It happened today – this day in history – September 20

1258: Salisbury Cathedral is consecrated.

1842: Sir James Dewar, Scottish physician and chemist, and inventor of the vacuum flask, was born at Kincardine-on-Forth.

1854: The Battle of Alma, fought by the British against the Russians in the Crimean War, produced six winners of the Victoria Cross.

1885: Jelly Roll Morton, (Ferdinand Joseph LaMothe ) pianist, composer and one of the first jazz musicians, was born in New Orleans.

1917: The first RSPCA animal clinic was opened in Liverpool.

1931: Britain came off the gold standard to stop foreign speculation against the pound. The devaluation brought strikes and even a near mutiny on 15 navy ships berthed in Scotland.

1944: Guy Gibson, British pilot and Victoria Cross winner for his “Dambusters” action against the Mohne and Eder dams, was killed when his aircraft crashed in Holland on its way back to base.

1946: The first Cannes film festival opened.

1961: The first non-stop swim across the Channel and back was started by Argentinian Antonio Albertondo; it took 43 hours 10 minutes.

1984: A suicide bomber drove a lorry filled with explosives at the US embassy in Beirut, killing 40 people.

BIRTHDAYS: Sophia Loren, actress, 85; Sir Jeremy Child, actor, 75; Jose Rivero, golfer, 64; Gary Cole, actor, 63; Kristen Johnston, actress, 52; Nuno Bettencourt, guitarist (Extreme), 53; Victoria Dillard, actress, 50; Julian Joachim, former footballer, 45.

Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]