March 20

1953: Mr L C Newman of Fitzroy Road, Swindon, was one of the 223 riders who took part in the pioneer run of motorcycles of historic interest, from Tottenham Corner over the Downs to Brighton front - a distance of 44 miles. Mr Newman had been a keen motorcyclist since 1925 and he was the proprietor of the Borough Press.

1953: More than 100 primary and junior school teachers from Swindon and district saw a demonstration given by 1st year pupils at Clarence Street School, Swindon, under Mr D Silverwood, organiser of Physical Education for North Wiltshire. Afterwards they saw films on the subject. The demonstration was held as part of a course for teachers.

1963: The Wroughton branch of the Conservative Association paid a tribute, at their annual meeting, to Wiltshire Newspapers' Wroughton correspondent, Mr J Brawley, of Cowleaze Crescent, Wroughton, for his fair and unbiased reporting of their functions. This was quite a tribute as Mr Brawley was treasurer of Wroughton Labour party.

1963: One hundred members of the Swindon Old Tyme Dance Club celebrated their 6th anniversary of the club's formation by a special supper dance held in the Co-op Hall, East Street, Swindon, MCs were Mr and Mrs C W Browning and music was by Mrs Vera Dixon's New Elizabethans.

1973: Auntie was a heroine at the Cranmore Avenue, home of the Nicholls family in Swindon. For auntie, Mrs Helen Morris of Shaftsbury Avenue, pulled her four-year-old nephew Kein out of the unfenced, nearly by lake. Kevin had been playing with his brothers and a friend when he saw a floating bucket and made a lunge for it. He fell in and started to sink in the 6ft muddy water. Mrs Morris reacted swiftly, diving in and dragging Kevin out within inches of his life.

1973: Swindon Tanwood dancers made their debut on ITV's Opportunity Knocks. The girls all pupils of Tanwood School of Dancing performed a Highland fling on the popular televised talent show. They were introduced by 10-year-old Pollyann Tanner, daughter of Mollie Tanner, principal of the school.

The World

1413: Henry IV, also known as Henry of Bolingbroke, died aged 45 after suffering a stroke at Westminster Abbey.

1549: Death of Thomas Seymour, Lord High Admiral of England, who married Henry VIII's widow Catherine Parr. When she died, he planned to marry Princess Elizabeth - but was arrested for treason and executed.

1806: The foundation stone of Dartmoor prison in Devon was laid by Thomas Tyrwhitt.

1815: After his banishment to Elba, Napoleon returned to regain power in France. It was his "Last Hundred Days", ended by defeat at Waterloo.

1819: The famous and exclusive Burlington Arcade opened in London.

1852: Uncle Tom's Cabin, an anti-slavery novel by Harriet Beecher Stowe, was published. It became the best-selling novel of the 19th century.

1890: Beniamino Gigli, great Italian tenor, who succeeded Caruso at the New York Met, was born in Recanati, near Ancona.

1969: Beatle John Lennon married Yoko Ono in Gibraltar.

1974: An attempt to kidnap Princess Anne was made by a gunman who fired six shots, then tried to drag her from her car in Pall Mall. He was later charged with attempted murder.

1980: The pirate radio station Radio Caroline, on the ship Mi Amigo, sank

after 16 years of broadcasting.

1989: The IRA killed two senior Royal Ulster Constabulary officers in an ambush.

2018: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle selected an organic lemon elderflower wedding cake which would incorporate the "bright flavours of spring", it was revealed.


Dame Vera Lynn, singer, 102; Brian Mulroney, former Canadian prime minister, 80; William Hurt, actor, 69; Spike Lee, actor/director, 62; Theresa Russell, actress, 62; Holly Hunter, actress, 61; Paul Merson, former footballer, 51; Michael Rapaport, actor, 49; Alex Kapranos, singer and guitarist (Franz Ferdinand), 47; Jane March, actress, 46; Freema Agyeman, actress, 40.