November 21, 1974 — The Birmingham Pub bombing takes place

On November 21, 1974, two pubs in central Birmingham, the Mulberry Bush and the Tavern in the Town were bombed just before 8:30pm in the evening. Ten people were killed at the Mulberry Bush and another eleven at the Tavern in the Town. Another 162 people were injured, and a third device at another location failed to detonate.

Within days, six men were arrested on suspicion of the bombings, which were widely blamed on the IRA. The men – Hugh Callaghan, Patrick Joseph Hill, Gerard Hunter, Richard McIlkenny, William Power and John Walker – were charged with the bombings, convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. All the convictions were later over-turned, amid charges being laid against police officers and prison guards for their conduct regarding the men. The Birmingham Six were innocent.

November 21, 1823 — Alexander Pearce kills and eats Thomas Cox

Thomas Cox was probably foolish to try escaping alone with Alexander Pearce. While the authorities might not have believed that he was a cannibal who’d eaten the last group of men whom he escaped with, it seems likely that the other convicts did. But perhaps Cox thought it was just the extremity of the situation that drove Pearce to it.

He must have been surprised when Pearce assaulted and killed him, although he would have been too dead to be surprised that Pearce then cooked and ate him. And he would no doubt have been astonished at Pearce’s deliberate surrender to the authorities and instant confession of what he had done to Cox. This time, the authorities believed Pearce – and when he faced trial again, this time he was sentenced to hang. The saga of Tasmania’s cannibal convict was at an end.