It happened today – on 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 match.

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 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.

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: 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.


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 on 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.

1984: Singles chart:

  1. Relax – Frankie Goes To Hollywood
  2. 99 Red Balloons – Nena
  3. Doctor Doctor – The Thompson Twins
  4. Radio Ga Ga – Queen
  5. My Every Changing Moods – The Style Council
  6. Break My Stride – Matthew Wilder
  7. Somebody’s Watching Me – Rockwell
  8. Girls Just Want To Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper
  9. Wouldn’t It Be Good – Nik Kershaw
  10. Joanna – Kool and the Gang
1984: Eurythmics – Touch

Album chart:

  1. Into The Gap – The Thompson Twins
  2. Sparkle In The Rain – Simple Minds
  3. An Innocent Man – Billy Joel
  4. Thriller – Michael Jackson
  5. Touch – Eurythmics
  6. Declaration – The Alarm
  7. The Crossing – Big Country
  8. Can’t Slow Down – Lionel Richie
  9. Sometime When We Touch – Various Artists
  10. No Parlez – Paul Young

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 abbatoir 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.”

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.

BIRTHDAYS: Smokey (William) Robinson, singer-songwriter, 81; Pierre Van Den Linden, drummer (Focus) 75; Tony Iommi, guitarist/songwriter (Black Sabbath) 73; Andy Powell, guitarist (Wishbone Ash) 71; Jeff Daniels, actor/musician/playwright, 66; Dave Wakeling, singer/guitarist (The Beat) 64; Ray Winstone, actor, 64; Steve Nieve (Nason), keyboardist, 63; HRH Prince Andrew, 61; Seal (Henry Samuel), singer-songwriter, 58; Kate Radley (Ashcroft), keyboardist, (Spiritualized) 54; Benicio del Toro (Sánchez), actor, 54; Daniel Adair, drummer (Nickelback) 46; David Gandy, model, 41; Beth Ditto (Mary Beth Patterson), singer, 40; David Mazouz, actor, 20. Millie Bobbie Brown, actress, 17.

Mick Ferris

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