It happened today – this day in history – August 8

1549: Henry II of France declares war on England and orders the siege of Boulogne.

1609: The Venetian senate examines Galileo’s telescope (NOT a euphemism).

1647: English Parliamentary forces defeat Irish forces at the Battle of Dungan’s Hill.

1758: British troops occupy and plunder Cherbourg.

1786: US Congress unanimously chooses the dollar as the monetary unit for the United States of America. On the same day, Jacques Balmat and Michel Paccard are the first to reach the top of Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Western Europe.

1793: The insurrection of Lyon occurs during the French Revolution.

1794: Joseph Whidbey and George Vancouver lead an expedition to search for the Northwest Passage near Juneau, Alaska.

1827: Prime Minister George Canning dies in office aged 57.

1843: Natal is made a British colony.

1844: Brigham Young is chosen as head of the Mormon Church following the death of Joseph Smith.

1853: The Russian fleet appears at Nagasaki, Japan.

1868: An earthquake destroys Arica, Chile.

1898: Will Kellogg invents Corn Flakes.

1914: Montenegro declares war on Germany.

1918: The Allies launch the Hundred Days Offensive, beginning with the Battle of Amiens where 500 tanks and 10 Allied divisions attacked German lines.

1925: The first national march of the Ku Klux Klan (between 25,000 and 40,000 marchers) in Washington, D.C.

1945: The USSR declares war against Japan.

1949: Bhutan becomes an independent monarchy.

1950: Florence Chadwick swims the English Channel (13:23).

1953: Russia admits is has a hydrogen bomb.

1955: Fidel Castro forms the “26th of July Movement”, a Cuban vanguard revolutionary organization.

1960: Decca Records scraps 25,000 copies of Ray Peterson’s Tell Laura I Lover Her because they feel the song, which recounts the last thoughts of a teenager dying from a car accident, is “too tasteless and vulgar”. A cover version by Ricky Valance, goes to No.1 on the UK chart a month later.

1963: Thieves ambush the Glasgow to Euston mail train at Bucks and steal up to £2million – the biggest raid ever on a British train.

1966: The South African Broadcasting Corporation bans all Beatles records in response to John Lennon’s comment in a newspaper interview months earlier taken out of context about the band being bigger than Jesus.

1968: Race riot in Miami, Florida.

1969: The photo session for the cover of The Beatles album Abbey Road takes place on the crossing outside EMI Studios studios. Photographer Iain McMillan, balances on a step-ladder in the middle of the road and takes just six shots of the band walking across the zebra crossing while a policeman holds up traffic. Then they go back inside to record overdubs for Oh Darling, I Want You (She’s So Heavy) and The End.


1970: Janis Joplin buys a headstone for the grave of her greatest influence, Bessie Smith, at Mont Lawn Cemetery, Philadelphia.

1971: A British soldier is shot dead by the IRA in Belfast.

1973: US Vice President Spiro Agnew says reports he took kickbacks from government contracts in Maryland are “damned lies” and vows not to resign.

1974: In the face of imminent impeachment, Richard Nixon announces he is to step down as president of the United States.

1975: Jazz alto saxophonist Julian “Cannonball” Adderley dies from a stroke aged 46.

1979: Iraqi president Saddam Hussein executes 22 political opponents.

1980: Greater London Council bans The Plasmatics from blowing a car up on stage during their UK live debut at Hammersmith Odeon.

1981: South African Trade Unions resolve to defy apartheid and labour laws.

1985: Death of dancer and silent film star Louise Brooks aged 78.

1986: David Crosby is released from prison after serving three years for drug and weapons possession. His conviction would be overturned by a Texas appeals court in November 1987.

1988: The Duke and Duchess of York announce the birth of their first child, Princess Beatrice. On the same day, Russian troops begin to pull out of Afghanistan after nine years.

1991: Journalist John McCarthy, Britain’s longest-held hostage in Lebanon, is set free by Islamic Jihad after more than five years in captivity. On the same day, the Warsaw radio mast, at one time the tallest construction ever built, collapses.

1992: Metallica’s James Hetfield suffers second and third-degree burns during a pyrotechnics explosion on stage at the Olympic Stadium, Montreal. On the same day, the original US ‘Dream Team’, including Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson, wins the basketball gold at the Barcelona Olympics 117-85 over Croatia.

1999: Singles chart:

  1. When You Say Nothing At All – Ronan Keating
  2. Better Off Alone – Alice Deejay
  3. Living La Vida Loca – Ricky Martin
  4. Rendez-Vu – Basement Jaxx
  5. Guilty Conscience – Eminem ft Dr Dre
  6. If Ya Gettin’ Down – Five
  7. Feel Good – Phats & Small
  8. Wild Wild West – Will Smith
  9. Let Forever Be – The Chemical Brothers
  10. Why Does It Always Rain On Me? – Travis
1999: Shania Twain – Come On Over

Album chart:

  1. By Request – Boyzone
  2. Ricky Martin – Ricky Martin
  3. Come On Over – Shania Twain
  4. The Very Best Of – Elvis Costello
  5. The Man Who – Travis
  6. My Love Is Your Love – Whitney Houston
  7. Gold: Greatest Hits – ABBA
  8. The Party Album – Vengaboys
  9. The Hush – Texas
  10. Very Best Of: The Capitol/Reprise Years – Dean Martin

2001: The divorce of Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman becomes final.

2004: Actress Fay Wray dies aged 96.

2007: The US National Musical Publishers’ Association joined other businesses in seeking to sue YouTube claiming songwriters were not being properly compensated when their music appeared on the site.

2008: The Olympic Games open in Beijing.

2014: The West African Ebola outbreak is categorized as an international concern by the World Health Organisation.

2017: Singer/guitarist Glen Campbell dies aged 81 from Alzheimer’s in Nashville.

2018: Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales, is declared 100% in drought. On the same day, Chelsea sign Kepa Arrizabalaga from Athletico Bilbao for £72 million, a world-record fee for a goalkeeper.

2019: An accident at a Russian nuclear-weapon testing site at the closed city of Sarov kills five scientists in mysterious circumstances.

2020: Simon Cowell breaks his back in an accident while riding an electric bike.

BIRTHDAYS: Dustin Hoffman, actor, 85; Keith Carradine, actor, 73; Liberty DeVitto, drummer (Billy Joel) 72; Phil Parkes, goalkeeper, 72; Louis van Gaal, football manager, 71; Martin Brest, director/screenwriter, 71; Nigel Mansell, racing driver, 68; David Grant, singer/singing teacher, 66; Chris Foreman, guitarist (Madness) 64; Sybil Ruscoe, broadcaster, 62; The Edge (Dave Evans), guitarist.songwriter, (U2) 61; Simon Weston CBE, Falklands veteran, 61; Chris Eubank, boxer, 56; Julian Dicks, footballer, 54; Scott Stapp, singer (Creed) 49; Louis Saha, footballer, 44; Roger Federer, tennis champion, 41; Joel Matip, footballer, 31; Kieffer Moore, footballer, 30; Dani Dyer, TV personality, 26; Shawn Mendes, singer-songwriter , 24.