On this day: The Battle of Bunker Hill

The Battle of Bunker Hill took place on this day in 1775, the British victory over America starting the War of Independence. Picture: Getty
The Battle of Bunker Hill took place on this day in 1775, the British victory over America starting the War of Independence. Picture: Getty
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Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 17 June

National day of Iceland.

1390: Elgin Cathedral burned by Wolf of Badenoch, Alexander Stewart, Earl of Buchan, son of Robert II.

1567: Queen Mary was imprisoned in Lochleven Castle by the Council of Scotland.

1579: Sir Francis Drake proclaimed England’s sovereignty over New Albion (now California).

1775: The Battle of Bunker Hill took place, with victory for the British under General Howe over American troops at the start of the War of Independence.

1823: Charles Macintosh, Glasgow-born chemist, patented waterproof cloth.

1860: The 692-foot liner Great Eastern, designed by Brunel and Russell, began her first transatlantic voyage.

1867: Joseph Lister performed the first operation under aseptic conditions, on his sister Isabella, at Glasgow Infirmary.

1939: German multiple-murderer Eugen Weidmann was the last to be publicly guillotined, outside Versailles prison.

1940: The British troopship Lancastria, carrying 4,000 troops, was sunk by enemy bombing off St Nazaire. About 2,500 died.

1944: Iceland became an independent republic.

1947: The first round-the-world airline service was opened by Pan-American Airways.

1950: The first kidney transplant was performed, at Little Company of Mary Hospital, Chicago, by Doctor Richard Lawler.

1952: First drive on-drive off ferry, British Rail’s Lord Warden, was launched, for Dover-Boulogne route.

1969: Boris Spassky became world chess champion, beating Tigran Petrosian.

1970: Decimal postage stamps (10p, 20p, 50p) went on sale in Britain.

1982: General Leopoldo Galtieri resigned as president of Argentina after Falklands war humiliation.

1982: Italian banker Roberto Calvi, who was known as “God’s banker” due to his close ties with the Vatican, was found hanging under Blackfriars Bridge in London.

1991: Iraq freed British engineer Douglas Brand, jailed for life for spying, after appeal by Edward Heath.

1991: In South Africa, the repeal of the Population Registration Act of 1950 officially ended apartheid.

1994: American Football star OJ Simpson, facing charges of murdering his former wife and her boyfriend, surrendered to police after a motorway pursuit filmed live on television.

1995: Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams pulled his party out of peace talks with the government and hinted at a resumption of IRA violence in Northern Ireland.

2008: The laptop of Hazel Blears, the communities secretary, was stolen. It contained restricted government files on extremism and defence.

2009: In the ongoing row over parliamentary expenses, Labour Treasury minister Kitty Ussher quit amid allegations she avoided paying £17,000 of tax on the sale of her constituency home.

2010: A £7 billion project to replace Sea King helicopters that support the country’s mountain rescue teams was suspended.


Konnie Huq, TV presenter and journalist, 40; Sir Gerald Gordon KBE, Sheriff of Glasgow and Strathkelvin 1978-99, 86; Derek Ibbotson MBE, athlete, 83; Greg Kinnear, actor, 52; Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London 2000-08, MP 1987-2001, 70; Ken Loach, director, 79; Alistair McHarg, Scottish rugby player, 71; Barry Manilow, singer and songwriter, 72; Iain Milne, Scottish rugby player, 59; Diane Modahl, athlete, 49; Jason Patric, actor, 49; Chris Spedding, guitarist, 71; Venus Williams, Grand Slam-winning tennis champion, 35; Jordan Henderson, English international footballer, 25; Thomas Haden Church, actor and director, 55; Shane Watson, Australian Test cricketer, 34.


Births: 1239 King Edward I; 1703 John Wesley, evangelist and founder of the Methodist movement; 1832 Sir William Crookes, physicist, discoverer of thallium; 1881 Tommy Burns, Canadian heavyweight boxer; 1882 Igor Stravinsky, composer; 1895 Very Rev Lord MacLeod of Fuinary, founder Iona Community; 1911 James Cameron, journalist; 1917 Dean Martin, singer and actor; 1920 Beryl Reid, actress and comedienne.

Deaths: 1719 Joseph Addison, poet, essayist and founder of the Spectator in 1711 with Sir Richard Steele; 1898 Sir Edward Burne-Jones, painter; 1957 Dorothy Richardson, novelist; 1997 Emilio Coia, cartoonist; 1999 Cardinal Basil Hume, Archbishop of Westminster; 1999 Ken Oliver, racehorse trainer; 2001 Cardinal Thomas Winning, Archbishop of Glasgow; 2006 Julian Slade, composer; 2008 Cyd Charisse, dancer and actress; 2009 Walter Cronkite, American broadcaster; 2010 Andy Ripley OBE, rugby player.