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This Day in History - 15th August


1842 The first regular British detective force was formed as a division of the Metropolitan Police, under the joint command of Inspector Pearce and Inspector John Haynes. In 1878 it became known as the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

1872 The first voting by ballot in Great Britain took place in a by-election at Pontefract, when Hugh Childers, a Liberal MP and minister was re-elected.


1939 The Cunard liner Queen Mary recaptured the Blue Riband from the SS Normandie, crossing the Atlantic in 3 days, 22 hours and 40 minutes.


1941 Corporal Josef Jakobs was executed by firing squad at the Tower of London at 7:12 a.m. making him the last person to be executed at the Tower for treason.


1947 Pakistan was founded when British rule over the region ended. India gained independence from Britain, and the Union Jack was lowered in New Delhi for the last time. Pandit Nehru became India’s first Prime Minister.


1950 Princess Anne, Britain's Princess Royal was born.


1962 Unhappy with Pete Best's role in The Beatles, Brian Epstein and the other three members decided to sack him. He played his last gig at The Cavern, Liverpool, two years and three days after he first performed with them.


1971 Controversial horse rider Harvey Smith was stripped of his £2,000 winnings and a major show jumping title for allegedly making a rude V-sign gesture.


1985 Richard Branson's speedboat Virgin Atlantic Challenger capsized off the south-west of England. He was just two hours short of completing the fastest-ever Atlantic crossing.


1987 Caning was officially banned in British schools (excluding independent schools).


2011 A teenager who stole a laptop from a west London flat during the riots was traced on Facebook by the computer's owner. Greg Martin, an information security professional and former Nasa and FBI employee had installed a tracking device on the laptop and got the suspect's ID from the social networking site. The information included the man's name, school, address in west London and information about his wireless internet connection. Soheil Khalilfar, 18, was later charged with handling stolen goods.


2013 Google announced that it was to loan out its Trekker wearable backpack to the Canal & River Trust, who would use it to capture footage of some of most scenic parts of Britain's 200-year old waterway network.