It happened today – on this day in history – December 18

218BC: Hannibal’s Carthaginian army heavily defeats Roman forces on Italian soil during the Second Punic War.

1621: Parliament unanimously accepts Protestation.

1773: A skirmish at Grass Cove in Queen Charlotte Sound, New Zealand, results in the deaths of two Māori and nine members of Captain James Cook’s expedition.

1778: Pantomime clown Joseph Grimaldi is born in London.

1783: George III dismisses the Duke of Portland’s government.

1849: William Bond takes the first photograph of the Moon through a telescope.

1852: George Hamilton-Gordon becomes Prime Minister of the UK after the fall of the Conservative government of Edward Smith-Stanley.

1863: Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria is born in Graz, Austria.

1878: Josef Stalin is born in Gori, Russia.

1879: Birth of abstract painter Paul Klee in Switzerland.

1892: Premiere of Tchaikovsky’s ballet “The Nutcracker Suite”. On the same day, Anton Bruckner’s 8th Symphony premieres.

1898: The speed record for a car is set at 39mph.

1899: Field Marshal Lord Roberts is appointed British supreme commander in South Africa.

1902: Parliament passes the Education Act, which will come to be regarded as the most important legislation of Arthur Balfour’s government.

1912: Piltdown Man, later discovered to be a hoax, is supposedly found in the Piltdown Gravel Pit, by Charles Dawson.

1915: US President Woodrow Wilson marries second wife Edith Bolling Galt, a descendant of Pocahontas.

1916: The Battle of Verdun ends in a German defeat after nine months of fighting and almost 1 million casualties.

1917: The 18th Amendment to the US Constitution, authorizing the prohibition of alcohol, is approved by the US congress and sent to the states for ratification.

1939: The Finnish army recaptures Agläjärvi.

1941: Japanese troops land on Hong Kong.

1945: Uruguay joins the UN.

1954: The only shared own goal in Football League history as in the First Division match between Chelsea and Leicester City at Stamford Bridge, Leicester defenders Jack Froggatt and Stan Milburn each strike the ball at exactly the same time to send it past the Leicester ‘keeper in Chelsea’s 3-1 victory.


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1956: Stanley Matthews wins the inaugural Ballon d’Or. On the same day, Japan is admitted to the UN.

1963: Premiere of The Pink Panther, Peter Sellers’ first appearance as Chief Inspector Jacques Clouseau.

1966: Guinness heir Tara Browne is killed when driving at high speed in his Lotus Elan after it collides with a parked lorry in South Kensington. His death is immortalised by John Lennon in the song A Day In The Life.

1971: Three members of the IRA die when the bomb they ware transporting explodes prematurely in Magherafelt, Co Derry.

1977: Singles chart:

  1. Mull of Kintyre – Wings
  2. Floral Dance – Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band
  3. How Deep Is Your Love – The Bee Gees
  4. I Will – Ruby Winters
  5. White Christmas – Bing Crosby
  6. Love’s Unkind – Donna Summer
  7. It’s A Heartache – Bonnie Tyler
  8. Daddy Cool – Darts
  9. Egyptian Reggae – Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers
  10. Put Your Love In Me – Hot Chocolate
1977: Queen – News Of The World

Album chart:

  1. Disco Fever – Various Artists
  2. The Sound Of Bread : Their 20 Finest Songs – Bread
  3. Greatest Hits – Paul Simon
  4. 30 Greatest – Gladys Knight and the Pips
  5. Feelings – Various Artists
  6. Never Mind The B*****ks Here’s The Sex Pistols – The Sex Pistols
  7. Rumours – Fleetwood Mac
  8. Foot Loose And Fancy Free – Rod Stewart
  9. News Of The World – Queen
  10. 40 Golden Greats – Cliff Richard

1983: Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards married 27-year old model Patti Hansen on his 40th birthday. They remain together to this day. On the same day, James Brown’s long-term guitarist Jimmy Nolan, dies of a heart attack in Atlanta, Georgia, aged 47.

1985: Two Australians face the death penalty after their appeal against a conviction for smuggling heroin was rejected by a Malaysian court.

1988: Mike Peters of The Alarm was rushed to hospital after having his eyes burnt by spotlights during a gig in Chester, causing the remaining dates on their UK tour to be cancelled.

1989: The Labour Party abandons its policy on trade union closed shops in line with European legislation.

1997: Scottish Secretary Donald Dewer unveils a blueprint for Scotland’s new parliament. On the same day, comedy actor Chris Farley dies of a drug overdose aged 33.

2000: Singer-songwriter Kirsty MacColl is killed while swimming with her children off the coast of Mexico when a speedboat hits her.

2001: Singer-songwriter Clifford T. Ward dies aged 57 from multiple sclerosis. On the same day, Michael Owen wins the Ballon d’Or.

2003: Michael Jackson was formally charged with seven counts of child molestation and two counts of administering intoxicating liquor to a minor with the intent of committing a crime.

2004: A Gibson SG guitar played by George Harrison and John Lennon during the recording of the albums Revolver and The White Album sold for £294,000 at auction in New York.

2006: Flintstones and Tom & Jerry cartoonist Joseph Barbera dies aged 95.

2011: The last US troops withdraw from Iraq.

2013: Lostprophets singer Ian Watkins, 36, is sentenced to 35 years in jail for a string of child sex offences.

2016: Actress Zsa Zsa (Sári) Gabor dies aged 99.

2018: A meteor explodes in a huge fireball over the Bering Sea with 10 times the energy of the Hiroshima atomic bomb.

BIRTHDAYS: Michael Moorcock, sci-fi author, 81; Keith Richards, guitarist/songwriter (Rolling Stones) 77; Steven Spielberg, director, 74; Bill Nelson, guitarist/singer/songwriter, (Bebop Deluxe) 72; Rosie Vela, model/singer-songwriter, 68; Ray Liotta, actor, 66; Brad (William) Pitt, actor, 57; Robson Green, actor, 56; Andy Miller, guitarist/singer/songwriter (Dodgy) 52; (Aránzazu Isabel María) Arantxa Sánchez Vicario, tennis star, 49; Sia (Furler), singer-songwriter, 45; Katie Holmes, actress, 42; Josh Dallas, actor, 42; Christina Aguilera, singer, 40; Ashley Benson, actress, 31; Billie Eilish, singer-songwriter, 19.

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Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]