It happened today – this day in history – February 8

1587: Mary, Queen Of Scots is beheaded at Fotheringhay Castle aged 44.

1622: James I disbands the English parliament.

1690: Lord Halifax resigns as Lord Privy Seal.

1725: Peter the Great (Pyotr Alexeyevich Romanov), Tsar of Russia dies aged 52.

1807: The Battle of Eylau ends inconclusively between French and Russian forces. It’s the first time Napoleon hasn’t won a battle.

1809: Austria declares war on France.

1828: Birth of author Jules Verne in Nantes, France.

1855: Hoof-like marks mysteriously appear for over 60km after a snowfall in southern Devon.

1905: A cyclone hits Tahiti and neighbouring islands, killing 10,000 people.

1906: Japanese torpedo boats attack Russian ships near the naval base at Port Arthur, Manchuria, without a declaration of war.

1920: Bolshevik troops capture Odessa, bringing an end to foreign involvement in the resistance against Bolshevik rule.

1932: Mob hitman Vincent “Mad Dog” Coll is murdered aged 23 by the Dutch Schultz gang.

1936: Pandit Jawaharlal succeeds Mahatma Gandhi as chairman of India Congress Party.

1943: The Red Army recaptures Kursk.

1948: The Winter Olympic Games close at St Moritz, Switzerland.

1960: The Queen issues an Order-in-Council, stating that she and her family will be known as the House of Windsor, and her descendants will take the name “Mountbatten-Windsor”.

1962: Eight people are killed in Paris during a demonstration against the independence of Algeria.

1965: President Lyndon B Johnson deploys the first US combat troops to South Vietnam.

1968: Highway patrol officers kill three students and injure 27 others demonstrating at South Carolina State University.

1974: Astronauts Edward Gibson, Gerald Carr and William Pogue return safely to Earth after a record-breaking 85-day stay in space on Skylab.

1978: Crown Prince Saad Abdallah al-Salim Al Sabah becomes Prime Minister of Kuwait.


1981: Singles chart:

  1. Woman – John Lennon
  2. Vienna – Ultravox
  3. Shaddup You Face – Joe Dolce
  4. In The Air Tonight – Phil Collins
  5. I Surrender – Rainbow
  6. Imagine – John Lennon
  7. The Oldest Swinger In Town – Fred Wedlock
  8. Rapture – Blondie
  9. Ant Music – Adam and the Ants
  10. The Return Of The Los Palmas Seven – Madness
1981: John Lennon – Double Fantasy

Album chart:

  1. Double Fantasy – John Lennon
  2. Kings Of The Wild Frontier – Adam and the Ants
  3. Very Best Of – David Bowie
  4. Making Movies – Dire Straits
  5. Vienna – Ultravox
  6. Manilow Magic – Barry Manilow
  7. Dance Craze – Original Soundtrack
  8. Guilty – Barbra Streisand
  9. Imagine – John Lennon
  10. The Jazz Singer – Neil Diamond

1983: Defence minister Ariel Sharon is removed from office in the Israeli government following a tribunal into the 1982 killings of hundreds of people in two refugee camps in Lebanon.

1984: The Winter Olympic Games open in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia.

1990: Singer Del Shannon (Charles Westover) dies of self inflicted gunshot wounds aged 55.

1992: Winter Olympic Games opens in Albertville, France.

1994: Forensic scientists investigate the “suspicious circumstances” of the death of Conservative MP for Eastleigh Stephen Milligan, who was found at his home in Chiswick with a black bin liner over his head, an electrical flex around his neck, an range in his mouth and wearing only stockings and suspenders. On the same day, Oasis were forced to cancel their first foreign tour after being deported from Holland. They were involved in a drunken brawl on a cross-channel ferry resulting in members of the band being arrested and locked in the brig. Also, Kapil Dev sets a world record for Test Cricket wickets with 432.

1998: Tory MP Enoch Powell dies aged 85.

1999: Author Iris Murdoch dies aged 79.

2002: The Winter Olympic Games open in Salt Lake City, Utah.

2005: Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon declare a truce. On the same day, Doobie Brothers drummer Keith Knudsen dies aged 56.

2007: Model Anna Nicole Smith dies aged 39 of an accidental prescription drugs overdose..

2009: Robert Plant and Alison Krauss win the Grammy for best album with their collaboration Raising Sand. Rihanna cancels her performance after being assaulted by her boyfriend Chris Brown. On the same day, Slumdog Millionaire wins the best film award at the BAFTAS.

2012: Fabio Capello resigns as manager of the England football team.

2015: The Ivory Coast wins the Africa Cup of Nations football championship.

2017: Socialite Tara Palmer-Tomkinson dies aged 45.

2018: A Bangladesh court sentences former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia to five years in prison for corruption.

2019: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos accuses The National Enquirer and its owner, American Media Inc, of blackmail over private messages detailing an extramarital affair.

2020: No party wins a majority in the Irish General Election. Sinn Féin wins 37 seats and the popular vote, Fianna Fáil 38 seats, Leo Varadkar’s ruling Fine Gael only 35 seats.

BIRTHDAYS: John Williams, soundtrack composer, 89; Nick Nolte, actor, 80; Brooke Adams, actress, 72; Mary Steenbergen, actress, 68; John Grisham, author, 66; Vince Neil, singer (Moley Crue) 60; Trinny Woodall, TV presenter, 57; Tjinder Singh, singer-songwriter (Cornershop) 53; Guy Man (Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo) musician (Daft Punk) 47; Seth Green, actor, 47; Dave Ferrel, bassist (Linkin Park, 44; Ralf Little, actor, 41; Jeremy Davis, bassist (Paramore) 36; Dani Harmer, actress, 32.