It happened today – this day in history – October 31

1541: Michelangelo finishes painting “The Last Judgement” in the Sistine Chapel.

1632: Birth of Dutch painter Jan Vermeer.

1756: Giacomo Casanova escapes from prison in Venice by climbing onto the roof.

1795: Birth of poet John Keats.

1815: Sir Humphrey Davy patents the miner’s safety lamp.

1888: Vetenarian John Boyd Dunlop patents the pneumatic bicycle tyre.

1914: Britain and France declare war on Turkey.

1918: The Spanish flu-virus kills 21,000 people in the US in a single week.

1922: Benito Mussolini becomes premier of Italy.

1926: Failed assassination attempt on Mussolini by 15-year-old Anteo Zamboni, who was lynched on the spot. On the same day, escapologist Harry Houdini (Erich Weisz) dies of gangrene and peritonitis that developed after his appendix ruptured.

1940: The Battle of Britain between the RAF and the Luftwaffe over the English Channel and southern England ends with a British victory.

1941: The Mount Rushmore Monument is completed.

1963: FBI chief J Edgar Hoover’s last meeting with President John F Kennedy.

1968: President Lyndon B Johnson orders a halt to all bombing of North Vietnam. On the same day, veteran actor Ramon Navarro is murdered in his home.

1971: The IRA detonates a bomb at the Post Office Tower in London.

1975: Bob Geldof ‘s first appearance with The Boomtown Rats.

1982: Pope John Paul II becomes the first pontiff to visit Spain.

1984: Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi is assassinated by her bodyguards.

1992: The Roman Catholic church reinstates Galileo Galilei after 359 years.

1993: Film director Federico Fellini dies of a stroke. On the same day, 23-year-old actor River Phoenix dies of a drug overdose in the street outside Johnny Depps nightclub The Viper Room in LA

1994: Tennis star Venus Williams makes her professional debut at age 14.

1997: British au pair Louise Woodward, 19, is sentenced to life for the death of baby Matthew Eappen. It is eventually changed to time served.

1998: Iraq announces it will no longer cooperate with United Nations weapons inspectors.

1999: McLaren’s Mika Hakkinen wins the Formula 1 World Drivers Championship.

2005: The white suit worn by John Lennon on the cover of the Beatles’ Abbey Road album sold for $118,000 (£66,385) at an auction in Las Vegas.

2015: Russian airliner crashes killing all 224 on board in Sinai Peninsula, Egypt. It is Russia’s worst air disaster.

BIRTHDAYS: Dan Rather, journalist, 87; Tom O’Connor, comedian, 80; Sally Kirkland, actress, 78; Stephen Rea, actor,73; Russ Ballard, musician/songwriter, 72; Bob Siebenberg, drummer (Supertramp) 70; Larry Mullen Jr, drummer (U2) 58; Peter Jackson, film director, 58; Dermot Mulroney, actor, 56; Johnny Marr, guitarist, 56; Ron Schneider, comedy actor, 56; Mikkey Dee, musician (Motorhead) 56; Marco van Basten, former footballer, 55; Vanilla Ice (Robert van Winkle), rapper, 52; Toby Anstis, broadcaster, 48; Matt Dawson, former rugby player, 47; Monica and Gabriela Irimia (Cheeky Girls) 37.

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Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]