This week’s history news round-up

We take a look at the historical stories that have been making the news this week...

Picture number: WAT/B640408
Description: RMS Titanic was built in Belfast, Ireland, by Harland and Wolff Shipbuilders. Nearly the length of three football fields Titanic was, at the time, the largest moving object ever created and also one of the most lavishly appointed ships ever built Titanic was the middle ship of the three new super-liners. Her older sister, Olympic, served as a reliable member of the White Star fleet until she was scrapped in 1935 after striking and sinking the famous Nantucket lightship off the eastern cost of the United States. Her younger sister, Britannic, met a fate similar to that of Titanic during World War I when she struck a German mine off the coast of Greece and sank in less than an hour. 
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Lost Titanic plaque resurfaces after disappearing for a century

A bronze plaque commemorating the launch of RMS Titanic has emerged in Granada after being lost for 100 years.


On 9 April 1912, the day before the ill-fated ship began its maiden voyage, the plaque was presented to the chairman of Harland and Wolff – the shipyard that created the vessel.

The small relic has re-appeared in Granada thanks to an art gallery owner who bought the piece unaware of its value 12 years ago.

The plaque is now on display in an exhibition at the Granada Park of Science.

To read the Liverpool Echo news story in full, click here.

First soldier to land in France on D-Day dies

The first British soldier to land in France on D-Day has died aged 95.

On 6 June 1944, Norman Poole became the first man to parachute into France with his six-man crew and 200 dummy parachutists. He then spent six weeks behind enemy lines before eventually being captured by German troops.

He went on to receive the Military Cross for bravery, although his family only very recently discovered the story behind him receiving the honour.

To read the Telegraph story in full, click here

Archive films reveal Northern Ireland’s unseen history

Winston Churchill’s infamous visit to Belfast in 1912, a 1963 Viking invasion re-enactment and a 1938 recording of the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast are among the archive footage made available to view online for the first time.

The British Film Institute (BFI) has released hundreds of films capturing life in Northern Ireland across the 20th century.

Some of the more revealing films capture the lives of ordinary people, working in spinning mills or constructing motorways.

The release of these archived films are part of the BFI’s wider project, From Britain On Film.

To read the BBC News story in full, click here.

To read more about the launch of the Britain On Film project on History Extra, click here.

Shakespeare’s schoolroom to be restored

A building where William Shakespeare went to school and watched theatre performances is to be restored by a £1.4m grant.

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) will fund the restoration of the 700-year-old Guildhall in Stratford-Upon-Avon, which is to include a new heating system and accessible toilets.

The building is already used for teaching students at King Edward VI School in the town but it is hoped the restoration will open up the building to the wider public.

To read the BBC News story in full, click here.

Second World War Panther tank confiscated from man’s basement

In an unlikely sequence of events, police in northern Germany have seized a Second World War tank from a 78-year-old pensioner’s basement in the town of Heikendorf.

The tank was found alongside a torpedo and an anti-aircraft gun after local prosecutors were tipped off about the basement’s contents.

It required modern-day tanks and 20 soldiers nine hours to remove the vehicle.

To read the BBC News story, click here

Restored Second World War Spitfire sold for £3.1m

A Second World War Spitfire has sold at auction for £3.1m after five years of restoration.

Originally piloted during the evacuation of Dunkirk, it was shot down on 24 May 1940 on the Calais coast. The plane wreckage remained hidden in the sandy beach until the 1980s.

The aircraft was then restored at its former home of RAF Duxford in Cambridgeshire and remains one of only two Spitfires in the world to have been restored to its original specification.

To read the BBC News story in full, click here


Written by Luke Hollander