It was a story that shocked the world - and the Oxford Mail made sure its readers were kept up to date as the facts unravelled.

Lee Harvey Oswald, a 24-year-old former marine, had been charged with the murder of American president John Kennedy in Dallas.

On Saturday, November 23, 1963, the Mail carried full details of the assassination and a picture of the killer already in custody on its front page.

The president’s body lay in the East Room of the White House and messages of sympathy had come from around the world, including one from President Khrushchev in Russia.

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The Queen led the tributes in Britain, telling the new president, Lyndon Johnson: “I am shocked and horrified to learn of the tragic death of President Kennedy.

“On behalf of my people, I send my sincere sympathy to the Government and to the Congress and to the people of the United States.”

The Mail which described the killing in an editorial as senseless, reacted quickly to the news by arranging lengthy tributes from leading Oxford dignitaries, including Lord Franks, Provost of Worcester College and former British Ambassador in Washington, and Dr A L Goodhart, the American former Master of University College.

We were reminded of this momentous day in world history when Memory Lane contributor David Brown found a copy of that day’s paper in the loft at his home in Jordan Hill, Oxford.

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The Mail devoted the whole of its front page to the assassination, relegating local news to the inside pages.

The Oxford Mail reports the Kennedy assassination in 1963

The Oxford Mail reports the Kennedy assassination in 1963

On a happier note, blood donors who had given 50 or more donations were guests at a thank you lunch at the Riverside Hotel at Burcot, near Abingdon.

Among them were Mr S B M King, who had given blood 71 times, Mrs R A Higginson, of The Slade, Headington, with 54, and Ron Groves, of Hazel Crescent, Kidlington, with 53.

Mr H A Goddard, chairman of the establishment committee of the Oxford Regional Hospital Board, told them: “Money can build hospitals but no amount of money can build the voluntary goodwill and generosity of donors, without which the blood transfusion service could not exist.”

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At that time, there were 45,000 donors in the Oxford region and a million nationally.

There was also the heartwarming story of Les Awcock, from Abingdon.

He had thought for 62 years that he was an orphan, but had just received a letter from Canada from a mother he didn’t know existed. “It was a wonderful feeling,” he told the Mail.

In sport, Headington Conservative Club beat Cowley Workers’ Social Club 3-2 at billiards.

But the Kennedy murder continued to dominate the news, with tributes to the president at church services.