Every weekend Spectator Life brings you doses of topical trivia – facts, figures and anecdotes inspired by the current week’s dates in history …
In 1864 the first Geneva Convention was signed. The 1929 version introduced the rule that a captured soldier only has to give their name, rank and serial number. This is why contestants on Mastermind, invented by a BBC producer who had been interrogated by the Gestapo during World War II, give their name, profession and specialist subject.
Honor Blackman (born 1925). Playing Pussy Galore in Goldfinger at the age of 39 made her the oldest ever Bond girl, a record that stood until Spectre (2015), when 50 year-old Monica Bellucci played Lucia Sciarra.
In 1305 William Wallace was executed in London. His left leg is now buried in a wall of St Machar’s Cathedral in Aberdeen. It was sent there as a warning to other potential rebels. His other leg went to Perth, his right arm to Newcastle and his left arm to Berwick.
Oscar Hammerstein II (died 1960). The lyricist remains the only Oscar to win an Oscar.
In 1995, Microsoft released Windows 95. The famous start-up music was composed by Brian Eno – though he did it on a Mac: ‘I’ve never used a PC in my life. I don’t like them.’
Stephen Fry (born 1957). A ‘true or false’ question on Shooting Stars ran: ‘When Stephen Fry gets an erection, it is known as a fry-up.’
Neil Armstrong (died 2012). The first foot he placed on the Moon was his left.
Charles Thurber patented the type writer in 1843. His original intention was to build a machine to help the blind: it had raised letters on the keys to enable a blind person to type. The first letter he wrote on his prototype was to the Boston Institution for the Blind to tell them about his invention.
Charles Rolls (born 1877). Henry Royce’s partner was the first ever British person to die in a plane crash. The tail of his Wright Flyer broke off while he was piloting it in 1910.
Shania Twain (born 1965). She has always suffered from stage fright. During a school concert she actually wet herself, but hid the fact by spilling a glass of water. ‘As far as the trumpet players on either side of me knew, the puddle was nothing more than H2O.’