It happened today – this day in history – April 15

1450: The French defeat the English at the Battle of Formigny in the 100 Years’ War.

1452: Birth of Leonardo da Vinci.

1469: Birth of Guru Nanak, founder of Sikhism.

1534: Thomas Cromwell is appointed chief secretary to Henry VIII.

1689: France’s Louis XIV declares war on Spain.

1729: Bach’s “St Matthew Passion” premieres in Leipzig.

1738: Premiere in London of “Serse”, an Italian opera by Handel.

1755: Samuel Johnson’s “A Dictionary of the English Language” is published in London.

1793: The Bank of England issues the first £5 note.

1865: Otto von Bismarck is elevated to the rank of Count of Bismarck-Schönhausen. On the same day, US President Abraham Lincoln dies nine hours after being shot while ttending the play “Our American Cousin” at Ford’s Theatre in Washington.

1874: The first ‘Impressionist’ exhibition opens in Paris, featuring the work of Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Pierre-August Renoir, Camille Pissarro and Bertha Morisot.

1896: The first modern Summer Olympic Games close in Athens.

1902: Russian minister of interior and head of secret police, Sipyengin, is assassinated by the ‘Terror Brigade’ of the Socialist Revolutionaries.

1912: The RMS Titanic sinks after hitting an iceberg with the loss of more than 1,500 passengers and crew.

1923: Insulin becomes generally available for diabetics.

1942: George VI awards the George Cross to the people of Malta.

1945: The British Army liberates Nazi concentration camp Bergen-Belsen. On the same day, US troops occupy Colditz.

1955: Ray Kroc opens the first McDonald’s fast food restaurant in Des Plaines, Illinois.

1959: US Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, resigns.

1961: France wins it’s second outright Five Nations Rugby Championship with an 15-3 victory over Ireland at Lansdowne Road, Dublin.

1964: George Best and Pat Jennings make their senior international debuts for Northern Ireland in a 3-2 victory over Wales at the Vetch Field in Swansea.

1967: France wins it’s fourth outright Five Nations Rugby Championship with an 11-6 win over Ireland at Lansdowne Road, Dublin

1970: A record 136,505 see Celtic beat Leeds at Hampden Park to reach the European Cup Final.

1971: George C Scott became the first actor to refuse an Oscar for best actor (Patton). He had warned the Academy months in advance that he would do so if he won. Scott believed that every dramatic performance was unique and could not be compared to others.

1972: A member of the British Army is shot dead by the IRA in the Divis area of Belfast. On the same day, a member of the IRA is shot dead by British soldiers at Joy Street in the Markets area of Belfast.


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1974: Military coup in Niger, president Diori Hamani is deposed.

1980: Existentialist philosopher and writer Jean-Paul Sartre dies in Paris aged 74.

1981: Journalist Janet Cooke says her Pulitzer award winning story about an 8-year-old heroin addict was fabricated. The Washington Post relinquishes the Pulitzer Prize.

1982: Death of Dad’s Army star Arthur Lowe aged 66 after a stroke.

1984: Comedian Tommy Coopers suffers a heart attack and dies on live TV during a performance at the London Palladium.

Singles chart:

  1. Hello – Lionel Richie
  2. You Take Me Up – The Thompson Twins
  3. A Love Worth Waiting For – Shakin Stevens
  4. Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now) – Phil Collins
  5. I Want To Break Free – Queen
  6. People Are People – Depeche Mode
  7. Glad It’s All Over – Captain Sensible
  8. Ain’t Nobody – Rufus and Chaka Khan
  9. Nelson Mandela – The Special AKA
  10. Wood Beez (Pray Like Aretha Franklin) – Scritti Politti
1984: Queen – The Works

Album chart:

  1. Now That’s What I Call Music 2 – Various Artists
  2. Can’t Slow Down – Lionel Richie
  3. Into The Gap – The Thompson Twins
  4. Thriller – Michael Jackson
  5. Alchemy – Dire Straits
  6. Human’s Lib – Howard Jones
  7. An Innocent Man – Billy Joel
  8. The Works – Queen
  9. Lament – Ultravox
  10. Off The Wall – Michael Jackson

1988: Comedy actor Kenneth Williams dies from an overdose aged 61 on the eve of going into hospital for surgery.

1989: The worst disaster in football history when 94 Liverpool fans are crushed to death at Hillsborough Football Stadium, Sheffield, during the FA Cup semi final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest. Two more die later.

1990: Death of actress Greta Garbo (Gustafson) aged 84.

1992: Billionaire Leona Helmsly is sent to jail in the US for tax evasion.

1994: Olympic champion figure skater, John Curry OBE dies from AIDS aged 44.

1996: Milli Vanilli singer Rob Pilatus was jailed for 90 days by a Los Angeles judge for three violent attacks and parole violation.

1998: Death of Cambodian dictator Pol Pot aged 72.

1999: The body of country singer Tammy Wynette is exhumed in an attempt to settle a dispute over how the country music legend died.

2001: Joey Ramone (Jeffrey Ross Hyman) singer with The Ramones, dies aged 49 after losing a long battle with lymphatic cancer.

2008: Death of drummer with The Nice, Brian “Blinky” Davison, aged 65.

2009: Death of broadcaster and MP Clement Freud aged 84.

2010: Volcanic ash from the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland leads to the closure of airspace over most of Europe.

2011: Singer Christina Aquilera divorces music executive Jordan Bratman.

2013: Three people are killed and 183 injured after two explosions near the finish line at the Boston Marathon.

2017: Suicide car bomb targets buses carrying Syrian evacuees at Rashidin, 126 killed including 70 children. On the same day, guitarist Alan Holdsworth dies aged 70.

2019: Notre Dame catches fire and sustains widespread damage.

BIRTHDAYS: Claudia Cardinale, actress, 83; Marty Wilde (Reg Smith), singer-songwriter, 82; Jeffrey Archer (Baron Archer of Weston Super Mare), author, 81; Dave Edmunds, singer-songwriter/guitarist, 77; Benjamin Zephaniah, poet/actor, 63; Dame Emma Thompson, actress/screenwriter, 62; Linda Perry, songwriter/producer/singer, (4 Non Blondes), 56; Oscar Harrison, drummer, (Ocean Colour Scene) 56; Graeme Clark, bassist (Wet Wet Wet) 55; Samantha Fox, model/singer, 55; Frankie Poullian, bassist (The Darkness) 54; Ed O’Brien, guitarist (Radiohead) 53; Katy Hill, TV presenter, 50; Luke Evans, actor, 42; Patrick Carney, drummer (The Black Keys) 41; Natalie Casey, actress, 41; Seth Rogen, actor/screenwriter, 39; Emma Watson, actress, 31; Felipe Anderson, footballer, 28; Maisie Williams, actress, 24.

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