What happened in March? A daily overview

01 March

Early in the morning on March 1, 1954, the hydrogen bomb, code named Bravo, was detonated on the surface of the reef in the northwestern corner of Bikini Atoll. The area was illuminated by a huge and expanding flash of blinding light. A raging fireball of intense heat that measured into the millions of degrees shot skyward at a rate of 300 miles an hour. Within minutes the monstrous cloud, filled with nuclear debris, shot up more than 20 miles and generated winds hundreds of miles per hour. These fiery gusts blasted the surrounding islands and stripped the branches and coconuts from the trees. Read more

02 March

Operation Anaconda began on 2nd March 2002 and involved some 2,000 Coalition troops, including about 900 Americans from the 10th Mountain Division and the 101st Airborne, about 1,000 Allied Afghan soldiers and 200 Allied Special Forces from Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany and Norway. 100 Australian SAS were involved. Operation Anaconda was originally intended to last for two days, but it lasted for fourteen days with the SASR engaged throughout the operation conducting reconnaissance and directing air strikes. Read more

03 March

After a police chase in the early hours of 3rd March 1991, Rodney G King eventually decides to stop his white Hyundai. King had been struck as many as 56 times with the batons. He suffered a fractured leg, multiple facial fractures, and numerous bruises and contusions. Rodney King was released without charge. On March 15, Sergeant Koon and officers Powell, Wind, and Briseno were indicted by a Los Angeles grand jury in connection with the beating. They were acquitted which triggered the Los Angeles riots, the USA's largest civil disturbance of the 20th century. 50 people were killed, more than 2,000 were injured, and nearly $1 billion in property was destroyed. Read more

04 March

On March the 4th 1824, Sir William Hillary recognised the need for a coordinated lifeboat service and his appeal to the nation led to the foundation of the National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck, later to become the RNLI. Since its formation in 1824 to the present day, RNLI crews have saved over 136,000 lives at sea. Nowadays, the RNLI has 231 lifeboat stations around the coast of the UK and the Republic of Ireland, including 4 lifeboat stations on the River Thames. In addition, the RNLI provides a beach rescue service on 43 beaches in the south west of England. Read more

05 March

At 4.35pm on the 5th March 1936, Vickers Supermarine chief test pilot Capt. J. 'Mutt Summers' raised the specification F.37/34 prototype 300 Spitfire (Serial K5054) into the air at Eastleigh. (Now Southampton International Airport EGHI,) The first flight lasted just 8 minutes. The Spitfire served, and continued to be built, throughout WWII. It served in many theaters, and with many Allied nations, including the USA and the Soviet Union. Read more

06 March

On 6th March 1987, the British ro/ro ferry Herald of Free Enterprise capsized. She had sailed with her bow doors open because the Assistant Bosun - having been on dutyfor 24 hours - had fallen asleep, and upon reaching 17.5 knots the bow wave topped the 8 foot head beyond which it was highenough to flood over onto the unprotected car deck. In seconds the ship had developed a 30º list to port, whereupon the captain turned her violently to starboard, which successfully brought her over a sandbank to the right of the main channel. Here she settled with enough of her starboard side out of the water for more than half the 600 passengers and crew to escape. 193 lost their lives. Read more

07 March

On March 7th 1876, the US patent office issued Patent No 174,465 to a young Scots inventor. The patent covered ‘the method of and apparatus for, transmitting vocal and other sounds telegraphically’. The ‘apparatus’ was the telephone and its inventor Alexander Graham Bell. Three days after the patent went into effect, Bell’s assistant heard the words, `Mr. Watson, come here, I want you`. He suddenly realized the invention worked. When Alexander Graham Bell died on August 2, 1922, the entire nation stopped using the phone for a full minute of silence. This was a special tribute to the man who made this form of communication possible. Read more

08 March

International Women's Day (8 March) is an occasion marked by women's groups around the world. This date is also commemorated at the United Nations and is designated in many countries as a national holiday. When women on all continents, often divided by national boundaries and by ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic and political differences, come together to celebrate their Day, they can look back to a tradition that represents at least nine decades of struggle for equality, justice, peace and development. Increasingly, International Women's Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of women's rights. Read more

09 March

At Burnden Park on the 9th of March 1946 at the Bolton Wanderers vs Stoke City, F.A. Cup 6th round, second leg, thirty-two people were killed and over four hundred injured when crush barriers collapsed 12 minutes into the match and spectators spilled onto the pitch. Over 65,000 people were inside the ground and the tragedy was thought to have started when some of the estimated 20,000 fans locked outside broke down the gates and forced their way in. Following the disaster a Home Office enquiry recommended stricter inspection and licensing of grounds. Read more

10 March

The first official Census of England and Wales was on 10 March 1801. Information was collected from every household by the Overseers of the Poor, aided by constables, tithingmen, headboroughs and other officers of the peace. The Act also applied to Scotland, where the responsibility for taking the count was placed on schoolmasters. In Ireland, the first modern census was taken 20 years later, in 1821. Read more

11 March

The Great Sheffield Flood devastated areas in and above Sheffield on March 11, 1864. Dale Dyke (or Bradfield) resevoir was one of a planned four resevoirs built around Bradfield, about 8 miles north-west of Sheffield, to satisfy the developing steel industry of Sheffield. Over 4,000 houses were flooded. There were 240 reported deaths, though the total may have been higher, especially if consequent deaths are taken into account. Following a special Act of Parliament, compensation of £273,988 was paid for damage to property, injury to persons, and loss of life one of the largest insurance awards of its time. Read more

12 March

On 12th March 1881, the first black player to play top level football in Britain, Andrew Watson won his first international cap when he played as right-back for Scotland against England. He was captain and led his country to a 6-1 victory. Two days later he played in the team that beat Wales 5-1. The following year he won his third cap when Scotland beat England 5-1. Watson sacrificed his international career when he moved to England in 1882. The Scottish Football Association refused to select men who played football outside Scotland. Watson joined London Swifts and in 1882 he became the first black man to play in the FA Cup. In 1884 he joined the elite amateur club, Corinthians. Read more

13 March

Wednesday 13th March 1996 should have been a normal school day for the children of Dunblane Primary School. Tragically it was not. On that morning unemployed former shopkeeper Thomas Hamilton walked unchallenged into the school armed with two 9mm Browning HP pistols and two Smith and Wesson .357 revolvers and made his way to the gym hall. He opened fire indiscriminately on a class of 5-6 year olds. Killing 16 children and one teacher before turning the gun on himself. The massacre was one of the darkest days in modern british history and an event which still leaves an emotional imprint on many Scottish people today. Read more

14 March

Albert Einstein was born on March 14, 1879 in Ulm, Wurttemberg, Germany. Einstein contributed more than any other scientist since Sir Isaac Newton to our understanding of physical reality. Einstein worked at the patent office in Bern, Switzerland from 1902 to 1909. Later in 1905 Einstein showed how mass and energy were equivalent expressing it in the famous equation: E=mc2 (energy equals mass times the velocity of light squared). This equation became a cornerstone in the development of nuclear energy. Einstein received the Nobel Prize in 1921 but not for relativity, rather for his 1905 work on the photoelectric effect. He worked on at Princeton until the end of his life on an attempt to unify the laws of physics. Read more

15 March

The Ides of March is on March 15th every year. The expression Beware the Ides of March can mean beware of impending danger. If someone says Beware the Ides of March referring to March 15th itself, it can have the sense of March 15th being a bad luck day, just like Friday the 13th. The origin of the sinister meaning of the Ides of March is the fact that this is the actual day that Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC by some Roman Senators. Over 1500 years later, William Shakespeare wrote the play Julius Caesar. That’s where the phrase Beware the Ides of March comes from. In the play, a soothsayer said it to Julius Caesar on the day of his assassination. Read more

16 March

On 16 March 1978, the oil tanker the Amoco Cadiz, transporting 227,000 tonnes of crude oil, suffered a failure of her steering mechanism, and despite the efforts of the crew of a German tug boat and two unsuccessful towing attempts, ran aground on Portsall Rocks, on the Breton coast. The entire cargo spilled out as the breakers split the vessel in two, progressively polluting 360 km of shoreline from Brest to Saint Brieuc.This was the largest oil spill caused by a tanker grounding ever registered in the world. The consequences of this accident were significant, and it caused the French Government to revise its oil response plan (the Polmar Plan), to acquire equipment stocks (Polmar stocks), to impose traffic lanes in the Channel and to create Cedre. Read more

17 March

March 17th, Saint Patrick's Day has come to be associated with everything Irish: anything green and gold, shamrocks and luck. Most importantly, to those who celebrate its intended meaning, St. Patrick's Day is a traditional day for spiritual renewal and offering prayers for missionaries worldwide. Saint Patrick was the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland who is credited with bringing christianity to Ireland. Saint Patrick described himself as a `most humble-minded man, pouring forth a continuous paean of thanks to his Maker for having chosen him as the instrument whereby multitudes who had worshipped idols and unclean things had become the people of God.` Read more

18 March

On March 18th, 1314 Jacques de Molay was led out before the people to publicly confess his and the order's sins. He recanted his earlier confessions and said the only crime he was guilty of was lying about his Brethren to relieve his own tortures. He was then taken to an island on the Siene and burned along with Geoffrey de Charney the Preceptor of Normandy. He was first appointed the position of Visitor General and latterly to the post of Grand Preceptor of all England. Although de Molay confessed to denying Christ and trampling on the Holy Cross, he steadfastly denounced the accusations that the initiation ritual consisted of homosexual practices. Read more

19 March

Six English farm labourers were sentenced on 19th March 1834 to 7 years transportation to a penal colony in Australia for Trade Union activities. They were known as the Tolpuddle Martyrs. The tree under which the 'martyrs' met is now very old and reduced to a stump, but it has become a place of pilgrimage in Tolpuddle, where it is known as the 'Martyrs Tree'. A commemorative seat and shelter was erected in 1934 on the green by the wealthy London draper Sir Ernest Debenham. Read more

20 March

On March 20, 1995, members of the Aum Shinrikyo cult entered the Tokyo subway system and released sarin, a deadly nerve agent. The subway attack was the most deadly assault in an ongoing campaign of terror waged by this mysterious cult. By the end of that day, 15 subway stations in the world's busiest subway system had been affected. Of these, stations along the Hbiya line were the most heavily affected, some with as many as 300 to 400 persons involved. The number injured in the attacks was just under 3,800. Of those, nearly 1,000 actually required hospitalization some for no more than a few hours, some for many days. 12 people died. Read more

21 March

Opened on 21st March 1958 the London Planetarium enabled budding astronomers to see the stars and was one of the largest planetariums in the world. It closed in 2006 as a separate attraction and became part of Madame Tussaud's, with a `Star Dome` show. The London Planetarium now no longer exists and it is not longer possible to visit it as a separate attraction of Madame Tussaud’s. From 2010 forward, the building houses the Marvel Superheroes 4D attraction. Read more

22 March

On March 22, 1888 was the first meeting to instate and organise the English Football League. It was William McGregor, a draper and Aston Villa's director in Scotland, was the first man who was tried to establish some rules to that chaotic world where previously teams agreed their own matches and games. The English Football League's first season started some months later in 1888 and dated on 8 September, there were 12 member clubs. Read more

23 March

With the underground already under construction, 1861 saw the introduction of a new system of transport on London's streets - the Tramway. It was introduced by the felicitously named George Francis Train. Mr Train experimented with his system at Birkenhead, near Liverpool and finally convinced the authorities to allow him to lay experimental tracks on several routes in London. The first of these opened on March 23rd 1861 and was about a mile in length and ran along Bayswater Road between Marble Arch and Notting Hill. The second one followed on April 15th and ran down Victoria Street. The third opened for business on August 15th. Read more

24 March

Queen Elizabeth, the last Tudor monarch died at Richmond Palace on 24 March 1603. She had been born at Greenwich on 7 September 1533, the daughter of Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn. Her early life was full of uncertainties, and her chances of succeeding to the throne seemed very slight once her half-brother Edward was born in 1537. She was then third in line behind her Roman Catholic half-sister, Princess Mary. Roman Catholics, indeed, always considered her illegitimate and she only narrowly escaped execution in the wake of a failed rebellion against Queen Mary in 1554. Read more

25 March

On the 25th of March, 1306, Robert the Bruce was crowned king of Scotland in Scone palace. Things were only to turn from bad to worse for King Robert the Bruce, including being outlawed by Edward I, hunted under Edward’s command by the brother-in-law of Comyn, Aymer de Valence, defeated by him in a battle at Methven, and nearly being captured at Tyndrum by more of Comyn's kinsmen. He sent his family to Kildrummy Castle in Aberdeenshire for safety, but by September, his wife and daughter were in prison and his brother Neil was hung, Bruce then travelled from Kintyre to the island of Rathlin, just off the Irish coast. His movements are unknown after that until his return to Scotland in February 1307. Read more

26 March

On 26th March 1885 the first official cremation at Woking took place. Mrs. Pickersgill, a well-known figure in literary and scientific circles, was the first of three cremations that year. Mr. Charles William Carpenter was cremated on 19th October and in December the third cremation. In 1886 there were ten cremations and during the year 1888, there were a total of 28. During the time of the ancient Roman and Greek civilizations cremation had been generally adopted as a method of disposing of the dead. With the advent and spread of Christianity, however, and it's concomitant belief in the resurrection of the dead, cremation fell into disfavour and by the fifth century the practice had become almost completely obsolete. Read more

27 March

This day in 1871 saw Scotland beat England in the first international rugby union match. Crowd attendance for this match was approximately 4,000. Scotland had the home ground advantage at Raeburn Place and Scotland won the match by 3 points, the final score Scotland 4 England 1. The first try in International rugby was scored by Angus Buchanan, this was duly converted by W Cross, which provided the first full score and ultimately the win. Read more

28 March

On the 28th March 1964 Radio Caroline is launched, broadcasting from a boat off the coast of Suffolk. It quickly gained an audience of millions because no other station played pop music all day. Put together by Irishman Ronan O'Rahilly, the station took its name from the daughter of John F Kennedy. During March 1964, a Birmingham band called The Fortunes recorded the song Caroline (the B-side of You've Got Your Troubles, which entered the British charts in 1965, on Decca F11809), and this would later became the station's theme song By 3 March 1968 it was all over though, thanks to lack of revenue Radio Caroline had their ships repossessed and towed away to Holland. Read more

29 March

The very first London Marathon was run on 29th March 1981. More than 20,000 people applied to run: 7,747 were accepted and 6,255 crossed the finish line on Constitution Hill as cheering crowds lined the route. Now at capacity, a total of 46,500 were accepted from a record 80,500 applicants, with 32,563 finishing on the day. Since this time the event has continued to grow in size, stature and popularity with a capacity 46,500 accepted entrants each year. In all, a total of 711,260 have completed the race since its inception with 34,497 runners crossing the line in 2008. Read more

30 March

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother died peacefully in her sleep on Saturday 30 March 2002, at Royal Lodge, Windsor. Queen Elizabeth was a much-loved member of the Royal Family. Her life, spanning over a century, was devoted to the service of her country, the fulfilment of her Royal duties and the support of her family. The Queen Mother's remarkable life spanned over a century, a period of immense change. Having married Prince Albert, Duke of York in 1923, she found herself Queen Consort on the abdication of King Edward VIII in 1936. As Queen she played a significant role in the life of the nation, supporting the King and helping to uphold national morale during the difficult years of the Second World War and its aftermath. Read more

31 March

On 31st March 1930, John Logie Baird installs a Televisor receiver at 10 Downing Street, London, the prime minister’s residence. The following week, Ramsey MacDonald writes to Baird, 'When I look at the transmissions I feel that the most wonderful miracle is being done under my eye. ... You have put something in my room which will never let me forget how strange is this world and how unknown.' Read more