In the Name of the Father
1190 The Crusades began the massacre of Jews at Clifford’s Tower, York. Some committed mass suicide rather than submit to baptism and they set the castle on fire to prevent their bodies being mutilated after their deaths. A few Jews did surrender, promising to convert to Christianity, but they were killed by the angry crowd. In all 150 were killed.
The Welsh and the Parliament
1647 Harlech Castle surrendered in the English Civil War. It was a Royalist stronghold and the last Welsh castle to be taken by Parliament.
The First English FA Cup
1872 The Wanderers Football Club, based in London, beat the Royal Engineers 1–0 in the first English FA Cup Final, at Kennington Oval. The number of spectators was 2000 and the winning goal was scored by Morton Betts.
The First Victim
1940 World War II: James Isbister became the first person killed in a German bombing raid; on Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands.
Lethal Weapon 2
1942 The first German V-2 rocket test launch. It exploded at lift-off but eventually over 3,000 V-2s were launched as military rockets by the Germans against Allied targets during the war, mostly London and later Antwerp. The attacks resulted in the death of an estimated 7,000+ military personnel and civilians, whilst 12,000 forced labourers were killed producing the weapons.
1976 Harold Wilson, Prime Minister for almost eight years, and leader of the Labour Party for 13 years, resigned. He insisted that there were no hidden reasons for his resignation although it was suggested that he might already have been aware of the first stages of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, which was to cause both his formerly excellent memory and his powers of concentration to fail dramatically.
New London Bridge
1973 Queen Elizabeth II opened the new London Bridge. The old one was sold to an American oil tycoon for £1m and transported to the United States.
A Bad Day for Suicide
2001 According to a health survey, 16th March 2001 was the only day between 1993 and 2002 when nobody in the United Kingdom killed themselves.