5 February 1309

Hampshire-born cleric John Drokensford is elected Bishop of Bath and Wells. He will become one of the leading men in the government of King Edward II and is buried in a handsome tomb in Wells Cathedral.


5 February 1592

John Farrant, organist at Salisbury Cathedral, left the building during evensong to confront the dean, John Bridges. Farrant threatened to cut the dean's throat for publicly rebuking him for his treatment of his wife. Bridges escaped by locking himself in his bedroom.

5 February 1783

The first of five major earthquakes to hit Calabria, southern Italy, in two months killed an estimated 25,000 people and destroyed over 100 villages.

5 February 1811

With King George III debilitated by illness, power was transferred by the Regency Act to his son, the Prince of Wales, who ruled for nine years as Prince Regent before succeeding to the throne as King George IV.

5 February 1818

Napoleon’s former marshal Jean Bernadotte, who had been adopted by the elderly Swedish king, is proclaimed Charles XIV John of Sweden in Stockholm.

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5 February 1840

Births of inventors Hiram Maxim and John Boyd Dunlop. Maxim's numerous inventions included the machine gun named after him, while Dunlop was the inventor of the pneumatic tyre.

5 February 1957

5,000 fans greet rock and roll star Bill Haley as he arrives in Southampton for his first UK tour.


5 February 1958

An American B47 bomber is damaged after colliding with an F86 fighter plane during a practice exercise. After three failed landing attempts the pilot of the B47 is given permission to jettison the 7,600lb Mark 15 hydrogen bomb the plane is carrying into the Atlantic Ocean off Tybee Island, Georgia. Attempts to locate and recover it prove unsuccessful and the bomb still remains on the ocean floor. The US Air Force maintains that the capsule used to initiate a nuclear explosion was removed from the bomb prior to take-off.

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