It happened today – this day in history – August 26

1346: Edward III’s longbows defeat Philip VI of France’s army at the Battle of Crécy. Cannons are used for the first time in battle.

1498: Michelangelo is commissioned to carve the Pietà in St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City.

1676: Birth of Robert Walpole, Britain’s first Prime Minister, in Norfolk.

1743: Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier, father of modern chemistry, is born in Paris.

1819: Birth of Albert von Saksen-Coburg-Gotha, husband of Queen Victoria.

1843: Charles Thurber patents a typewriter.

1846: Felix Mendelssohn’s oratorio “Elijah” premieres at the Birmingham Festival.

1904: Birth of novelist Christopher Isherwood in Cheshire.

1910: Birth of Mother Teresa (Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu) in Skopje.

1914: The 8th German Army and the Russian Narev army engage in the Battle of Tannenberg, which eventually results in a German victory.

1915: German troops overrun Brest-Litovsk, Russia.

1924: The Ottoman army expels Greeks and other non-Turks from Asia Minor.

1937: Franco’s troops conquer Santander in the Spanish Civil War.

1940: Chad is the first French colony to join the Allies.

1942: Japanese troops land on Milne Bay, New Guinea. On the same day, 7,000 Jews are rounded up in Vichy and in Russia the Soviets launch a counter offensive.

1944: Bulgaria announces withdrawal and German troops are to be disarmed.

1950: Australia beats the USA to win the Davis Cup in tennis.

1955: Singles chart:

  1. Rose Marie – Slim Whitman
  2. Learnin’ The Blues – Frank Sinatra
  3. Cool Water – Frankie Laine with the Mellomen
  4. Ev’rywhere – David Whitfield
  5. Evermore – Ruby Murray
  6. Every Day Of My Life – Malcolm Vaughan
  7. Indian Love Song – Slim Whitman
  8. The Breeze And I – Caterina Valente
  9. Dreamboat – Alma Cogan
  10. Strange Lady In Town – Frankie Laine

1958: Death of composer Ralph Vaughan Williams aged 85.

1959: The British Motor Corporation introduces the Morris Mini-Minor, designed by Alec Issigonis.

1962: Sherri Finkbine, a TV presenter from Phoenix, Arizona, and a mother of four returned home to a storm of controversy and threats after getting a legal abortion in Sweden. She decided to terminate her fifth pregnancy after discovering that tranquilisers she had taken in the first few weeks of her pregnancy contained the drug Thalidomide.

1967: The Beatles hold a press conference at University College in Bangor, North Wales with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The band announce that they have become disciples of the guru and that they renounce the use of drugs (no they didn’t).

1970: Joni Mitchell, Jethro Tull, Joan Baez, ELP, The Doors, The Who, Miles Davis, Free and Jimi Hendrix in his last performance in the UK, appear at the Isle of Wight Festival.

1972: The Olympic Games open in Munich, West Germany.


1974: Guinee-Bissau becomes independent of Portugal. On the same day, Soyuz 15 carries two cosmonauts to space station Salyut 3. Also, aviator Chalres Lindbergh dies of lymphoma aged 72.

1975: Talks between Ian Smith’s Rhodesian Government and the African National Council collapse acrimoniously.

1977: The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Thin Lizzy, Aerosmith, The Doobie Brothers, Uriah Heep and Hawkwind appear at the Reading Festival.

1981: Voyager 2 takes photos of Saturn’s moon Titan.

1983: Floods destroy most of the old town of Bilbao, Spain.

1985: Zola Budd smashes the world 5,000m record at Crystal Palace with a time of 14 minutes 48.07 seconds.

1993: Peter Reid is sacked as manager of Manchester City. On the same day, a double sided acetate of The Beatles performing at The Cavern in Liverpool sells for £16,500 at auction at Christie’s in London.

1994: Arthur Cornhill is given the world’s first battery-operated heart in a pioneering operation at Papworth Hospital, Cambs. On the same day, singer Frankie Miller suffers a massive brain haemorrhage in New York, leaving him in a coma for five months.

1997: Chad Smith, drummer with the Red Hot Chili Peppers is admitted to hospital after crashing his motorbike on Sunset Boulevard.

1999: Michael Johnson of the US breaks the 400m world record with a time of 43.18 seconds.

2004: Singer Laura Branigan dies of a brain aneurysm.

2005: Northern Irish politician Gerry Fitt dies aged 79.

2012: 17 villagers in Afghanistan’s Kajaki district are beheaded by an unknown organisation.

2013: All 25,000 applicants to the University of Liberia fail their entrance examination.

2014: Kate Bush makes her stage comeback at Hammersmith Apollo to an ecstatic response from fans at her first live concert for 35 years. The 22 shows sold out in 15 minutes. On the same day, the Democratic Republic of Congo’s health ministry informs the WHO of an outbreak of Ebola; later confirmed as a different strain to that affecting west Africa.

2015: TV reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward are fatally shot live on TV by an ex-colleague in Moneta, Virginia.

2016: San Francisco 49ers player Colin Kaepernick kneels in protest during the US national anthem at San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium while playing against the San Diego Chargers, objecting to racial injustice and police brutality in the US.

2016: Frank Ocean – Blond

Album chart:

  1. Blond – Frank Ocean
  2. Pure & Simple – Dolly Parton
  3. Life On The Road – David Brent
  4. Views – Drake
  5. Legend – Bob Marley & The Wailers
  6. All Over The World: The Very Best Of – ELO
  7. Chaleur Humaine – Christine & the Queens
  8. 25 – Adele
  9. Purpose – Justin Bieber
  10. A Head Full Of Dreams – Coldplay

2017: Half a million people take part in a peace march in Barcelona, following terrorist attacks.

2018: Emmerson Mnangagwa is sworn in as President of Zimbabwe. On the same day, Pope Francis asks for forgiveness in a speech on child abuse in Dublin, during first papal visit to Ireland since 1979. Meanwhile Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, former US Vatican Ambassador, claims The Pope knew of and ignored sex abuse allegations against Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. Also, playwright Neil Simon dies aged 91.

2019: At a meeting in Biarritz, the G7 agrees on a $20 million aid package to fight fires in the Amazon. Leonardo DiCaprio’s environmental organization Earth Alliance donates $5million.

2021: Two bomb blasts at Kabul Airport, Afghanistan, kill at least 60 people, including 12 US soldiers, amid international efforts to evacuate citizens out of the country.

BIRTHDAYS: Jet Black (Brian Duffy), drummer (The Stranglers) 84; Nik Turner, saxophonist/flautist (Hawkwind) 82; Moe Tucker, drummer (Velvet Underground), 78; Alison Steadman, actress, 76; Valerie Simpson, singer/songwriter, 74; Steve Wright, broadcaster, 68; Branford Marsalis, jazz saxophonist, 62; Shirley Manson, singer (Garbage), 56; Michael Gove MP, cabinet minister, 55; Chris Boardman, cyclist, 54; Melissa McCarthy, actress/screenwriter, 52; James Duddridge MP, politician, 51; Mike Colter, actor, 46; Chris Pine, actor, 42; Macaulay Culkin, actor, 42.