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15th February

1564 * Galileo Galilei, Italian astronomer and mathematician.

1874 * Sir Ernest Shackleton, British Antarctic explorer.

1882 The first ever shipment of frozen meat was sent from New Zealand to Britain.

1898 USS Maine blew up in Havana harbour, sparking off the Spanish-American War.

1929 * Graham Hill, British world motor racing champion and winner of the Indianapolis 500.

1942 British forces in Singapore surrendered to the Japanese, seven days after enemy troops first stormed the island.

1944 The allied bombing of the Monte Cassino monastery in southern Italy began.

1951 * Jane Seymour, English actress who was in the James Bond film Live and Let Die (1973).

1952 King George VI was buried at St George's Chapel on his Windsor Castle estate.

1961 At least 73 people were killed when a Boeing 707 jet airliner crashed at Berg, near Brussels airport.

1965 The Maple Leaf Flag officially became the new national flag of Canada.

1965 American singer and musician Nat King Cole died.

1971 Britain went decimal. Out went old pennies and half crowns, in came the "New Pence".

1974 The search in the Arctic Ocean for the missing British trawler the Gaul and its 36-man crew was called off.

1974 The battle for the Golan Heights between Israeli and Syrian forces began.

1981 An English Football League match was played on a Sunday for the first time.

1989 After a 10 year occupation, more than 100,000 Soviet troops withdrew from Afghanistan.

2003 Millions of protesters around the world demonstrated against the threat of a U.S. war on Iraq.

xxxx * = Date of birth

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