On this day: The Duke of Wellington was stolen

EVENTS, birthdays and anniversaries on August 21.
A man takes part in the search for Goya's Portrait of the Duke of Wellington, stolen from the National Gallery in 1961. Picture: GettyA man takes part in the search for Goya's Portrait of the Duke of Wellington, stolen from the National Gallery in 1961. Picture: Getty
A man takes part in the search for Goya's Portrait of the Duke of Wellington, stolen from the National Gallery in 1961. Picture: Getty

1689: The Battle of Dunkeld was fought between the Jacobite clans supporting deposed king James VII of Scotland and a government regiment of covenanters supporting William of Orange. The Jacobites retreated having lost 300 men.

1808: The Battle of Vimeiro in the Peninsular War took place in Portugal, with Wellington defeating General Junot’s French forces.

1842: The city of Hobart, Tasmania was founded.

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1858: Sir Sam Browne, VC, invented the Sam Browne belt to hold his sword and pistol after he had lost an arm in action. It soon became standard military kit.

1879: An apparition of the Blessed Virgin was reported in the village of Knock, Co Mayo, in the Republic of Ireland.

1911: Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre in Paris by an Italian waiter, Vincenzo Peruggia. It was recovered two years later from where he had hidden it – under a bed in a hotel.

1911: German Emperor William II spoke at Hamburg on Germany’s “place in the sun”, which he said her navy would secure for her.

1915: Italy declared war on Turkey during the First World War.

1916: Turkish massacre of 500,000 Armenians, and the deportation of one million others, first reported.

1959: Hawaii became the 50th US state.

1961: Goya’s masterpiece The Duke of Wellington was stolen from the National Gallery, London.

1962: Savannah, the world’s first nuclear-powered merchant ship, sailed from the United States on her maiden voyage.

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1970: The Social Democratic and Labour Party was founded in Northern Ireland, with Gerry Fitt as its first leader.

1972: Glasgow-born Don Cameron and Mark Yarry became the first people to fly a hot air balloon over the Alps.

1975: United States lifted 12-year ban on exports to Cuba by foreign subsidiaries of US companies, but kept embargo on direct trade between Cuba and the US.

1983: Philippine opposition leader Benigno Aquino was assassinated as he stepped out of a plane in Manila after three years self-imposed exile in the US.

1985: Mary Decker set a new women’s world record of 4:16.71 for the mile.

1986: Lake Nyos disaster in Cameroon killed at least 1,500 as poison gas formed by a mixture of carbon dioxide and hydrogen gas escaped from a volcanic lake.

1986: Ian Botham took a world record 356th Test wicket for England against New Zealand at The Oval.

1989: Voyager 2 began its fly-by of planet Neptune.

1990: 100,000 gathered in Prague’s Wenceslas Square for first free commemoration of 1968 Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia.

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1991: Soviet coup collapsed. Boris Yeltsin took over troops and Supreme Soviet legislative bodies reinstated president Mikhail Gorbachev as he returned from house arrest in the Crimea region.

2004: An Israeli air striker in Rafah killed three of Hamas’s top commanders – Mohammed Abu Shammala, Raed al Atar and Mohammed Barhoum.

2007: Hurricane Dean made its first landfall in Costa Maya, Mexico, with winds of 165mph. Dean was the first storm since Hurricane Andrew in 1992 to make landfall as a Category 5.


Kim Cattrall, actress, 59; Usain Bolt, Jamaican sprinter, 29; Dame Janet Baker DBE, opera singer, 82; Dina Carroll, singer, 47; Barry Norman CBE, author, journalist and broadcaster, 82; Ben Onwukwe, actor, 58; Kenny Rogers, country singer, 77; Johnny Reid, Lanark-born country music artist, 41; Liam Howlett, musician (The Prodigy), DJ and record producer, 44; Kelis, singer-songwriter, 36; Ricki Lake, actress, producer and TV talk show host, 47; Peter Weir, film director, 71; Mohammed VI, king of Morocco, 52; Anne Hobbs, former British No 1 tennis player, 56; Sergey Brin, computer scientist, entrepreneur, co-founder of Google, 42.


Births: 1670 James FitzJames, 1st Duke of Berwick; 1754 William Murdock, Old Cumnock-born engineer and inventor of coal-gas lighting; 1872 Aubrey Beardsley, author and illustrator; 1904 Count Basie, jazz pianist and bandleader; 1906 Isadore “Friz” Freleng, animator and cartoonist (Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies); 1930 Princess Margaret; 1937 Donald Dewar, MP, MSP, First Minister 1999-2000; 1952 Joe Strummer, musician, (The Clash).

Deaths: 1689 William Cleland, Scottish poet and soldier; 1785 Jean-Baptiste Pigalle, sculptor; 1940 Leon Trotsky, Communist revolutionary; 1947 Ettore Bugatti, automobile designer; 2005 Robert Moog, pioneer of electronic music, inventor of Moog synthesiser; 2013 Sid Bernstein, music producer and promoter; Jean Redpath MBE, Edinburgh-born folk singer.