On this day: Dunblane school massacre

EVENTS, birthdays and anniversaries on March 13.
Parents rush to a Dunblane primary school on hearing that Thomas Hamilton had shot dead 16 children. Picture: Allan MilliganParents rush to a Dunblane primary school on hearing that Thomas Hamilton had shot dead 16 children. Picture: Allan Milligan
Parents rush to a Dunblane primary school on hearing that Thomas Hamilton had shot dead 16 children. Picture: Allan Milligan

1470: Yorkists defeated the Lancastrians at the Battle of Stamford.

1567: Margaret of Parma, Regent of the Netherlands, used German mercenaries to annihilate 2,000 Calvinists.

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1707: Holy Roman Empire agreed to Convention of Milan whereby French troops were to leave northern Italy.

1781: Amateur astronomer Sir William Herschel discovered the planet Uranus – 1,783 million miles from the Sun. Herschel lived to be 84, the number of Earth years it takes for Uranus to orbit the Sun.

1873: Scottish Football Association formed with constituent clubs Queen’s Park, Clydesdale, Vale of Leven, Dumbreck, Third Lanark, Eastern, Granville, and Kilmarnock.

1881: Alexander II, Tsar of Russia, was assassinated when a bomb was thrown at him near his palace.

1918: MPs voted to raise the school-leaving age to 14.

1925: MPs approved Summer Time Bill making daylight saving permanent.

1930: Discovery of planet Pluto was announced by Clyde Tombaugh at the Lowell Observatory, Arizona, although its existence had been predicted earlier by Percival Lowell.

1935: The driving test was introduced in Britain. It became compulsory three months later.

1938: Nazi Germany invaded Austria. It was declared part of the German Reich (the Anschluss) under the name of Ostmark.

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1942: British bombers staged saturation raid on German city of Cologne.

1944: HMS Thunderbolt, the new name of the salvaged submarine Thetis, was sunk off Sicily.

1961: Black and white Bank of England £5 notes ceased to be legal tender.

1967: Peasant rioting was reported in China.

1972: Clifford Irving admitted to a New York Court that he had fabricated Howard Hughes’s autobiography after receiving a $750,000 advance from his publishers. He had hoped the reclusive millionaire would not venture into the public limelight to denounce him.

1978: South Moluccan gunmen seized more than 70 hostages in government building in Essen, the Netherlands, and demanded release of comrades in Dutch jails.

1990: Israeli coalition government collapsed over Likud members’ refusal to agree to American proposals for peace talks with Palestine.

1990: Soviet Congress approved strong presidency, sanctioned multiparty system and private ownership of factories.

1992: Pravda, for eight decades the official newspaper of the Communist Party, suspended publication due to lack of funds.

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1994: Sir Peter Harding, Chief of the Defence Staff, resigned after newspaper reports of a relationship with the wife of former Conservative defence minister, Sir Anthony Buck.

1996: Thomas Hamilton shot dead 16 children and a teacher at their Dunblane primary school, and then turned the gun on himself.

2003: 350,000-year-old footprints of an upright-walking human have been found in Italy, according to the journal Nature.

2013: Jorge Mario Bergoglio, from Argentina, was elected the 266th Pope, and would be known as “Pope Francis”. He was the first Jesuit pope, the first from the Americas and the first from the Southern Hemisphere.


Candi Staton, singer, 75; Baroness Amos, Leader of the House of Lords 2003-7, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, 61; Gordon Borrie, Baron Borrie, QC, Labour Party life peer and director-general of Fair Trading 1976-92, 84; Joe Bugner, boxer, 65; Sir Michael Checkland, director-general, BBC 1987-92, 79; Adam Clayton, musician (U2), 55; Annabeth Gish, actress, 44; William H Macy, actor, director and writer, 65; Dave Mattacks, drummer (Fairport Convention), 67; David Nobbs, author, 80; Neil Sedaka, singer and songwriter, 76; Mike Stoller, songwriter, 82.


Births: 1839 Thomas Tizard, oceanographer; 1855 Percival Lowell, astronomer; 1860 Hugo Wolf, composer; 1884 Sir Hugh Walpole, novelist; 1898 Henry Hathaway, film director; 1906 Oscar Nemon, sculptor; 1913 Sir Reo Stakis, hotelier; 1940 Christopher Gable, dancer, actor and choreographer; 1917 Sir Robert Mark GBE, commissioner, Metropolitan Police 1972-7; 1921 Gitta Sereny CBE, historian and author; 1989 Peaches Geldof, socialite.

Deaths: 1901 Benjamin Harrison, 23rd US president; 1906 Susan Anthony, leader of women’s suffrage in America; 1933 Robert Innes, Scottish astronomer who discovered Proxima Centauri; 1947 Angela Brazil, author of girls’ school stories; 1990 Jane Grigson, cookery writer; 1995 Odette Hallowes, GC, wartime agent.