It happened today – this day in history – October 15

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1520: Henry VIII orders bowling lanes at Whitehall.

1705: The English fleet under Lord Peterborough occupies Barcelona.

1815: Napoleon Bonaparte arrives on the island of St Helena to begin his exile.

1866: The Great Fire of Quebec destroys 2,500 houses.

1880: Cologne Cathedral is finally completed after 633 years.

1905: Claude Debussy’s La Mer premiers in Paris.

1917: Exotic dancer Mata Hari (Margaretha Geertruida Zelle) is executed by firing squad at Vincennes for spying for Germany.

1924: President Calvin Coolidge declares the Statue of Liberty a national monument.

1940: 400 people are killed in a heavy German air raid on London. On the same day, Charlie Chaplin’s film The Great Dictator is released.

1941: Hideki Tojo is appointed prime minister of Japan.

1946: Nazi Reichmarshal Hermann Goering commits suicide in prison.

1951: The first oral contraceptive is synthesised at Mexican drug company Syntex.

1954: Hurricane Hazel kills 195 people in the US and Canada.

1964: Death of songwriter Cole Porter aged 73.

1966: The Black Panther Party is created by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale.

1967: The world’s then tallest statue, The Motherland Calls, is completed in Volvograd, Russia.

1968: British athlete David Hemery sets a world record 48.12s to win the gold medal in the men’s 400m hurdles at the Mexico Olympics.

1973: Keith Riahcrds was found guilty of trafficking cannabis by a court in Nice. The Rolling Stones guitarist was given a one-year suspended sentence, a 5,000 franc fine and was banned from entering France for two years.

1985: The space shuttle Columbia carries Spacelab into orbit.

1987: The biggest storm in modern times hits England, killing 23 people.

1990: Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev wins the Nobel Peace Prize.

1993: Nelson Mandela and South Agfrican president F W de Clerk are both awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

2003: China launches its first manned space mission.

2012: The King of Cambodia dies of a heart attack aged 89.

2017: Wildfires occur in Portugal and Northern Spain fanned by winds from Hurricane Ophelia, killing at least 35 people.

BIRTHDAYS: Richard Carpenter, musician, 73; Chris de Burgh, musician, 69; Roscoe Tanner, former tennis player, 68; Peter Richardson, actor/writer/director, 68; Tito Jackson, singer, 66; Duchess of York (Sarah Ferguson) 60, Didier Deschamps, former footballer/manager 51; Dominic West, actor, 50; Shayne Ward, actor/singer, 34; Mesut Ozil, footballer, 31.

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Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]