On this day

Published in 20th-century / Contemporary History, Issue 3 (May/June 2012), On this Day, Volume 20



2 1982

The Argentinian cruiser General Belgrano was torpedoed and sunk by the British submarine Conqueror some 30 miles outside the 200-mile ‘exclusion zone’ that Britain had declared around the Falkland Islands. Some 260 crewmen perished.


7 1812

Robert Browning, English poet and playwright, born in Camberwell, London.


8 1987

Eight IRA men, all members of the East Tyrone brigade, were shot dead by a 24-man British Army SAS unit as they attempted to bomb Loughgall RUC station, Co. Armagh. A passing motorist was also killed.


8 2007

Devolution day in Northern Ireland. Ian Paisley (DUP) and Martin McGuinness (SF) were sworn in as first minister and deputy first minister of the Northern Ireland executive.


10 1972

Referendum in the Republic of Ireland on entry to the European Economic Community—1,041,890 in favour, 211,891 against.


12 1712

Building commenced on the library of Trinity College, Dublin, designed by Thomas Burgh, at a cost of £15,000.


20 1932

Amelia Earhart completed the first transatlantic solo flight by a woman from Harbour Grace, Newfoundland, landing in Culmore, Derry—2,206 miles in thirteen hours.


22 1922

W.J. Twaddell, MP for Woodvale, was shot dead in Belfast, the only MP to be assassinated in Northern Ireland until the murder of Revd Robert Bradford in 1981. During that month some 44 Catholics and 22 Protestants died in violence in the city.


24 2007

In the general election Fianna Fáil secured 41.6% of first preference votes, leading to the appointment of Bertie Ahern to a third successive term as taoiseach.


29 1972

The Official IRA ordered a cessation of hostilities following the killing, four days earlier, of Ranger William Best while visiting his family.


31 1962

Adolf Eichmann was executed in Ramleh Prison near Tel Aviv for his part in the wartime mass execution of millions of Jews.





5 2002

Former US President Bill Clinton opened a new £3 million peace centre named after him on the site of the 1987 Remembrance Sunday bombing in Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh.


11 1862

Violet Florence Martin, novelist under the pen-name Martin Ross, and literary partner of Edith Somerville, born in Ross House, Co. Galway.


12 1972

Twelve prominent Irish businessmen were amongst the 118 victims when a BEA Trident crashed at Staines, Middlesex, a few minutes after taking off from Heathrow. It was Britain’s worst air disaster to date.


14 1982

Argentinian troops surrendered to the British commander of land forces on the Falkland Islands. The surrender marked the end of a six-week conflict that cost the lives of 254 British and 750 Argentinians.


16 1912

Enoch Powell, soldier, classical scholar, poet, writer and politician who held the South Down seat for the Official Unionist Party in Westminster (1974–87), born in Stechford, Birmingham.


17 1922

In reprisal for the deaths of Catholics in South Armagh, the IRA attacked a number of Presbyterian farmhouses in the townlands of Altanaveigh and Lisdrumliska. Six people were murdered, including a husband and wife and a father and son, and a number of others were badly wounded.


22 1922

General Sir Henry Wilson, military adviser to the government of Northern Ireland, was assassinated by the IRA in London. Two Irishmen, Reginald Dunne and Joseph O’Sullivan, were subsequently hanged for his murder.


22–26 1932

The 31st Eucharistic Congress was held in Dublin.


28 1912

The Irish Labour Party was founded in Clonmel, when the Irish Trade Union Congress (ITUC) constituted itself the ‘Irish Trade Union Congress and Labour Party’.


28 1922

The bombardment of the Four Courts in Dublin, occupied by an anti-Treaty IRA garrison, by the pro-Treaty National Army commences at 4am, marking the beginning of the Civil War.


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