On this day: First female Moderator of General Assembly | Bill Gates born

Dr Alison Elliot became the first female Moderator of the General Assembly on this day in 2003. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Dr Alison Elliot became the first female Moderator of the General Assembly on this day in 2003. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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Events, birthdays and anniversaries from 28 October

1562: Battle of Corrichie, with defeat and death of the Earl of Huntly in arms against Queen Mary.

1636: Harvard University, named after English-born minister, John Harvard, was founded at Cambridge in Massachusetts.

1880: Doctor Henry Faulds, a Scots medical missionary working in Tokyo, published a letter in Nature which produced the first evidence that fingerprints taken directly from suspected persons and prints left at the scene of a crime could be used as medico-legal proof of guilt or innocence.

1886: The Statue of Liberty – Enlightening the World, to give it its full name – was dedicated by president Grover Cleveland as a monument to democracy to mark the 100th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. France paid for the statue, the United States for the pedestal.

1893: The Royal Navy’s first destroyer, HMS Havock, went 
on trials.

1914: George Eastman announced the invention of a colour photograph process to be marketed by his Eastman Kodak Co.

1939: An explosion of coaldust at the Valleyfield Colliery, near Rosyth, Fife, killed 35 miners.

1940: Italy invaded Greece.

1958: The Queen’s speech at the state opening of parliament was televised for the first time.

1962: Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev said he had ordered withdrawal of Soviet missiles from Cuba.

1965: Parliament passed a bill abolishing the death penalty for murder.

1971: The House of Commons voted in favour of Britain entering the Common Market by a majority of 112.

1988: Prince Charles shocked modern architects by referring to the British Library as looking like an academy for secret police and the National Theatre as resembling a nuclear power station in the middle of London.

1990: General Norman Schwarzkopf gave a warning that the Gulf conflict could be as bloody as Vietnam. A special Soviet envoy failed to persuade Saddam Hussein to withdraw Iraqi forces peaceably from Kuwait.

2003: The Church of Scotland ended centuries of male domination by appointing Dr Alison Elliot as the first female Moderator of the General Assembly.

2007: Cristina Fernández de Kirchner became the first woman elected president of Argentina.


Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft and philanthropist, 58; Sandy Clark, football manager, 57; Carl Davis CBE, conductor and film music composer, 77; David Dimbleby, broadcaster, 75; Sir Ewen Fergusson, British ambassador to France 1987-92, Scotland rugby player, 81; Thomas Alexander Fermor-Hesketh, 3rd Baron Hesketh, 63; Mark James, golfer, 60; Dame Cleo Laine, singer, 86; Alastair McDonald, Scottish radio and television presenter, folk singer, 72; Dame Joan Plowright (Lady Olivier), actress, 84; Julia Roberts, film actress, 46.


Births: 1794 Robert Liston, Linlithgow-born surgeon, carried out the first operation with the aid of an anaesthetic in Britain; 1903 Evelyn Waugh, novelist; 1909 Francis Bacon, artist; 1922 Cliff Hanley, writer.

Deaths: 1704 John Locke, philosopher; 1792 John Smeaton, civil engineer and lighthouse designer; 1840 John Thomson, Edinburgh-born landscape painter; 1910 John Adams-Acton, Brodick-born sculptor; 1986 John Braine, novelist; 1989 Henry Hall, bandleader; 1998 Ted Hughes, author, Poet Laureate 1984-98.