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This Day in History - 29th October


1618 Sir Walter Raleigh, English seafarer, courtier, writer and once a favourite of Queen Elizabeth I (he named Virginia after her) was beheaded at Whitehall. He had been falsely accused of treason and sentenced to death, commuted to imprisonment. He was released after 13 years to try and find the legendary gold of El Dorado. He failed, and returned to an undeserved fate.

1656 Edmund Halley, British astronomer, was born.


1843 The world's first telegram was sent, from Paddington to Slough.


1863 Eighteen countries, including Britain, met in Geneva and agreed to form the International Red Cross. The final resolutions adopted included The foundation of national relief societies for wounded soldiers - Neutrality and protection for wounded soldiers and a protection symbol for medical personnel in the field, namely a white armlet bearing a red cross.


1886 Fred Archer rode the last of his 2746 winners at Newmarket, retiring as a jockey after 16 years.


1945 The Harwell Atomic Energy Research Establishment was set up in England.


1975 More than 20 people were injured in an IRA bomb attack on a restaurant in Mayfair, London.


1975 The world’s largest mining complex was opened at Selby, Yorkshire. Selby is now an attractive market town with an ancient abbey that dates back to shortly after the Norman conquest.


1983 Yachtsman Chay Blyth had to cancel his plans to create a new world clipper record when his trimaran capsized 500 miles east of New York.


1986 The final section of the M25 was opened. The motorway around Greater London was designed to relieve traffic congestion within the capital.


1988 Two of Britain’s greatest middle distance runners, Sebastian Coe and Steve Cram, re-ran the 367 metre ‘Chariots of Fire’ race around the Great Court at Trinity College, Cambridge. Sebastian Coe was the winner in 45.52 seconds. In the original race Lord Burghley crossed the line in 42.5 seconds.


1989 Eight people died when winds of almost 100mph struck South Wales and the West of England, causing flooding, fallen trees and power cuts.


2003 The Conservative Party leader, Iain Duncan Smith, resigned after failing to win the backing of his fellow MPs.


2008 TV and radio presenters Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand were suspended. All their shows were taken off air whilst the BBC investigated their prank calls made to actor Andrew Sachs (Fawlty Towers) and comments made about the actor's granddaughter.


2010 Take That fans complained after facing major problems buying tickets to see Robbie Williams tour with the group for the first time in 16 years. The websites of official agencies including Ticketmaster, See Tickets, Ticketline and The Ticket Factory all buckled under the strain as the tickets went on sale at 0900 BST.


2012 The UK's first fourth generation (4G) mobile service was launched. 11 cities - London, Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield, Glasgow and Southampton had access to network EE's 4G from Tuesday morning, 30th October.


2013 The Lonely Planet Guide named Yorkshire as one of the top places in the world to visit. It put the area third in the top 10 world regions, behind destinations in India and Australia. As a Yorkshireman I'm surprised that it took them so long to award this accolade. 


2014 The Serious Fraud Office initiated a criminal investigation into accounting irregularities at supermarket giant Tesco after the supermarket announced that its profits had been overstated by £263m.