On this day: Spitfire fighter made maiden flight

Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 5 March

On this day in 1936 the Spitfire fighter, designed by RJ Mitchell, made its maiden flight at Eastleigh Aerodrome. Picture: Getty

1397: Foundation stone of New College, Oxford, was laid.

1496: King Henry VII commissioned John and Sebastian Cabot to discover new lands.

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1684: Holy League of Linz was formed by Holy Roman Empire, Poland and Venice against the Turks.

1770: British troops fired into a mob in Boston, Massachusetts, killing five in what became known as the Boston Massacre. It was one of the incidents which led to the War of American Independence.

1850: The Menai Tubular Bridge, joining Wales and Anglesey and constructed by Robert Stephenson, was opened.

1856: Covent Garden Theatre, London, was destroyed by fire.

1867: Abortive Fenian uprising started in Ireland.

1868: The stapler was patented.

1918: Moscow was declared the new capital of Russia, in place of Petrograd.

1933: Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party won greatest number of seats in German elections.

1936: The Spitfire fighter made its maiden flight.

1946: Winston Churchill fixed the phrase “Iron Curtain” in the language. “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the continent,” he said in a speech at Fulton, United States.

1956: The telephone weather forecasting service began.

1960: President Sukarno suspended Indonesia’s Parliament.

1966: British airliner hit Japan’s Mount Fuji, killing all 124 people aboard.

1969: London gangland twins, Ronald and Reginald Kray, were found guilty of murder and given life jail sentences.

1970: Nuclear non-proliferation treaty went into effect after 43 nations had deposited instruments of ratification.

1974: Ethiopia’s leader Haile Selassie, confronted by continued unrest, agreed to constitutional convention to create system of elected democratic government.

1975: Arab commandos landed on beach at Tel Aviv, Israel, shot their way into hotel and held about 40 guests and employees hostage.

1987: Gulf fighting intensified as Iraq fired six missiles into Tehran and its air force attacked other Iranian cities.

1990: South Africa sent troops to Ciskei homeland to suppress mob attacks on factories and shops after military coup there ousted authoritarian president.

1991: Iraq repealed its annexation of Kuwait and released the last of its allied PoWs.

1995: Dutch banking conglomerate ING won control of stricken merchant bank Barings.

2001: In Mecca, 35 Muslim pilgrims were crushed to death during the annual Hajj pilgrimage.

2007: Edinburgh University research claimed that Scotland was “sleepwalking” into a diabetes epidemic due to figures that suggested the number of people diagnosed with type-2 diabetes will soar by 60 per cent in the next ten years.

2008: The Lord Advocate, Elish Angiolini, branded Scotland’s laws on rape as “the worst in the world”.

2009: The Scottish Labour Party announced it would oppose SNP plans for a referendum on independence.

2010: Explosions ripped through Baghdad, killing 17 people and raising tensions ahead of parliamentary elections.


Eva Mendes, actress, 41; Robert Lindsay, 29th Earl of Crawford, Premier Earl of Scotland, 88; Samantha Eggar, actress, 76; Eddy Grant, reggae singer, 67; Anthony Hedges, composer, 84; Jake Lloyd, actor, 26; Matt Lucas, comedian, 41; Kimberly McCullough, actress, 37; Lord Macfarlane of Bearsden, KT, Lord High Commissioner of the General Assembly, Church of Scotland 1992, 1993 and 1997, 89; Elaine Paige OBE, singer, 67; Mark E Smith, British singer (The Fall), 58; Dean Stockwell, actor, 79; Barry Tuckwell OBE, horn soloist and conductor, 84; Iwan Tukalo, Scottish rugby player, 54; 74; Mats Lanner, golfer, 54.


Births: 1133 Henry II, first Plantagenet King; 1324 David Bruce, King David II of Scotland 1329-71 (in Dunfermline); 1575 William Oughtred, self-taught mathematician and inventor of slide rule; 1879 William Henry, 1st Baron Beveridge, economist and author of Beveridge report laying foundation of welfare state; 1908 Sir Rex Harrison, actor; 1911 Elspeth March, actress; 1948 Richard Hickox CBE, conductor.

Deaths: 1778 Thomas Arne, composer of Rule Britannia; 1790 Flora MacDonald, Jacobite heroine; 1815 Franz Anton Mesmer, physician who developed the theory of “mesmerism”; 1827 Count Alessandro Volta, inventor of electric battery; 1953 Joseph Stalin, communist leader; 1953 Sergei Prokofiev, composer; 1982 John Belushi, comic actor; 2013 Nigel Ivan Forbes KBE, 22nd Lord Forbes, Premier Lord of Scotland.