On this Day

Published in Issue 2 (March/April 2015), Volume 23

March

01/1965
The remains of Sir Roger Casement, hanged in Pentonville Prison, London, for high treason in 1916, were buried with full military honours in the Republican plot in Glasnevin Cemetery after a state funeral.

05/1965
Helen Waddell, Tokyo-born and Queen’s University Belfast-educated medievalist and writer, notably of Peter Abelard (1933), died.

07/1965
Civil rights marchers, attempting to march from Selma to the Alabama state capital, Montgomery, were attacked by state troopers at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in an incident that became known as Bloody Sunday.

11/1985
The Soviet politburo elected Mikhail Gorbachev (54) as general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union just hours after the death of Konstantin Chernenko.

14/1995
Gerard Victory, composer and director of music at RTÉ (1967–82) who wrote compositions inspired by the lives and writings of literary figures such as Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde and James Joyce, died.

18/1965
Soviet cosmonaut Aleksei Leonov made the first space walk, lasting about ten minutes.

20/1945
Lord Alfred Douglas (74), author, poet and translator, better known as the friend and lover of Oscar Wilde, died.

23/1765
The Stamp Act, which put a tax on all legal documents and other publications in the British colonies, came into effect, causing uproar in the American colonies.

26/1945
David Lloyd George (82), prime minister of the wartime coalition government (1916–22), who presided over the Government of Ireland Act (1920) which partitioned Ireland, died.

26/2005
James Callaghan (92), leader of the British Labour Party (1976–80) and prime minister (1976–9), who was home secretary when the Northern Ireland Troubles broke out in 1969, died.

31/1990
The ‘community charge’ or poll tax riots in London, the worst against poll tax in England since the original poll tax riots of the Peasants’ Revolt (1381).

April

09/1865
Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House in Virginia, bringing the American Civil War to an end. An estimated 160,000 Irishmen fought in the Union army and c. 20,000 in the Confederate army.

10/1865
Oliver Sheppard, sculptor, notably of ‘The Death of Cú Chulainn’ (1911–12), later chosen as a memorial to the 1916 Rising and placed in the GPO, Dublin, born in Cookstown, Co. Tyrone.

12/1945
Franklin Delano Roosevelt (63), ‘FDR’, 32nd US president since March 1933, who won a record four elections, died in office.

14/1865
Abraham Lincoln, 16th US president since 1861, was mortally wounded by the actor John Wilkes Booth whilst attending a performance in Ford’s Theatre, Washington. He died the following day.

15/1865
Bergen-Belsen (or Belsen) concentration camp in Lower Saxony, where c. 70,000 inmates (including almost 20,000 Soviet prisoners of war) died, was liberated by British forces.

22/1915
The Second Battle of Ypres, the only major German attack that year on the Western Front, began. That same day, the Germans launched the first chlorine gas attack of the war, killing 5,000 French troops south of the town in less than ten minutes.

23/1915
Rupert Brooke (27), English poet remembered for his idealistic war sonnets, died off the island of Skyros on his way to the Gallipoli landings.

24/1915
In Turkey the so-called ‘Armenian massacre’ began with the arrest of hundreds of Armenian political and intellectual leaders in Constantinople.

25/1915
The Gallipoli landings, part of an Allied campaign to knock the Ottoman Empire out of the First World War, took place.

28/1945
Benito Mussolini (61), ‘Il Duce’, Fascist leader, was executed with his mistress, Claretta Petacci, near Azzano by Italian partisans as he tried to flee the country.

30/1945
Adolf Hitler (56), German Führer, committed suicide in a Berlin bunker.

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