On this day: Stone of Destiny | Apollo 13 | Tiger Woods

Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 13 April

1668: John Dryden was appointed the first poet laureate and remained so for 31 years.

1741: The Royal Military Academy was established at Woolwich in London. It is now based at Sandhurst in Berkshire.

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1742: First performance of Handel’s Messiah took place in Dublin.

1829: The Catholic Emancipation Act was passed.

1868: British forces, under Sir Robert Napier, took Magdala, Abyssinia.

1891: Chilean vessel Blanco Encalada became the first warship to be sunk by a torpedo.

1912: The Royal Flying Corps was instituted by royal charter.

1919: The Amritsar massacre took place in the Punjab, in which Brig Gen Reginald Dyer’s troops shot 380 demonstrators dead and wounded more than 1,200.

1935: The London-to-Australia airline service was inaugurated by Imperial Airways and Qantas. It cost £195 for the 12-day journey to Brisbane.

1937: Royal Navy aircraft carrier Ark Royal was launched from Birkenhead.

1951: The Stone of Destiny, removed from beneath the coronation chair in Westminster Abbey on the previous Christmas Eve by Scottish nationalists, was returned to Westminster after being found at Arbroath Abbey.

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1970: An explosion blew a faulty oxygen tank on Apollo 13 on a Moon mission, leaving the crew short of air and fuel and 205,000 miles from base. They transferred to the tiny lunar module and had just enough power to get back to Earth’s atmosphere.

1975: Fighting broke out between Muslims and Christians in Beirut, Lebanon.

1980: Severiano Ballesteros became the youngest winner of the Masters, in Augusta, Georgia, four days after his 23rd birthday.

1992: Neil Kinnock followed his general election defeat by stepping down as Labour leader.

1997: Tiger Woods became the youngest golfer to win the Masters tournament.

2008: Children’s television presenter Mark Speight, who had been missing for a week, was found dead near Paddington Station, London.

2009: Record producer Phil Spector was found guilty of second degree murder over the 2003 shooting of Lana Clarkson in his home in California.


John Swinney, MSP, cabinet secretary for finance and sustainable growth, 49; Peabo Bryson, American singer, 62; Stephen Byers, former Labour MP, 60; Liam Cosgrave, leader, Fine Gael 1965-77, 93; Peter Davison, Doctor Who actor, 62; Frank Doran, MP, 64; Edward Fox OBE, actor, 76; Andy Goram, Scottish footballer and cricketer, 49; Al Green, American soul singer, 67; Seamus Heaney, Irish poet, 74; Maurice Johnston, footballer, 50; Gary Kasparov, Russian former world chess champion, 50; Davis Love III, American golfer, 49; Jonjo O’Neill, ex-jockey and racehorse trainer, 61; Christopher Strauli, actor, 67; Marjorie Yates, actress, 72.


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Births: 1743 Thomas Jefferson, third United States president; 1892 Sir Arthur Harris, wartime bomber commander; 1906 Samuel Beckett, playwright; 1913 Professor Gordon Donaldson, historian and writer.

Deaths: 1944 Earl of Lonsdale, sportsman; 1996 George Mackay Brown, Orcadian poet and storyteller; 2001 Jimmy Logan, entertainer and actor; 2006 Dame Muriel Spark, novelist (The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie).