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This Day in History - 19th December


1154 Henry II was crowned, at Westminster Abbey.

1606 English entrepreneurs set sail in the Susan Constant, the Godspeed, and the Discovery to establish a colony at Jamestown, Virginia, the first of the thirteen colonies that became the United States.


1783 William Pitt the Younger became the youngest British Prime Minister, at the age of 24 years, 6 months and 21 days.


1848 Emily Brontë, English author of Wuthering Heights, died of tuberculosis at the tender age of 30. 


1851 The renowned artist, Joseph Turner, died. Although renowned for his oil paintings, Turner was also one of the greatest masters of British watercolour landscape painting.


1915 World War I: British, Australian and New Zealand troops began their withdrawal from Gallipoli after failing to defeat the Turks. 


1924 The last Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost was sold, in London.The Silver Ghost is considered the most valuable car in the world. In 2005 its insured value was placed at more than £22 million. By 2011 it was valued at almost £37 million.


1932 The BBC World Service began broadcasting, as the BBC Empire Service.


1941 World War II: Limpet mines placed by Italian divers sank the HMS Valiant (launched 1914) and HMS Queen Elizabeth (launched 1913) in Alexandria harbour.


1972 Ugandan leader General Idi Amin gave British workers an ultimatum; to accept reduced pay or be expelled.


1972 Frank O'Farrell lost his job as manger of Manchester United, following a 5–0 defeat to Crystal Palace. George Best, once again, announced his retirement, on the same day. Not a good week for United.


1981 The 8 man crew of the Penlee Lifeboat all lost their lives attempting to rescue the crew of the coaster Union Star that was wrecked in violent seas off the coast of Cornwall.


1984 Britain and China signed an agreement in Beijing, in which Britain agreed to transfer full sovereignty of Hong Kong to China in 1997.


1997 Former Conservative party leader William Hague married his fiancée Ffion Jenkins at a ceremony in Westminster.


2003 Libyan leader Gaddafi agreed to allow weapons inspectors into Libya 'immediately and unconditionally' to oversee the elimination of its arsenal of chemical weapons.


2006 Steve Wright, was arrested, charged and remanded in custody, accused of murdering five prostitutes over a six week period. The bodies of all five women were found dumped in remote locations around Ipswich in Suffolk, sparking a massive police investigation.


2012 The verdict of accidental death of the 96 victims who died in the 1989 Hillsborough stadium football disaster was quashed in the High Court, clearing the way for a new inquest into the deaths. New medical evidence commissioned by the attorney general revealed that 58 victims "definitely or probably" had the capacity to survive beyond the 3.15pm cut-off point imposed by the original coroner. In a further 12 cases, the cause of death remained unclear. The Chair of the Hillsborough Justice Campaign, Anne Williams (who died of cancer on 18th April 2013) and whose 15-year-old son Kevin died in the tragedy was at the hearing.


2013 Michael Adebolajo (29) and Michael Adebowale (22) were found guilty of murdering soldier Lee Rigby outside Woolwich barracks in south-east London in May. Fusilier Rigby was struck with a car before hacked to death. Adebolajo had claimed he was a 'soldier of Allah' and the killing was an act of war. 


2013 Ornate plasterwork at the Apollo Theatre in London fell from the ceiling during a performance and after a flash flood thunderstorm. The collapse brought down a lighting rig and a section of balcony, trapping 2 people and injuring around 88, including 7 with serious injuries.


2014 The death (aged 70) of Mandy Rice-Davies, famous for her role in the 1960s 'Profumo affair' that almost toppled the British government in 1963.