On this day 13th March
A lone gunman has gone on a shooting spree at a school in Dunblane, Scotland, killing 16 children and their teacher.
The killer sprayed shots at random around the school gym in an attack that lasted just three minutes, but caused carnage in a class of five and six year olds. He then turned the gun on himself.
Three men and two women have gone on trial at the Old Bailey charged with plotting to pass official secrets to the Russians and conspiring to break the Official Secrets Act.
Meanwhile in America, President John F. Kennedy proposes a 10-year, multibillion-dollar aid program for Latin America. The program came to be known as the Alliance for Progress and was designed to improve U.S. relations with Latin America
Czar Alexander II, the ruler of Russia since 1855, is killed in the streets of St. Petersburg by a bomb thrown by a member of the revolutionary “People’s Will” group. The People’s Will, organized in 1879, employed terrorism and assassination in their attempt to overthrow Russia’s czarist autocracy.
William Herschel sees what he thinks is a “comet” but is actually the discovery of the planet Uranus
Composer Thomas Arne, who is responsible for setting the widely misunderstood Rule, Britannia! to music from words by the poet James Thomson, was born today,
He wrote it at a time in the 18th Century when Britain did not rule the waves – the Dutch, the British could emerge as the world’s Number One naval power. “Rule, Britannia! Britannia, rule the waves,” he pleaded.
It was a message of hope and encouragement which was lost on many of the concert-goers at the Royal Albert Hall where the words became; “Rule Britannia! Britannia rules the waves”, which isn’t the same thing at all.
The missing commas and the substitution of “rules” for “rule” change the meaning completely and turn the phrase into imperialist triumphalism.