1951: The story of Christmas was told at the annual Overseas Missionary Meeting at Manchester Road Methodist Church, Swindon. The story was told in a series of tableaux and Carols. Forty people attended and a prayer was then read by Rev W N Parroby.

1961: The Mayor of Swindon, Ald T G Gay, received a 30ft decorated Christmas tree from the Loyal Order of Moose (Swindon), at a ceremony at the rear of the Town Hall, Regent Circus. Mr J Kennel chairman told the audience of nearly 100 that the cost would be borne by the lodges of Swindon Moose. Afterwards there was Carol singing led by Wroughton Silver Band

1971: A pair of Harrier Jump Jets, the RAF’s latest vertical take-off, strike aircraft arrived for a new coat of paint at RAF No5 Maintenance Unit at Kemble. They were the first of 20 aircraft to be brought back for a new surface finish.

The world

1287: St. Lucia’s flood: The Zuiderzee sea wall in the Netherlands collapsed, killing more than 50,000 people.

1503: French astrologer and prophet Nostradamus was born.

1542: Princess Mary Stuart became Mary, Queen of Scots.

1812: The French invasion of Russia came to an end as the remnants of the Grande Armée were expelled from Russia.

1895: George VI was born. He succeeded his brother Edward VIII when he abdicated, and led the British through the war years.

1901: The first table tennis tournament was held at the Royal Aquarium, London.

1903: The Wright brothers made their first attempt to fly with the Wright Flyer at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

1911: Roald Amundsen, Norwegian explorer, became the first man to reach the South Pole - 35 days ahead of Captain Scott.

1918: Women over 30 voted in a British General Election for the first time.

1918: Friedrich Karl von Hessen, a German prince elected by the Parliament of Finland to become King Väinö I, renounced the Finnish throne.

1918: Portuguese President Sidónio Pais was assassinated.

1922: John Reith was appointed general manager of the fledgling BBC.

1939: Winter War: The Soviet Union was expelled from the League of Nations for invading Finland.

1940: Plutonium (specifically Pu-238) was first isolated at Berkeley, California.

1941: Second World War: Japan signed a treaty of alliance with Thailand.

1955: Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Ceylon, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Laos, Libya, Nepal, Portugal, Romania and Spain joined the United Nations through United Nations Security Council Resolution 109.

1962: Mariner II sent back the first close-up pictures of the planet Venus.

1971: Bangladesh Liberation War: More than 200 of East Pakistan’s intellectuals were executed by the Pakistan Army and their local allies. The date is commemorated in Bangladesh as Martyred Intellectuals Day.

2012: Twenty-seven people, including 18 children, were killed in a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, US.

2014: Actor Peter O’Toole died. He received eight Oscar nominations for films including Lawrence Of Arabia, without ever winning.

2016: Amazon completed its first customer delivery by drone, dropping off an item in Cambridgeshire.

BIRTHDAYS Barbara Leigh-Hunt, actress, 82; Janette Scott, actress, 79; Mike Scott, singer (The Waterboys), 59; Chris Waddle, commentator and former footballer, 57; Miranda Hart, comedienne, 45; Tammy Blanchard, actress, 41; Michael Owen, footballer, 38; Vanessa Hudgens, actress, 29.