On this day: Dutch War for Independence| Diego Maradona| VAT introduced

A Super Puma helicopter crashed into the North Sea off Peterhead on this day in 2009, killing all 16 people on board. Picture: PA
A Super Puma helicopter crashed into the North Sea off Peterhead on this day in 2009, killing all 16 people on board. Picture: PA
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Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 1 April


April Fool’s Day; in Scots, Hunt-the-Gowk.

1572: Start of Dutch War for Independence.

1764: The famous race horse Eclipse was foaled during an eclipse. He was unbeaten in 26 outings, could run four miles in eight minutes, yet had a career of just 17 months before being put to stud. When Eclipse died at 25, his heart was found to weigh nearly 14lb.

1817: Blackwood’s magazine started publication as Edinburgh Monthly Magazine.

1852: Second Burmese War broke out after British ultimatum to King of Burma.

1867: East India Company rule in Malay Straits Settlements ended, and they became a Crown Colony of Britain.

1908: The Territorial Force came into existence. The name was changed to Territorial Army in 1920.

1918: The Royal Air Force was formed by the amalgamation of the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service.

1933: Persecution of Jews began in Germany.

1937: India’s Constitution went into effect but All-India Party abstained from forming government, demanding complete independence.

1947: School-leaving age was raised to 15 years in Britain.

1948: Britain’s electricity industry was nationalised.

1948: Berlin blockade began with Soviet troops interfering with road and rail traffic between Berlin and the Allied Western Zone. To solve the problem the Allies mounted, on 24 June, 1948, an unprecedented airlift. It lasted until 12 May, 1949.

1960: America launched the first meteorological satellite, Tiros 1.

1960: South African government banned African National Congress and Pan-African Congress.

1962: Swiss referendum rejected manufacture or import of atomic weapons.

1965: Greater London came into being, comprising the City of London plus 32 Metropolitan boroughs.

1973: Value Added Tax was introduced.

1979: The last Royal Navy warship left Malta, ending British military ties with the island.

1990: The longest prison riot in British history began at Strangeways, Manchester, and lasted until 25 April. One remand prisoner died.

1991: Diego Maradona fled to Argentina before the Italian football authorities suspended him for taking drugs.

2009: A Super Puma helicopter crashed into the North Sea about 15 miles off Peterhead, killing all 16 people on board. The crashed helicopter was returning from BP’s Miller field, 168 miles north east of Aberdeen.


Susan Boyle, West Lothian-born singer, 52; Jimmy Cliff, singer, 65; Chris Evans, DJ and television presenter, 47; Anders Forsbrand, golfer, 52; David Gower OBE, cricketer and broadcaster, 56; Debbie Reynolds, film actress, 83; Phillip Schofield, television presenter, 51; Barry Sonnenfeld, film director, 60; Hannah Spearitt, pop singer (S Club 7), 32; JJ Williams MBE, Welsh rugby player, 65.


Births: 1578 William Harvey, physician who discovered circulation of the blood; 1875 Edgar Wallace, thriller writer and journalist; 1883 Lon Chaney, silent-screen actor; 1911 Jack Kane, Lord Provost of Edinburgh 1972-75.

Deaths: 1245 St Gilbert, last pre-Reformation saint in Scotland to be canonised, Bishop of Caithness, builder of Dornoch Cathedral; 1917 Scott Joplin, ragtime pianist and composer.