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19 December: On this day in history

What events happened on 19 December in history? Dominic Sandbrook rounds up the events, births and deaths…

Published: December 19, 2021 at 6:06 am
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19 December 1187 

Paolo Scolari is elected as Pope Clement III.


19 December 1848

Thirty-year-old Emily Brontë, author of Wuthering Heights, dies of tuberculosis at her family home at Haworth, West Yorkshire.

19 December 1910

Birth at the Tarnier Clinic, Paris of criminal turned novelist, poet and playwright Jean Genet.

19 December 1919

Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and former BEF commander, Sir John French, narrowly escaped assassination when the IRA ambushed his motorcade at Kelly's Corner in Dublin.

19 December 1972 

Apollo 17, the United States’ last manned lunar mission, returned to Earth. The crew on the 12-day mission comprised Eugene Ceman, Ronald Evans and Harrison Schmitt.


19 December 1981

The Penlee lifeboat disaster. The RNLB Solomon Browne went to the aid of the coaster MV Union Star after its engines failed in heavy seas off the Cornish coast. Both vessels were lost and 16 people died, including eight volunteer lifeboatmen.

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Dominic SandbrookHistorian and presenter

Dominic Sandbrook is historian and presenter, and a regular contributor to BBC History Magazine


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