It happened today – this day in history – August 13

1415: Henry V’s army lands at the mouth of the River Seine in France.

1521: Spanish conquistadors under Hernan Cortes capture Aztec Emperor Cuauhtemoc in Tenochtitlan marking the end of the Aztec Empire.

1624: Cardinal Richelieu is appointed Chief Minister of France by Louis XIII.

1642: Dutch astronomer Christiaan Huygens discovers the south polar cap of Mars.

1704: A combined British, German and Dutch army led by John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, decisively beats the French and Bavarians at the Battle of Blenheim.

1732: Voltaire’s “Zaire” premieres in Paris.

1784: Parliament accepts East India Company Act 1784, bringing the East India Company’s rule in India under the control of the British Government.

1792: Revolutionaries imprison French royals, including Marie Antoinette.

1799: The British fleet under Lord Seymour overthrows Suriname.

1814: The Cape of Good Hope is formally ceded to Britiain by the Dutch.

1876: The first complete performance of Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle at the opening of The Bayreuth Festspielhaus.

1889: William Gray patents the coin-operated telephone.

1898: US forces capture Manila during the Spanish-American War.

1899: Birth of director Alfred Hitchcock in Leytonstone.

1908: Edward VII meets with Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria at Ischl in an effort to persuade the Emperor to advise Germany against aggressive anti-British policies.

1910: Death of Florence Nightingale aged 90.

1912: French composer Jules Massenet dies aged 70.

1913: Stainless steel is invented by Harry Brearley in Sheffield.

1923: The Turkish National Congress selects Mustafa Kemal Ataturk Pasja as president.

1932: Adolf Hitler refuses President von Hindenburg’s proposal to become vice-chancellor of Germany.

1940: Hermann Goering’s “Adlertag” (Eagle Day) offensive, intended to destroy the RAF, results in 48 German aircraft being shot down while 25 British planes are lost.

1941: The Red army evacuates Smolensk.

1942: The ‘Manhattan Project’ commences with the aim of developing the atomic bomb.

1944: The British 8th Army occupies Florence.

1946: Author H G Wells dies aged 79.


1948: Hungarian boxer László Papp wins the first of the consecutive Olympic gold medals at the Games in London.

1952: The original version of Lieber and Stoller’s Hound Dog is recorded by Willie Mae (Big Mama) Thornton.

1960: The Central African Republic and Chad proclaim independence from France.

1961: Troops in East Germany seal off the border between East and West Berlin, shutting off the escape route for thousands of refugees from the East.

1964: The Supremes record Baby Love at Motown.

1966: China announces plans for a “new leap forward”, a cultural revolution which heralds a purge of Chairman Mao’s rivals.

1967: Fleetwood Mac make their live debut at the National Jazz and Blues Festival in Windsor. Also on the bill are Chicken Shack, featuring singer Christine Perfect, who would go on to join the band in 1970 and marry bassist John McVie.

1971: Saxophonist King Curtis (Ousley) is stabbed to death by a vagrant on the front steps of his New York home. On the same day, John Lennon flies from Heathrow Airport to New York. He never sets foot on British soil again.

1972: Singles chart:

  1. School’s Out – Alice Cooper
  2. Seaside Shuffle – Terry Dactyl and the Dinosaurs
  3. Silver Machine – Hawkwind
  4. Puppy Love – Donny Osmond
  5. Popcorn – Hot Butter
  6. Breaking Up IS Hard To Do – The Partridge Family
  7. You Wear It Well – Rod Stewart
  8. Sylvia’s Mother – Dr Hook and the Medicine Show
  9. Run To Me – The Bee Gees
  10. It’s Four In The Morning – Faron Young
1972: T. Rex – The Slider

Album chart:

  1. 20 Fantastic Hits – Various Artists
  2. Never A Dull Moment – Rod Stewart
  3. 20 Dynamic Hits – Varius Artists
  4. Greatest Hits – Simon and Garfunkel
  5. The Slider – T. Rex
  6. School’s Out – Alice Cooper
  7. American Pie – Don McLean
  8. Slade Alive – Slade
  9. Bridge Over Troubled Water – Simon and Garfunkel
  10. The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars – David Bowie

1977: More than 200 protesters are arrested as violence erupts during demonstrations in Lewisham against a National Front march.

1982: Soul singer Joe Tex dies at his home in Texas following a heart attack.

1985: Three-year-old Jamie Gavin from Dublin becomes the world’s youngest heart and lung transplant patient following an operation at Harefield Hospital, Middlesex.

1988: Robert Smith of The Cure marries childhood sweetheart Mary Poole.

1991: The Prince of Wales resigns as patron of Scotland’s national museum over a competition to design a new building.

1993: The World Athletics Championships open at Stuttgart.

1995: British mountaineer Alison Hargeaves, the first woman to climb Mt Everest alone without bottled oxygen, dies in a storm on the summit of K2 in Pakistan aged 33.

1999: Mick Jagger’s 1990 marriage to model Jerry Hall in Bali s declared null and void at the High Court in London.

2002: Singer Adam Ant (Stuart Goddard) pleads guilty to threatening drinkers at The Prince Of Wales Pub in London in January.

2004: 156 Congolese Tutsi refugees are massacred at the Gatumba refugee camp in Burundi. On the same day, the Olympic Games opens at Athens and Real Madrid sign Liverpool star Michael Owen..

2013: Jon Brookes, drummer with The Charlatans dies aged 44. He had been receiving treatment for a brain tumour.

2015: Swedish Prosecutors announce they are dropping allegations against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange of sexual molestation and coercion.

2016: Swimmer Michael Phelps ends his career at the Rio Olympics as part of the winning 4×100 medley relay, his record 23rd gold medal. On the same day, Mo Farah wins the 10,000m. Also, R2D2 actor Kenny Baker dies aged 81.

2018: Ugandan politician and pop singer Bobi Wine arrested by the Ugandan army at a campaign rally in Arua and later allegedly tortured.

BIRTHDAYS: Madhur Jaffrey, actress/writer, 88; John Stokes, bassist, (The Bachelors) 81; Susan Jameson, actress, 80; Marie Helvin, model, 69; Paul Greengrass, director, 66; Feargal Sharkey, singer (The Undertones), 63; Michael Bradley, bassist, (The Undertones) 62; Phil “The Power” Taylor, darts champion, 61; Stuart Maconie, broadcaster/writer, 60; John Slattery, actor, 59; Alan Shearer, footballer/pundit, 51; Sebastian Stan, actor, 39; James Morrison, singer-songwriter, 37; Lucas Moura (da Silva), footballer, 29.