On this day in 1580 a 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck London. Believed to have originated in the Dover Straits, it caused a pinnacle to fall from Westminster Abbey, and two children were killed by stones falling from the roof of Christ's Church Hospital. The poet James Yates wrote of the incident:
Oh sudden motion, and shaking of the earth,
No blustering blastes, the weather calme and milde:
Good Lord the sudden rarenesse of the thing
A sudden feare did bring, to man and childe,
They verely thought, as well in field as Towne,
The earth should sinke, and the houses all fall downe.
A medieval earthquake
On this day in 1912 King George V signed a royal warrant establishing the Royal Flying Corps. It was established with an army branch and a naval branch, with the latter formerly separating two years later to become the Royal Naval Air Service. In 1918, towards the end of the First World War, the two branches were combined to create the new Royal Air Force, independent of and equal to the British Army and Royal Navy.
Royal Flying Corps poster
On this day in 1653 Oliver Cromwell dissolved the Rump Parliament - so called because all those MPs previously sympathetic to Charles I had been purged from it, leaving a 'rump' of members. Frustrated by parliament's refusal to back his proposed legislation, and by its growing distrust of the army, Cromwell called in a troop of soldiers to forcibly disband it, saying: “You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go.” That line was quoted by MP Leo Amery to Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in 1940, and again to Boris Johnson by David Davis in 2022.
Oliver Cromwell dissolves the Rump Parliament
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