On this day: Amundsen beats Scott to South Pole

On this day in 1911, the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, pictured, left became first to the South Pole. Picture: Getty
On this day in 1911, the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, pictured, left became first to the South Pole. Picture: Getty
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Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 14 December


1542: Accession of Mary Queen of Scots after death of James V.

1877: Serbia joined Russia in war on Turkey.

1896: The opening of Glasgow District Subway’s six-and-a-half mile system with 15 stations.

1911: Roald Amundsen, Norwegian explorer, became the first man to reach the South Pole – 35 days ahead of Captain Robert Falcon Scott. His party of five travelled by dog-sled, starting with 52 dogs and eating 36 of them en route.

1913: Greece annexed Crete.

1918: Women over 30 voted in a British general election for the first time.

1920: The first accident involving a scheduled airliner occurred when an aircraft bound for Paris crashed into a house in Golders Green, London, just after take-off from Cricklewood Airport, killing the crew of two and two of the six passengers.

1922: JCW Reith, 33, was appointed general manager of the BBC, eventually becoming its director general. He also became 1st Baron Reith of Stonehaven.

1926: A nationwide police hunt ended for Agatha Christie, whose abandoned car had been found in Surrey, when she was identified at a Harrogate hotel.

1927: China and Soviet Union broke off relations.

1939: The premiere of Gone With The Wind took place at Atlanta, Georgia.

1941: United States marines made stand in battle for Wake Island in Pacific.

1957: Nine miners died in explosion at Lindsay Colliery in Fife. The report on the disaster blamed “a match struck for the purposes of smoking”.

1959: Archbishop Makarios was elected first president of Cyprus.

1960: Convention was signed in Paris by 20 nations to form Atlantic Economic Community.

1967: University of Stirling was constituted by royal charter.

1994: Axing of the London-Fort William sleeper was announced. It led to The Scotsman’s Save Our Sleeper campaign, and the service was later guaranteed for at least seven years.

2009: Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi was taken to hospital after an assault left his face covered in blood following a rally in Milan.

2011: US President Barack Obama marked the end of the Iraq war with a speech at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, telling troops: “Welcome home!”


Natascha McElhone, actress, 42; Antony Beevor, author, 67; Jane Birkin OBE, actress, 67; Linda Fabiani, SNP MSP, 57; Miranda Hart, comedian, 41; Barbara Leigh-Hunt, actress, 78; 34; Ron Nelson, composer, 84; Michael Owen, footballer, 34; Janette Scott, actress, 75; Mike Scott, Edinburgh-born singer (Waterboys), 55; Stan Smith, tennis player, 67; Chris Waddle, footballer and manager, 53.


Births: 1546 Tycho Brahe, Danish astronomer; 1730 James Bruce, Larbert-born explorer and discoverer of the source of the Blue Nile; 11895 King George VI, second son of George V and Mary; 1917 Alberto Morrocco, painter; 1920 Rosemary Sutcliff, novelist.

Deaths: 1542 James V of Scotland, father of Mary, Queen of Scots (at Falkland); 1788 Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, composer; 1799 George Washington, first US president; 1861 Albert, consort and husband of Queen Victoria; 1947 Stanley, first Earl Baldwin, three times prime minister; 1947 Will Fyffe, comedian (at St Andrews); 1991 John Arlott cricket commentator; 2012 Kenneth Kendall, broadcaster.