1951: A 19-year-old Merchant Navy cadet from Swindon missed his birthday, thanks to a quirk of geography and navigation. Michael Rice, whose family home was in Victoria Road, explained in a letter to his parents that when his ship, MC Hornby Grange, crossed the International Date Line en route to New Zealand it lost 24 hours. Unfortunately for him, the date missed was his birthday.

1951: The annual Railwaymen’s Carol Service was held in Christ Church, Old Town. Before the service in the packed church, the Mayor and Mayoress of Swindon, Alderman and Mrs T Gay, welcomed regional railway officials at the Civic Offices. The VIPs included FW Hawksworth who, as Chief Mechanical and Electrical Engineer at the Works, had played a major role in shaping the modern GWR.

1961: A manufacturer of vacuum cleaners and washing machines held a round of its Housewife Of The Year Competition at the Goddard Arms in Old Town. The unnamed company decided that Helen Seward, 45, of Riverside Close, would be one of 50 winners nationwide – although Mrs Seward was the only one in the west. Her prize was a vacuum cleaner.

1961: Two young Swindon men, Andrew Lewis, of Okus Road, and Roger Reeves, of Upham Road, were at St James Palace in London to receive their Gold Duke of Edinburgh Awards. Roger worked in the British Railways Laboratory and Andrew was training to be a quantity surveyor.

1971: Aldbourne’s senior citizens were due for a festive surprise thanks to a group of regulars at one of the village’s pubs. Drinkers at the Crown Hotel collected more than £250, which was due to be spent on giving local elderly people an excellent Christmas dinner and entertainment at the Memorial Hall.

1971: About 90 Swindon senior citizens were looking forward to spending Christmas in new purpose-built residential homes after being moved from the former Stratton St Margaret workhouse. The workhouse system mostly died out before the Second World War, but many of the old structures were kept and used for new purposes, including hospitals and old people’s homes.

The world

1560: The first General Assembly of the Church of Scotland was held.

1915: Australian, New Zealand and British troops were evacuated from the ill-fated Gallipoli expedition.

1928: Harry Ramsden started his fish and chip restaurant in a hut in Guiseley, near Leeds, which became the most famous in the world.

1957: At the height of his career, Elvis Presley received his call-up papers.

1961: The London bells of St Mary-le-Bow, Cheapside, began chiming again. They are the Bow Bells in the rhyme Oranges And Lemons, within the range of whose sound true Cockneys must be born.

1982: Two Townsend Thoresen ferries collided off Harwich with the loss of six lives.

1990: The last remaining pit in the Rhondda – Maerdy Colliery – closed after the afternoon shift finished, ending more than a century of coal mining.

2016: The Government announced plans to ban the use of ‘microbeads’ in products such as face scrubs and toothpaste.

Birthdays; Uri Geller, psychic, 71; Jenny Agutter, actress, 65; Billy Bragg, rock singer, 60; Simon Hughes, broadcaster and cricketer, 58; Robert Cavanah, actor, 52; George Lamb, TV presenter, 38; Ashley Cole, footballer, 37.