On this day: Twenty died as gales swept Scotland

A car was crushed by masonry outside Edinburgh's Garland and Roger sawmill during gales that killed 20 people in 1968. Picture: TSPL
A car was crushed by masonry outside Edinburgh's Garland and Roger sawmill during gales that killed 20 people in 1968. Picture: TSPL
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Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 15 January

1535: King Henry VIII assumed title of “Supreme Head of the Church” in England.

1559: The coronation of Queen Elizabeth I of England took place.

1790: Fletcher Christian and eight fellow mutineers from the Bounty landed on Pitcairn Island, accompanied by six Tahitian men and 12 women.

1867: Forty people died when ice on London’s Regents Park lake gave way.

1880: The first telephone directory was published by the London Telephone Company. It listed 255 subscribers.

1913: The first sickness benefit (10/– or 50p per week), unemployment benefit (7/-) and maternity benefit (30/-) were introduced in Britain.

1962: Yves St Laurent opened fashion house in Paris.

1963: The BBC ended its ban on mentioning politics, royalty, religion and sex in comedy shows.

1968: Twenty died as gales swept Scotland.

1969: Twenty-five crew were killed and 85 wounded by explosions aboard US aircraft carrier Enterprise.

1971: The Aswan High Dam was officially opened in Egypt.

1990: Bulgarian parliament abolished Communist Party’s monopoly on power.

1991: As a UN deadline for withdrawal from Kuwait arrived, Iraqi army newspaper al-Qadissiya published warning that Gulf war would “extend to the entire map of the Earth and wherever there are American and foreign interests hostile to Iraq”.

1991: The Queen, in her capacity as Queen of Australia, signed letters patent allowing Australia to become the first Commonwealth Realm to institute its own separate Victoria Cross award in its own honours system.

2001: Wikipedia, a free Wiki content encyclopedia, went online.

2005: An intense solar flare blasted X-rays across the solar system.

2007: Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, the former Iraqi intelligence chief and half-brother of Saddam Hussein, and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, the former chief judge of the Revolutionary Court, were executed by hanging in Iraq.

2009: The pilot of a United States Airways Airbus A320 airliner forced to land on New York’s Hudson River after it hit a flock of birds was hailed as a hero after all 155 passengers and crew survived.


Edith Bowman, Scottish television and radio presenter, 39; Jackie Baillie, Labour MSP, minister for social justice 2000-1, 50; Margaret Beckett, former Labour Cabinet minister, 71; Frank Bough, broadcaster, 81; Gareth Hale, comedian, 61; Princess Michael of Kent, 69; James Nesbitt, actor, 49; Margaret O’Brien, actress, 77; Mario Van Peebles, actor and director, 57; Mary Pierce, French tennis player, 39; Victor Rasuk, actor, 30; Ryan Sidebottom, cricketer, 35.


Births: 1622 Jean Baptiste Molière, dramatist; 1872 Lewis Terman, pioneer of IQ tests; 1893 Ivor Novello, composer, actor, director and playwright; 1906 Aristotle Onassis, ship-owner; 1915 Lord Dacre of Glanton (Hugh Trevor Roper), historian; 1918 Gamal Nasser, first president of Egypt; 1929 Martin Luther King, American civil rights leader.

Deaths: 1951 Sir Ernest Swinton, soldier and one of originators of military tank; 1972 Daisy Ashford, author; 1990 Gordon Jackson, actor; 1999 Betty Box, film producer; 2011 Susannah York, actress.