1952: Pupils from the Lerell School of Dancing under the direction of Barbara and Sheila Lynn, assisted by Joan Bailey, presented their production of Shooting High, in aid of the NSPCC, at the Swindon Arts Centre. Harry Swift was the pianist.

1952: American airmen of the United States base in Fairford entertained 80 children, who lived on the camp, to a Christmas party. The children were greeted at the cinema by boxes of candy and afterwards saw a puppet show. Santa Claus (Airman 1st Class Temple) arrived down the chimney with a sack full of gifts.

1962: The Queen approved the first Recorder for the Borough of Swindon. He was Mr Desmond James Conrad Ackner, QC. Mr Ackner, 42, was called to the bar in 1945 at the Middle Temple. He became a QC in 1961. He sat at his first court in the temporary Borough Magistrates Court.

1962: Prices ranging from four shillings to a pound were paid for turkeys auctioned at Swindon Cattle market, More than 100 buyers attended the auction of 200 oven-ready turkeys specially bred for the Christmas sale by Mr H D Bailey of Marston Meysey Manor. At the close Mr Bailey donated a turkey to be auctioned for Famine Relief and it raised £13, 13 shillings.

1972: Hercules aircraft took the place of a reindeer-drawn sleigh when Father Christmas called in at Raf Lyneham. He was delivering a load of citrus fruit from Cyprus for the children’s homes in the area. His load included 1,000 oranges, 500 melons, 500 clementines and 500 lemons.

1972: Ernie the milkman had nothing on Harold Poole when it came to who had the fastest milkcart in the west. Harold, of Beaufort Green, Park North, Swindon, had the fastest in the Co-operative Society Southern area. Harold, milkman for 11 years, became top salesman covering most of the home counties. He had increased his round in Park North by 3,360 pints in a six-week period in a competition run by the Milk Marketing Board and the Co-op Union.


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.

2017: Last-minute Christmas shoppers were warned to avoid fake and potentially dangerous toys, as rogue traders exploit demand for sold-out ‘must-have’ gifts.


Jane Fonda, actress, 81; Albert Lee, guitarist, 75; Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor, 74; Samuel L Jackson, actor, 70; Betty Wright, soul singer, 65; Chris Evert, former tennis player, 64; Kiefer Sutherland, actor, 51; Tom Payne, actor, 36.