On this day: Aviator Amy Johnson lost in crash

Events, birthdays and anniversaries for January 5
On this day in 1941, aviator Amy Johnson was mysteriously lost in a crash in the Thames estuary on a routine flight. Picture: GettyOn this day in 1941, aviator Amy Johnson was mysteriously lost in a crash in the Thames estuary on a routine flight. Picture: Getty
On this day in 1941, aviator Amy Johnson was mysteriously lost in a crash in the Thames estuary on a routine flight. Picture: Getty

Twelfth Night or Auld Yule (Christmas Old Style).

1797: James Hetherington wore the world’s first top hat. He was arrested and fined £50 for appearing “on the public highway wearing upon his head a tall structure of shining luster and calculated to disturb timid people”.

1895: Discovery of X-ray was announced by German physicist Wilhelm Röntgen.

1926: First widows’ pensions paid out at post offices.

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1941: Amy Johnson, aviator and first woman to fly solo from Britain to Australia in 1930, mysteriously lost in crash in the Thames estuary on a routine flight.

1981: The hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper, who killed 13 women, ended when a long-distance lorry driver, Peter Sutcliffe, was charged with murder. He was jailed for life for the murders.

1986: Arab nations threw support behind Libya in event of attack by United States or Israel in retaliation for terrorist attacks on two airports.

1987: Students in China burned hundreds of copies of newspaper Peking Daily in protest against the government publication’s harsh criticism of student demonstrations.

1990: An American container ship and a Panamanian tanker collided off the Texas coast, causing the container ship to leak fuel oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

1991: Thirteen people died as winds of up to 100mph battered Britain. Power cuts to thousands of homes occurred and flood alerts were issued in north Wales.

1993: The Liberian-registered tanker Braer, with its engine out of action, was driven ashore in a storm at Quendale Bay, Shetland, after her crew had been rescued. Over the next few days, her cargo of 84,000 gallons of Norwegian crude oil leaked from her tanks, but the potential consequences of the world’s biggest oil spill were alleviated by the force of the waves which broke her up.

1995: Lord Charteris, former private secretary to the Queen, described the Duchess of York as “vulgar, vulgar, vulgar”. He said later the comments were made off the record.

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1998: Thousands of callers jammed telephone lines set up to sell tickets to visit the grave of Diana, Princess of Wales.

2005: Eris, the largest known dwarf planet in the solar system, was discovered using images originally taken on 21 October, 2003, at the Palomar Observatory.


January Jones, actress, 37; William Sweeney, Glasgow-born composer, 65; Alfred Brendel KBE, concert pianist, 84; David Bridgewater, jockey, 44; Robert Duvall, actor, director and writer, 84; Umberto Eco, professor of semiotics and novelist, 83; Lord Goldsmith, attorney-general 2001-07, 65; Vinnie Jones, footballer and actor, 50; Diane Keaton, actress, writer and director, 69; Jan Leeming, television presenter, 73; Marilyn Manson, musician, 46; Juan Carlos, king of Spain 1975 to 2014, 77; Bradley Cooper, actor, 40; Kyla, singer-songwriter, 34; Clancy Brown, actor, 56; Megan Hughes, road and track cyclist, 38; Pamela Sue Martin, actress, 62; Walter Mondale, US vice-president 1977 to 1981, 87; Bryan Hitt, drummer (REO Speedwagon), 62; Chris Stein, guitarist (Blondie), 65; George Brown, drummer (Kool and the Gand), 66; Roger Spottiswoode, film director, 70; Tommie Smith, Olympic 200-metre champion and American football player, 71; Bridget Parker, British Olympic equestrian champion, 76; Athol Guy, singer and musician (the Seekers), 75.


Births: 1787 John Burke, genealogist and founder of Burke’s Peerage; 1855 King Camp Gillette, American inventor of safety razor; 1876 Konrad Adenauer, chancellor of Germany 1949 to 1963; 1902 Stella Gibbons, journalist and author (Cold Comfort Farm); 1909 Richard, 1st Earl of Cornwall, crusader; 1910 Jack Lovelock, Olympic gold medallist and surgeon; 1914 George Reeves, actor; 1941 Chuck McKinley, Wimbledon singles champion in 1963; 1941 Mansur Ali Khan, India Test cricket captain.

Deaths: 1066 Edward the Confessor, King of England; 1589 Catherine de’ Medici, queen of France; 1762 Elizabeth, empress of Russia; 1917 Jane Wyman, actress; 1922 Sir Ernest Shackleton, explorer; 1933 Calvin Coolidge, 30th president of the USA; 1941 Amy Johnson CBE, aviation pioneer; 1979 Charles Mingus, jazz musician, composer and bandleader; 1994 Brian Johnston, cricket commentator and TV presenter; 1994 Tip O’Neill, US politician, Speaker of the House of Representatives; 1998 Sonny Bono, singer, songwriter and politician; 2003 Lord Jenkins of Hillhead, politician and historian; 2006 Baron Merlyn-Rees, Labour MP, British Home Secretary 1976 to 1979; 2014 Eusébio, Portuguese footballer.