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This Day in History - 12th August


1762 King George IV was born.

1848 The death of George Stephenson English civil engineer and mechanical engineer who built the first public inter-city railway line in the world to use steam locomotives, the Liverpool and Manchester Railway which opened in 1830.


1851 The Hundred Guinea Cup was offered to the winner of a yacht race around the Isle of Wight. It was won by the US schooner 'America', and the trophy became 'the America's Cup'.


1865 Joseph Lister became the first doctor to use disinfectant during surgery.


1877 British explorer Sir Henry Morton Stanley reached the mouth of the Congo River.


1924 The birth, in Todmorden, Yorkshire of Derek Shackleton, Hampshire and England bowler. He holds the record for the most first-class wickets taken by any Hampshire player and for the most first-class wickets taken by any player who began his career after World War II. Cricket writer, Colin Bateman, noted of Shackleton, 'his bowling, like his hair, always seemed immaculate.'


1944 The first PLUTO (Pipe Line Under the Ocean) supplying fuel across the English Channel to the Allied forces in France, went into operation from the Isle of Wight. It could transfer up to 700 tons of fuel a day.


1949 Big Ben ran at its slowest for 90 years as flocks of starlings took roost on the minute hands, slowing it by four and a half minutes.


1964 A massive manhunt got under way across Britain after Charlie Wilson, one of the gang involved in the Great Train Robbery, broke out of the high-security Winson Green prison in Birmingham. He was on the run for four years, before being finally re-captured in Canada and returned to jail in Britain, where he served out the rest of his sentence. Wilson then moved to the Costa del Sol in Spain, was alleged to have become involved in drugs dealing and was shot dead by a hitman on 23rd April 1990 as he relaxed by his swimming pool.


1964 The death of Ian Fleming, the English novelist best known for his James Bond series of spy novels.


1991 England defeated the West Indies in the fifth Test Match at the Oval, to draw the summer series 2 - 2.


1997 The British Tourist Authority came under fire for dropping the Union Flag from its publicity material.


2000 The families of murdered schoolgirl Sarah Payne were joined by friends and hundreds of members of the public for a memorial service.


2003 BBC journalist Andrew Gilligan answered questions from the Hutton Inquiry over his report that the government 'sexed up' a weapons dossier on Iraq.