It happened today – this day in history – November 24

1434: The River Thames freezes over in London.

1542: The English beat Scottish King James V at the Battle of Solway Moss.

1642: Abel Tasman discovers Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania).

1655: Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell bans Anglicans.

1715: The River Thames freezes over in London (again).

1759: Mt Vesuvius erupts in Italy.

1849: Playwright and children’s author Frances Hodgson Burnett is born in Manchester.

1859: Charles Darwin publishes “On the Origin of Species”, radically changing the view of evolution.

1868: Birth of ragtime composer Scott Joplin in Texas.

1874: Joseph Glidden patents barbed wire.

1912: Conflict in the Balkans grows into an acute international crisis with major powers supporting either Austria or Serbia.

1914: Benito Mussolini leaves Italy’s socialist party.

1917: Nine police officers and one civilian are killed when a bomb explodes at the Milwaukee police headquarters building in Wisconsin.

1922: The Italian parliament gives Benito Mussolini dictatorial powers “for one year”.

1930: Ruth Nichols sets women’s transcontinental air flight record (Mineola, New York to California), in a Lockheed-Vega.

1936: Noel Coward’s “Tonight at 8:30” premieres in New York.

1940: The Luftwaffe bombs Bristol city centre, killing 200 people.

1941: The Indian infantry attacks German tanks at Sidi Omar.

1944: US bombers based on Saipan begin the first attack on Tokyo.

1947: John Steinbeck’s novel “Pearl” is published. On the same day, the US House of Representatives Committee on Un-American Activities finds the “Hollywood 10” producers, directors and screenwriters in contempt because of their refusal to reveal whether they are communists.

1949: The British steel & iron industry is nationalised.

1951: Car manufacturers Austin and Morris Motors merge.

1954: France sends 20,000 soldiers to Algeria.

1960: Singles chart:

  1. It’s Now Or Never – Elvis Presley
  2. As Long As He Needs Me – Shirley Bassey
  3. My Heart Has A Mind Of Its Own – Connie Francis
  4. Rocking Goose – Johnny and the Hurricanes
  5. Dreamin’ – Johnny Burnette
  6. Save The Last Dance For Me – The Drifters
  7. Man Of Mytery – The Shadows
  8. Goodness Gracious Me – Peter Sellers and Sophia Loren
  9. Only The Lonely – Roy Orbison
  10. My Love For You – Johnny Mathis

1963: Lee Harvey Oswald, the man accused of assassinating President John F Kennedy is himself shot dead by nightclub owner and mob contact Jack Ruby on live TV as he is being moved from a Dallas police station.


1963: The Beatles – With The Beatles

Album chart:

  1. Please Please Me – The Beatles
  2. With The Beatles – The Beatles
  3. Meet The Searchers – The Searchers
  4. How Do You Like It – Gerry and the Pacemakers
  5. Freddie And The Dreamers – Freddie and the Dreamers
  6. Born Free – Frank Ifield
  7. Sugar And Spice – The Searchers
  8. Golden Hits – Kenny Ball
  9. Greatest Hits – The Shadows
  10. West Side Story – Original Soundtrack

1965: Marshal Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu becomes President of Zaire.

1966: The Beatles begin recording a new John Lennon song: Strawberry Fields Forever. The finished result would not only be one of the greatest songs ever committed to record, but also a colossal feat of production as George Martin had to splice together two different versions of the song recorded at different speeds.

1969: Apollo 12 returns to Earth. On the same day, Lt William L Calley is charged with the massacre of over 100 civilians in My Lai, Vietnam, in March 1968 and ordered to stand trial by court martial.

1971: A British Army bomb-disposal specialist is killed by a bomb in Lurgan, Co Armagh.

1974: Police charge six men in connection with the Birmingham pub bombings three days earlier. They are found guilty in 1975 and their convictions are quashed in 1991. On the same day, US President Gerald Ford and Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev sign the SALT-2 treaty to reduce the number of each side’s nuclear weapons.

1979: The US admits troops in Vietnam were exposed to the toxic Agent Orange.

1983: The PLO exchanges six Israeli prisoners for 4,500 Palestinians & Lebanese.

1989: The entire leadership of the Communist Party in Czechoslovakia resigns to make way for democratic changes.

1990: Playwright and author Dodie Smith dies aged 94.

1991: Queen singer Freddie Mercury dies aged 45 a day after revealing he was HIV positive. On the same day, Eric Carr (Paul Charles Caravello) drummer with Kiss, dies aged 41, of complications from cancer.

1993: 11-year olds Robert Thompson and Jon Venables are convicted of the murder of 2-year old James Bulger. On the same day, blues guitarist and singer Albert Collins dies of lung cancer aged 61.

2005: New licensing laws come into force, allowing pubs and bars to stay open for 24 hours.

2007: Red Hot Chilli Peppers bassist Flea loses his multi-million pound house in a wildfire that sweeps through Malibu.

2008: Page & Plant drummer Michael Lee dies from a seizure aged 39.

2012: Boxer Héctor Camacho dies from gunshot wounds aged 50.

2014: A 12-year-old boy is shot dead by police in Cleveland, Ohio, after brandishing what turned out to be a fake gun in a playground.

2015: Turkey shoots down a Russian fighter jet after claiming it had flown into Turkish airspace. On the same day, Venezuelan opposition leader Luis Díaz is shot and killed days before the country’s general election. Also, Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke is charged with first-degree murder of 17 year old African American Laquan McDonald in 2014.

2017: Emmerson Mnangagwa is sworn in as President of Zimbabwe.

2018: The Copa Libertadores Final 2nd-leg between Buenos Aires rivals River Plate & Boca Juniors is postponed after the Boca bus is attacked by River fans.

2019: TV presenter Clive James dies aged 80.

2020: The US General Services Administration officially begins Joe Biden’s transition to president, declaring him the “apparent winner” although Donald Trump vows to continue challenging the result. On the same day, Scotland’s parliament votes to become the first country to make period products free.

2021: At least 27 migrants drown after their boat capsizes in the English Channel trying to reach the UK.

2022: A cat in Britain becomes the world’s oldest at 27 years old.

Billy Connolly (Photo: Eva Rinaldi)

BIRTHDAYS: Dave Whelan, footballer/former chairman Wigan Athletic, 87; Pete Best, drummer, 82; Billy Connolly, comedian/actor, 81; Robin Williamson, multi instrumentalist/singer, (The Incredible String Band) 80; Dwight Schultz, actor, 76; Clem Burke, drummer (Blondie) 68; Sir Ian Botham, cricketer, 68; John Squire, guitarist (Stone Roses) 61; Lisa Maxwell, actress/TV presenter, 60; Garret Dillahunt, actor, 59; Alistair McGowan, impressionist, 59; Shirley Henderson, actress, 58; Stephen Merchant, actor/writer/director, 49; Colin Hanks, actor, 46; Katherine Heigl, actress, 45; Morgan James, singer, 42; Tom Odell, singer-songwriter, 33; Sarah Hyland, actress 33.