On this day: Volcanic eruption in Iceland

Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 15 April

On this day in 2010 thousands of flights were disrupted because of ash in the air caused by an eruption in Iceland. Picture: Getty
On this day in 2010 thousands of flights were disrupted because of ash in the air caused by an eruption in Iceland. Picture: Getty

1638: English settlers arrived at what is now New Haven, Connecticut, in the United States.

1689: France’s King Louis XIV declared war on Spain.

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1755: Doctor Samuel Johnson’s dictionary was published, containing 40,000 words.

1793: £5 notes were first issued by the Bank of England.

1797: Naval personnel mutinied at Spithead, in the Solent.

1811: Chang and Eng Bunker, the most famous Siamese twins, were born, joined together at the breastbone. They married two sisters and between them produced 21 children.

1845: Building of the new House of Lords was completed, after the fire of 1834. It was designed by Sir Charles Barry and Augustus Pugin.

1894: Thomas Edison’s “kinetoscope”, invented in 1887, was given its first public showing at 1155 Broadway, New York City.

1912: The Titanic struck an iceberg and sank with the loss of 1,513 passengers and crew on her maiden voyage. There were 732 survivors.

1923: Insulin, discovered by Sir Frederick Banting, JRR Macleod and Charles H Best, was made available for general use by diabetics.

1929: Sir James Barrie donated the copyright fee of his story Peter Pan to the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children.

1942: The island of Malta was awarded the George Cross for its heroism during German and Italian bombardment.

1952: Boeing B-52 bomber made its maiden flight.

1955: The world’s largest hamburger chain, McDonald’s, was founded in Chicago by Ray Kroc, using the motto “Quality, Service, Cleanliness and Value”.

1961: England defeated Scotland 9-3 at Wembley in a record-scoring football match between the countries.

1970: The first hand-held electronic pocket calculator was announced by Canon Business Machines of Japan.

1974: Newspaper heiress Patty Hearst, 19, was kidnapped in California by members of the leftist Symbionese Liberation Army. She was later filmed by a security camera with an assault rifle assisting her kidnappers in a robbery. She was jailed for seven years but freed after two by President Jimmy Carter and later pardoned by president Bill Clinton.

1989: Ninety-six supporters were crushed to death and 200 injured in Britain’s worst football disaster, at Hillsborough, Sheffield, at the start of an FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.

1991: The 12 foreign ministers of the European Community agreed to lift the sanctions on South Africa imposed five years earlier.

1992: The composer Andrew Lloyd Webber paid £10.25million for Old Horseguards by Canaletto at Christie’s – saving the painting for the nation.

2010: All flights in and out of the UK and several other European countries were suspended because of ash in the air caused by a volcanic eruption in Iceland. Up to 4,000 flights were cancelled.

2013: During the Boston Marathon, two pressure cooker bombs exploded near the finish line, killing three people and injuring more than 180 others.

2014: Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi was ordered by a Milan court to carry out a year of community service in an old people’s home as punishment for tax fraud.

2014: The Supreme Court of India ruled that transgender people had the right to identify themselves as being of a third gender.


Emma Watson, actress, 25; Lord Archer of Weston-super-Mare, author, 75; Claudia Cardinale, actress, 77; Dave Edmunds, Welsh guitarist, 71; Samantha Fox, model and singer, 49; Marsha Hunt, singer and actress, 69; Baroness Linklater of Butterstone, 72; Sir Neville Marriner CBE, conductor, 91; Ed O’Brien, British guitarist (Radiohead), 47; Seth Rogen, actor and writer, 33; Sir Robert Hill Smith, Bt MP, 57; Emma Thompson, actress, 56; Michael Tucci, actor, 69; Marty Wilde, singer and composer, 76; Evelyn Ashford, athlete, 58.


Births: 1452 Leonardo da Vinci, artist and scientist; 1800 Sir James Clark Ross, Arctic explorer; 1812 Théodore Rousseau, French landscape artist; 1843 Henry James, novelist; 1894 Bessie Smith, blues singer; 1909 Harold Albert (Helen Cathcart), royal biographer; 1924 Rikki Fulton, actor and entertainer; 1935 Alan Plater CBE, scriptwriter (Z Cars).

Deaths: 1764 Madame de Pompadour, courtier and mistress of Louis XV; 1865 Abraham Lincoln, 16th US president; 1925 John Singer Sargent, painter; 1949 1980 Jean-Paul Sartre, philosopher and novelist; 1982 Arthur Lowe, actor; 1984 Tommy Cooper, comedian; 1986 Jean Genet, dramatist; 1990 Greta Garbo, actress; 2008 Sir Clement Freud, broadcaster, MP 1973-1987.