What Happened in April 1940

Historical Events

Historic Publication

Apr 1 Filipino President Quezon officially authorizes the printing and publication of the grammar and dictionary prepared by the Institute of the National Language.

Music Premiere

Apr 4 Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart's musical "Higher & Higher" premieres in NYC

  • Apr 5 99th Grand National: 25/1 shot Bogskar ridden by Royal Air Force sergeant Mervyn Jones wins by 4 lengths from MacMoffat; last true Aintree GN before a 5-year break due to World War II

US Masters Golf

Apr 7 7th US Masters Tournament, Augusta National GC: Jimmy Demaret wins the first of his 3 Masters titles, 4 strokes ahead of runner-up Lloyd Mangrum

Historic Event

Apr 7 US Post Office issues first postage stamp of African American educator Booker T. Washington

  • Apr 8 German battle cruisers sink British aircraft carrier Glorious
  • Apr 9 German cruiser Blucher torpedoed and capsizes in Oslofjord, 1,000 die
  • Apr 9 Nazi Germany invades Denmark and Norway, and Denmark surrenders after a six-hour battle

Historic Event

Apr 10 Vidkun Quisling forms Norwegian "national government"

  • Apr 12 Italy annexes Albania
  • Apr 12 NFL cuts clipping penalty from 25 yards to 15 yards
  • Apr 13 American athlete Cornelius "Dutch" Warmerdam, using a bamboo pole, becomes 1st man to pole vault 15 ft, at University of California, Berkeley
  • Apr 13 Second battle of Narvik; 3 German destroyers and one U-boat sunk by the Royal Navy, 5 more German destroyers scuttled
  • Apr 13 Stanley Cup Final, Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario: New York Rangers beat Toronto Maple Leafs, 3-2 for 4-2 series victory; Rangers last Cup win for 54 years
  • Apr 14 Allied troops land in Norway
  • Apr 14 RCA demonstrated its new electron microscope in Philadelphia
  • Apr 15 44th Boston Marathon won by Gérard Côté of Canada in 2:28:28.6; first of 4 wins in the event
  • Apr 15 British troops land at Narvik, Norway

Sports History

Apr 16 Cleveland Indians pitcher Bob Feller hurls the first and only Opening Day no-hitter in MLB history; beats Chicago WSWhite Sox, 1-0 at Comiskey Park

  • Apr 16 Heitor Villa-Lobos' opera "Izaht" premieres in Rio de Janeiro
  • Apr 19 "Lake Shore Ltd" derails speed killing 34 near Little Falls, New York
  • Apr 19 Dutch prime minister De Geer declares state of siege
  • Apr 20 1st electron microscope demonstrated (RCA), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania [1]
  • Apr 21 1st $64 Question, "Take It or Leave It," on CBS Radio
  • Apr 22 Rear Admiral Joseph Taussig testifies before US Senate Naval Affairs Committee that war with Japan is inevitable
  • Apr 23 Dance hall fires kills 198 in Natchez, Mississippi
  • Apr 23 NY Yankees dedicate a plaque to Jacob Rupert

Historic Event

Apr 27 Himmler orders establishment of Auschwitz Concentration Camp

Music Recording

Apr 28 Glenn Miller records "Pennsylvania 6-5000"

  • Apr 28 SS-Obersturmbannführer (lieutenant colonel) Rudolf Höss (not Hess, different Nazi) becomes commandant of concentration camp Auschwitz
  • Apr 29 1st radio broadcast of "Young Dr Malone" on CBS
  • Apr 29 Norwegian King Haakon & government flee to Britain
  • Apr 29 Robert Sherwood's play "There Shall be No Night" premieres in NYC
  • Apr 30 Air New Zealand then known as TEAL makes its inaugural flight with a flight from Auckland to Sydney. Later becomes 1st airline in the world to boil hot water in-flight to offer customers hot tea and coffee.
  • Apr 30 Brooklyn Dodger Tex Carleton no-hits Cincinnati Reds, 3-0

Famous Birthdays

  • Apr 1 Annie Nightingale, English broadcaster, 1st BBC Radio 1 female presenter, born in London

Wangari Maathai

Apr 1 Wangari Maathai, Kenyan environmentalist and political activist, founder of the Green Belt Movement, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (2004) and Indira Gandhi Peace Prize (2006), born in Ihithe village, Kenya (d. 2011)

  • Apr 2 Don Jackson, CM OOnt, Canadian figure skater (World C'ship gold singles 1962; first triple lutz in international competition; Olympic bronze singles 1960), born in Oshawa, Ontario
  • Apr 2 Mike Hailwood, MBE GM, British motorcycle road racer (World C'ships: 250cc – 1961, 66, 67; 350cc – 1966, 67; 500cc –1962, 63, 64, 65; 76 Grand Prix wins), born in Great Milton, England (d. 1981)
  • Apr 2 Penelope Keith, British actress (Norman Conquests, Priest of Love), born in Sutton, Surrey, England
  • Apr 2 Peter Haining, British writer and editor (Anatomy of Witchcraft), born in Enfield, Middlesex (d. 2007)
  • Apr 3 Roger Burman, English head of the Association of British Chambers of Commerce, born in Birmingham, England
  • Apr 4 Bijan, Iranian men's apparel designer (Bijan), born in Tehran, Iran (d. 2011)
  • Apr 4 Richard Attwood, British racing driver, born in Wolverhampton, Staffordshire
  • Apr 4 Robby Müller, Dutch cinematographer (Breaking the Waves, Dead Man, Korczak), born in Willemstad, Curaçao, Kingdom of the Netherlands (d. 2018)
  • Apr 4 Sharon Sheeley, American songwriter (Somethin' Else), born in Los Angeles, California (d. 2002)
  • Apr 4 Vladimir Timofeyevich Isakov, Russian cosmonaut, born in Zilair, Russia
  • Apr 5 Aliza Kashi, Israeli actress and singer (Merv Griffin regular), born in Israel
  • Apr 6 Donald Myrick, American saxophonist ("If Leaving Me Is Easy"; "One More Night"), born in Chicago, Illinois (d. 1993)
  • Apr 6 Homero Aridjis, Mexican poet (La Tumba de Filidor)
  • Apr 7 Jan Wilhelm Morthenson, Swedish composer, born in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden

John Havlicek

Apr 8 John Havlicek, American College/Basketball Hall of Fame small forward (8 x NBA C'ship Boston Celtics; 13 x NBA All Star; 4 x All-NBA First Team), born in Martin's Ferry, Ohio (d. 2019)

  • Apr 9 Jim [James Wilfred] Roberts, Canadian NHL defenceman (1st Blues draft pick), born in Toronto (d. 2015)
  • Apr 9 Vasily Dmitriyevich Shcheglov, Russian cosmonaut, born in Melovashka, Ukraine (d. 1973)
  • Apr 10 Gloria Hunniford [Mary Winifred Gloria Hunniford], British broadcaster and actress (Old Curiosity Shop), born in Portadown, Northern Ireland

Herbie Hancock

Apr 12 Herbie Hancock, American jazz and funk pianist, and composer ("I Thought it Was You"; "Rockit"; "Watermelon Man"), born in Chicago, Illinois

  • Apr 12 John Hagee, American pastor and televangelist, born in Goose Creek, Texas
  • Apr 12 Woodie Fryman, American baseball player, born in Ewing, Kentucky (d. 2011)
  • Apr 13 Lester Chambers, American rock and soul singer (The Chambers Brothers - "Time Has Come Today"), born in Mississippi
  • Apr 13 Max Mosley, British auto racer and lawyer (President Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile [FIA] 1993-2009), born in London, England (d. 2021)
  • Apr 13 Mike Beuttler, British racing driver, born in Cairo, Egypt (d. 1988)
  • Apr 13 Vladimir Cosma, Romanian-French violinist, conductor, and classical and film score composer, born in Bucharest, Romania
  • Apr 14 Patricia Bruder, American actress (Ellen-As the World Turns), born in Brooklyn, New York
  • Apr 15 Clarence Satchell, American funk saxophonist (Ohio Players - "Fire"; "Love Rollercoaster"), born in Cleveland, Ohio (d. 1995)
  • Apr 15 Edy Hubacher, Swiss 4-man bobsled (Olympic gold 1972), born in Bern, Switzerland
  • Apr 15 Jeffrey Archer, Baron Archer of Weston-super-Mare, English novelist, born in Finsbury, London
  • Apr 15 Robert Walker Jr, American actor (Ceremony, Ms Don Juan, Ensign Pulver), born in NYC, New York

Willie Davis

Apr 15 Willie Davis, American MLB center fielder (LA Dodgers), born in Mineral Springs, Arkansas (d. 2010)

  • Apr 16 Benoît Bouchard, French Canadian public official and former politician, born in Roberval, Quebec
  • Apr 16 David Holford, West Indian cricket all-rounder (24 Tests, 1 x 100, HS 105no, 51 wickets, BB 5/23; Barbados), born in Upper Collymore Rock, Saint Michael, Barbados
  • Apr 16 Dick Versace, American basketball coach (Bradley University, Indiana Pacers), broadcaster (TNT) and executive (GM Memphis Grizzlies), born in Fort Bragg, North Carolina (d. 2022)

Margrethe II

Apr 16 Margrethe II, Queen of Denmark (1972 - present), born in Copenhagen, Denmark

  • Apr 16 Paul Cox, Dutch-born Australian director (Lonely Hearts), born in Venlo, the Netherlands (d. 2016)
  • Apr 16 Thomas Stonor, 7th Baron Camoys, British banker and deputy CEO (Barclays de Zoete Wedd), born in England
  • Apr 17 Anja Silja, German soprano, born in Berlin, Germany
  • Apr 17 Billy Fury [Ronald Wycherley], British rock singer ("When Will You Say I Love You"; "Halfway To Paradise") and actor (That'll Be The Day), born in Liverpool, England (d. 1983)
  • Apr 17 Claire Bretécher, French cartoonist (Les Frustrés), born in Nantes, France (d. 2020)
  • Apr 17 John McCririck, English horse racing broadcaster, born in Surbiton, England (d. 2019)
  • Apr 18 Ed Garvey, American labor leader (NFL Players Association), born in Burlington, Wisconsin (d. 2017)
  • Apr 18 Ira von FFürstenberg, European socialite and actress (I Killed Rasputin), born in Rome, Italy
  • Apr 18 Joseph L. Goldstein, American biochemist and physician (Nobel-1985), born in Kingstree, South Carolina
  • Apr 18 Mike Vickers, British rock guitarist (Manfred Mann, 1962-65 - "Doo Wah Diddy"), born in Southampton, Hampshire
  • Apr 18 Skip Stephenson, American comedian (Real People), born in Omaha, Nebraska (d. 1992)
  • Apr 19 Genya Ravan, American vocalist (Goldie & the Gingerbreads, Ten Wheel Drive), born in Łódź, Poland
  • Apr 20 George Andrie, American football defensive end (Super Bowl 1971; First Team All Pro 1969; 5 x Pro Bowl; Dallas Cowboys), born in Grand Rapids, Michigan (d. 2018)
  • Apr 20 James Gammon, American actor (Cool Hand Luke; Nash Bridges - "Nick"), born in Newman, Illinois (d. 2010)
  • Apr 20 Jan Cremer, Dutch writer (I, John Cremer), born in Enschede, Netherlands
  • Apr 20 Pilar Miró, Spanish screenwriter and director (Wether; Beltenebros), born in Madrid, Spain (d. 1997)
  • Apr 20 Ronald Mundy, American doo-wop tenor vocalist (The Marcels - "Blue Moon"), born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (d. 2017)
  • Apr 20 Tim Drummond, American session and touring bass player and songwriter (Ry Cooder; Neil Young; Graham Nash: J.J. Cale; Bob Dylan), born in Canton, Illinois (d. 2015)
  • Apr 21 Souleymane Cisse, director (Waati, Yeelen, Finye, Baara)
  • Apr 23 Michael Copps, Commissioner of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Apr 23 Richard Monaco, American sci-fi author (Grail War, Final Quest), born in NYC, New York
  • Apr 24 David Larter, Scottish cricket fast bowler (10 Tests England, 37 wickets; Northamptonshire), born in Inverness, Scotland
  • Apr 24 Michael Parks, American actor (Tusk, Then Came Bronson), born in Corona California (d. 2017)
  • Apr 24 Sue Grafton, American author of detective novels ("A" Is for Alibi), born in Louisville, Kentucky (d. 2017)

Al Pacino

Apr 25 Al Pacino, American actor (And Justice For All, The Godfather, Scorpio), born in NYC, New York

  • Apr 25 Frank Foster, English rugby league lock (1 Test GB; Workington Town, Hull Kingston Rovers, Bradford Northern) and coach (Barrow, Whitehaven), born in Maryport, England (d. 2019)
  • Apr 25 O. B. McClinton, American country singer ("Keep Your Arms Around Me"), born in Senatobia, Mississippi (d. 1987)
  • Apr 26 Cliff Watson, English rugby league front rower (30 Tests GB, 4 England; St Helens 373 games, Cronulla-Sutherland), born in London, England (d. 2018)
  • Apr 26 Giorgio Moroder, Italian record producer, and film score composer (Cat People; Top Gun), born in Ortisei, Italy
  • Apr 29 Brian Taber, Australian cricket wicket-keeper (16 Tests, 60 dismissals), born in Wagga Wagga, Australia
  • Apr 29 George Adams, American jazz and R&B tenor saxophonist and flautist (Charles Mingus; Gil Evans; McCoy Tyner; Adams/Pullen Quartet), born in Covington, Georgia (d. 1992)
  • Apr 30 Burt Young, American actor (Convoy, Rocky), born in NYC, New York

Famous Weddings

Famous Deaths

  • Apr 6 Andrés Isasi, Spanish Basque composer, dies at 49
  • Apr 9 Mrs Patrick Campbell, English actress (Outcast Lady, Riptide), dies
  • Apr 18 Florrie Forde [Flannagan], Australian singer and British music hall performer, dies of a cerebral hemorrhage at 64
  • Apr 18 Herbert Albert Laurens Fisher, English historian & politician, dies after being hit by a car during London blackout at 75
  • Apr 26 Carl Bosch, German chemist (BASF, IG Farben, Nobel 1931), dies at 65