It happened today – this day in history – March 24

1401: Damacus is sacked by Timur.

1603: Scottish King James VI, son of Mary Queen of Scots, becomes King James I of England in succession to Elizabeth I, joining the English and Scottish crowns. On the same day, Tokugawa Ieyasu is granted the title of shogun, officially establishing the Tokugawa Shogunate which would rule Japan until 1867.

1801: Aleksandr Pavlovich Romanov becomes Tsar Alexander I of Russia.

1824: First performance of Beethoven’s “Missa Solemnis” in St. Petersburg.

1832: Mormon leader Joseph Smith is beaten, tarred & feathered in Ohio.

1874: Birth of Harry Houdini (Erich Weiss) in Budapest.

1877: The University Boat Race between Oxford & Cambridge ends in a dead heat. On the same day, Wanderers beat Oxford University, 2–1 in the FA Cup Final at Kennington Oval.

1882: German scientist Robert Koch discovers the tubercle bacillus which causes tuberculosis. On the same day, Lord Manners on 10/1 shot Seaman wins the Grand National in heavy snow and freezing conditions.

1883: The first telephone call between New York & Chicago.

1905: Death of author Jules Verne aged 77.

1906: A census of the British Empire shows Great Britain rules one fifth of the world.

1921: Comedian Oliver Hardy marries actress Myrtle Reeves.

1924: First performance of Jean Sibelius’ 7th Symphony in C at the Konsertföreningenin in Stockholm.

1942: The US government begins moving native-born citizens with Japanese ancestry into detention centres under Executive Order 9066, with intention of preventing home-grown espionage.

1944: In occupied Rome, Nazis execute more than 300 civilians.

1945: In the largest one-day airborne operation of all time, British, US & Canadian paratroopers land east of the Rhine in Northern Germany.

1949: Hamlet, directed and starring Laurence Olivier, wins the Oscar for best picture at the Academy Awards.

1953: Queen Mary, consort of George V and grandmother of Queen Elizabeth II, dies aged 85 after a long illness.

1955: British Army patrols withdraw from Belfast after 20 years.

1956: Wales beats France, 5-3 at the National Stadium, Cardiff to clinch their 13th Five Nations Rugby Championship. On the same day, the Grand National, which is best remembered for the Queen Mother’s horse Devon Loch’s inexplicable fall with Dick Francis riding on the final straight, just 40 yards from certain victory; Dave Dick wins aboard E.S.B.

1958: At 6.35am, Elvis Presley reports to the Memphis draft board. From there Elvis and 12 other recruits are taken by bus to Kennedy Veterans Memorial Hospital where the singer is assigned army serial number 53310761.

1962: In a welterweight boxing title fight between Benny Paret and Emile Griffith, Paret is knocked out in the 13th round. He dies 10 days later. First use of television slow motion replay.

1965: Lunar probe Ranger 9 beams live pictures of the Moon to ordinary Americans as it hurtles down to crash on the surface. On the same day, The Beatles continue filming their second movie Help! at Twickenham Studios.

1972: Britain imposes direct rule over Northern Ireland.

1975: Muhammad Ali TKOs Chuck Wepner in Round 15 for the heavyweight boxing title.


1976: Argentine President Isabel Martínez de Perón is deposed in a military coup. On the same day, Field Marshall Montgomery, Viscount Alamein, dies aged 88.

1978: Violent seas split the wreck of the super tanker Amoco Cadiz in two, destroying hopes of salvaging any remaining oil.

1981: Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs is rescued by Barbados police following his kidnapping from a bar in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, six days earlier.

1985: Third straight WTA Tour Championship for tennis legend Martina Navratilova as she defeats Helena Sukova at Madison Square Garden.

1986: Jimmy Connors is suspended for 10 weeks and fined $20,000 for storming off the court after defaulting against Ivan Lendl at Boca Raton, Florida in February.

1989: Oil tanker, the Exxon Valdez, runs aground off the Alaskan coast, releasing 11.3million gallons of crude oil into the sea.

1991: Singles chart:

  1. The One And Only – Chesney Hawkes
  2. The Stonk – Hale & Pace and The Stonkers
  3. Rhythm Of My Heart – Rod Stewart
  4. Where The Streets Have No Name EP = Pet Shop Boys
  5. Joyride – Roxette
  6. Let There Be Love – Simple Minds
  7. Sit Down – James
  8. It’s Too Late – Quartz ft Dina Carrroll
  9. Should I Stay Or Should I Go – The Clash
  10. Secret Love – The Bee Gees
1991: REM – Out Of Time

Album chart:

  1. Greatest Hits – Eurythmics
  2. Out Of Time – REM
  3. The Complete Picture: The Very Best Of – Deborah Harry and Blondie
  4. Auberge – Chris Rea
  5. Inspector Morse – Barrington Pheloung
  6. Spartacus – The Farm
  7. Listen Without Prejudice Vol 1 – George Michael
  8. The Immaculate Collection – Madonna
  9. The Very Best Of – Joan Armatrading
  10. Doubt – Jesus Jones

1992: Punch, Britain’s oldest satirical magazine, announces it is to close.

1997: Harold Melvin, leader of Philly soul group Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, dies aged 57.

1998: Singer Mark Morrison is jailed for a year after trying to con his way out of doing community service. He sent his minder Gabriel Mafereka, who wore sunglasses and hid his hair under a hat so he looked like the star.

1999: In the Kosovo war, NATO commences air bombardment against Yugoslavia, marking the first time NATO has attacked a sovereign country. On the same day, 39 people die when a transport truck carrying flour and margarine catches fire in the Mont Blanc Tunnel.

2002: Halle Berry becomes the first woman of colour to win the best actress Oscar for Monster’s Ball at the Academy Awards.

2003: The Arab League votes 21-1 in favour of a resolution demanding the immediate and unconditional removal of US and British forces from Iraq.

2008: Bhutan officially becomes a democracy, with its first ever general election. On the same day, actor Richard Widmark dies aged 93.

2009: Motown house drummer Uriel Jones, dies aged 74 after suffering complications from a heart attack. He played on many of the label’s hits including I Heard It Through The Grapevine.

2012: Death of darts champion Jockey Wilson aged 62.

2013: Pictures of The Beatles’ 1965 Shea Stadium concert, taken by an amateur photographer who bluffed his way backstage, sell for £30,000 at auction. On the same day, Scotland defeats Sweden to win the World Women’s Curling Championship.

2014: Ukraine withdraws its forces from Crimea.

2016: Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadžić is found guilty of genocide during 1995 Srebrenica massacre, sentenced to 40 years. On the same day, footballer Adam Johnson is sentenced to six years in prison for sexual activity with a schoolgirl and Dutch football legend Johan Cruyff dies aged 68.

2018: Australian cricketer Cameron Bancroft is caught on camera rubbing the match ball with an object during th third Test against South Africa in Cape Town, resulting in ball tampering scandal.

2019: An Investigation headed by Special Council Robert S. Mueller finds no evidence that President Donald Trump colluded with Russia in the 2016 election.

2020: The Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics are postponed for a year due to the coronaviru pandemic. On the same day, Bill Rieflin, keyboards player and one of King Crimson’s trio of drummers since 2013, dies aged 59 after suffering from colon cancer.

2023: Supercell storm produces powerful EF-4 tornado in the Mississippi Delta, killing 26 people.

Mary Berry

BIRTHDAYS: Mary Berry, TV personality, 89; Carol Kaye, session musician, 89; Lee Oskar, harmonica player (War), 78; Lord Alan Sugar, entrepreneur/TV personality, 77; Archie Gemmill, footballer, 77; Nick Lowe, singer-songwriter/producer, 75; Dougie Thompson, bassist (Supertramp) 73; Tommy Hilfiger, fashion designer, 73; Grayson Perry, artist, 64; Nena (Gabriele Kerner), singer-songwriter, 64; Kelly LeBrock, actress, 64; Lara Flynn Boyle, actress, 54; Sharon Corr, violinist/vocalist (The Corrs), 54; Jim Parsons, actor, 51; Alyson Hannigan, actress, 50; Jessica Chastain, actress, 47; Lake Bell, actress, 45; Graeme Swan, cricketer, 45; Finn (Terence) Jones, actor, 36.