It happened today – this day in history – July 31

54BC: Aurelia Cotta, mother of Julius Caesar, dies at 66.

30BC: Marc Antony achieves a minor victory over Octavian at the Battle of Alexandria, but most of his army subsequently deserts, leading to Octavian’s invasion of Egypt.

1423: The French army is defeated by the English on the banks of the river Yonne in Burgundy at the Battle of Cravant during the Hundred Years War.

1498: Christopher Columbus discovers the island of Trinidad.

1620: Pilgrim Fathers depart Leiden, Netherlands for England on their way to America.

1658: Aurangzeb appoints himself Mongol emperor.

1703: Author Daniel Defoe is placed in a pillory for the crime of seditious libel after publishing a politically satirical pamphlet, but is pelted with flowers.

1737: Prince Frederick of Wales escapes English court.

1786: “Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish dialect” by Robert Burns is published.

1856: Christchurch, New Zealand, is chartered as a city.

1875: Former US President Andrew Johnson dies from a stroke aged 66.

1886: Death of Hungarian composer Franz Listz aged 74.

1912: The US government prohibits movies and photos of prize fights.

1914: Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany threatens war unless Russia demobilises.

1917: The Battle of Passchendaele begins

1919: The Weimar Constitution establishing the German Republic is adopted.

1922: General strike in Italy against fascist violence.

1925: The Unemployment Insurance Act is passed in Britain.

1932: André Leducq of France wins the Tour de France.

1940: Whitey Krakow, American gangster and hitman (Murder Inc), is murdered by “Bugsy” Siegel.

1945: Pierre Laval fugitive former leader of Vichy France, surrenders to Allied soldiers in Austria.

1948: American sprinter Harrison Dillard runs an Olympic record 10.3s to win the 100m gold medal at the London Olympics.

1954: First ascent of K2, by an Italian expedition led by Ardito Desio.

1958: Anti-Chinese uprising in Tibet.

1959: Singles chart:

  1. Living Doll – Cliff Richard & The Shadows
  2. Dream Lover – Bobby Darin
  3. Battle of New Orleans – Lonnie Donegan
  4. A Teenager In Love – Marty Wilde
  5. A Big Hunk O’ Love – Elvis Presley
  6. Lipstick On Your Collar – Connie Francis
  7. Roulette – Russ Conway
  8. Personality – Anthony Newley
  9. Peter Gunn – Duane Eddy
  10. It’s Late – Ricky Nelson

1962: Former fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley is assaulted at a rally in London’s east end.

1964: Country singer Jim Reeves was killed when ta single engine aircraft flying from Arkansas to Nashville crashed in thick fog.

1965: Cigarette advertising is banned on British TV.

1967: An appeal court in London gave Mick Jagger a conditional discharge and quashed Keith Richard’s conviction for permitting his house to be used for the purpose of smoking cannabis resin.

1968: Working at Trident studios in London (which had 8-track facility as opposed to Abbey Road’s 4-track machines) The Beatles recorded four takes of a new Paul McCartney song – “Hey Jude”.

1969: Elvis Presley kicked off a four week run at the Las Vegas International Hotel, his first live show since 1961. On the same day, Mariner 6 makes its closest approach to Mars and the National Guard mobilizes in racial disturbances in Baton Rouge, Lousiana.

1970: The last day of the officially sanctioned rum ration in the Royal Navy after 230 years. On the same day, a Catholic civilian, is shot dead by the British Army during a riot in the New Lodge Road area of Belfast.

1971: A security guard was stabbed to death during a concert by The Who at Forest Hill Stadium, New York. On the same day, Apollo 15 astronauts David Scott and James Irwin take a 6½ hour ride on the Moon in the new lunar rover.

1972: The British Army use 12,000 soldiers supported by tanks and bulldozers to re-take the no-go areas controlled by the Provisional IRA. On the same day, nine civilians are killed when three car bombs explode in Claudy, Co Londonderry.

1973: Loyalists disrupt the new Northern Ireland Assembly, the first elected body since the British imposed direct rule in March. On the same day, a Delta Airlines DC-9 crashes in fog at Logan Airport, Boston, killing all but one of 89 aboard. The lone survivor dies five months later.

1975: The UVF shoot dead three members of an Irish showband at Buskhill, County Down.

1980: During an Eagles concert concert at Long Beach, California, tempers boiled over between Glen Frey and Don Felder, who spent the entire show describing to each other the beating each planned to administer backstage. “Only three more songs until I kick your ass, pal,” Frey told Felder. On the same day, Jon Phillips of The Mamas and Papas was apprehended by FBI narcotics agents for possession of cocaine.

1984: The US men’s gymnastics team score emotional upset win over world champion Chinese team in the combined event to take the gold medal at the Los Angeles Olympics.

1987: Attorney General Sir Patrick Mayhew launches legal proceedings against the Sunday Telegraph after it published three articles repeating details from the banned book “Spycatcher” by former assistant director of MI5, Peter Wright.

1988: Album chart:

  1. Now That’s What I Call Music 12 – Various Artists
  2. Hits 8 – Various Artists
  3. Tracy Chapman – Tracy Chapman
  4. Bad – Michael Jackson
  5. Kylie – Kylie Minogue
  6. Idol Songs: 11 Of The Best – Billy Idol
  7. Push – Bros
  8. Dirty Dancing – Original Soundtrack
  9. The First Of A Million Kisses – Fairground Attraction
  10. Tango In The Night – Fleetwood Mac
1988: Bros

1990: Bosnia-Hercegovina declares independence.

1991: US President George Bush and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev sign the Start Treaty to reduce stockpiles of nuclear warheads by about a third.

1993: Inkatha-arm forces killed 49 ANC-followers in Johannesburg.

1994: Aaliyah and R. Kelly secretly married in Illinois. As she was only 15 the marriage was annulled. On the same day, Russian pole vaulter Sergei Bubka breaks his 35th world record (6.14m).

1998: The British Government announces a total ban on landmines.

1999: NASA intentionally crashes the Lunar Prospector into the Moon, ending its mission to detect frozen water on the moon’s surface.

2001: BBC producer John Walters, who worked with John Peel and played trumpet with the Alan Price Set in the 1960s, died aged 63.

2006: Fidel Castro temporarily hands over power to brother Raul.

2007: The presence of the British Army in Northern Ireland, and longest-running British Army operation ever, comes to an end.

2009: Former England football manager Sir Bobby Robson, dies of lung cancer aged 76.

2012: A second power grid failure in India in two days leaves 670 million people without power. On the same day, the Queen’s granddaughter, Zara Phillips wins a silver medal as part of the GB Olympic Equestrian team and Michael Phelps becomes the greatest medal winner in Olympic history as part of the winning American 4 x 200m freestyle relay team. Also, author Gore Vidal dies of pneumonia aged 86.

2014: Meceo McEaddy was sentenced to between five and 10 years in prison for stealing millions of dollars from concert promoters by posing as a booking agent for Lady Gaga, Rihanna and others.

2015: Morrissey claimed he was sexually assaulted by a security officer at San Francisco International Airport, who he said “groped” him. An official spokesman for the Transport Security Administration (TSA) said security camera footage confirmed that nothing out of the ordinary had occurred.

2017: Anthony Scaramucci is removed as White House communications director after less than two weeks. On the same day, legendary French actress, Jeanne Moreau, dies aged 89.

2018: Facebook discloses and removes Russian-linked network of sites attempting to interfere in American politics.

2019: Russian President Vladimir Putin orders the Russian army to help put out huge wildfires in Siberia covering three million hectares (7.4 million acres) after 700,000 people sign petition. On the same day, US officials announce Osama bin Laden’s son and potential successor Hamza has been killed in US air strikes in Pakistan.

BIRTHDAYS: Lynne Reid Banks, author, 91; Geraldine Chaplin, actress, 76; Evonne Goolagong Cawley, tennis champion, 69; Michael Biehn, actor, 64; Daniel Ash, guitarist/songwriter (Bauhaus) 63; Bill Berry, drummer/songwriter (REM) 62; Stanley Jordan, jazz guitarist, 61; Wesley Snipes, actor, 58; Fatboy Slim (Norman Cook), DJ/musician, 57; Jim Corr, musician/songwriter, (The Corrs) 56; J K (Joanne) Rowling, writer, 55; Dean Cain, actor, 54; Emilia Fox, actress, 46; Paulo Wanchope, Costa Rican footballer, 44; Will Champion, drummer (Coldplay) 42; Zac Brown, singer-songwriter, 42; M. Shadows (Matthew Sanders) singer-songwriter (Avenged Sevenfold) 39.

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Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]