Home Decades 1950s 1952


15 February. State funeral of King George VI.


05 – Winston Churchill arrives in Washington for talks with Truman.

07 – General Dwight D Eisenhower says he will run for US President.

12 – The prototype Vickers Valiant, Britain’s only long-range jet for carrying the atomic bomb, crashes.

13 – The Iranian government orders British Consulates to close.

16 – The Australian government agrees to allow the Anglo-Iranian Oil Co to establish a refinery near Fremantle, Western Australia.

17 – Churchill addresses a joint session of Congress in Washington DC.

20 – Iranian Prime Minister Mossadegh denounces Iran’s 1857 friendship treaty with Britain.

22 – The driver of the bus which killed 23 military cadets last month in Kent is fined £20 and loses his licence for three years.

22 – The de Havilland Comet gains the world’s first certificate of airworthiness to be awarded to a jet airliner and goes into freight service the same month.

24 – Over 40 Egyptians are killed by British soldiers in riots in Ismailia in the Suez Canal Zone.

29 – Tommy Ramone (The Ramones) is born.

31 – Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh leave for Kenya and other Commonwealth nations.


01 – The first TV detector van in the UK is demonstrated in front of Postmaster-General, Lord De La Warr and Assistant Postmaster-General Mr Gammans. The vans are a new method for tracking down users of unlicensed television sets.

02 – The Communists in Korea agree that all freed prisoners should not fight again.

03 – 283 people die as gale-force winds and high tides cause major floods on the east coast of Kent in southern England. Thousands are left homeless.

05 – Victoria (Australia) is hit by the worst bush fires since 1939.

06 – King George VI dies in his sleep at Sandringham, aged 56. He is found dead by a servant delivering the King’s morning tea at 07.30 GMT.

06 – A mechanical heart is used during surgery for the first time in the United States. The operation is a success.

08 – Princess Elizabeth is pronounced Queen on her return from Kenya.

10 – The Congress Party of India, led by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, wins an outright victory in the country’s first general election. The party wins 249 of the 489 seats contested in the Lower House, and even with 133 results yet to be declared it is clear that the Congress Party will control the next Parliament.

14 – Crowds in London pay homage to the King in a continuous file-past in the Great Hall in Westminster which lasts until 3.25 am.

15 – Funeral of King George VI.

Funeral of King George VI

17 – Britain, the US and France put off West Germany’s full NATO membership.

17 – Seven Gordon Highlanders are killed in Malaya by insurgents.

20 – NATO meeting agrees to recruit Morocco and Tunisia.

21 – Identity cards are abolished in Britain.

22 – 22 insurgents have been killed in Malaya by British troops in the past 48 hours.

27 – The UN holds its first session in its new headquarters in New York.

29 – In France, Edgar Faure quits office after 40 days and Paul Reynaud becomes premier.


01 – Pandit Nehru wins India’s first national elections.

02 – King Farouk suspends the Egyptian Parliament for a month.

02 – US Supreme Court rules that subversives can be barred from teaching in public schools.

07 – China claims the US is using germ warfare in Manchuria.

07 – Birth of West Indian cricketer Isaac Vivian Alexander Richards (Viv Richards).

10 – General Fulgencio Batista, Cuba’s strongman from 1933 to 1944, ousts President Carlos Socarras.

11 – British author Douglas Adams is born.

13 – In Melbourne (Australia) William John O’Meally is charged with the murder of police constable George Howell. He is sentenced to death on 23 May and refused leave to appeal.

14 – The US says it is doubling defence aid to Britain to £214 million.

18 – Birth of Irish champion jockey, Pat Eddery.

21 – Dr Nkrumah of Ghana is elected 1st African Premier.

21 – DJ Alan Freed holds the Moondog Coronation Ball at the Cleveland Arena. Generally regarded as the first all-star rock concert, the show features Paul Williams And His Hucklebuckers as headliners, with Tiny Grimes And His Rockin’ Highlanders, The Dominoes, Varetta Dillard and Danny Cobb in support.

22 – Tornadoes hit five US Midwest states killing 200 and injuring 2,500.

22 – 44 die when a KLM plane crashes in fog at Frankfurt, Germany.

25 – 20,000 NHS doctors in Britain are to get a pay rise of £500 a year, backdated to 1948.

27 – A letter bomb addressed to West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer explodes at a Munich police station.

27 – The cheese ration in the UK is to be cut to an ounce a week.

29 – President Truman pulls out of the US presidential race.

29 – Oxford wins The Boat Race in blizzard conditions.


01 – UN planes shoot down ten Communist MIG-15s in Korea.

01 – The US Atomic Energy Commission begins a new series of test blasts in Nevada.

01 – Billie Currie (Ultravox) is born.

04 – Dave Hill (Slade) is born.

05 – Howard Hughes announces the temporary closure of RKO Studios to facilitate the dismissal of close to 100 employees suspected of having Communist sympathies.

05 – ‘Teal’ wins the Grand National steeplechase.

09 – The government of Hugo Ballivian falls in Bolivia. The new revolutionary government promises widespread reforms to help the poor.

09 – The Queen says the Royal Family will retain the surname Windsor.

10 – Eisenhower asks Truman to relieve him as NATO chief from 1 June.

12 – Eisenhower says he will resign from the Army if he is nominated as Republican presidential candidate.

15 – Truman signs the peace treaty that officially ends the Pacific war.

16 – NATO’s new headquarters opens at the Palais de Chaillot, Paris.

21 – Death of British statesman Sir Stafford Cripps.

22 – 35 million American TV viewers watch the most powerful atomic explosion yet in the Nevada desert.

24 – The Nuremberg tribunal begins hearings on the Katyn Forest massacre of 1940.

28 – Eisenhower retires as Supreme Allied Commander. General Matthew Ridgway is appointed his successor as NATO chief.

30 – The British pharmaceutical industry decides to sell its products in metric weights and measures.

30 – The diary of Anne Frank, a Jewish victim of the Holocaust, is first published in Britain under the title The Diary Of A Young Girl. The book was first published in Dutch in 1947 under the title Het Achterhuis (“The Secret House”) by her father Otto Frank, who survived the concentration camps.


02 – The de Havilland Comet goes into service as the world’s first passenger jet, with a flight from London to Johannesburg. Crowds cheer as the BOAC Comet G-ALYP takes off from London airport at 1512 local time carrying 36 passengers.

03 – Newcastle United beat Arsenal 1-0 and become the first team since 1891 to win the FA Cup for two years running.

03 – Two American airmen land a plane on the geographical North Pole.

05 – The federation of Northern Rhodesia, Southern Rhodesia and Nyasaland is agreed in principle in London.

06 – Death of the nursery education pioneer Dr Maria Montessori.

07 – Ten people are killed and 137 injured at Berala in Sydney (Australia) in the state’s worst electric train smash.

13 – Pandit Nehru forms government in India.

14 – The Monte Bello Islands off Western Australia are named as the site for Britain’s first atomic test.

18 – Ann Davison leaves Plymouth, England, to sail the Atlantic solo. She arrives in Dominica in December.

21 – Thieves attack three postmen in London and steal a van carrying registered mail worth over £200,000.

29 – MP’s in South Africa empower the Government to reject a High Court ruling against its racist legislation.

30 – Eisenhower hands over to Ridgway as NATO chief. General Mark Clark succeeds Ridgway in Korea.


01 – 13 people are killed when a train hits a bus at a level crossing at Boronia in Melbourne, Australia.

03 – US troops storm rebellious Communist POW’s in camps on Koje Island, killing 30.

08 – Reports claim 100,000 Chinese reinforcements are on their way to the battle front in Korea.

14 – Andrei Gromyko is appointed Soviet ambassador to Britain.

14 – Nautilus, the world’s first atomic submarine, is dedicated at Groton, Connecticut.

20 – The British government announces that “zebra” crossings will be marked by blinking orange beacons.

23 – US Air Force bombs hydroelectric plants in North Korea.


05 – Australian tennis player Frank Sedgman wins three titles at Wimbledon – the singles, the doubles (with Ken McGregor) and the mixed (with Doris Hart).

06 – Thousands of Londoners bid farewell to the city’s last tram, which runs from Woolwich to New Cross.

07 – American Liner United States makes fastest Atlantic crossing on her maiden voyage – three days, ten hours and 40 minutes.

11 – Eisenhower wins the Republican nomination with Senator Richard Nixon as running mate.

12 – Eisenhower resigns from the US Army.

13 – East Germany announces that it will form a National People’s Army.

14 – 700 arrests have been made in Jamaica in a new crackdown on marijuana trafficking.

19 – XVth Olympic Games open at Helsinki, Finland.

20 – 30-year-old Emil Zatopek of Czechoslovakia wins the 10,000-metre race at the Olympic Games in Helsinki, Finland.

21 – US Actor/Comedian Robin Williams is born in Chicago.

22 – Marjorie Jackson wins the 100 metres at the Helsinki Olympics, the first Australian woman ever to win a track gold medal.

23 – General Mohammed Neguib seizes power in Egypt in a military coup.

24 – US steel strike ends with pay rise.

25 – European Coal and Steel Community inaugurated.

26 – King Farouk of Egypt abdicates in favour of his nine-month-old son.

26 – Governor Adlai Stevenson of Illinois is chosen as the Democratic Presidential candidate.

26 – Eva Peron (born Maria Eva Duarte) of Argentina dies from cancer, aged 33.


05 – Japan and China resume diplomatic relations.

06 – The Arab League denounces a move by Israel and West Germany to set up diplomatic relations.

11 – Hussein becomes King of Jordan due to his father’s mental illness.

14 – British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden marries the prime minister’s niece, Clarissa.

14 – Rakosi is new Prime Minister in Hungary.

16 – Rivers burst their banks, devastating the UK resort of Lynmouth in north Devon and killing 34 people.

16 – The Bristol Britannia airliner makes its maiden flight in the UK.

17 – Chinese delegation under Chou En-lai arrives in USSR.

22 – Surrey wins the county cricket championship outright for the first time since 1914.

29 – In South Africa, the High Court states that the bill to overrule its judgement against racist laws is null and void.

30 – The Avro Vulcan – the first British four-engined delta-wing jet bomber – makes its maiden flight.


02 – US tennis player Jimmy Connors born.

02 – In London, Field Marshal Sir William Slim is appointed Governor-General of Australia.

06 – Seconds after breaking the sound barrier, a De Havilland 110 fighter jet disintegrates over the spectators at the Farnborough Air show in Hampshire, England, killing 31 people including the pilot, John Derry.

07 – The Egyptian Army forces Prime Minister Aly Maher out of office, following a bloodless coup six weeks ago. General Muhammad Neguib forms a new civilian government with himself as prime minister and commander-in-chief.

10 – West Germany agrees to pay Israel £293 million in restitution for Nazi atrocities.

18 – Finland pays final war reparations to USSR.

19 – US withholds Charlie Chaplin’s entry visa, pending allegations of communist activities. Returning to England on board the Queen Elizabeth, Chaplin turns against his erstwhile home, saying, “I would not go back there even if Jesus Christ was the president.”

20 – Wests defeat South Sydney 22-12 in the Australian Rugby League Grand Final.

23 – Rocky Marciano wins the world heavyweight title with a 13th round KO over Jersey Joe Walcott.

Rocky Marciano KO’s Jersey Joe Walcott

24 – Richard Nixon weeps on US television after denying he has embezzled Republican Party funds.

29 – John Cobb, land speed record holder, is killed on Loch Ness.


03 – Britain explodes her first atomic bomb, code-named ‘Hurricane’, in the Monte Bello islands off the north-west coast of Australia. The explosion left a crater in the seabed 20ft deep and 1,000 ft across that is still there today.

03 – Tea rationing ends in Britain.

04 – Soviet Communist Party holds first Congress since 1939.

04 – Sir Keith Murdoch dies in Melbourne, Australia, leaving his son, Rupert, a substantial holding of shares in News Ltd of Adelaide.

08 – 112 people are killed and nearly 340 injured when three trains collide at Harrow, a north-west suburb of London. An inquiry blames the dead train driver of the 20:15 sleeper train from Perth for the tragedy.

09 – A servant runs amok at the Earl of Derby’s home in England, shooting dead two butlers and wounding the Countess.

20 – State of emergency is declared in Kenya following Mau Mau rebel attacks on European settlers. The war lasts eight years with atrocities committed on both sides. 32 European are killed, while the Kenyan death toll is in excess of 20,000.

22 – Iran breaks off diplomatic relations with Britain.

23 – Field Marshal Kesselring, who has cancer, is released from his 21-year war crime jail term in West Germany.

25 – Communist China is refused entry into the United Nations for the third year running.

28 – Welsh-born Australian Prime Minister William Morris Hughes – known as “The Little Digger” – dies quietly in his sleep at his Sydney home.


02 – Christopher Craig and Derek Bentley bungle a robbery in London and a policeman is murdered.

04 – Republican Dwight D Eisenhower is elected as 34th President of the USA over Democrat Adlai E Stevenson with the largest number of popular votes ever recorded for a presidential candidate.

04 – The Queen opens her first parliament in London.

04 – ‘Dalray’ wins the Melbourne Cup, ridden by Bill Williamson.

06 – First hydrogen bomb is exploded by the USA at Eniwetok Atoll in the Pacific Ocean. Known as Operation Ivy, the test uses an Atom Bomb as a trigger to set off a massively bigger H-bomb explosion. In the explosion, Elugelab Island is completely destroyed. 

Operation Ivy. Eniwetok Atoll, Pacific Ocean

09 – 17 Africans and 2 Europeans, including an Irish nun, are killed in South Africa when police open fire on rioters.

10 – Trygve Lie resigns as UN Secretary-General.

10 – An SAS plane from Los Angeles is the first to fly over the North Pole.

14 – The New Musical Express publishes the first singles chart in the UK. The #1 record is Here In My Heart by Al Martino.

15 – The Melbourne (Australia) newspaper The Argus becomes the first newspaper in the world to publish daily news pictures in full colour.

18 – Jomo Kenyatta is charged in Kenya as head of Mau Mau.

19 – In Vietnam, the French are facing an all-out offensive by the Viet Minh.

23 – Ten die in Iraq during anti-Western riots.

24 – The US State Department accuses the USSR of arming the Viet Minh.

25 – Agatha Christie’s long-running play The Mousetrap opens in London.


05 – “The Great Smog”, a cold fog filled with coal fumes, covers London for five days bringing transport to a stadstill. At least 4,000 people die as a direct result of the weather. They are mostly the elderly, the very young and those with respiratory or heart problems.

05 – Eisenhower visits the Korean War.

07 – Riots in French Morocco.

08 – Itzhak Ben-Zvi becomes president of Israel.

10 – Albert Schweitzer wins the Nobel Peace Prize.

18 – Sugar Ray Robinson retires as world middleweight boxing champion.

20 – 84 die in the world’s worst air tragedy when a USAF transport crashes in Washington state.

25 – The Queen makes her first Christmas broadcast on BBC radio from the study at Sandringham House. She uses the same desk and chair as her father King George VI and his father King George V had done.

30 – South Africa has its first cricket win over Australia in 40 years, winning the second test in Melbourne by 82 runs.

Quote of the year

“There will soon be only five kings left – the Kings of England, Diamonds, Hearts, Spades and Clubs”
King Farouk of Egypt on his abdication.

1952 Cost of living (USA)

New house $9,075
Average income $3,850 per year
New car $1,754
Average rent $80 per month
Tuition to Harvard University $600 per year
Movie ticket 70c
Gasoline 20c per gallon
US postage stamp 3c
Granulated sugar 85c for 10lbs
Vitamin D milk 97c per gallon
Ground coffee 74c per lb
Bacon 54c per lb
Eggs 25c per dozen
Fresh ground hamburger 53c per lb
Fresh baked bread 16c per loaf