot himself.

1991: Soviet hardliners toppled president Mikhail Gorbachev in a sudden and dramatic coup.

1994: Graeme Obree, from Irvine, riding a home-made bike, broke the world record and became world pursuit champion over 4,000 metres in Hamar, Norway.

1999: In Belgrade, tens of thousands of Serbians rallied to demand the resignation of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia president Slobodan Milosevic.

2002: A Russian Mi-26 helicopter carrying troops was hit by a Chechen missile outside Grozny, killing 118 soldiers.

2003: A car-bomb attack on UN headquarters in Iraq killed the agency’s top envoy, Sergio Vieira de Mello, and 21 other employees.

2008: Edinburgh cyclist Chris Hoy became the first Briton in a century to win three gold medals at the same Olympic Games. He won the sprint to add to his golds from the keirin and team sprint.


Darius Danesh, Scottish singer-songwriter and actor, 34; Ginger Baker, rock drummer (Cream), 75; Gordon Brand, Jnr, golfer, 56; Bill Clinton, 42nd United States president (1993-2001), 68; Jonathan Coe, writer, 53; John Deacon, guitarist (Queen) and songwriter, 63; Kevin Dillon, actor, 49; Ian Gillan, singer (Deep Purple), 69; Richard Ingrams, editor of Private Eye 1963-86, 77; Billy J Kramer, Merseybeat rock singer (The Dakotas), 71; Christy O’Connor, Jnr, golfer, 66; Matthew Perry, actor, 45; Baroness Scotland of Asthal, shadow attorney-general for England and Wales 2010-11, 59; Simon Bird, actor and comedian, 30; Nico Hulkenberg, F1 racing driver, 27; Jennie Bond, TV presenter and journalist, 64.


Births: 1560 James Crichton, Dumfriesshire-born athlete, scholar, poet and linguist (the “Admirable Crichton”); 1631 John Dryden, poet; 1646 John Flamsteed, first Astronomer Royal; 1871 Orville Wright, aviation pioneer.

Deaths: 14AD Caesar Augustus, founder and first emperor of Roman Empire; 1819 James Watt, steam engine pioneer; 1977 Groucho Marx, comedian and film star.