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This Day in History - 26th August


55BC Julius Caesar crossed the English Channel for his invasion of Britain.

1346 The English, led by Edward III and his son Edward the Black Prince, won the Battle of Crécy against Philip VI of France. Legend has it, that it was at this battle that the English first used the gesture of holding up two fingers as an insult, as this was how they held their new, and far superior weapon, the longbow.


1676 Sir Robert Walpole was born. He was a Whig politician who became the first Prime Minister. He was also the first Lord of the Treasury and the first Chancellor of the Exchequer.


1819 Prince Albert, (Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha) and consort to Queen Victoria, was born in Bavaria. He persuaded Victoria towards more progressive views in some areas, took a keen interest in the arts, and organized the Great Exhibition of 1851 in the Crystal Palace.


1936 Over 7,000 people queued to see the first high definition television pictures on sets at the Olympia Radio Show, west London. The pictures were transmitted by the BBC from Alexandra Palace, introduced by Leslie Mitchell, their first announcer.


1942 World War II: The beginning of the Holocaust in western Ukraine. At 2.30 am the German security police evicted Jews from their houses, divided them into groups of 120, packed them in freight cars and deported 2000 to Belzec death camp. 500 of the sick, along with children, were murdered on the spot.


1958 The death of Ralph Vaughan Williams, English composer. He was born at Down Ampney, Gloucestershire, the third child and younger son of the vicar. 


1959 British car manufacturers Austin and Morris launched a small family car - the 'Mini'.


1959 The Radio Show opened at Earls Court in London, with the appearance of some of the first 'transistor' radios.


1963 Cilla Black made her first major concert appearance at The Odeon Cinema, Southport, on a bill with the Beatles.


1967 The birth of Michael Gove, former Secretary of State for Education and Conservative Party Member of Parliament for the Surrey Heath constituency. He is also an author and former Times journalist who remains on friendly terms with proprietor Rupert Murdoch.


1981 Steve Ovett recaptured the mile-run record which had been taken from him just a week earlier by Sebastian Coe. Ovett's new world record time was 3:48.40.


1994 A man was given the world's first battery-operated heart in a pioneering operation in Britain.


1997 Diana, Princess of Wales, condemned the previous Conservative Government as 'hopeless' over the issue of the banning of landmines.


2001 It was announced that thousands of patients facing long delays in British hospitals could have the chance to be treated abroad in a Government bid to reduce waiting lists.


2011 The death of John McAleese, British Army soldier and leader of the SAS team that assaulted the Iranian Embassy in London in May 1980 to end the Iranian Embassy siege.


2014 A report, commissioned by Rotherham Borough Council, showed that at least 1,400 children were subjected to appalling sexual exploitation in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013. Children as young as 11 were raped by multiple perpetrators, abducted, trafficked to other cities in England, beaten and intimidated.