It happened today – this day in history – August 31

Mick Ferris
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12AD: Birth of Caligula, third emperor of Rome.

1422: Henry VI becomes King of England at the age of nine months on the death of Henry V.

1688: Pilgrim’s Progress author John Bunyan dies aged 59..

1751: British troops under Sir Robert Clive occupy Arcot, India.

1876: Ottoman sultan Murat V is deposed and succeeded by his brother Abd-ul-Hamid II.

1888: The body of Jack the Ripper’s first victim, Mary Anne Nichols, is found in Whitechapel.

1897: General Horatio Kitchener’s army occupies Berber, North of Khartoum.

1900: British troops overrun Johannesburg.

1907: Britain, Russia and France form Triple Entente.

1913: A massive protest rally on Sackville Street is attacked by the Dublin Metropolitan Police. Two protestors are killed.

1923: Italian troops occupy Corfu. Mussolini orders the Greek Government to apologize for the deaths of an Italian general and his staff on the Greco-Albanian border.

1928: Brecht & Weil’s play ” The Threepenny Opera ” premieres.

1935: US President Franklin D Roosevelt signs an act prohibiting export of US arms to belligerents.

1939: The Japanese invasion army is driven out of Mongolia.

1940: Laurence Olivier marries actress Vivien Leigh.

1944: French troops liberate Bordeaux.

1946: Foghorn Leghorn debuts in the Warner Bros cartoon “Walky Talky Hawky”.

1957: The Federation of Malaya becomes independent from Britain. On the same day, Elvis Presley appears at the Empire Stadium in Vancouver, Canada in front of 26,000 fans. This was only the third time ever Presley had performed outside of the US and it would be the last.

1959: Prime minister Harold Macmillan and US president Dwight D Eisenhower give an historic live television broadcast from Downing Street.

1962: Trinidad & Tobago gains independence from Britain.

1963: Georges Braque, French cubist painter and sculptor, dies aged 81.

1968: The Move, The Pretty Things, The Crazy World Of Aurthur Brown, Jefferson Airplane, Fairport Convention and Tyrannosaurus Rex appear at the first Isle Of Wight Festival held over two days. On the same day, Gary Sobers becomes the first cricketer to hit 6 sixes in one over for Notts against Glamorgan at Swansea.

1969: Boxing legend Rocky Marciano dies in a plane crash aged 45.

1972: Lasse Viren of Finland runs a world record 10,000m , Soviet gymnast Olga Korbut wins gold in the balance beam and floor exercise and American super swimmer Mark Spitz wraps up the Olympic butterfly double with a world record 54.27 in the 100m at the Munich Olympics.


1976: George Harrison is found guilty of ‘subconscious plagiarism’ of the Ronnie Mack song He’s So Fine (a hit for The Chiffons in 1963) when writing My Sweet Lord.

1977: Ian Smith’s ruling Rhodesian Front wins an overwhelming majority in the country’s general election.

1980: Singles chart:

  1. Start – The Jam
  2. Ashes To Ashes – David Bowie
  3. It Feels Like I’m In Love – Kelly Marie
  4. 9 To 5 – Sheena Easton
  5. The Eighth Day – Hazel O’Connor
  6. I Die You Die – Gary Numan
  7. Tom Hark – The Piranhas
  8. The Winner Takes It All – ABBA
  9. The Sunshine Of Your Smile – Mike Berry
  10. Dreamin’ – Cliff Richard
1980: Roxy Music – Flesh And Blood

Album chart:

  1. Flesh And Blood – Roxy Music
  2. Drama – Yes
  3. Give Me The Night – George Benson
  4. Back In Black – AC/DC
  5. Breaking Glass – Hazel O’Connor
  6. Xanadu – Original Soundtrack
  7. Glory Road – Gillan
  8. Just Can’t Stop It – The Beat
  9. Can’t Stop The Music – Original Soundtrack
  10. Sky 2 – Sky

1983: Edwin Moses of the USA sets the 400m hurdle record (47.02) in Koblenz.

1984: Pinklon Thomas beats Tim Witherspoon in 12 rounds for the heavyweight boxing title.

1986: Death of artist and sculptor Henry Moore aged 88. On the same day, Bob Geldof marries TV presenter Paula Yates in Las Vegas.

1989: The separation is announced of Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips after 16 years of marriage.

1991: Uzbekistan declares independence from the Soviet Union.

1993: “Short Cuts” directed by Robert Altman and “Three Colors: Blue” directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski are jointly awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.

1994: The IRA announces a “complete cessation of military operations”.

1997: Diana, Princess of Wales, Dodi Fayed and their driver Henri Paul are killed when their car crashes in a Paris underpass while being pursued by paparazzi.

2002: Jazz vibraphone player Lionel Hampton dies aged 94.

2004: Wayne Rooney moves from Everton to Manchester United. On the same day, Carl Wayne, former singer with The Move dies from cancer.

2005: A stampede on Al-Aaimmah bridge in Baghdad kills 1,199 people. On the same day, Brokeback Mountain directed by Ang Lee and starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger wins the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.

2006: Edvard Munch’s painting The Scream, stolen in 2004, is recovered in a raid by Norwegian police.

2007: Hilly Kristal, founder of legendary New York punk club CBGB dies aged 75 of complications arising from lung cancer.

2012: Entertainer Max Bygraves dies from Alzheimer’s disease at 89.

2013: Broadcaster Sir David Frost dies aged 74 from a heart attack.

2015: President Barack Obama officially re-designates Alaska’s Mt. McKinley as Denali, its native American name.

2016: The Brazilian Senate votes to impeach President Dilma Rousseff, removing her from office.

2019: A gunman kills seven and injures 22 during high speed chase in Odessa, Texas. On the same day, singer-songwriter Ellie Goulding marries art dealer Caspar Jopling at York Minister.

2021: Cristiano Ronaldo is confirmed as a Manchester United player for a second time when his transfer from Juventus is ratified.

BIRTHDAYS: Martin Bell, journalist/politician, 84; Jerry Allison, drummer (The Crickets) 83; Roger Dean, artist/designer, 78; Sir Clive Lloyd, cricketer, 78; Sir Van (Ivan) Morrison, singer-songwriter, 77; Rudolf Schenker,, guitarist (The Scorpions) 74; Richard Gere, actor, 73; Alan Kennedy, footballer 68; Edwin Moses, athlete, 67; Gina Schock, drummer (The Go-Gos), 65; Glenn Tilbrook, guitarist/singer/songwriter (Squeeze) 65; Gerard Love, bassist (Teenage Fanclub), 65; Todd Carty, actor, 59; Debbie Gibson, singer, 52; Pádraig Harrington, golfer, 51; Kirstie Allsopp, TV presenter, 51; Chris Tucker, actor, 51; Sara Ramirez, actress, 47; Lucy Speed, actress, 46; Del Marquis, (Derek Gruen), guitarist (Scissor Sisters) 45; Simon Neil, singer-songwriter/guitarist (Biffy Clyro) 43; (José Manuel) Pepe Reina (Páez), goalkeeper, 40.

Mick Ferris

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