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This Day in History - 26th September


1580 The Devonshire born seaman Francis Drake returned to Plymouth, in the Golden Hind, becoming the first British navigator to circumnavigate the earth. Drake plundered a few Spanish ships en-route to keep morale high!

1687 The city council of Amsterdam voted to support William of Orange's invasion of England, which became the Glorious Revolution. King James II of England (James VII of Scotland and James II of Ireland) was overthrown and William ascended the English throne as William III of England, jointly with his wife Mary II of England.


1748 The birth, at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, of Vice Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood, an admiral of the Royal Navy, notable as a partner with Lord Nelson in several of the British victories of the Napoleonic Wars.


1861 The first British Open Golf Championship began at Prestwick, Ayrshire.


1879 The world's first railway dining car was introduced in Britain on the line between London and Leeds.


1887 The birth of Sir Barnes Wallis, scientist, engineer and inventor of the bouncing bomb used by the RAF in the 'Dambusters' raid to attack the dams of the Ruhr Valley during World War II. 


1915 death of James Keir Hardie, Britain's first socialist MP. 


1938 Concerned about the prospect of war with Germany (which turned out to be a year away) British civilians were issued with gas masks.


1953 Sugar rationing in Britain came to an end.


1955 Frozen Birdseye fish fingers first went on sale in Britain.


1956 The highest score in a single match in the European Cup was won by Manchester United, who beat Anderlecht 10-1.


1973 Concorde made its first non-stop crossing of the Atlantic in record-breaking time, cutting the previous record in half, and flying at an average speed of 954 mph.


1979 Compulsory metrication in Britain was abandoned.


1984 Britain agreed to transfer full sovereignty of Hong Kong to China in 1997, ending 150 years of British rule.


1997 Queen Elizabeth II and the British Government announced that the Royal Yacht Britannia would neither be refitted nor replaced because of the high cost. She is now a floating tourist attraction in Edinburgh. 


2011 The wreck of SS Gairsoppa, a UK cargo ship sunk by a German U-boat in 1941, was found in the Atlantic, around 300 miles off the coast of Ireland by US exploration firm Odyssey Marine. The wreck contained 200 tonnes of silver worth about £150m making it the largest haul of precious metal ever discovered at sea.


2013 The funeral service was held for 5 year old April Jones, in her hometown of Machynlleth, mid Wales. She was murdered by 47-year-old Mark Bridger almost a year previously, sparking the biggest missing person search in UK police history.