1685: Composer Johann Sebastian Bach was born in Eisenach, Germany. He sired 20 children yet still found time to compose 300 cantatas, two oratorios, the St John and St Matthew Passions and Mass in B minor.

1918: The last major German offensive of the First World War began on the Somme.

1946: Aneurin Bevan announced Labour Government proposals for a National Health Service.

1960: The Sharpeville Massacre took place in the Transvaal, South Africa, when police fired on a demonstration against pass laws, killing about 70 people.

1963: Alcatraz, the notorious maximum security prison in San Francisco Bay, was closed.

1978: Absolute white rule ended in Rhodesia as the country's first three black government ministers were sworn in.

1991: The poll tax was ditched.

1993: The IRA claimed responsibility for two bomb attacks in Warrington which killed a four-year-old child.

1995: Police raided the Tokyo headquarters of the Aum Shinrikyo religious sect after Sarin nerve gas was released on five trains.