On this day: 1955 Le Mans motor race disaster

On this day in 1955, at least 83 people were killed when a car skidded off the track at the Le Mans 24 hour motor race. Picture: Getty
On this day in 1955, at least 83 people were killed when a car skidded off the track at the Le Mans 24 hour motor race. Picture: Getty
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EVENTS, birthdays and anniversaries on June 11.

1488: Battle of Sauchieburn between James III and the confederate nobles supporting his son. The king was murdered in his flight.

1509: Henry VIII married the Spanish Princess Catherine of Aragon, the first of his six wives.

1727: George II was proclaimed king of Great Britain.

1891: Britain and Portugal signed further convention of territories north and south of Zambesi; Portugal assigned Barotseland to Britain and Nyasaland became a British protectorate.

1913: Norwegian parliament granted universal suffrage to women.

1930: The liner Empress of Britain was launched by the Prince of Wales at Clydebank.

1936: Leslie Mitchell became the BBC’s first television announcer.

1952: Len Hutton became first professional cricketer to captain England.

1955: At least 82 spectators and a driver were killed when a car skidded off the track at Le Mans 24-hour car race.

1969: Soviet and Chinese troops clashed on Sinkiang border.

1975: The first oil was pumped ashore from the North Sea oil fields.

1981: Earthquake in south-east Iran killed at least 1,500.

1982: The QE2 returned to Southampton from the Falklands with survivors from three destroyed British warships.

1988: Syrian-backed dissidents battled with loyalists of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat at two devastated refugee camps in west Beirut.

1995: Gavin Hastings played his 61st and last match for Scotland, in a 48-30 World Cup quarter-final defeat by New Zealand in Pretoria. He was captain 20 times.

2001: Timothy McVeigh was executed by lethal injection six years after he blew up the Alfred P Murrah Federal building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people, including 19 children.

2001: Tony Blair sacked 20 ministers, including Robin Cook, the foreign secretary, in reshuffle after his general election victory.

2002: Antonio Meucci was acknowledged as the first inventor of the telephone by the United States Congress.

2009: An Australian passenger plane with 203 people on board was forced into an emergency landing after a fire broke out in the cockpit.


Sir Jackie Stewart OBE, world motor racing champion, 76; Kenneth John Cameron, Baron Cameron of Lochbroom, Lord Advocate 1984-9, 84; Jane Goldman, author and television producer, 45; Dame Beryl Grey DBE, prima ballerina, Sadler’s Wells Ballet 1941-57, 88; Baroness Heyhoe-Flint OBE, English cricketer and broadcaster, 76; Hugh Laurie OBE, actor, comedian and writer, 56; Diana Moran, fitness guru, 76; Jenny Pitman, racehorse trainer and author, 69; Caroline Quentin, actress, 55; Gene Wilder, actor, writer, producer and director, 82.


Births: 1572 Ben Jonson, dramatist and poet; 1776 John Constable, landscape painter; 1847 Dame Millicent G Fawcett, suffragette; 1864 Richard Strauss, composer; 1910 Jacques Cousteau, inventor of aqualung; 1926 Frank Carson, comedian; 1948 Lynsey de Paul, singer.

Deaths: 1488 James III, King of Scotland 1460-88 (murdered); 1979 John Wayne, film actor; 1998 Dame Catherine Cookson, novelist; 2003 Maeve Brennan, short story writer and journalist; 2013 Henry Cecil, racehorse trainer.


11 June, 1945

SUPER FORTRESSES based on the Marianas struck a five-point blow at the Japanese island of Honshu yesterday. Aircraft and industrial targets near Tokio and Yokohama, which included aircraft plants and a big Army repair depot, and a heavy engine factory in the northern part of the island were attacked.

The latter, 150 miles north-east of Tokio, is the only one of these targets previously attacked. Between 150 and 200 Super-Fortresses made the attacks mid-morning, with 150 Mustangs from Iwojima accompanying those concentrating on targets nearest Tokio. Carrier-based aircraft from Admiral Halsey’s fleet gave Kyushu a further pounding on Friday. At Kanoya airfield they destroyed 30 planes. Attacks continued on Borneo targets, with Brunei Bay and the Labuan area, scene of the latest Allied landings, hammered.

• archive.scotsman.com