On This Day In History, 24 March


On This Day In History 24 March Image

World Events Today

  • The Royal Air Force gunner Nicholas Alkemade jumped, without a parachute, from his burning aircraft over Germany today in 1944, his fall was broken by pine trees and soft snow cover and, he miraculously survived the 18,000 feet, 5,500 metre drop
  • Dirk Dries David Damiaan became the first Belgian in space today in 1992, he was on-board the NASA Atlantis Space Shuttle
  • After a Belgian transport truck caught fire, 39 people died in the Month Blanc Tunnel today in 1999

Entertainment Events Today

  • For the first and only time, the annual University Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge, ended in a dead heat today in 1877
  • Elvis Presley, the “King of Rock and Roll”, officially joined the United States Army for 24 months today in 1958
  • The American version of The Office, created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, aired for the first time today in 2005 on the NBC network

Family Events Today

  • Erik Weisz, better known as the famous escape artist Harry Houdini, was born today in 1874 in Budapest, Hungary
  • The American actor Steve McQueen, known as “The King of Cool”, was born today in 1930 in Indiana
  • Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, better known more simply as “Monty”, a key Allied commander during World War 2, died today in 1976 aged 88

Main Event Today

  • The Great Escape, from Stalag Luft 3, began today in 1944, 76 Allied prisoners got away before the escape was discovered early the next morning

National Day Today

  • Today, it’s National Cheese Steak Day

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