On this day: Single women called up for war work

On this day in 1941, all single women in Britain between 20 and 30, such as these 'land girls', were called up for war work. Picture: Getty
On this day in 1941, all single women in Britain between 20 and 30, such as these 'land girls', were called up for war work. Picture: Getty
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Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 2 December

1697: The rebuilt St Paul’s Cathedral formally opened.

1804: Napoleon Bonaparte crowned himself Emperor Napoleon I of France.

1815: Britain and Rajah of Nepal signed peace treaty.

1823: United States declared the Monroe Doctrine, opposing European attempts to interfere in the Americas.

1852: Second French Empire proclaimed, with Napoleon III as emperor.

1875: Gelignite was patented by Nobel Peace Prize founder Alfred Nobel.

1901: King Camp Gillette patented the safety razor, and nearly went bankrupt, selling only 51 in his first year of trading.

1916: The lights of the Statue of Liberty were turned on by US president Woodrow Wilson.

1917: World’s first aircraft carrier, HMS Argus, launched.

1929: Britain’s first public telephone boxes came into service.

1932: “Bodyline” Test series began between England and Australia. English tactics of bowling at batsmen’s bodies caused several injuries and much tension.

1933: Fred Astaire’s first film released, with leading lady Joan Crawford. It was called Dancing Lady and the studio’s report on Fred read: “Can’t act, can’t sing, balding, can dance a little”.

1941: All single women aged 20-30 were called up for war work.

1942: The world’s first nuclear chain reaction was demonstrated at the University of Chicago, by physicists Enrico Fermi and Arthur Compton.

1966: Prime Minister Harold Wilson met Ian Smith on HMS Tiger off Gibraltar for talks on the independence of Rhodesia.

1971: Persian Gulf sheikhdoms formed United Arab Emirates.

1982: First artificial heart fitted, to dentist, Dr Barney Clark, at University of Utah Medical Centre. He survived for six months.

1990: Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s centre-right coalition won crushing victory in first all-German elections since 1932.

1991: Shares in Robert Maxwell’s public companies, Mirror Group Newspapers and Maxwell Communication Corporation, were suspended as City concern mounted over his private finances.

1993: Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar shot and killed in Medellin.


Britney Spears, pop singer, 33; Richard Quinn, Scottish jockey, 53; John D Collins, actor, 72; Nelly Furtado, singer-songwriter, 36; Patricia Hewitt, MP, health secretary 2005-7, 66; Lucy Liu, actress, 46; Duke of Norfolk, Earl Marshal and Hereditary Marshal and chief butler of England, 58; Monica Seles, tennis player, 41; Rick Savage, musician (Def Leppard), 54; Alfred Enoch, actor, 26; Steven Bauer actor, 58; Nick Williams, rugby player, 31; Chris Burke, Scottish footballer, 31; Tom McGuinness, musician (Manfred Mann; McGuinness Flint), 73.


Births: 1837 Doctor Joseph Bell, Edinburgh doctor (believed to be the prototype of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes); 1899 John Cobb, British racing driver; 1915 Randolph A Hearst, newspaper publisher; 1924 Alexander Haig, US Army general and secretary of state; 1946 Gianni Versace, fashion designer.

Deaths: 1547 Hernán Cortés, conqueror of Mexico; 1814 the Marquis de Sade, aristocrat; 1859 John Brown, anti-slavery activist; 1863 Jane Pierce, US first lady; 1936 John Ringling, circus owner; 1982 Marty Feldman, comedy writer, comedian and actor; 1985 Philip Larkin, poet and librarian;