It happened today – this day in history – August 21

1754: William Murdoch, Scottish engineer, who with James Watt and Matthew Boulton, pioneered the use of coal-gas lighting in 1792, was born.

1765: William IV, known as the “sailor king” for his service in the Royal Navy, was born. His numerous affairs were legendary – he had 10 illegitimate children by Irish actress Dorothy Jordan.

1858: Sir Sam Browne, VC, invented the Sam Browne belt to hold his sword and pistol after he had lost one arm in action. It soon became standard military kit for the able-bodied as well.

1911: Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa (La Gioconda) was stolen from the Louvre in Paris. The thief was Italian waiter Vicenzo Perruggia who, posing as an official photographer, walked off with it under his arm. It was recovered in 1913 from where he had hidden it, under a bed in a hotel.

1930: Princess Margaret Rose was born in Glamis Castle, Scotland – the place Shakespeare chose for the murder of Duncan in Macbeth. She was the first princess to be born in Scotland for 300 years.

1940: Leon Trotsky, exiled Bolshevik leader who found asylum in Mexico, died after being struck several blows on the head with an ice pick wielded by RamonMercader, an agent for Stalin.

1959: Hawaii became the 50th state of the USA.

1962: Savannah, the world’s first nuclear-powered merchant ship, went on her maiden voyage.

1965: Keith Peacock became the first substitute to be called on in a Football League match.

1976: Mary Langdon, 25, joined East Sussex Fire Brigade to become Britain’s first female firefighter.

1988: Amended British licensing laws allowing more flexible pub opening hours came into force at midnight. Pubs could now stay open 12 hours in the day, except on Sunday.

ON THIS DAY LAST YEAR: According to reports, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex had enjoyed an Italian holiday with Hollywood actor George Clooney and his wife Amal.

BIRTHDAYS: Kenny Rogers, country singer, 81; Dina Carroll, singer, 51; Liam Howlett, musician, 48; Chantelle Houghton, model/television personality, 36; Usain Bolt, sprinter/Olympic champion, 33; Hayden Panettiere, actress, 30; Judd Trump, snooker player, 30.