On this Day

Published in Editorial, Issue 3 (May/June 2015), Volume 23







Joseph Goebbels (47), Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany since 1933, and one of Hitlers closest associates, committed suicide in a Berlin bunker, having poisoned his wife and six children.



Orson Welles, actor, director, writer and producer who made his stage debut at Dublin’s Gate Theatre in 1931, born in Wisconsin.



Major John McBride, revolutionary, born Westport, Co. Mayo.



The Cunard passenger liner Lusitania, en route from New York to Liverpool, was torpedoed by a German submarine off the Old Head of Kinsale. Altogether, 1,195 passengers and crew, including 123 Americans—more than 60% of the ship’s compliment of 1,959—lost their lives.


13 /1945

In his victory speech, Prime Minister Winston Churchill attacked Eamon de Valera’s policy of neutrality during World War Two. De Valera made his celebrated reply three days later.


22 /1915

The Quintinsshill or Gretna Green railway disaster. In a collision involving three trains—a local train, a troop train heading south and the main Scotch Express heading north—227 were killed. It was Britain’s biggest rail accident.


23 /1945

Henrich Himmler (44), Reich Minister of the Interior, committed suicide whilst in Allied custody.


24 /1915

The Royal Irish Regiment was subjected to a German poison gas attack near Saint-Julien during the Second Battle of Yprés. With over 600 killed the Royal Dublin Fusiliers were effectively wiped out as a fighting unit.


25 /1315

The Bruce invasion of Ireland began, when Edward, younger brother of Robert Bruce, King of the Scots, landed at Larne, Co. Antrim, with 6,000 battle-hardened troops.



29 /1985

Some 39 football fans, mainly Italian, died and over 300 were injured when British soccer hooligans charged Italian football supporters during the European Cup final between Liverpool and Juventus at Heysel stadium, Brussels.





Francis Bindon, architect and portrait painter, notably that of the blind harpist Turlough Carolan, which hangs in the National Gallery, died.


13 /1865

William Butler Yeats, writer, poet, dramatist and essayist, born in Sandymount, Dublin, the eldest son of the painter, John Butler Yeats.


14 /1865

John Mitchel, editor of the Daily News a Democratic newspaper that had opposed the Civil War, was convicted on a charge of writing seditious articles and imprisoned in Fortress Monroe, Virginia. Released in October that year, his health never recovered.


15 /1215

Magna Carta was signed by King John and his barons on the banks of the River Thames at Runnymede.


18 /1815

The Battle of Waterloo, ‘a damned near run thing’ in the words of the commander of Coalition forces, the Duke of Wellington, ended with the defeat of Napoleon’s French army after an eight-hour engagement. Casualties on both sides estimated at 62,000.


22 /1965

Piaras Béaslaí, Liverpool-born journalist, soldier, Irish language activist and author of a controversial biography of Michael Collins (1925) died.


23 /1985

Air India Boeing 747 flight 182, en route from Vancouver to New Delhi, was blown up by a bomb planted on board by Sikh extremists some 100 miles off the southwest coast of Ireland. All 307 passengers, mostly Canadians of Indian descent, and 22 crew on were killed. It was the deadliest terror attack in aviation history prior to 9/11.


24 /1995

Harold Wilson, British Labour Party leader and Prime Minister (1964-’70, 1974-’76) who won four general elections, died.


26 /1945

The Charter of the United Nations, the foundational treaty of the organisation, was signed in San Francisco.


30 /1915

Jerimiah O’Donovan Rossa, republican, and convicted felon whose mistreatment in prison (1865-1871) became a cause célebre, died in New York.



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