It happened today – this day in history – June 17

1239: Birth of Edward I in London.

1462: Vlad Dracula III (the Impaler) attempts to assassinate Mehmed II, forcing him to retreat from Wallachia.

1497: Forces under Henry VII soundly defeat Cornish rebels at the Battle of Deptford Bridge.

1579: Explorer Francis Drake lands on the coast of California at Drakes Bay, naming it “New Albion”.

1855: Heavy French/British bombing of Sebastopol, Crimea.

1882: Composer Igor Stravinsky is born in Oranienbaum, Russia.

1885: The Statue of Liberty arrives in New York City aboard French ship `Isere’.

1894: The first US polio epidemic breaks out in Rutland, Vermont.

1902: Norwich City FC is formed.

1916: US troops under General Pershing march into Mexico.

1938: Japan declares war on China.

1939: Last public guillotining in France. Serial killer and career criminal Eugene Weidmann is executed in Versailles.

1940: The USSR occupies Estonia.

1944: Iceland dissolves its union with Denmark and declares itself a republic.

1950: The first kidney transplant is carried out in Chicago.

1954: Ten days after recording the iconic lead guitar part on Rock Around The Clock with Bill Haley and his Comets, Danny Cedrone dies from a broken neck after falling downstairs. On the same day, Rocky Marciano defeats Ezzard Charles by a unanimous points decision in his third defence of the world heavyweight boxing title.

1955: Colonel Tom Parker takes over the handling of Elvis Presley’s career from previous manager Bob Neal.

1956: Golda Meir becomes Israel’s foreign minister.

1959: Eamon de Valera is elected President of Ireland.

1961: Film star Jeff Chandler [Ira Grossel], dies as a result of medical malpractice aged 42.

1962: Jack Nicklaus wins his first major title, the US Open, in an 18th hole play-off with Arnold Palmer. On the same day, Brazil beat Czechoslovakia, 3-1 to win the World Cup in Santiago, Chile.

1964: The first purpose-built floating trade fair docks at Tilbury with 22,000 samples of Japanese goods on board.

1965: Working on the Help! Album at EMI Studios in Abbey Road, Paul McCartney completes work on the song Yesterday with the overdubbing of an additional vocal track and a string quartet. The band go on to record the Buck Owens song Act Narurally with Ringo on vocals and then Wait in just four takes, the latter being held back and eventually appearing on the following album Rubber Soul.

1966: Peter Green replaces Eric Clapton in John Mayall’s Bluebreakers.

1969: The show “Oh! Calcutta!” opens in New York.


1970: Detectives investigating the disappearance of two children discover bodies in a shallow grave in Waltham Abbey. On the same day, Edwin Land patents the Polaroid camera.

1972: Chilean President Salvador Allende forms a new socialist government. On the same day, five men are arrested after trying to bug the Democratic National Committee office in the Watergate Complex in Washington.

1973: Dolly Parton records her song I Will Always Love You in RCA’s Studio “B” in Nashville,

1974: An IRA bomb explodes at the Houses of Parliament causing extensive damage and injuring 11 people.

1976: Indonesia annexes Portuguese East Timor.

1977: Wimbledon are elected to the Football League in place of Workington.

1978: The Provisional IRA kill an RUC officer and kidnap another near Crossmaglen, County Armagh.

1979: Singles chart:

  1. Ring My Bell – Anita Ward
  2. Are Friends Electric – Tubeway Army
  3. Dance Away – Roxy Music
  4. Sunday Girl – Blondie
  5. Boogie Wondrland – Earth Wind and Fire with The Emotions
  6. Up The Junction – Squeeze
  7. Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now – McFadden and Whitehead
  8. The Lone Ranger – Quantum Jump
  9. We Are Family – Sister Sledge
  10. Theme From The Deerhunter (Cavatina) – The Shadows
1979: ABBA – Voulez Vous

Album chart:

  1. Discovery – ELO
  2. Voulez Vous – ABBA
  3. Parallel Lines – Blondie
  4. Last The Whole Night Long – James Last
  5. Lodger – David Bowie
  6. Communique – Dire Straits
  7. Do It Yourself – Ian Dury and the Blockhads
  8. This Is It – Various Artists
  9. Sky – Sky
  10. Manifesto – Roxy Music

1980: The locations for the first US nuclear missiles to be stored on British soil are revealed by the government as RAF Greenham Common, Berks, and the disused RAF Molesworth in Cambs.

1982: General Leopoldo Galtieri resigns after leading Argentina into the unuccessful Falklands conflict.

1990: Hale Irwin wins his third US Open golf title.

1991: South Africa abolishes the last of its apartheid laws. On the same day, Payne Stewart wins a Monday play-off of the US Open with 1987 champion Scott Simpson.

1994: LA police chase former American footballer and actor O J Simpson in his Ford Bronco after he fails to turn himself in on murder charges relating to his ex wife Nicole and her friend Ron Goldman.

1996: The 15th Amendment to the Irish Constitution, which removes the prohibition on divorce, is signed into law following a vote the previous year.

2001: The leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, Cardinal Thomas Winning, dies suddenly at his home.

2007: Ángel Cabrera wins the US Open golf tournament.

2008: Hollywood actress and dancer Cyd Charisse (Tula Finklea), dies aged 86.

2014: Actress Patsy Byrne (nanny in Blackadder II) dies aged 80.

2015: Nine people are shot and killed inside Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, by a 21 year old gunman.

2017: Actor Bill Cosby’s trial for aggravated indecent assault is declared a mistrial after jurors fail to reach a verdict.

2019: Former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi dies after collapsing during a court appearance in Cairo. On the same day, Gloria Vanderbilt, American fashion designer, artist, heiress and socialite, dies at 95.

2020: Snooker star Willie Thorne dies from leukaemia aged 66.

2021: US President Joe Biden signs into law the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act making June 19 a federal holiday commemorating emancipation.

Venus Williams (Photo: si.robi)

BIRTHDAYS: Peggy Seeger, folk singer, 89; Ken Loach, director/screenwriter, 88; Chris Spedding (Peter Robinson), guitarist, 80; Ken Livingstone, politician, 79; Barry Manilow (Pincus), singer-songwriter, 78; Guy Evans, drummer (Van der Graaf Generator) 77; Jello Biafra (Eric Boucher, singer-songwriter (The Dead Kennedys) 66; Bobby Farrelly, director/screenwriter, 66; Thomas Haden Church (McMillen), actor/screenwriter, 64; Michael Monroe (Matti Fagerholm), singer (Hanoi Rocks), 62; Greg Kinnear, actor, 61; Jason Patric, actor, 58; Venus Williams, tennis champion, 44; Jodie Whittaker, actor, 42; Lee Ryan, singer, (Blue) 41; Kendrick Lamar, rapper, 37; Rebecca Breeds, actress, 37; Jordan Henderson, footballer, 34.