It happened today – this day in history – April 5

456: Saint Patrick returns to Ireland as a missionary bishop.

1424: James I of Scotland returns home after 18 years of detention at the English court.

1588: Birth of philosopher Thomas Hobbes in Westport

1603: James I of England (James VI of Scotland) departs Edinburgh for London.

1614: Native American princess Pocahontas marries English colonist John Rolfe.

1648: Spanish troops and feudal barons strike down a people’s uprising in Naples.

1722: Dutch navigator Jacob Roggeveen discovers Easter Island.

1762: The British take Grenada, West Indies, from the French.

1764: Parliament passes a Sugar Tax on the American colonies, introduced by Prime Minister George Grenville.

1803: First performance of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No2 in D.

1812: The British storm Badajoz fortress in Extremadura, Spain, held by the French and Spanish.

1815: Mount Tambora in the Dutch East Indies, erupts after several centuries of being dormant.

1818: Chile’s independence movement – led by Bernardo O’Higgins and Jose de San Martin win a decisive victory over Spain at the Battle of Maipú.

1827: Birth of Joseph Lister, pioneer of antiseptic surgery, in West Ham.

1874: Johann Strauss Jr’s opera “Die Fledermaus” premieres in Vienna.

1879: Chile declares war on Bolivia and Peru, starting the War of the Pacific.

1895: Oscar Wilde loses a libel case against the Marquess of Queensberry, who accused him of homosexual practices.

1900: Attempted assassination of Edward Prince of Wales fails in Brussels.

1902: At the Scotland v England match played at the Ibrox Park, part of the newly-built wooden West Tribune Stand collapses killing 25 people and injuring more than 500. On the same day, Maurice ravel’s “Pavane pour une infante defunte” premieres in Paris.

1904: The first international rugby league match is played between England and an Other Nationalities team of Welsh and Scottish players in Central Park, Wigan.

1906: Mount Vesuvius erupts and devastates towns in the Naples province, killing more than 100 people.

1908: Prime Minister Heny Campbell-Bannerman resigns.

1915: Jess Willard KOs Jack Johnson in Round 26 for the heavyweight boxing title.

1919: Eamon de Valera becomes President of Dail Eireann.

1929: Lithuania signs the Litvinov-pact.

1936: Tupelo, Mississippi, is virtually annihilated by a tornado in which 216 people die.

1940: 25/1 shot Bogskar ridden by Royal Air Force sergeant Mervyn Jones wins the Grand National.

1943: Chinese steward Poon Lim is found off the coast of Brazil by a fisherman family after being adrift fot 133 days, after British ship SS Benlomond was torpedoed by a German U-boat.

1944: 270 inhabitants of the Greek town of Kleisoura are executed by the Germans.

1946: Capt. Robert Petre wins the Grand National aboard 25/1 shot Lovely Cottage.

1951: Spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are sentenced to death in the US.

1954: Elvis Presley records his debut single, Arthur ‘Big Boy’ Cruddup’s That’s All Right Mama at Sam Phillips’ Sun Studios.

1955: Sir Winston Churchill resigns as prime minister due to failing health. He is succeeded by Anthony Eden.

1963: The Beatles are awarded their first silver disc for Please Please Me.

1964: The first driverless trains run on London Underground. On the same day, US General Douglas MacArthur dies aged 84.


1965: Julie Andrews wins the Oscar for best actress in Mary Poppins. The best actor award goes to Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady, which also wins best picture and the best director Oscar for George Cukor.

1969: Massive anti-Vietnam War demonstrations are held in many US cities.

1970: The body of West Germany’s kidnapped ambassador to Guatemala, Count Karl von Spreti, is found in an abandoned shack.

Singles chart:

  1. Bridge Over Troubled Water – Simon and Garfunkel
  2. All Kinds Of Everything – Dana
  3. Can’t Help Falling In Love – Andy Williams
  4. Knock Knock Who’s There – Mary Hopkin
  5. Wand’rin Star – Lee Marvin
  6. Spirit In The Sky – Norman Greenbaum
  7. That Same Old Feeling – Pickety Witch
  8. Young Gifted And Black – Bob and Marcia
  9. Something’s Burning – Kenny Rogers and the First Edition
  10. Gimme Dat Ding – Pipkins
1970: Black Sabbath

Album chart:

  1. Bridge Over Troubled Water – Simon and Garfunkel
  2. Greatest Hits – Andy Williams
  3. Paint Your Wagon – Original Soundtrack
  4. Easy Rider – Original Soundtrack
  5. Led Zeppelin II – Led Zeppelin
  6. Motown Chartbusters Vol 3 – Various Artists
  7. Chicago – Chicago
  8. Abbey Road – The Beatles
  9. Empty Rooms – John Mayall
  10. Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath

1971: Fran Phipps becomes the first woman to reach the North Pole. On the same day, Mt Etna erupts on Sicily. Also, US Lt William Calley is sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering 22 unarmed South Vietnamese civilians in the My Lai massacre.

1973: Pioneer 11 is launched to Jupiter.

1974: Last day of Test cricket for Garry Sobers & Rohan Kanhai.

1975: Tommy Carberry aboard L’Escargot wins the Grand National at Aintree.

1976: James Callaghan wins the Labour leadership contest after Harold Wilson’s resignation and takes over as prime minister. On the same day, billionaire recluse Howard Hughes dies aged 72 on board his private plane.

1979: Ex-premier Pol Jar flees Cambodia. On the same day, Duran Duran make their live debut at The Lecture Theatre, Birmingham Polytechnic.

1980: REM play their first ever gig at St Mary’s Episcopal Church, Athens, Georgia.

1981: Bob “The Bear” Hite of Canned Heat dies from a heart attack aged 36.

1982: Aircraft carriers Invincible and Hermes with escort vessels leave Portsmouth for the Falkland Islands. On the same day, foreign secretary Lord Carrington resigns.

1983: Danny Rapp, leader of 50s doo wop group Danny and the Juniors, shoots himself in an Arizona hotel room.

1986: A bomb explodes in a crowded disco in Berlin, killing three and injuring more than 200. On the same day, Richard Dunwoody wins the Grand National aboard 15/2 second favourite West Tip.

1988: Hijackers who had taken control of a Kuwait Airways jumbo jet free 25 passengers.

1990: Drummer Cozy Powell (Colin Flooks) is killed when his car smashes into crash barriers on the M4 motorway near Bristol.

1992: Serbian troops begin besieging Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia.

1994: Nirvana singer-songwriter/guitarist Kurt Cobain commits suicide by shooting himself in the head with a shotgun at his home in Seattle. The body is not discovered until April 8.

1995: Monika Dannerman, one time girlfriend of Jimi Hendrix, commits suicide two days after losing a court battle with another of the guitarist’s former lovers.

1997: Beat poet Allen Ginsberg dies aged 70.

1998: France thrashes Wales, 51-0 at Wembley Stadium, London for it’s second straight Five Nations Rugby Championship and Grand Slam.

1999: Two Libyans suspected of bringing down Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie in 1988 are handed over for eventual trial in the Netherlands.

2001: Dutch lorry driver Perry Wacker is sentenced to 14 years in prison for his part in the deaths of 58 Chinese illegal immigrants who suffocated in the back of his truck.

2002: Singer Layne Staley of Alice in Chains is found dead from a mixture of heroin and cocaine at his home. The body has to be identified from dental records.

2005: Author Saul Bellow dies aged 89.

2006: Singer-songwriter Gene Pitney is found dead aged 65 in a Cardiff hotel room.

2008: Actor Charlton Heston dies aged 84.

2012: Jim Marshall, inventor of the Marshall amplifier, a favourite of rock musicians, dies at a hospice in London, aged 88.

2016: Iceland’s Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson resigns after the Panama Papers leak show a conflict of interest.

2018: Darts champion Eric Bristow dies from a heart attack aged 60.

2020: Prime Minister Boris Johnson is admitted to hospital suffering from COVID-19. On the same day, actress Honor Blackman dies aged 94.

BIRTHDAYS: Roger Corman, director, 95; Alan Clarke, singer (The Hollies) 79; Jane Asher, actress/author, 75; Agnetha Faltskog, singer (ABBA) 71; Mitch Pileggi, actor, 69; Janice Long, broadcaster, 66; Mike McCready, guitarist (Pearl Jam) 56; Stewart Lee, comedian/writer, 53; Paula Cole, singer-songwriter, 53; Pharrell Williams, singer-songwriter, 48; John Hartson, football pundit, 46; Henrik Stenson, golfer, 45; Zak Bagans, paranormal investigator, 44; Hayley Atwell, actress, 39; Lily James (Thomson) actress, 32.