On this day: First hovercraft crosses the Channel

On this day in 1959, the world's first hovercraft, SR-N1, completed its inaugural Channel crossing, 50 years to the day after Louis Bleriot's first flight from Calais to Dover. Picture: Getty
On this day in 1959, the world's first hovercraft, SR-N1, completed its inaugural Channel crossing, 50 years to the day after Louis Bleriot's first flight from Calais to Dover. Picture: Getty
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Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 25 July

1554: Mary I (Bloody Mary) married Philip II of Spain. She had previously been married, aged three, to the son of the King of France, who was nine months old.

1797: At 2pm, during the battle of Santa Cruz, Admiral Nelson was wounded in the right arm by grapeshot. He had it amputated that afternoon.

1830: France’s King Charles X issued ordinances controlling the press, dissolving legislative chambers and changing the electoral system.

1865: James Barry died aged 70. On his death, a post-mortem revealed that “the most skilful of physicians and the most wayward of men” was in fact a woman – and was, therefore, probably the first woman to qualify as a doctor in Britain. Jilted by a lover, Barry had joined the British Army and stayed for 52 years.

1907: Sir Robert Baden-Powell’s experimental camp, to test the feasibility of Scouting, began when 20 boys of mixed backgrounds sailed over Poole Harbour to Brownsea Island for a holiday learning survival skills. Four days later the Boy Scouts organisation was created.

1909: Louis Bleriot flew his three-cylinder monoplane across the English Channel from Calais to Dover in 36.5 minutes.

1943: Benito Mussolini resigned as dictator of Italy and the Fascist regime was abolished.

1959: A hovercraft, the SRN-1, made its first English Channel crossing – from Calais to Dover – in a little more than two hours, 50 years after Bleriot’s flight.

1963: US, Soviet Union and Britain concluded treaty prohibiting nuclear testing in the atmosphere, in space or under water.

1971: Doctor Christiaan Barnard transplanted two lungs and heart into man in Cape Town, South Africa, and the operation was described as successful.

1989: Just 3.6 miles short of Dover, Gloria Pullan had to ditch Louis Bleriot’s historic plane in the Channel, while she was attempting to re-create his crossing in 1909.

1990: Crew of two and four oil workers were killed when a helicopter hit a crane on the Brent Spar North Sea oil platform and plunged into the sea.

1991: European Court outlawed the 1988 Merchant Shipping Act, designed to stop Spanish trawlers taking British fish stocks, prompting claims of loss of sovereignty to EC.

1994: Israel and Jordan ended their 46-year state of war when they signed a declaration in Washington.

1996: Scottish Television paid £120m for Caledonian Publishing, owners of the Herald and Glasgow Evening Times.

2000: An Air France Concorde exploded in flames as it took off from Charles de Gaulle airport, near Paris, killing all 109 people on board, and four people in a hotel. It was the first crash involving a Concorde, which was withdrawn from service four years later.

2007: GMTV admitted that ITV’s breakfast viewers who made phone calls costing £35 million over four years had had no chance of winning one of its phone-in competitions.

2007: Pratibha Patil was sworn in as India’s first woman president.

2012: At the start of the Olympics, the North Korean women’s football team walked off the pitch at Hampden Park after their images were shown on a screen beside a South Korean flag. The game eventually started an hour late.


Sheena McDonald, Fife-born broadcaster, 60; Sally Beauman, writer, 70; Louise Brown, first test-tube baby, 36; James Butler MBE, sculptor, 83; Ali Carter, snooker player, 35; Nicole Farhi CBE, fashion designer, 68; Charles Handy, Irish author and broadcaster, 82; Paul Hegarty, footballer, 60; Iman, Somali fashion model, 59; Matt LeBlanc, actor, 47; Colin Renfrew, Baron Renfrew of Kaimsthorn, archaeologist, 77; Annie Ross, Scottish singer and actress, 84; Lord Nicholas Windsor, son of the Duke and Duchess of Kent, 44; Kevin Phillips, football coach and former player, 41; Paulinho, Brazilian footballer, 26; Gareth Thomas, 100-times capped Welsh ruby player, 40.


Births: 1650 William Burkitt, clergyman and theologian; 1799 David Douglas, Scottish botanist; 1848 Arthur J Balfour, Conservative prime minister 1902-05; 1894 Walter Brennan, actor; 1906 Johnny Hodges, American saxophonist; 1920 Rosalind Franklin, British biophysicist who made major contribution in discovery of DNA.

Deaths: 1834 Samuel Taylor Coleridge, poet; 1843 Charles Macintosh, Scottish chemist who developed and patented waterproof fabric; 1857 Henry Mayhew, journalist and

co-founder of Punch magazine; 1934 Engelbert Dollfuss, Austrian chancellor (murdered by Nazis);

1966 Billy Smart, circus proprietor; 1997 Ben Hogan, golfer; 2001 Phoolan Devi, India’s Bandit Queen and MP (murdered).