It happened today – this day in history – August 31

1422: King Henry V of England died in Vincennes, France, struck down with dysentery. He was succeeded by his nine-month-old infant son, Henry VI.

1888: Mary Ann “Polly” Nichols, first victim of Jack the Ripper, was found mutilated in Buck’s Row in the East End.

1900: Coca-Cola first went on sale in Britain.

1908: At the age of 60, and after a career spanning 43 years, the legendary WG Grace retired from first-class cricket. He scored 54,896 runs (126 centuries), took 2,879 wickets and held 871 catches.

1936: Elizabeth Cowell, Britain’s first woman TV announcer, made her debut at Alexandra Palace.

1957: Malaya became independent. On this same day in 1962, Trinidad and Tobago in the West Indies also became independent, having been a British possession since 1802.

1962: Chris Bonington and Ian Clough became the first Britons to conquer the north face of the Eiger.

1968: Gary Sobers (now Sir Garfield) of Nottinghamshire became the first cricketer to score six sixes off an over, at Swansea against Glamorgan. The hapless bowler was Malcolm Nash.

1969: Rocky Marciano, American world heavyweight boxing champion from 1952 to 1956, who retired undefeated, was killed in an air crash in Iowa.

1972: American swimmer Mark Spitz won his fifth gold medal at the Munich Olympics.

1997: Diana, Princess of Wales was killed in a car crash in central Paris along with Dodi Fayed.

2012: The German manufacturer of anti-morning sickness drug thalidomide apologised for the thousands of children born without limbs as a result of its use.

ON THIS DAY LAST YEAR: Scientists revealed they had fully mapped out the genetic codes of the golden eagle in a development they believe would help efforts to protect and monitor the species.

BIRTHDAYS: Martin Bell, former broadcaster and MP, 81; Clive Lloyd, former cricketer, 75; Van Morrison, singer, 74; Richard Gere, actor, 70; Edwin Moses, former athlete, 64; Glenn Tilbrook, rock musician (Squeeze), 62; Todd Carty, actor, 56; Debbie Gibson, singer, 49; Padraig Harrington, golfer, 48; Chris Tucker, actor, 48; Andrei Medvedev, former tennis player, 45; Ian Harte, footballer, 42.

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