1951: Swindon Police were called in to dispose of a heron which had been found in South Marston. The bird bore a label marked with a number and the name of the British Museum, which confirmed it was a heron which among others had been numbered to check the migratory habits of the species. The heron was regaled with a meal of fish at the police station before being handed over to the RSPCA which released it into the bird sanctuary at Coate Water.

1951: Mr H J Thomas of Oxford Road, Swindon, received a telegram from his son Terence, a seaman serving in HMS Grenville, saying: Don’t worry! Everything OK!’’ The family were puzzled until they read in the paper that his ship had been in collision with an Italian steamer, Alceo, in the Channel. HMS Grenville, a training ship, had received a 30ft hole in her Starboard quarter.

1961: Wroughton Parish Church held its annual Harvest Supper at the Church Hall. More than 100 people sat down to the meal and the entertainment was arranged and presented by Mr H V Castle.

The guest artist was Rinaldo conjurer and illusionist.

1961: A boy who returned to school late for the new term did so with honours.

Marlborough College boy Mike Griffiths was a member of the public school hockey team which toured South Africa.

He returned after the school term had started. The team had travelled 4,800 miles during their eight week tour and played 22 matches, winning 20 of them.

1971: The son of the founder of the Borough Press in Swindon, Mr Leslie Newman, received a decanter set from the staff to mark his 50 years with the firm.

Mr Newman, the company chairman, from Chiseldon, was apprenticed at the Borough Press when he was 14-years-old.

Then there were eight employees which grew into 80 members of staff.

1971: Denise Fry, 19, daughter of Mr and Mrs R Fry of Stafford Street, Swindon has passed three major dancing exams in six weeks. The former Commonweal School pupil was a student at a Swindon dancing school since she was eight before becoming an assistant there, after she had gained degrees in ballroom and Greek dancing at the London College.


1796: Spain declared war on Britain by signing the Treaty of San Ildefonso, aligning with revolutionary France.

1908: Bulgaria declared its independence from Turkey.

1917: Sir Arthur Lee donated Chequers to the nation as a country retreat for British Prime Ministers.

1927: The Labour Party voted to nationalise coal mines at its party conference in Blackpool.

1930: The British airship R101 crashed at the edge of a wood near Beauvais, France, killing 48 of the 54 passengers including Air Minister Lord Thompson.

1972: The Congregational Church in England and Wales and the Presbyterian Church of England combined to form the United Reformed Church.

1974: Five people died and 65 were injured when the IRA bombed two pubs in Guildford.

BIRTHDAYS Glynis Johns, actress, 94; Stephanie Cole, actress, 76; Brian Johnson, rock singer, 70; Clive Barker, author, 65; Bob Geldof, rock singer, 66; Laura Davies, golfer, 54; Guy Pearce, actor, 50; Kate Winslet, actress, 42. N Sir Arthur Lee donated Chequers top the nation N The British airship R101 N Over United Reformed Church, Winsford, Cheshire