1951: According to the latest road accident figures, three people died, 75 were seriously injured and 174 slightly injured in accidents in Wiltshire during August of 1951. There had been a total of 439 accidents across the county. Swindon was the worst blackspot, with 57 accidents leaving seven people seriously injured and 23 slightly injured.

1951: Sailing aboard the SS Strathmore for their home in Australia were Mr and Mrs LR Barnes of Drumoyne, New South Wales. They had been staying since February with Mr Barnes’ brother, Hubert, in Shelley Street, Swindon, and hoped to return in seven years’ time when Mr Barnes retired from his job with the Metropolitan Water Board in New South Wales.

1961: About 150 girls from Drove, St Joseph’s and Jennings Street Schools were going to be what were described as successful hostesses on a shoestring budget. The course was run by a margarine company in conjunction with the South Western Gas Board. The subjects covered included not just cookery but also flower arranging and organising finances.

1961: Brake problems and a need for more power thwarted an attempt by Purton man Bill Griffin at glory during the World Go-Kart Championship at Banbury. Although he was satisfied with his practice laps, his brakes later jammed. During the heats, Mr Griffin decided he needed a more powerful engine. He said: “Going along the straight some American karts sped past me and I almost got out to see if I was moving.”

1971: A team of Adver staff reached the final of HTV news quiz Paper Round. Their opponents were to be a team from the Wiltshire Times. They were the most successful among the 10 teams who entered the competition, who were whittled down in competition with each other and the TV station’s resident team. The Adver announced that a coach would be laid on for local people wanting to be part of the audience for the show in Bristol.

1971: Swindon members of the International Friendship League were hoping to screen a film which had eluded them for a year at their next meeting. Called The Shadow of Progress, it was made for European Conservation Year and was about pollution. An earlier attempt to screen the film had been thwarted by a power cut.

The world

490BC: The Greeks defeated the Persians under Darius at the Battle of Marathon. Philippides had run 150 miles in two days in a futile attempt to ask the Spartans to assist the Greek army, but in the end their help was not required.

1321: Italian poet Dante Alighieri died in Ravenna.

1759: The British under General Wolfe won the Battle of Quebec – but Wolfe was shot and died in the fighting.

1788: New York became federal capital of the new United States of America.

1874: Composer Arnold Schoenberg was born in Vienna. As a triskaidekaphobe (someone afraid of the number 13), he predicted he would die on the 13th at the age of 76 (7+6=13). He did, on July 13, 1951 at 13 minutes to midnight. His last word was ‘’harmony’’.

1909: The first performance took place of Oscar Strauss’s The Chocolate Soldier, the operetta based on Shaw’s Arms And The Man. It introduced the famous song My Hero.

1915: The process for making breakfast cereal flakes was patented by Frank Martin, as previously the combination of corn, oats and grain had proved indigestible for the public.

1944: William Heath Robinson, the English artist known for his drawings of complex machinery which performed simple tasks, died.

1957: The Mousetrap, a murder-mystery, became Britain’s longest running play, reaching its 1,998th performance.

1985: The World Health Organisation declared Aids a worldwide epidemic.

2008: Hurricane Ike ravaged parts of Texas and Louisiana, battering the US coast with 110mph gusts of wind and torrential rain.

Birthdays Jacqueline Bisset, actress, 73; Don Was, music producer, 65; Bobby Davro, comedian, 59; Zak Starkey, rock musician, 52; Michael Johnson, former athlete, 50; Shane Warne, cricketer, 48; Goran Ivanisevic, ex-tennis player, 46; Stella McCartney, fashion designer, 46; Niall Horan, singer (One Direction), 24.