On this day: Amy Johnson begins Australia journey

Amy Johnson became the first woman to fly solo from the UK to Australia. She arrived on 24 May. Picture: Getty
Amy Johnson became the first woman to fly solo from the UK to Australia. She arrived on 24 May. Picture: Getty
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EVENTS, birthdays and anniversaries on May 5.

1641: England’s Star Chamber was abolished by the Long Parliament.

1646: Charles I surrendered to Scots at Newark.

1762: Russia and Prussia signed Treaty of St Petersburg, under which Russia restored all conquests and formed defensive and offensive alliance.

1824: British troops took over Rangoon, Burma.

1862: Confederates were victorious at the Battle of Williamsburg.

1881: Louis Pasteur carried out successful inoculations against anthrax on an ox, cows and sheep.

1882: Excavation of Corinth Canal began in Greece.

1912: First issue of Pravda was published.

1930: Amy Johnson left Croydon in the Gypsy Moth Jason to become the first female to fly solo to Australia, arriving on 24 May.

1931: People’s National Convention in Nanking, China, adopted provisional constitution.

1936: Italian forces occupied Addis Ababa, ending Abyssinian (Ethiopian) War.

1941: Emperor Haile Selassie returned to Ethiopia from exile in Britain after the liberation of his country by British forces.

1942: British forces invaded Madagascar.

1949: The Council of Europe was set up in London.

1961: Alan Shepard became the first American spaceman, in a Mercury capsule Freedom VII.

1975: The Scottish Daily News, the first workers’ co-operative national newspaper, was published. It closed after seven months.

1978: Red Brigades in Italy announced they were carrying out death sentence against former premier Aldo Moro, whose body was found two days later.

1980: SAS stormed the terrorist-occupied Iranian Embassy in Knightsbridge, London, killing four of the five gunmen who took over the building, and rescuing 19 hostages.

1981: Bobby Sands, the IRA hunger striker, died in jail. He had been elected MP in Fermanagh and South Tyrone by-election on 11 April.

1988: The first live television broadcast from the summit of Mount Everest was transmitted by Japanese television.

1989: The first two-man flight in a microlight aircraft was made by Steve Mangan and Graham Jones of Hampshire, when they went from Cherbourg to Southampton for charity.

1990: So-called “Two-Plus-Four” talks on German unification, involving Britain, France, Soviet Union, United States and two Germanies, opened in Bonn.

1992: Twelve football supporters died and 527 were injured when a temporary stand collapsed at Bastia, Corsica.

1994: Despite United States protests, American Michael Fay, 18, received four strokes of the cane for spray-painting cars and other offences in Singapore.

1995: The Queen paid tribute to Second World War dead at the start of three days of celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of VE Day.

2005: Tony Blair secured an historic third term in government for Labour, with a majority down from 161 to 66.

2011: Voting took place in the Scottish election. A day later, the Scottish National Party emerged triumphant as it formed Scotland’s first ever majority government by taking 69 seats in the 129-seat parliament.


Adele, singer, 26; Jessie Cave, actress, 28; James Cracknell OBE, rower, 43; Craig David, singer-songwriter, 34; Richard E Grant, actor, 58; Lance Henriksen, actor, 75; Ian McCulloch, guitarist and singer (Echo & the Bunnymen), 56; Lord (John) Maxton, MP 1979-2001, 79; Michael Palin CBE, actor and author, 72; Roger Rees, actor, 71; John Rhys-Davies, actor, 71; Dilys Watling, actress, 72; Yossi Benayoun, Israeli-born footballer, 35.


Births: 1600 Jean Nicot, who introduced the French court to tobacco in the form of snuff and gave his name to nicotine; 1818 Karl Heinrich Marx, the Sage of Highgate and father of Communism; 1830 John Batterson Stetson, hat manufacturer; 1846 Henryk Sienkiewicz, novelist; 1867 Nellie Bly, American journalist and campaigner for women’s rights; 1890 Christopher Morley, novelist and playwright; 1904 Sir Gordon Richards, champion jockey 26 times; 1913 Tyrone Power, film actor; 1942 Tammy Wynette, singer and songwriter.

Deaths: 1672 Samuel Cooper, miniaturist painter; 1821 Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of France (in exile on St Helena); 1887 James Grant, novelist and historian; 1921 William Friese-Greene, cinema pioneer; 1936 Beatrice Harraden, novelist; 1977 Professor Ludwig Erhard, West German chancellor 1963-66; 1985 Sir Donald Bailey, wartime bridge designer; 1995 Mikhail Botvinnik, world chess champion.