It happened today – this day in history – August 23

1305: Scottish patriot William Wallace is executed for high treason by Edward I.

1500: Governor Francisco De Bobadilla arrives in the Indies, arrests Christopher Columbus and sends him back to Spain in chains.

1541: Explorer Jacques Cartier lands near Quebec City in his third voyage to Canada.

1617: The first one-way streets open in London.

1754: Birth of Louis XVI of France.

1799: Napoleon leaves Egypt for France to seize power.

1839: The British capture Hong Kong from China.

1866: The Treaty of Prague ends the Austro-Prussian War.

1873: Opening of the Albert Bridge across the River Thames.

1911: Prime Minister Herbert Asquith holds a secret meeting about British strategy in case of war with Germany.

1914: German troops begin to plunder Belgium. On the same day, Japan declares war on Germany.

1915: Tsar Nicholas II takes control of the Russian Army.

1917: Race riot in Houston Texas.

1921: The British declare a truce with Irish Nationalists Sinn Féin.

1924: Mars makes its closest approach to Earth since the 10th century.

1926: Silent film idol Rudolph Valentino dies from pleuritis aged 31.

1933: Mahatma Gandhi is released from Indian jail following another hunger strike.

1939: John Cobb of Britain drives 365.85mph at Bonneville Flats. On the same day, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union agree the Molotov-Ribbentrop non-aggression pact and secretly divide Poland between themselves, setting the stage for World War II.

1940: The Luftwaffe begins night bombing on London.

1942: 600 Luftwaffe planes bomb Stalingrad, killing 40,000 people.

1943: The Red army recaptures Charkow.

1944: Allied troops capture Marseille. On the same day, in a Romanian Royal coup: King Michael orders forces to cease fire against the Allies and dismisses pro-Axis premier, Marshal Ion Antonescu. Also, a US B-24 crashes into a school in Freckelton, Lancs, killing 76.

1953: Ferrari driver Alberto Ascari clinches his second Formula 1 World Drivers Championship by winning Swiss Grand Prix at Bremgarten.

1960: Death of lyricist Oscar Hammerstein aged 65.

1961: Police launch a murder hunt after a man is found shot dead and his companion seriously wounded in a lay-by on the A6 in Beds.

1962: John Lennon married Cynthia Powell at Liverpool’s Mount Pleasant register office.

1966: The Lunar Orbiter 1 takes the first photograph of Earth from Moon.

1967: Whilst celebrating at his 21st birthday party an inebriated Keith Moon of The Who drove a Lincoln Continental into the swimming pool of the Holiday Inn, in Flint, Michigan.

1973: The Intelsat communications satellite is launched.

1975: Communists take over Laos. On the same day, guitarist Paul Kossoff is revived after suffering a heart attack.

1976: Thousands die when an earthquake strikes China.

1979: Kurds in Iran oust government troops from a large area near the Iraqi border. On the same day, Bolshoi Ballet dancer Alexander Godunov defects to the west in New York city.

1985: The head of West German counter intelligence, Hans-Joachim Tiedge, is exposed as an East German spy when he defects.

1987: Singles chart:

  1. Never Gonna Give You Up – Rick Astley
  2. What Have I Done To Deserve This – The Pet Shop Boys ft Dusty Springfield
  3. I Just Can’t Stop Loving You – Michael Jackson with Siedah Garrett
  4. Toy Boy – Sinnita
  5. Call Me – Spagna
  6. Sweet Little Mystery – Wet Wet Wet
  7. True Faith – New Order
  8. Funky Town – Pseudo Echo
  9. Animal – Def Leppard
  10. Somewhere Out There – Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram
1987: U2 – The Joshua Tree

Album chart:

  1. Hysteria – Def Leppart
  2. Hits 6 – Various Artists
  3. Substance 1987 – New Order
  4. Presley – The All Time Greatest Hits – Elvis Presley
  5. Who’s That Girl – Original Soundtrack
  6. Whitney – Whitney Houston
  7. Introducing The Hardline According To… – Terence Trent D’Arby
  8. Sixties Mix – Various Artists
  9. The Joshua Tree – U2
  10. True Blue – Madonna

1990: Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein appears on state television with western hostages, provoking a storm of outrage. On the same day, Armenia declares independence.

1991: Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev begins his purge of cabinet members and officials involved in the failed coup four days earlier.

1995: Actor Larry Hagman receives a liver transplant.

2004: Kelly Holmes wins the 800m at the Athens Olympics.

2005: Hurricane Katrina forms over the Bahamas.

2011: Muammar al-Gaddafi is overthrown after National Transitional Council forces take control of his Bab al-Azizia compound during the Libyan Civil War.

2013: UN inspectors are stopped by the Syrian government from investigating a reported site of a massacre using chemical weapons.

2014: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie marry in France.

BIRTHDAYS: Barbara Eden, actress, 89; Roger Greenaway, songwriter, 82; Willy Russell, dramatist, 73; Geoff Capes, Olympic shot putter, 71; Shelley Long, actress, 71; Edwyn Collins, singer-songwriter, 61; Shaun Ryder, singer (The Happy Mondays/Black Grape) 58; Roger Avary, screenwriter, 55; Jay Mohr, actor, 50; Julian Casablancas, singer (The Strokes), 42; Richie Neville, singer (Five) 41; Glen Johnson, footballer, 36.

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Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]