On this day: Julius and Ethel Rosenberg executed

American soldiers celebrate the impending executions of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg for espionage on this day in 1953. Picture: Getty
American soldiers celebrate the impending executions of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg for espionage on this day in 1953. Picture: Getty
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Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 19 June

1779: French forces took St Vincent in West Indies.

1820: A baton was first used to conduct an orchestra in England, by Ludwig Spohr.

1829: The London Metropolitan Police was founded by Sir Robert Peel.

1864: The British-built Alabama, a Confederate warship in the American Civil War, was sunk off Cherbourg by the USS Kearsarge, captained by John Winslow.

1866: First chess championships, the British Nationals, were played at St George’s Club, London.

1895: The Kiel Canal, 61 miles long, connecting the North Sea with the Baltic, was formally opened by the German emperor Wilhelm II.

1910: Father’s Day was initiated in America by Mrs John Bruce Dodd, to honour her own father, who brought up six children after their mother died.

1910: Deutschland, the first Zeppelin airliner, was launched. It crashed nine days later.

1911: Portugal was proclaimed a republic.

1917: The House of Commons voted by a majority of 330 to give votes to women over 30.

1940: Germans captured Cherbourg.

1953: Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed at Ossining, New York, for espionage.

1960: Daimler was acquired by Jaguar Motors.

1961: Kuwait became independent.

1964: The Civil Rights Bill was passed by United States Senate.

1965: Air Vice Marshal Nguyen Cao Ky assumed office as premier of South Vietnam and vowed to spur war against Viet Cong.

1967: The Monterey Pop Festival attracted thousands of hippies to watch stars including Jimi Hendrix, Otis Redding, Janis Joplin and The Who.

1968: House of Lords rejected Labour government’s sanctions against Rhodesia.

1989: Israelis clamoured to buy copies of the Hebrew translation of Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses.

1991: Police agreed to pay unprecedented £500,000 damages to 39 miners injured in clashes at Orgreave cooking plant seven years earlier.

1995: A report into the activities of Monklands District Council said that there had been abuse of power by councillors, including “jobs for the boys” and sectarian discrimination.

1996: Britain offered to increase the number of cows to be culled in the “mad cow” affair from 80,000 to 150,000 in an attempt to get the European Commission to lift its export ban.

1997: William Hague, 36, became the youngest Conservative leader in more than 200 years when he beat Kenneth Clarke by 92 votes to 70, to succeed John Major.

2006: Prime ministers of several northern European nations participated in a ceremonial “laying of the first stone” at the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Spitsbergen, Norway.

2008: Researchers from Aberdeen claimed to have discovered a gene linked to obesity which makes people eat almost 300 calories extra every day.

2011: Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy became the youngest US Open champion since Bobby Jones in 1923 after his stunning victory by eight strokes at the Congressional Country Club, in Washington. It was McIlroy’s first win in a golfing major.


Boris Johnson MP, Mayor of London, 50; Paula Abdul, singer and television presenter, 52; Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel laureate and Burmese opposition leader, 69; Lisa Aziz, television presenter, 52; Thelma Barlow, actress, 85; Hugh Dancy, actor, 39; Paul Dano, actor, 30; Louis Jourdan, actor, 93; Bryan Kneale, sculptor, 84; Philip Middlemiss, actor, 51; Gena Rowlands, actress, 84; Sir Salman Rushdie, author, 67; Mia Sara, actress, 47; Kathleen Turner, actress, 60; Rory Underwood MBE, rugby player, 51; Samuel West, actor, 48; Sadie Frost, clothes designer and actress, 49.


Births: 1566 King James VI , only son of Mary, Queen of Scots and Lord Darnley (in Edinburgh Castle); 1623 Blaise Pascal, mathematician and philosopher, inventor of first calculating machines; 1794 George Grote, historian; 1861 Earl Haig, army commander; 1875 Sir William Ashbee Tritton, designer of the first tank to go into action; 1896 Bessie Wallis Warfield, Duchess of Windsor; 1906 Sir Ernst Chain, bacteriologist and pioneer of penicillin; 1925 Charlie Drake, comedian and actor; 1928 Barry Took, writer and broadcaster; 1940 Paul Shane, actor.

Deaths: 1787 John Brown, theologian; 1820 Sir Joseph Banks, botanist who accompanied Cook on his voyage round the world in the Endeavour; 1902 Lord Acton, historian and philosopher; 1937 Sir James M Barrie, author of Peter Pan; 1953 Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, spies; 1991 Jean Arthur, actress; 1993 Sir William Golding, author; 2013 James Gandolfini, actor.