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This Day in History - 13th February


1542 - Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of Henry VIII of England, was executed for adultery.

1692 - The massacre of the MacDonalds at Glencoe, for not promptly pledging allegiance to the new king, William of Orange. The massacre began simultaneously in three settlements along the glen - Invercoe, Inverrigan, and Achnacon, although the killing took place all over the glen as the fleeing MacDonalds were pursued. Thirty eight MacDonalds from the Clan MacDonald of Glencoe were killed and another forty women and children died of exposure after their homes were burned.

1938 - The birth of Oliver Reed, English actor. His films included Oliver, Women in Love and The Three Musketeers. His final role was as the elderly slave dealer Proximo in Gladiator, in which he played alongside Richard Harris, an actor whom Reed admired greatly.

1945 - 1400 RAF and 450 US Airforce planes bombed Dresden in three waves over a 14-hour period, devastating one of the world’s most beautiful cities. Over a three-day period, 3,900 tons of explosives and incendiaries reduced much of the city to smouldering rubble and killed between 35,000 and 135,000 civilians.

1948 - The Science Museum in London announced that it would return the Wright Brothers’ biplane, Kitty Hawk, the first to fly, to the Smithsonian Institution. It had been sent to England in 1928 by Orville Wright when he found that the Smithsonian had labelled another plane as the first capable of sustained flight.

1975 - British mineworkers' leaders agreed to accept the coal board's latest pay offer of up to 35%.

1978 - Tomorrow's World presenter Anna Ford was officially announced as ITN's first female newsreader.

1987 - London’s property boom resulted in a 5ft 6in x 11ft broom cupboard opposite Harrods being offered for sale at £36,500 - over £600 per square foot.

2015 - PC Robert Brown, who joined the Metropolitan Police in the era of 'Dixon of Dock Green', retired after 47-years service. He was the country's longest serving policeman. In recognition of his service, he was awarded the Queen's Police Medal at Buckingham Palace, one of the highest honours bestowed on police officers.