It happened today – this day in history – January 3

1431: Joan of Arc is handed over to Bishop Pierre Cauchon.

1496: Leonardo da Vinci unsuccessfully tests a flying machine.

1521: Martin Luther is excommunicated by Pope Leo X from the Roman Catholic Church for failing to recant parts of his 95 theses which started the Protestant Reformation.

1543: Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, conquistador who conquered Central America and later discovered California, dies of gangrene.

1746: Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Jacobite army leaves Glasgow.

1777: General George Washington’s revolutionary army defeats British forces at Battle of Princeton, New Jersey.

1795: Death of pottery designer Josiah Wedgwood aged 64.

1815: France, the UK and Austria form an alliance against Russia and Prussia.

1842: Charles Dickens and his wife Catherine leave Liverpool for America on board the RMS Britannia.

1883: Birth of Clement Attlee in Putney.

1889: German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche suffers a mental breakdown after supposedly witnessing a horse-flogging.

1892: Birth of author J R R Tolkien in South Africa.

1910: British miners strike for an 8-hour working day.

1911: The Turkestan city of Almaty is destroyed by an earthquake.

1921: Turkey makes peace with Armenia.

1925: Benito Mussolini dissolves the Italian parliament and proclaims himself dictator of Italy, taking the title “Il Duce”.

1926: General Theodorus Pangulos names himself dictator of Greece.

1932: Martial law is declared in Honduras to stop a revolt by dismissed banana workers.

1941: Italy launches a counter offensive in Albania. On the same day, Sergei Rachmaninov’s “Symphonic Dances” premieres in Philadelphia.

1943: Canadian troops arrive in North Africa.

1945: The Allies land on the west coast of Burma, conquering Akyab. On the same day, British prime minister Winston Churchill visits France.

1946: Nazi propagandist William Joyce (Lord Haw Haw) is hanged aged 39.

1956: The top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris is damaged by fire.

1959: Alaska is admitted as the 49th state of the USA.

1960: South Pacific

1960: Album chart:


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  1. South Pacific – Original Soundtrack
  2. Cliff Sings – Cliff Richard
  3. Time To Celebrate – Russ Conway
  4. Songs For Swingin’ Sellers – Peter Sellers
  5. Gigi – Original Soundtrack
  6. The Buddy Holly Story – Buddy Holly and the Crickets
  7. My Fair Lady – Original Broadway Cast
  8. The King And I – Original Soundtrack
  9. The Student Prince/The Great Caruso – Mario Lanza
  10. Cliff – Cliff Richard and the Drifters

1961: The US breaks diplomatic relations with Cuba.

1962: Pope John XXIII excommunicates Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

1963: Singles chart:

  1. The Next Time/Bachelor Boy – Cliff Richard
  2. Return To Sender – Elvis Presley
  3. Lovesick Blues – Frank Ifield
  4. Sun Arise – Rolf Harris
  5. Dance With The Guitar Man – Duane Eddy
  6. Bobby’s Girl – Susan Maughan
  7. Dance On! – The Shadows
  8. It Only Took A Minute – Joe Brown
  9. Telstar – The Tornados
  10. Let’s Dance – Chris Montez

1967: Having received his US Army draft notice, Carl Wilson of the The Beach Boys refuses to be sworn in, saying he was a conscientious objector. On the same day, Jack Ruby, assassin of Lee Harvey Oswald, dies in prison aged 55.

1970: Working on the Get Back sessions at EMI Studios, Abbey Road, three Beatles (Paul, George, and Ringo) record the George Harrison song I Me Mine. John, who had already told the others he was leaving the band, was on holiday. It is the last time any of them record as Beatles until the sessions for Free As A Bird and Real Love in 1994 as part of the Anthology project.

1972: The IRA explodes a bomb in Callender Street, Belfast, injuring over 60 people.

1974: Chelsea fan favourites Peter Osgood and Alan Hudson are suspended and put on the transfer list after an argument with manager Dave Sexton. They never play for the club again.

1976: Trusted Beatles roadie Mal Evans is shot dead in a confrontation with police in a Los Angeles motel apartment.

1977: Former Home Secretary Roy Jenkins announces he is leaving Westminster politics to become Britain’s first President of the European Commission. On the same day, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak incorporate Apple Computer, Inc.

1980: Naturalist and Born Free author Joy Adamson (Friederike Viktoria Gessner) is murdered by her servant.

1987: Aretha Franklin becomes the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

1988: Margaret Thatcher becomes the longest-serving British PM this century.

1990: Leader of Panama, General Manuel Noriega, surrenders to US authorities.

1991: The Foreign Office expels eight Iraqi embassy officials from the UK following threats of attacks on Western targets.

1992: Wigan pays Widnes a world record rugby league transfer fee of £440,000 for winger Martin Offiah.

1993: US President George Bush and Russian President Boris Yeltsin sign the Start II arms reduction treaty in Moscow.

2000: Police say the Cezanne painting Auvers-sur-Oise, taken from the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford on New Year’s Eve, was probably stolen to order. It transpires that it wasn’t insured for theft. On the same day, Luciano Pavarotti agrees to pay the Italian authorities £1.6 million after losing an appeal against tax evasion charges.

2002: Zak Foley bassist with EMF dies aged 31 of a drug overdose. On the same day, the Palestinian freighter Karine A is seized by Israeli forces in the Red Sea.

2009: Israeli ground forces invade Gaza.

2014: Phil Everly dies of complications from lung disease aged 74

2015: Over 2,000 people are killed in north-east Nigeria after Boko Haram militants raze the town of Baga.

2019 The US Congress elects Nancy Pelosi Speaker of the House of Representatives for the second time.

2020: A US drone strike kills top Iranian security and intelligence commander, Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani outside Baghdad airport in Iraq. On the same day, Sir Rod Stewart is charged by police following an altercation at a hotel in Florida on New Year’s Eve where he allegedly punched a security guard.

BIRTHDAYS: Van Dyke Parks, songwriter/producer, 78; Stephen Stills, singer-songwriter/musician, 76; John Paul Jones (Baldwin), bassist/keyboards (Led Zeppelin) 75; Victoria Principal, actress, 71; Mel Gibson, actor/director, 65; Guy Pratt, musician, 59; Gavin Hastings OBE, Scottish rugby player, 59; Michael Schumacher, Formula 1 legend, 52; Thomas Bangalter, musician (Daft Punk) 46; Lee Bowyer, football manager, 44; Jonny Evans, footballer, 33; Florence Pugh, actress, 24; Greta Thunberg, climate activist, 18.