It happened today – this day in history – June 11

1144: Basilica of St Denis is dedicated near Paris, the first fully Gothic church.

1345: Alexios Apokaukos, chief minister of the Byzantine Empire, is lynched by political prisoners.

1429: Start of the Battle of Jargeau in the Hundred Years War.

1509: Henry VIII married first wife Catherine of Aragon, the widow of his brother Arthur.

1572: Birth of playwright Ben Jonson in London.

1685: James Scott, Duke of Monmouth, rebels against James II.

1690: William III departs to Ireland.

1727: George I dies from a stroke aged 67.

1770: Captain James Cook discovers the Great Barrier Reef off Australia.

1776: Continental Congress creates a committee (Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston) to draft a Declaration of Independence. On the same day, landscape painter John Constable is born on East Bergholt, Suffolk.

1788: Explorer Gerasim Izmailov reaches Alaska.

1837: A riot occurs in Boston, fuelled by ethnic tensions between English-Americans and Irish-Americans.

1864: The Battle of Trevilian Station, the bloodiest and largest all-cavalry battle of the American Civil War, begins in Louisa County, Virginia.

1898: The first US Marines land at Guantanamo, Cuba during the Spanish-American War.

1901: The Cook Islands are annexed and proclaimed part of New Zealand.

1903: Harry Vardon wins his fourth British Open golf title at Prestwick. On the same day, King Alexander I and Queen Draga of Serbia are assassinated by a group of army officers as part of a coup.

1913: Grand Vizir Mahmud Shevket Pasha is assassinated, resulting in continuing Young Turk terrorism.

1917: King Alexander assumes the throne of Greece after his father Constantine I abdicates under pressure by allied armies occupying Athens.

1921: Women are given the vote in Brazil.

1925: Herbert Chapman becomes manager of Arsenal.

1935: Inventor Edwin Armstrong gives the first public demonstration of FM broadcasting in New Jersey.

1938: American Don Budge beats Roderich Menzel of Czechoslovakia 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 for the French men’s singles tennis title. Simonne Mathieu beats Nelly Adamson 6-0, 6-3 for the women’s singles title.

1940: British forces bomb Genoa and Turin in Italy. On the same day, the Italian Air Force bombs Malta.

1942: The German army is defeated at El-Alamein, North Africa.

1949: Czech athlete Emile Zatopek runs world record 10,000m (29:28.2).

1950: 16 months after being severely injured in an auto accident, Ben Hogan wins the US Open at Merion, Pennsylvania.

1951: Mozambique becomes an oversea province of Portugal.

1954: Singles chart:

  1. Secret Love – Doris Day
  2. Such A Night – Johnnie Ray
  3. Friends And Neighbours – Billy Cotton and his Band
  4. The Happy Wanderer – The Obernkirchen Children’s Choir
  5. Someone Else’s Roses – Joan Regan
  6. (Oh Baby Mine) I Get So Lonely – The Four Knights
  7. The Kid’s Last Fight – Frankie Laine
  8. The Gang That Sang Heart Of My Heart – Max Bygraves
  9. Changing Partners – Kay Starr
  10. Wanted – Perry Como

1955: Seventy-seven people are killed and many others injured when a racing car spins off the track and into the crowd during the Le Mans 24-hour face.

1959: The Hovercraft, invented by Christopher Cockerell, is officially launched in Southampton.


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1960: Drummer Tommy Moore made the fateful decision to quit The Silver Beetles and return to his job of driving a forklift at Garston bottle works.

1961: Elvis Presley – G.I. Blues

1961: Album chart:

  1. G.I. Blues – Elvis Presley
  2. South Pacific – Original Soundtrack
  3. Listen To Cliff – Cliff Richard
  4. His Hand In Mine – Elvis Presley
  5. The Black And White Minstrel Show – The George Mitchell Singers
  6. Best Of Barber And Bilk Vol 1 – Chris Barber and Acker Bilk
  7. Seven Brides For Seven Brothers – Original Soundtrack
  8. Oliver – Original London Cast
  9. Nice N Easy – Frank Sinatra
  10. The Music Man – Original London Casts

1962: Brothers John and Clarence Anglin and fellow inmate Frank Morris escape from Alcatraz prison off San Francisco, the only ones to do so. They were never found and opinion is divided on whether or not they drowned.

1963: Governor George Wallace tries to prevent blacks from registering at the University of Alabama. President Kennedy says segregation is morally wrong and that it is “time to act”. On the same day, Buddhist monk Thích Quảng Đức immolates himself at a Saigon intersection, creating one of the Vietnam War’s most iconic images.

1967: A J Foyt and Dan Gurney drive a Ford to victory in Le Mans. On the same day, a race riot breaks out in Tampa, Florida.

1971: The US and Japan sign an accord to return Okinawa to Japan 26 years after the end f the Second World War.

1972: A gun battle between Loyalist and Republican paramilitaries breaks out in the Oldpark area of Belfast.

1975: The first oil is pumped from the North Sea.

1976: The trial of 13 mercenaries – 10 of them British – begins in Angola with the public in the dark over the exact charges.

1979: Chuck Berry is sentenced to four months in prison after pleading guilty to income tax evasion. On the same day, actor John Wayne dies frpm stomach cancer aged 72.

1982: Larry Holmes TKOs Gerry Cooney in Round 13 for the heavyweight boxing title. On the same day, Pope John Paul II visits Argentina.

1985: Russian space probe Vega 1 lands on Venus.

1987: Margaret Thatcher becomes the first British Prime Minister in 160 years to win a third consecutive term as the Tories win the general election.

1989: Michael Chang wins the French Open, beating Stefan Edberg of Sweden 6-1, 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2; at 17 years, 110 days, making him the youngest winner of a grand slam singles title.

1990: Former US national security adviser John M Poindexter is sentenced to six months in prison for making false statements to Congress.

1998: Novelist Catherine Cookson dies aged 91.

1999: Star Trek actor DeForest Kelley dies of stomach cancer aged 79.

2001: Timothy McVeigh is executed for his role in the Oklahoma City bombing aged 33.

2002: Sir Paul McCartney marries Heather Mills at St Salvator Church, Ireland.

2003: Eighties pop star Adam Ant is arrested after going berserk and stripping off in a London cafe.

2005:Led Zeppelin guitarist/producer Jimmy Page is awarded an OBE in the Queen’s birthday honours list.

2006: Jersey Boys & The History Boys win at the Tony Awards. On the same day, Rafa Nadal wins his second straight French Open singles title, beating Roger Federer 1-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-6.

2009: The World Health Organization declares H1N1 swine flu to be a global pandemic, the first such incident in over 40 years.

2015: Jazz saxophonist Ornette Coleman dies aged 85.

2016: Singer Christina Grimmie, who had competed on the US TV programme The Voice, died after being shot in Florida while she was signing autographs after a concert.

2017: Rafa Nadal beats Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland 6–2, 6–3, 6–1 to become the first man to win the French Open men’s single title 10 times. On the same day, Japan passes a law allowing Emperor Akihito to abdicate.

2018: Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez accepts migrant rescue ship Aquarius with 629 people on board after Italy refuses it.

BIRTHDAYS: Bernard Purdie, drummer, 82; Frank Beard, drummer (ZZ Top) 72; Hugh (James) Laurie, actor/musician, 62; Peter Dinklage, actor, 52; Steven Drozd, musician (The Flaming Lips) 52; Jane Goldman (Ross), screenwriter, 51; Joshus Jackson, actor, 43; Shia LaBoeuf, actor, 35; Dappy (Costadinos Contostavlos) singer/rapper (N-Dubz) 34.