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 with the loss of more than 1500 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.

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

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.

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: Ben Crenshaw wins the US Masters in Augusta, Georgia. On the same day, comedian Tommy Coopers suffers a heart attack and dies on live TV during a performance.

1988: Comedy actor Kenneth Williams dies from an overdose aged 61.

1989: 94 football fans are crushed to death at Hillsborough Football Stadium, Sheffield during the FA Cup semi final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest. Two others 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.

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

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, 82; Marty Wilde (Reginald Smith), singer-songwriter, 81; Jeffrey Archer (Baron Archer of Weston Super Mare), author, 80; Dave Edmunds, guitarist/singer, 76; Benjamin Zephaniah, poet/actor, 62; Dame Emma Thompson, actress/screenwriter, 61; King Philippe of Belgium, 60; Linda Perry, singer-songwriter/producer, 55; Oscar Harrison, drummer (Ocean Colour Scene) 55; Samantha Fox, glamour model, 54; Frankie Poullian, bassist (The Darkness) 53; Ed O’Brian, guitarist (Radiohead) 52; Katy Hill, TV presenter, 49; Patrick Carney, drummer (The Black Keys), 40; Natalie Casey, actress, 40; Seth Rogan, actor/writer, 38; Emma Watson, actress, 30; Maisie Williams, actress, 23.

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Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]