1951: Fancy dress was the order of the day at a party at Lethbridge Road Junior Mixed School, Swindon, for the fourth year pupils. There were games organised by members of the staff, dancing and refreshments. Winners of the fancy dress competition were Susan Jolliffe as a cowgirl, Christine Long as a shepherdess and Margaret White as a pack of cards. About 70 pupils attended the party.

1951: Some of the plays presented at the concert by pupils of Clarence Street Swindon Junior School were written and presented by the pupils themselves. Representatives from each of the classes took part. The concert concluded with solos, duets and other musical items.

1961: More than 350 young people representing 26 youth groups sang Carols around the Christmas tree behind the town hall, Swindon. Mr R J Naish, the Youth Service Officer, said that the evening had been highly successful and that all the organisations concerned had given it commendable support. About £60 had been collected for charity.

1961: Neary 300 turkeys were sold at auction in Swindon’s Corn Hall in two and a half hours. The auctioneer, Mr RJ Palphramand of Farrant, Wightman and Pinnegar, said that the most popular bird was one of 10 to 15 pounds in weight costing between four and five shillings a pound.

1971: There were to be no spies in the Battle of the Baltika, Swindon Educational Committee decided, when they rejected a move to send a member of the committee on the school children’s cruise. The children from Drove Road and Churchfields schools were to be cruising, as a school trip, on the SS Baltika, the ship which carried the alleged Soviet spies home. Ald Mrs Bernice Lay claimed that discipline on the cruise ship was unsuitable, but the committee endorsed the school’s sub committee recommendation not to send a committee member as it would amount to spying on the teachers.

1971: Swindon Mayor Coun Arthur Palmer received £113.57 for his Christmas appeal from the town’s two cinemas the Odeon and the ABC.

The World

1375: Death of Giovanni Boccaccio, Italian poet and author who wrote The Decameron.

1804: Benjamin Disraeli, twice Prime Minister, was born in London.

1846: Robert Liston used anaesthetic (ether) for the first time in a British operation at University College Hospital, London, to perform an amputation of a leg.

1879: The first performance took place of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House at the Royal Theatre, Copenhagen.

1913: The first crossword puzzle was published - in the New York World, compiled by Liverpool-born Arthur Wynne.

1937: Walt Disney’s Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs, the first full-length animated cartoon with colour and sound, was premiered in the USA.

1945: American war hero General George ‘Old Blood and Guts’ Patton died as the result of a car crash.

1988: Terrorists blew up a Pan-Am jumbo jet which crashed on top of the Scottish town of Lockerbie. The plane was en route from London to New York when it exploded, killing all 259 people on board and 11 people on the ground.

1989: US troops invaded Panama to oust dictator Manuel Noriega.

2016: The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh delayed their journey to Norfolk for Christmas as they were both suffering with heavy colds.

BIRTHDAYS Jane Fonda, actress and keep-fit expert, 80; Albert Lee, guitarist, 74; Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor, 73; Samuel L Jackson, actor, 69; Betty Wright, soul singer, 64; Chris Evert, former tennis player, 63; Kiefer Sutherland, actor, 50.