It happened today – this day in history – February 19

1473: Birth of mathematician and astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus.

1736: Handel’s “Alexander’s Feast” premieres at the Covent Garden Theatre, London.

1819: Explorer William Smith discovers the South Shetland Islands and claims them in the name of King George III.

1878: Thomas Edison is granted a patent for his phonograph.

1900: British troops occupy Hlangwane, Natal.

1910: Old Trafford stages its first match when Manchester United meet Liverpool in a First Division game.

1914: Four-year old Charlotte May Pierstorff is mailed by train from Grangeville, Idaho, to her grandparents’ house 73 miles away.

1915: The British fleet opens fire on the Dardanelles coast.

1920: The Netherlands joins the League of Nations.

1923: Jean Sibelius’ 6th Symphony premieres.

1942: Japanese warplanes attack the Australian city of Darwin. On the same day, President Roosevelt orders the detention and internment of all west-coast Japanese-Americans.

1944: 823 British bombers attack Berlin.

1945: US 5th Fleet launches the invasion of Iwo Jima against the Japanese.

1949: The first Bollingen Prize for poetry is awarded to Ezra Pound.

1952: The French launch an offensive at Hanoi.

1959: Britain, Turkey and Greece sign an agreement granting Cyprus independence.

1960: Singles chart:

  1. Why – Anthony Newley
  2. Voice In The Wilderness – Cliff Richard and the Shadows
  3. Poor Me – Adam Faith
  4. Way Down Yonder In New Orleans – Freddie Cannon
  5. On A Slow Boat To China – Emile Ford and the Checkmates
  6. Pretty Blue Eyes – Craig Douglas
  7. Starry Eyed – Michael Holliday
  8. Running Bear – Johnny Preston
  9. Beyond The Sea – Bobby Darin
  10. Heartaches By The Number – Guy Mitchell

1961: Police battle with supporters of murdered Congolese premier Patrice Lumumba outside the Belgian embassy in London.

1964: Peter Sellers marries Britt Ekland in London.

1965: Working on the Help! album, The Beatles record You’re Going To Lose That Girl in two takes at EMI Studios, Abbey Road..

1968: The High Court awards compensation to 62 children born with thalidomide-induced deformities.

1971: Chat show “Parkinson” debuts on BBC1. His first guest is singer Marion Montgomery

1978: Fifteen Egyptian commandos are killed in a gun battle with Greek Cypriot soldiers at Larnaca airport.


1980: AC/DC singer Bon Scott is found dead in a car parked outside a friend’s flat in East Dulwich

1981: George Harrison is ordered to pay ABKCO Music $587,000 for “subconscious plagiarism” of his song “My Sweet Lord” with Ronnie Mack’s song “He’s So Fine”.

1982: Ozzy Osbourne is arrested in San Antonio, Texas, for urinating on the cenotaph at the Alamo while wearing one of his wife Sharon’s dresses after she had hidden all of his clothes in an effort to stop him from going out.

1985: EastEnders begins on BBC1.

1986: King Hussein of Jordan severs ties with the PLO. On the same day, the USSR launches the Mir space station into orbit.

1994: Director Derek Jarman dies aged 52.

1995: Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee marries Baywatch actress Pamela Anderson on a beach in Mexico.

1996: Icelandic singer Bjork attacks a news reporter as she arrives at Bangkok International Airport.

1997: Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping dies aged 92.

2001: A five-mile exclusion zone is placed around an abattoir near Brentwood after a suspected case of foot-and-mouth disease is detected. The Yellow Advertiser breaks the story exclusively.

2002: NASA’s Mars Odyssey space probe begins to map the surface of Mars using its thermal emission imaging system.

2004: The family of Johnny Cash block an attempt by advertisers to use his hit song Ring of Fire to promote haemorrhoid-relief products. On the same day, Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal is awarded an honorary knighthood in recognition of a “lifetime of service to humanity.”

2006: Gorillaz – Demon Days

2006: Album chart:

  1. Whatever People Say I Am That’s What I’m Not – Arctic Monkeys
  2. Employment – Kaiser Chiefs
  3. Back To Bedlam – James Blunt
  4. Eye To The Telescope – K T Tunstall
  5. Keep On – Will Young
  6. In Between Dreams – Jack Johnson
  7. Demon Days – Gorillaz
  8. X & Y – Coldplay
  9. Breakaway – Kelly Clarrkson
  10. Snap – The Jam

2012: 44 people are killed in a prison brawl in Apocada, Mexico, between two rival drug cartels.

2016: Author Harper Lee dies aged 89.

2018: Nigeria says 110 girls are missing, presumed kidnapped by Boko Haram after attack on school in Dapchi, Yobe state.

2019: Democrat Bernie Sanders announces he is running for President for a second time. On the same day, fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld dies aged 85.

2020: A gunman opens fire in a bar in Hanau, Germany, killing nine people in a racially motivated attack.

2021: In a softening of the ban on Russia from all international sport, the country is allowed to compete under the acronym “ROC” for Russian Olympic Committee.

2022: Gary Brooker, singer/pianist for Procol Harum and co-writer of the hits A Whiter Shade Of Pale, A Salty Dog, Conquistador and Pandora’s Box dies from cancer aged 76.

2023: TV presenter Dickie Davis dies aged 93.

Tony Iommi (Photo: Adam Bielawski)

BIRTHDAYS: Pat Crerand, footballer, 85; Smokey (William) Robinson, singer-songwriter, 84; Pierre Van Den Linden, drummer (Focus) 78; Tony Iommi, guitarist/songwriter (Black Sabbath) 76; Andy Powell, guitarist (Wishbone Ash) 74; Jeff Daniels, actor/musician/playwright, 69; Dave Wakeling, singer/guitarist (The Beat) 67; Ray Winstone, actor, 67; Steve Nieve (Nason), keyboardist (The Attractions/The Imposters), 66; HRH Prince Andrew, 64; Seal (Henry Samuel), singer-songwriter, 61; Kate Radley (Ashcroft), keyboardist, (Spiritualized) 57; Benicio del Toro (Sánchez), actor, 57; Daniel Adair, drummer (Nickelback) 49; David Gandy, model, 44; Beth Ditto (Mary Beth Patterson), singer, 43; David Mazouz, actor, 23. Millie Bobby Brown, actress, 20.