Monday February 26th
In the early hours of February 26th, 1960, an Alitalia flight from Naples & Rome headed towards New York stops over in Shannon to refuel. For reasons still unknown, the plane crashed shortly after take-off, killing 34 of the 52 passengers on-board. According to eyewitness reports, the plane flew low enough to clip several gravestones in the Clonloghan Cemetery, destroying a wall. It flew just passed the graveyard into a nearby field, spewing forth chunks of fuselage and luggage into the neighbouring field.
Famous Death: King of Ailech, Muirchertach of the Leather Cloaks (d.943)
Holiday: Liberation Day (Kuwait)
Tuesday February 27th
On this day, in 1900, both the British Labour Party and German football club Bayern Munich were formed. The former was founded out of the trade union movement in the UK of the 19th Century, and would go on to form the main opposition to the Conservative Party from the 1920s onward. They would have their first Prime Minister in 1924, as Ramsay MacDonald lead a minority government into power. The latter is the most successful football club in German history, having won a record-breaking 27 national titles and 18 national cups. They won their first national title in 1932.
Famous Death: Star Trek star Leonard Nimoy (1931-2015)
Holiday: International Polar Bear Day
Wednesday February 28th
In 2013 Pope Benedict XVI resigned as Pope in the Vatican. He was the first Pope to do so since Gregory XII did the same in 1415, though he was only the first to do it of his own volition since Celestine V did so in 1294. The German-born Pope had not been as popular as his predecessor, being seen as a ‘regressive’ or conservative figure in the church. He had also been criticised for his spending on opulent interior design. He gave failing health due to old age as his reason for resigning.
Famous Death: Scrap Saturday and Father Ted star Dermot Morgan (1952-1998)
Holiday: Rare Disease Day (worldwide)
Thursday March 1st
In 1981 Bobby Sands began his hunger strike in the Maze Prison on this day. He, and other prisoners, went on strike for the right to wear their own clothes, to not do prison work, the right to free association & organise recreational/educational pursuits, the right to one visit, parcel and letter per week, and ‘full restoration of remission lost through the protest’. Essentially they wanted to be regarded as political prisoners instead of ‘common criminals’, as was the policy of the Thatcher government. He would pass away while on hunger strike on May 5th.
Famous Death: Publisher Andrew Breitbart (1969-2012)
Holiday: National Pig Day (USA)
Friday March 2nd
The first film in the King Kong franchise opens in New York’s Radio City Music Hall on this day in 1933. This film is noted for its pioneering stop motion animation (done by Willis O’Brien) and musical score (Max Steiner). Rotten Tomatoes rank King Kong as the greatest horror film of all time, and the twentieth greatest film of all time.
Famous Death: Hurler Christy Ring (1920-1979)
Holiday: Peasants’ Day (Burma)