On this day: Queen Mary launch | MV Joola capsized

Events, birthdays and anniversaries from 26 September

Tragedy struck off Gambia in 2002 when the overcrowded Senegalese ferry MV Joola flipped, killing more than 1,000. Picture: Getty

1580: Francis Drake and crew arrived back in Plymouth in the 100-ton Golden Hind to become the first Englishmen to circumnavigate the world.

1687: The Parthenon was destroyed when the Venetians bombarded Athens.

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1815: Anti-liberal Holy Alliance was formed among Austria, Russia and Prussia to maintain Vienna Settlement.

1831: British Association for the Advancement of Science set up.

1860: First Open golf championship was held at Prestwick. The Belt was won by Willie Park of Musselburgh.

1887: The first gramophone, invented by Emile Berliner, was patented.

1907: New Zealand became self-governing dominion within British Commonwealth.

1918: Allies launched offensive that eventually broke Germany’s Hindenburg Line.

1934: The Cunard liner Queen Mary was launched from John Brown’s yard at Clydebank.

1937: Arabs murdered British district commissioner for Galilee.

1941: British Eighth Army formed.

1950: United Nations forces recaptured Seoul, capital of South Korea.

1953: Sugar rationing ended in Britain.

1970: Jordan’s King Hussein named new government to placate critics who accused him of plotting to liquidate Palestinian guerrillas in his country.

1976: Leaders of five black African nations declined to accept plan presented by Rhodesia’s prime minister, Ian Smith, to achieve black majority rule.

1984: Britain and China initialled agreement to return Hong Kong to Chinese rule in 1997.

1989: Soviet foreign minister Eduard Shevardnadze told the United Nations General Assembly that Moscow would join the United States in reducing or destroying all chemical weapons.

2000: The MS Express Samina sank off Paros in the Aegean sea, killing 80 passengers.

2002: The overcrowded Senegalese ferry MV Joola capsized off the coast of Gambia killing more than 1,000.

2008: German commandos arrested two men on a KLM plane at Cologne airport. They were suspected of planning attacks 
and had intended to carry out “holy war”.

2009: Typhoon Ketsana hit the Philippines, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand, causing 700 fatalities.


Olivia Newton-John, actress and singer, 65; Lucette Aldous, Australian prima ballerina, 75; Lysette Anthony, UK actress, 50; Philip Bosco, US actor, 83; Carlene Carter, American country singer, 58; Ian Chappell, Australian cricketer, 70; Neil Coles MBE, British golfer, 79; Bryan Ferry, rock singer, 68; Linda Hamilton, US actress, 57; Will Self, author and broadcaster, 52; Ricky Tomlinson, British actor, 74; Serena Williams, American tennis champion, 32


Births: 1833 Charles Bradlaugh, social reformer; 1849 Ivan Pavlov, Russian physiologist; 1887 Sir Barnes Wallis, ‘bouncing bomb’ designer; 1888 TS Eliot, poet; 1897 Pope Paul VI; 1898 George Gershwin, US composer; 1907 Anthony Blunt, art historian and Soviet spy

Deaths: 1820 Daniel Boone, frontiersman; 1915 James Kier Hardie, founder of Scottish Labour Party; 1937 Bessie Smith, US singer; 1940 William Henry Davies, poet; 1942 Wilson Carlile, founder of Church Army; 1945 Bela Bartok, composer; 1947 Hugh Lofting, Dr Dolittle creator