It happened today – this day in history – August 27

1549: John Dudley Earl of Warwick destroys Robert Kett’s army at the Battle of Dussindale, ending Kett’s rebellion in Norfolk.

1610: Polish King Wladyslaw is crowned king of Russia.

1776: The British defeat Americans in the Battle of Long Island.

1783: The first unmanned hydrogen balloon flight reaches an altitude of 900m.

1798: The French army and Irish rebels rout a larger British force at the Battle of Castlebar in Ireland.

1799: A British invasion army lands in North Holland.

1813: Napoleon’s forces defeat Austria at the Battle of Dresden.

1883: The volcano Krakatoa in Indonesia erupts with a force of 1,300 megatons, killing approximately 40,000 people.

1892: The Metropolitan Opera House in New York catches fire.

1896: Britain defeats Zanzibar in the shortest recorded war in history (38 minutes). On the same day, Soviet electronic musical instruments inventor Leon Theremin is born.

1899: Birth of novelist C. S. Forester.

1913: Lt Pyotr Nesterov, of the Imperial Russian Air Service, performs the first acrobatic manoeuvre in an airplane (a loop) at Kiev.

1916: Romania declares war on Austria-Hungary.

1918: Spanish flu arrives in Boston, beginning the second and deadliest wave of the virus in the US.

1932: 200,000 English textile workers go on strike.

1941: The Shah of Iran Rezā Shāh Pahlavi abdicates the throne in favour of his son Mohammad Rezā Pahlavi.

1942: Cuba declares war on Germany, Japan and Italy.

1944: 200 RAF Halifax bombers attack oil installations in Hamburg.

1945: US troops land in Japan after the Japanese surrender.

1950: The BBC transmits the first ever live television pictures across the Channel with a two-hour broadcast from Calais.

1952: Emil Zatopek wins the Olympic marathon in Helsinki.

1955: The Guinness Book of World Records is first published.

1956: Socialite Gloria Vanderbilt marries director Sidney Lumet.

1960: British swimmer Anita Lonsbrough breaks the world record for the 200m to win gold at the Olympic Games in Rome.

1965: The Beatles have an awkward meeting with Elvis Presley. As they were leaving, John Lennon remarked to the others: “Where’s Elvis? It was like meeting Engelbert Humperdinck.”

1966: Yachtsman Francis Chichester begins the first solo voyage around the world. On the same day, a race riot breaks out in Waukegan, Illinois.

1967: The Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein is found dead, aged 32, at his Belgravia home. In shock, the band cut short their retreat in Wales with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and arrange to return to London.

1968: Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent dies aged 61 from a brain tumour.


1972: The US bombs Haiphong in North Vietnam.

1975: Haile Selassie (Ras Tafari Makonnen) former Emperor of Ethiopia, dies of suspected assassination by strangulation at 83.

1976: Transsexual Renee Richards is barred from competing in the US Tennis Open.

1978: Actor Robert Shaw dies from a heart attack aged 51.

1979: The Queen’s cousin, Lord Louis Mountbatten, one of his grandsons, another teenager and The Dowager Lady Brabourne are killed by an IRA bomb on his boat off the fishing village of Mullaghmore, Ireland. On the same day, 18 soldiers are killed in two IRA booby-trap bomb attacks at Warrenpoint, South Down.

1984: Coronation Street actor Bernard Youens dies from a heart attack at 69.

1985: Mary Joe Fernández at 14 years 8 days old becomes the youngest player to win at the US Tennis Open when she beats England’s Sara Gomer 6-1, 6-4 in a first round match. On the same day, General Ibrahim Babangida overthrows Major General Muhammadu Buhari’s regime in Nigeria.

1986: “The Golden Girls” and “Cagney & Lacey” dominate the Emmy Awards. On the same day, protests erupt in Soweto, South Africa, against evictions carried out after an 11-week rent boycott.

1987: Robert Maclennan MP succeeds Dr David Owen as leader of the SDP.

1989: Singles chart:

  1. Swing The Mood – Jive Bunny and the Mixmasters
  2. Ride On Time – Black Box
  3. I Just Don’t Have The Heart – Cliff Richard
  4. Poison – Alice Cooper
  5. Toy Soldiers – Martika
  6. Blame It On The Boogie – Big Fun
  7. Hey DJ I Can’t Dance To That Music You’re Playing – Beatmasters
  8. French Kiss – L’il Louis
  9. Sowing The Seeds Of Love – Tears For Fears
  10. Wouldn’t Change A Thing – Kylie Minogue
1989: Alice Cooper – Trash

Album chart:

  1. Cuts Both Ways – Gloria Estefan
  2. Ten Good Reasons – Jason Donovan
  3. Trash – Alice Cooper
  4. A New Flame – Simply Red
  5. Choices – The Blow Monkeys
  6. Raw Like Sushi – Neneh Cherry
  7. Imagination – Imagination
  8. Batman OST – Prince
  9. Sacred Heart – Shakespear’s Sister
  10. Don’t Be Cruel – Bobby Brown

1990: All four defendants in the marathon Guinness trial are found guilty of being involved in a conspiracy to drive up the price of shares in the company. On the same day, guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan is killed when the helicopter he is in hits a man-made ski slope while trying to navigate through dense fog in Wisconsin.

1991: Moldavia declares independence from the USSR.

1992: John Lennon’s handwritten lyrics for the song A Day In The Life sell in an auction at Sotheby’s for $100,000 (£56,600).

1999: The three-day Reading Festival kicks off. The Charlatans, Blur, Catatonia, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Chemical Brothers, The Divine Comedy and Reef appear over the weekend.

2000: The 540m Ostankino Tower in Moscow catches fire. Three people die.

2001: Angelina Jolie is named a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador in Geneva.

2003: Mars makes its closest approach to Earth in nearly 60,000 years.

2004: 50 Cent is greeted by a barrage of plastic bottles filled with urine and booed off stage at the Reading Festival.

2008: Barack Obama becomes the first African-American to be nominated by a major political party for President of the United States. On the same day, The Wrestler” directed by Darren Aronofsky and starring Mickey Rourke wins the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.

2013: Miley Cyrus’s risque performance with Robin Thicke at the MTV VMA Awards draws complaints from a parenting pressure group in the US.

2014: Medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) calls the international response to Ebola “irresponsible” and “slow and derisory”.

2018: The UN releases a report saying Myanmar military leaders should face genocide and crimes against humanity charges for violence at Rohingya.

2019: Race car driver Jessi Combs dies while setting new fastest women’s land speed record of 522.783 mph at Alvord Desert, Oregon.

2020: Australian terrorist Brenton Tarrant is sentenced to life without parole, for the killing of 51 mosque worshippers in Christchurch, New Zealand,

2021: Prince Andrew is served with a US federal lawsuit alleging he sexually abused teenager Virginia Giuffre 20 years ago.

Sarah Neufeld

BIRTHDAYS: Lady Antonio Fraser, author, 91; Phil Shulman, musician (Gentle Giant), 86; Barbara Bach (Lady Starkey), actress, 76; Alex Lifeson, guitarist (Rush), 70; Glen Matlock, bassist (Sex Pistols), 67; Bernhard Langer, golfer, 66; Gerhard Berger, racing driver, 64; Tom Ford, fashion designer/director/screenwriter, 62; Mark Curry, TV presenter, 62; Ange Postecoglu, Spurs head coach, 58; Chandra Wilson, actress, 54; César Millán (Favela), dog whisperer, 54; Peter Ebdon, snooker player, 53; Denise Lewis, athlete, 51; Jimmy Pop (Franks) singer/songwriter (The Bloodhound Gang) 51; Dietmar Hamann, German footballer, 50; Sarah Chalke, actress, 47; Mark Webber, racing driver, 47; Suranne (Sarah Anne) Jones, actress, 45; Sarah Neufeld, violinist (The Arcade Fire), 44; Aaron Paul (Sturtevant), actor, 44; Demetria McKinney, actress/singer, 44; David Bentley, footballer, 39.