July 1966: that was the month that was

Billy Jean King

Billy Jean King

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England’s World Cup win 50 years ago was the undoubted homeland highlight of July 1966 ... but else was happening near and far that month?

From Fab Four to 21 mile Chunnel, Vietnam to Gemini 10, we take a retrospective daily look back to an eventful month half a century past.

Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan

1 July 1966: Manuel Santana becomes first Spaniard to win Wimbledon.

2: Billie Jean King wins first of six Wimbledon singles championships to start 12 Grand Slam event wins.

The Beatles become first group to perform at Tokyo’s Nippon Budokan Hall, fueling protests from locals who deemed it inappropriate.

France launches first of 44 nuclear weapon tests in South Pacific Ocean.

Credit: Minnesota Historical Society

Dr Martin Luther King

Credit: Minnesota Historical Society Dr Martin Luther King

3: More than 30 protesters arrested at a violent demo by estimated 4,000 anti-Vietnam War objectors outside London’s US Embassy.

4: The Queen and Prince Philip escape injury when a woman smashes a beer bottle against their Rolls-Royce then two minutes later a 30-pound concrete block, hurled from fourth floor of a Belfast building, hits the limo bonnet.

5 Public shares of fast food franchise McDonald’s Corporation open at $32 each on New York Stock Exchange.

6: East African nation Malawi becomes republic, two years after being granted independence from UK.

Vietnam overshadowed international events

Vietnam overshadowed international events

7: Air-to-air missiles are used for first time in combat as American F-105 fighters are fired upon by MiG-21 jet rockets over North Vietnam.

8: Prime Minister Harold Wilson and French Premier Georges Pompidou conclude three days of London conferences by agreeing to build 21 mile long tunnel underneath the English Channel.

9: British Open golf tournament at Muirfield was won by Jack Nicklaus, first of three victories in the tournament, to help him become only fourth player to win Grand Slam.

10: Six-day heat wave begins across The States, killing hundreds of Americans as temperatures remain above 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mr Harold Wilson backstage  at Green's Playhouse Glasgow in October 1964 (date correct).

Mr Harold Wilson backstage at Green's Playhouse Glasgow in October 1964 (date correct).

11: World Cup begins on home soil with hosts England and Uruguay locked in 0-0 bore draw before 75,000 Wembley crowd.

12: America’s long hot summer sparked hydrant riots that, after protests led by Dr Martin Luther King, led to black residents sharing white-only pools to cool down.

13: Landmine blast near Israel’s border with Syria kills two soldiers and a civilian to prompt “Operation Wind” hostilities over Jordan.

14: Plaid Cymru, political party advocating independence for Wales, takes first Westminster seat in 41-year history as president Gwynfor Evans becomes MP.

15: ‘Nam warfare escalates, despite global condemnation, as US scrambles record 121 bombing missions against North Vietnamese targets.

16: Bob Dylan releases landmark Blonde on Blonde album.

Jack Brabham wins Brands Hatch British Grand Prix.

17: Passenger boat Bridlington Queen springs leak and sinks off East Coast with 20 lives saved by pleasure craft rescues.

18: Cape Kennedy launches Gemini 10 with John Young and Michael Collins, after docking with orbiting Agena target vehicle, reaching unprecedented 474 miles above Earth altitude.

19: Defending world champs Brazil unceremoniously leave World Cup after Portugal’s 3-1 Liverpool win as superstar Pelé becomes injured 30 minutes into the match, leaving thousands of Rio fans crying and fighting.

20: PM Harold Wilson announces “July measures” to avoid devaluation of sterling in face of £350,000,000 balance of payments deficit, exacerbated by seamen’s strike. Prices and Incomes Act amounted to most stringent economic measures since World War II with 10% hike in income taxes, fuel surcharges and alcohol.

21: Geneva treaty historically saw global giants USA and Russia agree “Outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty by means of use or occupation, or by any other means.”

22: British cruiser Prince of Wales, with 39 people on board, hits Mawddach River toll bridge at Penmaenpool, capsizing to claim 11 lives, four of them children.

23: PM Harold Wilson officially opens Liverpool’s iconic Cavern Club, featuring new entrance, shop, boutique, coffee lounge and eatery while retaining original basement vaults.

Deaths of From Here to Eternity lead actor (and Clash hero) 45-year-old Montgomery Clift, and Enola Gay Tibbetts (named checked by OMD), 73-year-old mum whose name became associated with first wartime atomic weapon after son Colonel Paul W Tibbetts’ naming of B-29 bomber that hit Hiroshima in ‘45.

24: Birth of Martin Keown, Arsenal defender who made over 300 appearances and won nine major trophies, since becoming BBC Match Of The Day TV football pundit.

25: Commons voted to nationalise nation’s steel industry, bringing country’s 14 largest steel producers under control of one corporation.

26: Box office hit William Holden, star of Sunset Boulevard, The Bridge on the River Kwai and The Wild Bunch, kills driver as his Ferrari overtakes on an Italian road at over 100 miles per hour.

27: TUC chiefs vote to call off strikes threatened during six-month pay freeze as part of governmental austerity measures.

28: Birth of The Beast, Miguel Ángel Nadal, whose physical prowess would serve Spain well in three World Cups.

29: Bob Dylan injured in motorcycle crash near his Woodstock home, after which he would live in seclusion and not be seen in public for over a year.

30: The Beatles “Yesterday ... & Today” album tops American charts, staying there for five weeks. Oh, and we win the World Cup!

31: First tournament mascot World Cup Willie lion and rest of our nation continue to celebrate England’s historic success, never (yet) repeated.

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