October 3. Italian troops marched into Ethiopia, claiming
it as their African empire for their fascist leader, Mussolini.
Ethiopia was the only independent black state to survive the "scramble
for Africa" by rival European nations in the 19th century.
Italy had tried once before and been defeated by an Ethiopian
army in 1896. Mussolini talked of avenging this humiliation, but
the rest of the world saw his 1935 adventure for what it was -
naked aggression against an almost defenceless state.
The League of Nations was as powerless to stop this attack as
it had been during the Japanese invasion of Manchuria a few years
It was a particularly savage onslaught. The Italian fascists
used not only bombs and artillery against the poorly-armed natives
but unleashed poison gas from the air, causing untold suffering.
Britain decided not to intervene, fearful that any opposition
to Mussolini might drive him into closer alliance with Hitler.
It was a vain hope.
19. "Lawrence of Arabia" alias Colonel T E Lawrence, died
at at the age of 47 following a motorcycle accident after which
he lay unconscious for five days with a fractured skull. The legendary
figure had been riding his machine from Bovington army camp in
Dorset, to his nearby cottage, Clouds Hill, and swerved to avoid
two boy cyclists. The story of Lawrence's exploits with the Arab
rebels was told in his best seller Revolt in the Desert, but more
fully in The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, which he refused to publish
in his lifetime. This version recounts how he was briefly captured
by the Turks and submitted to assault and humiliation.
May 6. King George and Queen Mary's Silver Jubilee was
a day of triumph and pageantry in London. It was 25 years since
he became king, following the death of his father, Edward VII
- and the special day brought the biggest crowds onto the streets
since Armistice Day in 1918.
As their majesties drove past Nelson's Column, tiers of youngsters
cheered their heads off in between licks of ice cream. At St Paul's,
all eyes were on the Queen, looking resplendent in white with
a necklace of pearls and brilliant stones. The King wore the scarlet
uniform of a field marshall.
February 10. Gracie Fields, the "throstle of Rochdale,"
was the recipient of the latest astronomical film offer. She signed
a two-year film contract with Associated Talking Pictures to make
three films for which she was to receive the unprecedented sum
"Our Gracie" got as much, if not more, than Garbo got at the
time, said the company. The Lancashire lass said: "I don't really
like it. There's too much responsibility. Give me a cottage and
ten shillings." The star came to fame singing Sally in revue and
with comedy songs such as "The Biggest Aspidistra in the World."
February 13. A small courtroom in New Jersey was the
focus of world attention as 33-year-old unemployed carpenter,
Bruno Hauptman, was sentenced to death for the murder of the 20-month-old
baby of aviation hero Charles Lindbergh.
Although the evidence against Hauptman was circumstantial, it
was damning. Scientific evidence claimed that the ladder used
to reach the child's nursery was made by the defendant. He also
paid for some petrol with a ten dollar bill known to have been
part of the $50,000 ransom demanded - and $13,750 of the ransom
money was found in a cellar at Hauptman's New York home.
January 10. Screen star Mary Pickford
won a divorce in Los Angeles from swashbuckling film hero
Douglas Fairbanks Sr.
January 30. The Red Army was 940,000-strong,
said the Kremlin, scotching a belief in the West that the
figure was 562,000.
February 1. The world's first public
television service was planned for that year by the BBC.
February 18. In Berlin two women
were beheaded after being accused of spying.
April 1. An alliance with Germany
was turned down by Japan in Tokyo.
April 7. In the State of Mississippi
26 people were killed and 150 injured as tornadoes struck
April 27. West Bromwich Albion were
beaten 4-2 by Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup Final at
May 4. The world's longest escalator
was installed for the opening of London's Leicester Square
May 17. At the age of 19, film
and stage star Vivien Leigh shot to fame and signed a record
50,000 film contract.
June 15. At Welwyn Garden City
14 people died in a rail crash.
June 21. A telephonist in Croydon,
London, won a GPO competition to find a voice for the Speaking
July 9. Ivan the Terrible's torture
chamber was discovered by engineers working on the new underground
railway in Moscow.
October 4. At Cosford an entire
reconstruction of the pumping and purification plant was
planned at a cost of 57,500.
November 20. Wolverhampton motorists
were reminded by the chief constable that the new "Halt
At Major Road Ahead" traffic sign must be obeyed. The first
time it went up road users completely ignored it.
December 4. In Dudley a "land scarcity"
prompted a local councillor to claim that if the town did
not get more land for building "we are going to die of decay."