On This Day

What Happened in March 1939

Historical Events

  • Mar 1 Japanese Imperial Army ammunition dump exploded at Hirakata, Osaka, Japan, killing 94

Historic Event

Mar 2 Eugenio Pacelli chosen as Pope Pius XII

  • Mar 2 Massachusetts Legislature votes to ratify the US Bill of Rights - 147 years late

Historic Event

Mar 3 Mahatma Gandhi begins a fast in Mumbai (Bombay) to protest against autocratic rule in India

  • Mar 7 Glamour magazine begins publishing
  • Mar 7 Guy Lombardo & Royal Canadians 1st record "Auld Lang Syne"
  • Mar 8 Lenore Coffee & William Joyce Cowan's "Family Portrait" premieres
  • Mar 10 17 villages damaged by hailstones in Hyderabad, India
  • Mar 12 Pope Pius XII crowned in Vatican ceremonies
  • Mar 14 England draw with South Africa at Durban on the 10th day
  • Mar 14 Nazi Germany dissolves Republic of Czechoslovakia

Hitler Invades Czechoslovakia

Mar 15 Adolf Hitler summons Czech President Emil Hácha to a meeting in Berlin and informs him of the impending attack by Germany; Hácha suffers a heart attack and later capitulates

Historic Event

Mar 15 Reneging on his pledge in the Munich Agreement, Adolf Hitler and Germany occupy and annex Czechoslovakia

  • Mar 16 Hungary annexes republic of Karpato-Ukraine
  • Mar 16 NHL record 10 goals in 1 period-NY Rangers (7), NY Americans (3) & a record 26 points in the 3rd period
  • Mar 17 Battle of Nanchang between the Kuomintang and the Japanese breaks out (Sino-Japanese War 1937-1945)
  • Mar 18 England beats Scotland, 9-6 at Murrayfield, Edinburgh to force a share of the Home Nations Rugby Championship with Wales and Ireland
  • Mar 20 7,000 Jews flee German occupied Memel Lithuania
  • Mar 21 Nazi Germany demands the return of Danzig (Gdańsk) from Poland
  • Mar 22 Lithuania forced to give Memel territory to Germany

Music Premiere

Mar 23 1st performance of Béla Bartók's 2nd Violin Concerto at the Concertgebow, Amsterdam with Zoltán Székely on violin and Willem Mengelberg conducting the Concertgebouw Orchestra

  • Mar 24 98th Grand National: Irish jockey Tim Hyde wins, riding 100/8 shot Workman

Film Premiere

Mar 24 "Wuthering Heights" film based on the Emily Brontë novel, directed by William Wyler and starring Merle Oberon and Laurence Olivier, premieres in Los Angeles

  • Mar 25 Billboard Magazine introduces hillbilly (country) music chart
  • Mar 27 1st NCAA Men's Basketball Championship: U of Oregon beats Ohio State, 46-33; Ohio State forward Jimmy Hull is named tournament Most Outstanding Player
  • Mar 28 Dutch hunter shoots down British bombers
  • Mar 28 Philip Barry's comic play "Philadelphia Story" about a socialite's impending wedding premieres at the Shubert Theater in NYC; star Katherine Hepburn also led the 1940 film version
  • Mar 28 Renaissance Big 5 win 1st pro basketball championship

Victory in Battle

Mar 28 Spanish Civil War ends, Madrid falls to the Nationalists headed by Francisco Franco

  • Mar 30 Heinkel He 100 fighter sets a world airspeed record of 463 mph
  • Mar 30 First flight of the Australian C.A.C. CA-16 Wirraway military aircraft
  • Mar 31 Britain & France agree to support Poland if invaded by Germany

Film Release

Mar 31 "The Hound of Baskervilles" first of 14 films starring Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes and Nigel Bruce as Dr. Watson is released


Famous Birthdays

  • Mar 1 Leo Brouwer, Cuban composer, conductor and musician, born in Havana
  • Mar 1 Warren Davis, rocker (Monotones)
  • Mar 2 Barbara Luna, American actress (5 Weeks in a Balloon, Gentle Savage), born in NYC, New York
  • Mar 2 Gerard van Tongeren, Dutch pop guitarist and singer (The Buffoons - "Tomorrow Is Another Day; "It's The End")
  • Mar 3 Hans Pieter Verhagen, Dutch poet (Hoepla/Holland's Hole)
  • Mar 3 M L Jaisimha, cricketer (Indian batsman of the sixties)
  • Mar 4 Carlos Vereza, Brazilian actor, born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Jack Fisher

Mar 4 Jack Fisher, American MLB Pitcher, born in Frostburg, Maryland

  • Mar 5 Charles Fuller, American writer (Zooman, Soldier Story)
  • Mar 5 Samantha Eggar, English actress (Collector, Dr Doolittle) [or May 3], born in London, England
  • Mar 5 Terry Curry, English multi-millionaire
  • Mar 5 Peter Woodcock, Canadian serial killer
  • Mar 5 Norman Seeff, South African-American photographer, filmmaker, and album cover artist (Joni Mitchell; Captain & Tenille; Fleetwood Mac), born in Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Mar 6 Christopher Bond, (Sen-R Missouri)
  • Mar 6 David Spielberg, Weslaco Tx, actor (Jessica Novak, The Practice)
  • Mar 6 Jerry Naylor, American rock vocalist (Crickets), born in Stephenville, Texas
  • Mar 6 Infanta Margarita of Spain, duchess of Soria
  • Mar 6 Cookie Rojas, baseball player
  • Mar 7 Marion Marlowe, American singer (Arthur Godfrey & Friends), born in St Louis, Missouri
  • Mar 7 Panajot Pano, Albanian football star known as the "The little Puskás", born in Durrës, Albania (d. 2010)
  • Mar 8 George William Reed, astronomy writer/cartoonist (Dark Sky Legacy)

Jim Bouton

Mar 8 Jim Bouton, American baseball pitcher, author and broadcaster (NY Yankees, MLB All Star 1968, "Ball Four"), born in Newark, New Jersey (d. 2019)

  • Mar 8 Lydia Skoblikova, USSR, speed skater (Olympics-6 gold-1960, 64)
  • Mar 8 Mike Lowry, American politician (Rep-D-WA, 1979-89, Governor of Washington 1993-97), born in St. John, Washington (d. 2017)
  • Mar 8 Robert Tear, Welsh tenor (Welsh National Opera 1970), born in Barry, Wales
  • Mar 8 Yannis Vlachopoulos, Greek composer
  • Mar 9 John Howard Davies, British child actor (Oliver Twist), and television comedy producer and director (Monty Python's Flying Circus; Fawlty Towers; The Good Life), born in Paddington, England (d. 2011)
  • Mar 10 Irina Press, Soviet 80m hurdles runner and pentathlete (Olympic gold 1960, 64), born in Kharkiv, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union (d. 2004)
  • Mar 10 Len Ashurst, English soccer defender (Sunderland AFC 409 games) and manager (Cardiff City, Sunderland, Newport County), born in Liverpool, England (d. 2021)
  • Mar 11 Lorraine Hunt, American businesswoman, and former Lieutenant Governor of Nevada, born in Niagara Falls, New York
  • Mar 11 Leonardo "Flaco" Jiménez, American Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award-winning Tex-Mex and conjunto accordionist (Texas Tornados), born in San Antonio, Texas [1]
  • Mar 12 David Mlinaric, British interior director
  • Mar 12 John Paul Sr, Dutch-American auto racer (24 Hours of Le Mans 1978; 24 Hours of Daytona 1982; 12 Hours of Sebring 1982), born in Netherlands (disappeared 2001)
  • Mar 13 Neil Sedaka, American singer and songwriter ("Breaking Up is Hard to Do"; "Love Will Keep Us Together"), born in Brooklyn, New York
  • Mar 14 Bertrand Blier, French novelist and director (Going Places), born in Paris, France
  • Mar 14 William Benjamin Lenoir, American astronaut (STS 5), born in Miami, Florida
  • Mar 14 Raymond J. Barry, American actor (Steel City), born in Hempstead, New York
  • Mar 14 Stavros Xarhakos, Greek composer and conductor, born in Athens, Greece
  • Mar 15 Robert Nye, British novelist and poet (Facts of Life & other fiction), born in London (d. 2016)
  • Mar 15 Jack Whyte, Scottish-Canadian author
  • Mar 16 Carlos Bilardo, Argetinian football coach
  • Mar 17 Shahid Mahmoud, Pakistani cricketer (opener scored 16 & 9 in only Pak Test)
  • Mar 17 Robin Knox-Johnston, British yachtsman who completed the 1st single non-stop circumnavigation of the globe in 1969, born in London, England
  • Mar 17 Jim Gary, American sculptor known for whimsical monumental art and sculptors of large, colorful dinosaurs made from discarded automobile parts, born in Sebastian, Florida (d. 2006)
  • Mar 18 Travis Pritchett, rocker (Travis & Bob)
  • Mar 18 Ron Atkinson, English soccer wing half, manager (Oxford United, Manchester United, Sheffield Wed, Aston Villa), born in Liverpool, England
  • Mar 18 Giannis Markopoulos, Greek composer
  • Mar 19 Abbas Ali Baig, cricketer (Indian bat 112 on debut v England 1959)
  • Mar 19 Joe Kapp, NFL quarterback (Minnesota Vikings, Boston Patriots, Houston Oilers)
  • Mar 19 Peter Thorburn MNZM, New Zealand rugby union coach (North Harbour, NZ sevens, Bristol RFC, United States), born in Auckland, New Zealand (d. 2021)
  • Mar 20 Kevin Flynn, Irish rugby union centre (22 caps; Leinster RFC), born in Dublin, Ireland (d. 2022)
  • Mar 21 Kathleen Widdoes, actress (Without a Trace), born in Wilmington, Delaware
  • Mar 21 Martha Hudson, Eastman Ga, 4X100m relayer (Olympic gold 1960)
  • Mar 21 Tommy Davis, American baseball utility (3 x MLB All Star; World Series 1963; NL batting champion 1962, 63 LA Dodgers), born in Brooklyn, New York (d. 2022)
  • Mar 23 Bert Berdis, American comedian (Tim Conway Show), born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Mar 23 Boris Tischenko, Russian-Soviet pianist and composer, born in Leningrad, USSR (now Saint Petersburg, Russia (d. 2010)
  • Mar 23 (Peter) "Pepe" Lienhard, Swiss saxophonist, band leader and entertainer, born in Lenzburg, Switzerland
  • Mar 24 [Lilian] Lynda Baron, British actress, comedian, and singer (Open All Hours - "Nurse Gladys"; Come Inside - "Auntie Mabel"), born Urmston, Lancashire, England
  • Mar 25 Toni Cade Bambara, American director, writer and academic (The Salt Easters), born in New York City (d. 1995)
  • Mar 26 Jonathan Tod, British Vice-Admiral (Royal Navy)
  • Mar 26 Colin Webb, British fleet street editor and journalist (Press Association) (d. 2013)
  • Mar 26 Phillip R. Allen, American stage and screen actor (Hardy Boys Mysteries - "Harry"; Star Trek III - "Captain Esteban"), born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (d. 2012)
  • Mar 26 Stuart Sutherland, British psychologist, educator (Sussex University), and writer (Breakdown) (d. 1998)
  • Mar 27 Cale Yarborough, American auto racer (Daytona 500-1968, 77, 83, 84), born in Timmonsville, South Carolina
  • Mar 27 Jay Kim, U.S. House of Representatives from California, born in Seoul, South Korea
  • Mar 27 Charles Lyell, 3rd Baron Lyell, British politician and Conservative member of the House of Lords (d. 2017)
  • Mar 27 Ruth Ashton, general secretary (Royal College of Midwives)
  • Mar 27 Maurice Petty, American auto racing crew chief, engine builder and team owner (Petty Enterprises, International Motorsports & NASCAR Hall of Fame), born in Level Cross, North Carolina (d. 2020)
  • Mar 27 Bo Winberg, Swedish instrumental rock guitarist (The Spotnicks - "Hava Nagila"; "Amapola"; "Karelia"), born in Gothenburg, Sweden (d. 2020)
  • Mar 28 Roy Cicala, American sound engineer (Record Plant Studios (NYC) - Jimi Hendrix; John Lennon; Frank Sinatra), born in New Haven, Connecticut (d. 2014)
  • Mar 29 Hanumant Singh, Indian cricketer (14 Tests for India-century on debut), born in Banswara, India
  • Mar 29 Roland Arnall, American businessman and U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands, born in Paris (d. 2008).
  • Mar 30 Robert Herbin, French soccer defender (23 caps; Saint-Étienne) and manager (Saint-Étienne, Lyon, Strasbourg), born in Paris, France (d. 2020)
  • Mar 31 Zviad Gamsakhurdia, first President of Georgia (d. 1993)

Famous Weddings

Mohammad Reza Pahlavi

Mar 16 Princess Fawzia of Egypt (17) marries the Shah of Persia Mohammad Reza Pahlavi (19)

Clark Gable

Mar 29 "Gone With The Wind" actor Clark Gable (37) weds actress Carole Lombard (30) at the rectory of Saint John's Methodist Episcopal Church in Kingman, Arizona


Famous Deaths

Howard Carter

Mar 2 Howard Carter, British archaeologist and egyptologist who found King Tutankhamun's tomb, dies at 65

  • Mar 6 Ferdinand von Lindemann, German mathematician (Proving π is a transcendental number), dies at 86
  • Mar 7 Amadeo Roldán, Cuban composer and violinist, dies at 38
  • Mar 7 John Jules Barrish, Irish writer and philosopher, dies at 53
  • Mar 13 Lucien Lévy-Bruhl, French scholar and philosopher, dies at 81
  • Mar 18 Henry Lunn, English humanitarian and religious leader, dies at 79
  • Mar 19 Lloyd L. Gaines, American civil rights activist
  • Mar 20 Percy Dean, British naval lieutenant and politician who received the Victoria Cross for saving men during the raid of Zeebrugge, dies at 61
  • Mar 21 Evald Aav, Estonian composer, dies at 39
  • Mar 27 Constance Lindsay Skinner, Quesnel British Columbia, Canadian author (Rivers of America), dies at 57
  • Mar 28 Francis Matthew John Baker, Australian politician (b. 1903)