1951: McIlroys of Regent Street, Swindon, had not acquired Gainsborough’s famous Blue Boy but a remarkable copy of the painting was hanging in the store’s restaurant. It was painted by local artist 64-year-old Herbert Hardy Middleton of Devizes Road. He lost an eye at Gallipoli during his Army service but refused to give up his painting.

1961: Staff Sgt John Church, 18, and Sgt Colin Farrell, 17, members of the 1st Swindon Company Boys Brigade received the Queen’s Badge at a ceremony held during the annual parents’ visit to the St Mary’s Rodbourne Cheney Parish Hall.

1971: Former Swindon schoolboy, Maurice A Crane, was the guest speaker at the Commonweal School’s Speech Day in Swindon. He talked about his time as an engineer for British Railway Works.

The world

1483: Martin Luther, German religious reformer, was born in Eisleben.

1871: Henry Morton Stanley, sent to Africa by his newspaper to find Scottish missionary David Livingstone, finally made contact with him at Lake Tanganyika with the words: ‘’Dr Livingstone, I presume.’’ 1982: Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev died of a heart attack, aged 75.

1991: In Calcutta, a record 95,000 people watched South Africa’s return to international cricket. They won by three wickets.

1997: British au pair Louise Woodward walked free from a court in America when judge Hiller Zobel reduced her murder conviction to manslaughter.

BIRTHDAYS Sir Tim Rice, lyricist, 73; Roland Emmerich, film director, 62; Mackenzie Phillips, actress, 58; Eddie Irvine, former racing driver, 52.