Home Decades 1970s 1972

1972

January

01 – French singer Maurice Chevalier dies (b. 1888) in Paris. He is 83.

03 – An IRA bomb injures 55 women and children when it explodes in a Belfast department store.

04 – Rose Heilbron is the first woman to sit as a judge at the Old Bailey in London.

05President Nixon signs a Bill granting $5.5 billion to begin Space Shuttle research.

05 – New anti-hijacking regulations, requiring the screening of air passengers and their luggage, come into effect in the US.

05 – The Congregational Church in England and Wales and the Presbyterian Church of England vote to form a United Reformed Church.

09 – The first national coal strike for nearly 50 years begins in England, leading to large-scale power cuts and nationwide blackouts. Edward Heath insists there will be “no concessions” in the £31m pay offer rejected by the miners.

09 – A telephone caller to US journalists from billionaire recluse Howard Hughes explains that his supposed autobiography, penned by modestly successful novelist Clifford Irving, is a fake. Irving is subsequently imprisoned for two and a half years for creating the forgery, along with his wife and his research assistant.

09 – Fire destroys the liner Queen Elizabeth in Hong Kong Harbour. The 83,000-ton ship capsizes after 24 hours of fire collapses all of her 11 decks.

10 – The US Surgeon General advises that the health of non-smokers is endangered by secondhand cigarette smoke.

12 – Sheikh Mujibur becomes prime minister of Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan).

13 – The Prime Minister of Ghana, Dr Kofi Busia, is ousted in a bloodless coup led by Lieutenant Colonel I K Acheampong, commander of Ghana’s first army brigade.

13 – Naval officer David Bingham is jailed for 21 years after selling British secrets to Russia.

14 – King Frederik IX of Denmark dies, aged 72.

15 – Princess Margrethe becomes Queen of Denmark.

16 – The Dallas Cowboys defeat the Miami Dolphins 24-3 in Super Bowl VI.

16 – Ross Bagdasarian, the man behind The Chipmunks, dies at 52.

17 – Highway 51 South (Bellvue Street) in Memphis is renamed Elvis Presley Boulevard.

18 – Two leading white campaigners for black majority rule in Rhodesia – former Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia, Garfield Todd, and his daughter, Judith – are arrested after violence erupts over Anglo-Rhodesian plans for independence

20 – Unemployment in the UK rises above one million for the first time since the 1930s.

23 – R&B shouter Big Maybelle Smith dies, aged 47.

24 – Discovered still hiding in the jungles of Guam, Sergeant Shoichi Yokoi of Japan’s Imperial Army is informed of his country’s World War II surrender 27 years earlier.

25 – World’s first kidney and pancreatic tissue transplant takes place in London.

27 – Female gospel singer Mahalia Jackson dies at the age of 71.

30 – “Bloody Sunday” in Londonderry, Northern Ireland. 14 civilians are shot and killed by soldiers of the British Parachute Regiment during riots against internment. The IRA declares that its immediate policy is “to kill as many British soldiers as possible”.

30 – Pakistan quits the Commonwealth after Britain, Australia and New Zealand recognise the independence of Bangladesh.

30 – Klaus Barbie – the Gestapo’s “Butcher of Lyons” – arrives in Bolivia from Peru.

30 – King Mahendra of Nepal dies aged 51.

31 – Large print health warnings will now be mandatory on cigarette advertising in the USA.


February

02 – Anti-British demonstrators in the Irish Republic burn down the British embassy in Dublin. The burning of the British embassy happens on the same day as the funerals are held for 11 of the 14 who died in Londonderry, on what became known as “Bloody Sunday”.

03 – The first winter Olympics held in Asia are opened by Emperor Hirohito in Sapporo, Japan.

04 – Britain recognises Bangladesh as a nation.

04 – A secret memo from Senator Strom Thurmond advises US Attorney General John Mitchell that John Lennon, now living in New York, should be deported as an undesirable alien and a political subversive.

05 – Due to increased hijackings, the screening of passengers and luggage becomes mandatory on all domestic and foreign flights by US airlines.

05T. Rex reach #1 on the UK singles chart with Telegram Sam.

07 – New Zealand prime minister Sir Keith Holyoake retires. His successor is John Marshall.

09 – A state of emergency is declared in Britain as the month-old miners’ strike leads to widespread power cuts. Edward Heath imposes a three-day working week and the country suffers power cuts as power stations are closed to conserve energy.

09Paul McCartney and his new group, Wings, begin their debut low-key tour of small British venues with an unadvertised show at Nottingham University.

10David Bowie reveals his new incarnation as Ziggy Stardust at the Toby Jug pub, Tolworth, London.

11Life magazine claims Clifford Irving’s autobiography of Howard Hughes is a fake. Irving later admits to fabricating the book, and in June he is jailed for 30 months.

14John Lennon and Yoko Ono host The Mike Douglas Show on TV while Douglas takes a week’s holiday. Among their guests are Chuck Berry and Black Panthers leader, Bobby Seale.

14 – The 1950s rock musical Grease opens on Broadway.

15 – 12 nations sign an international convention to stop dumping at sea.

16 – From today, electricity in Britain will be switched off on a rota basis between 0700 and 2400 every day which means consumers will face longer power cuts, up from six to nine hours. Miners are now into the sixth week of their strike.

17 – The House of Commons passes a Bill to bring Britain into the EEC.

21 – Arab terrorists hijack a Lufthansa jumbo flying to New Delhi. Passengers onboard include Joseph Kennedy, the 19-year-old son of the late Senator Robert Kennedy. The Palestinian hijackers demand an undisclosed sum of money and the release of three Jordanians under arrest in West Germany.

21President Nixon arrives in China for a week-long summit aimed at ending 20 years of frosty relations between the two countries. He is the first US president to visit China.

21 – An official inquiry begins in Britain into the ‘Bloody Sunday‘ killings.

22 – Five female civilian kitchen staff and a Roman Catholic priest are killed by an IRA car bomb at the 16th Parachute Brigade’s headquarters at Aldershot barracks in Hampshire.

23 – Palestinian hijackers who took over a Lufthansa jet in the skies over India two days ago release the hostages and surrender at an airstrip in Yemen. It later emerges the hijackers belonged to the PFLP (the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) and had been paid $500m in ransom. The South Yemen government was also paid $1m for allowing the jet to land on its territory.

23Elvis Presley and his wife Priscilla separate.

24 – British PM Edward Heath imposes direct rule for Ulster with William Whitelaw as secretary of state. Northern Ireland will now be governed directly from Whitehall. This emergency measure is meant to last for 12 months but ends up lasting 25 years.

24 – The North Vietnamese walk out of peace talks in Paris in protest at a recent US bombing campaign in Vietnam.

25 – Hijacked hostages are released in Aden after West Germany pays a $3 million ransom to Arab terrorists.

25 – Soviet unmanned probe Luna 20 returns to Earth after drilling for rock samples on the moon’s surface.

28 – British coal miners accept a wage increase agreement and return to work after a seven-week strike which crippled the industry and forced large-scale power cuts.

29John Lennon‘s US immigration visa expires, leading to his three-and-a-half year battle to remain in America which at times draws negative action and comment from officials as high up as the White House. Lennon’s trouble stems from a 1968 marijuana-possession conviction in the UK.


March

1972_timothydavey01 – 14-year-old English schoolboy Timothy Davey is sentenced to six years jail in Turkey for selling hashish (pictured at right).

03 – NASA launches Pioneer 10 on a mission to fly close to Jupiter. Adorned with figures of a man and a woman, and carrying a peace-offering plaque, Pioneer 10 will eventually become the first spacecraft to exit our solar system.

03 – West Germany discloses that 398 East Germans have escaped to the West in the preceding year.

08 – A bomb explodes on board a TWA jet at Las Vegas airport after a phone call demanding $2 million. No one is injured in the blast which destroys the cockpit of the aircraft as it stands empty on the tarmac.

08 – The 192 ft airship Europa flies in Britain – the first one to do so for 20 years.

10 – A jury in Vienna frees Walter Dejaco, the designer of the gas chambers at Auschwitz.

15 – Los Angeles DJ Robert W Morgan plays the Donny Osmond single Puppy Love for 90 minutes non-stop. Fearing subversion of some sort, scared listeners call the police, who raid the radio station.

16 – Fog on the British M1 motorway results in 9 deaths and 50 people injured.

19 – Bangladesh signs a Treaty of Friendship with India.

20 – Police have found Marlon Brando’s son Christian being held by a group of people in Mexico who say that his mother, Anna Kashfi, paid them to kidnap the child. Miss Kashfi, meanwhile, has been arrested and imprisoned in Los Angeles for disorderly behaviour and assault.

21 – A hoax call in Belfast deliberately steers shoppers and pedestrians towards a massive explosion. Six people die and 146 are injured.

26 – Britain signs a seven-year pact with Malta to retain military bases there.

30North Vietnam launches the heaviest attacks against South Vietnam for four years.

31 – Anti-nuclear protestors gather in Trafalgar Square, London, to begin their 56-mile Easter march to Aldermaston in Berkshire.


April

01Cosmopolitan magazine publishes a centrefold of actor Burt Reynolds in the nude.

01/03 – Four people die during Puerto Rico’s Mar y Sol Festival which features performances from Black Sabbath, ELP and The Allman Brothers Band.

07 – Joey Gallo – said to have been the leader of the Mafia – is killed in New York

10 – 5,300 die in a massive earthquake in southern Iran. The quake centres on the town of Ghir and the tremors are felt in the ancient city of Shiraz, 100 miles (160 km) away.

11Paul McCartney is fined for importing cannabis into Sweden.

13 – 23 explosions take place in Northern Ireland in the worst day of violence since direct rule was imposed.

15 – The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards top the UK pop charts with their bagpipe dominated version of Amazing Grace.

15Nixon steps up bombing as North Vietnamese launch a new offensive. American bombers, including the B-52 Strato-Fortress, pound Hanoi and its port Haiphong.

apollo16crew16Apollo 16 blasts off for the fifth moon landing.

18 – Bangladesh joins the Commonwealth of nations

20 – Apollo 16 lands on the Moon. Astronauts Colonel Charles Duke and Commander Thomas K Mattingly walk on the Moon’s surface, conducting tests and collecting rocks. Their roving vehicle travels nearly 17 miles and the astronauts set up an astronomical observatory.

25 – The body of actor George Sanders is discovered in a hotel room near Barcelona (Spain). He had committed suicide with a drug overdose and left a note which read: “Dear world, I am leaving you because I am bored. I am leaving you with your worries in this sweet cesspool”.

27 – Phil King of Blue Öyster Cult dies.

27 – Splashdown of Apollo 16 in the Pacific Ocean.

28Fritz The Cat, a full-length X-rated cartoon following the exploits of the counterculture feline created by underground animator R Crumb, is released.

30 – The Brighton Belle train makes its last journey from London Victoria to Brighton.


May

02 – FBI founder and director-for-life, J Edgar Hoover (b. 1895), dies.

03 – 150,000 evacuate Hue as Communists draw near.

03Stone The Crows lead guitarist Les Harvey dies when he is electrocuted by a poorly grounded microphone while on stage in Wales. He is 25.

04 – An environmental activist group called the Don’t Make A Wave Committee is renamed as Greenpeace.

05 – 115 die in Alitalia DC-8 crash.

06 – Thousands of members of the Tutsi tribe are massacred in the African republic of Burundi by members of the Hutu tribe, backed by Congolese mercenaries.

06 – Leeds beat Arsenal 1-0 in the FA Cup Final.

07 – The Los Angeles Lakers defeat the New York Knicks 114-100 to claim their first NBA title.

09 – Israeli commandos disguised as maintenance staff storm hijacked Sabena Boeing jet at Lod airport in Tel Aviv and rescue 92 passengers held hostage by Black September guerrillas. Two of the Arab hijackers are shot dead and their two female companions are captured.

11John Lennon appears on TV on The Dick Cavett Show claiming he is under constant surveillance by the FBI, and that his telephone has been tapped.

13 – 118 die in a department store fire in Japan.

15 – Governor George C. Wallace of Alabama is shot by Arthur H. Bremer (21) at a political rally in Laurel, Maryland. The assassination attempt leaves Wallace permanently paralysed from the waist down.

18 – After a bomb threat aboard the Queen Elizabeth II, bomb disposal experts parachute aboard but find nothing. The threat turns out to have been a hoax.

21 – Claiming to be Jesus Christ, art critic Laszlo Toth attacks Michelangelo’s Pietà in the Vatican, breaking the arm of the sculpture’s Virgin Mary.

22Nixon becomes the first US President to visit the USSR. He is welcomed – not very warmly – by President Nikolai Podgorny, Prime Minister Alexei Kosygin and Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko.

22 – Ceylon becomes the independent Republic of Sri Lanka.

26Nixon and Brezhnev sign the Moscow pact – a treaty limiting strategic arms.

26 – The state-owned travel firm Thomas Cook & Son is sold to a consortium of private businesses headed by the Midland Bank. The consortium pays £22.5m for the firm – far higher than expected.

28 – The Duke of Windsor (who gave up his throne for the love of Wallis Simpson) dies in Paris, aged 77.

1972_batterseabigdipper30 – Three Japanese gunmen employed by Palestinian terrorists kill 26 people and wound 76 at Lod Airport, Tel Aviv, in Israel. Security staff were on the alert for a Palestinian attack and allowed the smartly dressed Japanese men with violin cases to pass them by. One of the terrorists is shot by an Israeli security guard, another commits suicide by letting off a grenade, and the last, Kozo Okamoto, is arrested.

30 – A Big Dipper crashes at Battersea fun fair in London, killing four children and injuring 16 others (pictured at right).

30 – The official wing of the IRA in Northern Ireland announces a ceasefire, reserving the right of self-defence against attacks by the British Army and sectarian groups. But the Provisional IRA dismiss the truce as having “little effect” on the situation.


June

01/15 – West German police arrest the Baader-Meinhof urban guerrilla group. Andreas Baader is captured on 1 June by Frankfurt police after a gun battle. Ulrike Meinhof is arrested in Hanover two weeks later.

01 – Iraq nationalises the London-based Iraq Petroleum Company.

03 – A Protestant march against the creation of “no-go” areas in Londonderry ends in a bloody battle on the Craigavon Bridge. Soldiers use rubber bullets and water cannon to control the crowd when the so-called “Tartan gangs” at the tail end of the march begin to throw bottles and stones at the Army.

04 – Black activist Angela Davis is found innocent of abetting a 1970 courtroom escape that left four dead.

05 – The Duke of Windsor is laid to rest at the royal burial ground at Frogmore after a two-day lying-in-state at St George’s Chapel in Windsor.

06 – 400 miners are killed in an explosion in Wankie, Rhodesia.

07 – Lester Piggott rides ‘Relko’ to victory in the Derby.

08US Planes bomb a South Vietnamese village in error. The iconic image of nine-year-old Kim Phúc, running from the village of Trang Bang where a napalm bomb has just been dropped, makes a serious impact on efforts to stop the war.

08 – 422 miners are feared dead after a pit explosion in Rhodesia.

09 – John Hammond, director of talent acquisition at Columbia Records, signs New Jersey unknown Bruce Springsteen.

09/11Elvis Presley plays his first ever concerts in New York (at Madison Square Garden).

10 – Torrential rain causes floods in the Black Hills of South Dakota (USA), with the loss of 200 lives.

12 – The ITA takes control of independent radio as well as television in the UK and is renamed the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA).

13Clyde McPhatter, the original vocalist with The Drifters, dies of complications from liver, heart and kidney ailments. He is just 38.

14 – In the US, the EPA (Environmental Protection Authority) outlaws nearly all uses of the pesticide DDT.

15 – Education Secretary Margaret Thatcher discontinues free milk to British schoolchildren. The nickname “Thatcher the Milk Snatcher” will stay with her for the rest of her life.

16 – Clifford Irving is jailed for 30 months for writing and selling the fake Howard Hughes autobiography.

17 – Five intruders are caught trying to install listening devices in the Democratic National Committee’s Watergate offices in Washington. One of them is James McCord, a former CIA agent currently working for the Republican National Committee.

17 – Eisaku Sato, Japanese Head of State since 1964, resigns.

18 – All 118 people on board a BEA flight from London Heathrow to Brussels are killed when the Trident aircraft crashes in a field in Staines minutes after take-off.

18 – Jack Nicklaus wins the US Open – his 11th major golf victory.

24 – Floods in the Eastern USA follow a severe hurricane, with the loss of more than 120 lives.

26 – A total of 87 British soldiers have now died while serving in Northern Ireland.

29 – US Supreme Court rules that capital punishment is unconstitutional, deeming the death penalty cruel and unusual.


July

05 – After a fire at a hospital in Sherborne, Dorset, 30 mentally handicapped patients die.

06 – Kakuei Tanaka is new PM of Japan.

10/14 – US Democratic National Convention nominates Senator George McGovern for president. McGovern vows to end the Vietnam War within 90 days of taking office.

14 – Four die in fierce fighting in Belfast.

17 – Japanese terrorist Kozo Okamoto is jailed for life for the airport massacre in Tel Aviv.

17 – During The Rolling Stones‘ eight-week North American tour, a bomb planted underneath a truck ramp at a venue in Montreal explodes and damages the bands’ equipment.

21 – 22 IRA bombs explode in 80 minutes in Belfast, killing 13 people and injuring 130.

28 – A nationwide dock strike begins in the UK.

29 – England win the fourth Test by seven wickets and retain the Ashes.

30 – 17 men are killed in an explosion at the Box Flat coal mine at Ipswich, near Brisbane (Australia).


August

04 – Black September terrorists attack the trans-Alpine oil pipeline in Italy causing $35 million of damage.

04 – Arthur Bremer, 21 – the man who attempted to assassinate Governor George Wallace on 15 May – is sentenced to 63 years in prison.

05 – London’s Wembley Stadium fills with people clamouring to see musical artists 15 years past their peak. The London Rock ‘n’ Roll Show features Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bo Diddley and Bill Haley and his Comets and is one of the first rock shows to explicitly trade on nostalgia.

06Idi Amin gives Asians of non-Ugandan citizenship 90 days to leave Uganda. 50,000 attempt to flee to Britain. The expulsion makes General Amin popular among many of the black majority, and members of the Army are rewarded with Asian property and businesses. The Ugandan economy, however, goes into drastic decline.

09 – British troops clash in Belfast with the protestant Ulster Defence Association for the first time.

11 – The last American ground combat unit – the 3rd Battalion of the 21st Infantry – leaves the huge base at Da Nang. America’s role in the ground war in Vietnam is now at an end.

11 – Apparently unaware of the duo’s sex and drugs focus, the mayor of San Antonio declares 11 August 1972 ‘Cheech and Chong Day’.

12 – US planes make their heaviest bombing raids ever on North Vietnam. US troop strength in South Vietnam is now down to 39,000.

14 – 156 people die in a plane crash in East Berlin.

16 – Transport Workers’ Union calls off the dock strike in Britain.

17 – The World Court rules that Iceland should not extend her exclusive fishing zone to 50 miles.

20 – South Vietnamese troops abandon the provincial capital of Quezon.

21/23Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew nominated for re-election by Republican National Convention.

22 – The International Olympic Committee expels Rhodesia.

26 – XXth Olympic Games open in Munich, Germany.

26 – British yachtsman Sir Francis Chichester (b. 1901) dies.

26 – Swimmer Mark Spitz wins a record seven Olympic gold medals at Munich.

28 – The Queen’s cousin Prince William of Gloucester and his co-pilot, Vyrell Mitchell, are killed when their light aircraft crashes after take-off near Wolverhampton while taking part in an air race.

29Nixon announces that an investigation of the Watergate break-in led by White House counsel John Dean, has revealed that administration officials were not involved.


September

01 – Bobby Fischer becomes first US world chess champion, beating Boris Spassky of the USSR.

02 – 22 people are killed in a nightclub bomb attack in Montreal.

05 – Black September Arab terrorists murder two Israeli athletes and take nine others hostage in the Olympic Village at the Munich games. In a bungled rescue attempt all nine remaining hostages, four terrorists and one German policeman are killed.

08 – Israeli planes attack ten guerrilla bases in Palestine in retaliation for the deaths of their Olympic athletes.

12 – Cod War breaks out after an Icelandic gunboat sinks two British trawlers in the North Sea.

14 – The US halts a $3 million loan to Uganda after Idi Amin publically praises Hitler.

14 – Pope Paul VI abolishes the tonsure – the circular shaving of the head for the clergy.

15 – The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Fisher of Lambeth, dies.

18 – The first Ugandan refugees fleeing the persecution of Idi Amin‘s military dictatorship arrive in Britain.

19 – An Israeli diplomat, Dr Ami Sachori, is killed at the Israeli embassy in London by a letter bomb from the Black September organisation. Four more are intercepted by police. 51 letter bombs in total were sent on 16 September from Amsterdam to Israeli embassies all over the world, but Dr Sachori was the only fatality.

22 – No US military deaths are reported in Vietnam for the first time since March 1965.

23 – Manly-Warringah defeat Eastern Suburbs 19-14 in the Australian Rugby League Grand Final.

24 – 22 die in the crash of a private plane into an ice cream parlour in California.

25 – In a referendum, Norway votes against joining the Common Market. The government resigns.

27 – Former Merseybeat legend Rory Storm (born Alan Caldwell) commits suicide. He is 32.

29 – Japan and China agree to end the state of war existing since 1937.


October

02 – Denmark’s referendum votes in favour of joining the Common Market.

05 – Six small girls and their teacher are kidnapped from a country school at Faraday, near Castlemaine in Victoria (Australia). The captives are driven through the bush and held overnight in the back of a red baker’s van while their kidnappers demand $1 million ransom from the Education Minister. The teacher and her charges escape while their captors go to collect the ransom and the two kidnappers, Robert Boland (32) and Edwin Eastwood (21) are captured.

06 – 147 die and 700 are injured in a train crash in Mexico.

09 – Robert Boland and Edwin Eastwood are charged over the Faraday kidnapping on 5 October.

10 – Sir John Betjeman becomes Britain’s Poet Laureate.

11 – A US bombing raid destroys the French Embassy in Hanoi.

13 – A Uruguayan plane crashes in the Andes. Of the 45 people on board, 29 die in the crash. The remainder, mainly members of a rugby team called the Old Christians, are trapped for ten weeks on a remote Andean mountain. They survive by eating the bodies of six of the dead.

14 – 170 die in the USSR’s worst civil air disaster.

17 – The Queen arrives in Yugoslavia on a State Visit – the first to a Communist state by a British monarch.

17 – Martial Law is declared in Seoul, South Korea.

19Vietnam peace is close – Kissinger holds talks.

21 – In Australia, the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme is officially completed.

22 – England goalkeeper Gordon Banks damages his eyesight in a car crash.

22 – The Oakland A’s defeat the Big Red Machine of Cincinnati to clinch the World Series.

24 – Baseball legend Jackie Robinson dies of an apparent heart attack.

29 – Arab terrorists hijack a Lufthansa flight over Turkey and secure the release of three Palestinians being held in West Germany for the Olympic massacre.


November

02 – 500 American Indians seize the Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs building in Washington DC in protest at government neglect of them. The protesters remain there until 8 November.

02 – Singers Carly Simon and James Taylor wed in Manhattan.

03 – Allende forms a new People’s Front Government to end a wave of strikes in Chile.

05 – Miss Christine, a member of Frank Zappa‘s GTOs, dies of a heroin overdose.

06 – Billy Murcia, drummer with The New York Dolls, dies at a Chelsea (London) apartment, suffocating on black coffee poured down his throat by a girlfriend who is attempting to keep him awake following an alcohol and drugs session. He is only 21.

06 – UK wage freeze imposed in attempt to combat inflation.

07Nixon is re-elected as president of the USA over George McGovern in the largest Republican landslide in history.

09 – A 2.6 million-year-old skull with human characteristics is found in Kenya. It is thought it may be a link between the ape-like australopithecines and the more recent Homo Erectus.

10 – Letter bombs go off in London.

10 – Tickets go on sale for Led Zeppelin‘s huge forthcoming UK tour – The price is £1.

11 – The P&O liner Spirit Of London begins her maiden voyage.

11 – Berry Oakley, bass player of The Allman Brothers Band, is killed in a motorcycle accident three blocks from where Duane Allman was killed. He is 24.

12George Harrison drills 200 feet deep holes at his Friar Park mansion near Henley-on-Thames. He needs water to replenish his vast ornamental lakes.

13 – “It’s Time”, says Gough Whitlam as he campaigns to bring Labor to power in Australia.

15 – A gun battle takes place at Alice Springs in the Australian outback with an unidentified Hungarian hijacker.

17 – Juan Peron returns to Argentina after 17 years in exile.

17 – The High Court in Britain bans The Sunday Times from printing articles on thalidomide.

18Crazy Horse guitarist Danny Whitten dies of a heroin overdose.

19 – Willy Brandt’s SPD Government is returned to office in West Germany.

19 – Provisional IRA leader Sean MacStiofain is arrested by Special Branch.

20 – The Queen and Prince Philip celebrate their silver wedding anniversary at Westminster Abbey and the Guildhall, London.

22 – The first US B-52 is shot down in Vietnam.

22 – The US Navy reveals it has spent over $375,000 studying the aerodynamic qualities of the Frisbee.

25 – Norman Kirk becomes Prime Minister of New Zealand after the Labour party wins a sweeping victory.

26 – Police foil a rescue attempt as eight armed men try to rescue IRA chief Sean MacStiofain from the Mater Misericordiae hospital in Dublin. Four men, two of them bystanders, are injured during a gunfight between the IRA men and Special Branch officers on the ward before the attackers are arrested.

28 – The 100th British soldier dies in Northern Ireland.


December

01 – Belinda Green, a blue-eyed, 20-year-old Australian honey blonde, wins the Miss World contest at the Royal Albert Hall in London, beating 52 others for the title. Ingeborg Sørensen, the 24-year-old Miss Norway, takes second place, and Hanna Urdan, 17, of Israel captures the third spot.

01 – Two die in bomb blasts in Dublin. The first blast was outside the Liffey Bar at the Liberty Hall (home of Irish Trade Unions), the second was outside a bus driver’s canteen in Marlborough Street, which killed a bus driver and a ticket collector.

01 – Former Italian President Antonio Segni dies in a Rome hospital, aged 81.

02 – Australian Labor Party wins federal election after 23 years in opposition. Gough Whitlam is new Prime Minister.

05 – New Australian PM Gough Whitlam ends National Service and frees all jailed draft resisters.

07Apollo 17 is launched, the sixth and last spacecraft of that series. Astronauts Captain Eugene Cernan, Lieutenant-Commander Ronald Evans and Dr Harrison Schmitt splash back to Earth on December 19 carrying 249 lb of rock and soil samples from the Moon.

08 – A United Airlines Boeing 737 coming in to land at Midway Airport in Chicago crashes into a heavily populated neighbourhood, killing at least 43 people. Amongst the passengers killed are Illinois congressman George W. Collins, CBS News correspondent Michele Clark and Dorothy Hunt, the wife of Watergate conspirator E. Howard Hunt.

08 – Seven hijackers are killed in an Ethiopian aircraft.

08 – Citing an inexcusable delay between the seating of the jury and the start of actual court proceedings, the judge in the Pentagon Papers trial in Los Angeles declares a mistrial.

10 – British businessman Ronald Grove is kidnapped in Buenos Aires.

11Apollo 17 lands on the moon. Captain Eugene A Cernan and Dr Harrison H Schmitt will be the last men to walk on the moon.

11 – In Australia, the new Whitlam government orders withdrawal of all remaining Australian troops in Vietnam.

16 – Pepsico reveals its agreement with the Soviet Union to manufacture and distribute Pepsi to the USSR. The following April, this deal will be expanded into a soda-for-vodka swap, bringing Stolichnaya vodka to American drinkers.

16 – Becoming the first-ever NFL team to remain undefeated and untied through a regular season, the Miami Dolphins shut out the Baltimore Colts 16-0.

16 – At least 1,000 British motorcyclists are ordered to surrender their licenses because they are too young to ride. The age limit for a motorcycle licence has been raised from 16 to 17 so many 16-year olds are having to send their licences back.

18 – US tries to force North Vietnam back to the conference table with the resumption of full-scale bombing of North Vietnam by B-52’s after Paris peace negotiation reach impasse.

19Apollo 17 splashes down safely.

19 – The last Australian troops leave Vietnam after 10 years of fighting in the war.

20 – Billy Snedden replaces William McMahon as Australian Liberal Party leader, following McMahon’s resounding defeat.

22 – The Chilean Air force find 14 survivors from a plane that crashed in the Argentine Andes over two months ago. The survivors later confirm that they ate human flesh to survive during their ordeal.

22 – Australia establishes diplomatic relations with Red China and East Germany.

24 – A severe earthquake lasting two hours kills 10,000 in Managua, Nicaragua.

24 – Former weakling and then mail-order strongman, Charles Atlas, dies.

26 – Former US President Harry S Truman dies in a hospital in Kansas City, aged 88. America goes into mourning.

29 – The weekly Life magazine is published for the last time.

30Nixon orders a halt to US bombing of Hanoi.

31 – Sectarian killings in Northern Ireland now total 676.


Also this year . . .

  • XX Olympic Games in Munich, Germany
  • XI Winter Olympics in Sapporo, Japan
  • Sony introduces 3/4 inch “U-Matic” cassette VCR
  • CAT brain scanner used for the first time
  • Belinda Green (20) is crowned Miss World in a glittering ceremony at London’s Royal Albert Hall
  • The BBC offers Ceefax, two-way cable information system
  • HBO starts pay-TV service for cable in the USA
  • Gilbert O’Sullivan, a 23-year-old former Swindon postal clerk turned singer/songwriter, sells more records in 1972 than any artist in the world
  • Wearing of seat belts made compulsory throughout Australia
  • ‘Piping Lane’ wins Melbourne Cup