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Births: William the Silent, Prince of Orange, 1533; Edmund Cartwright, inventor of the power loom, 1743; Anthony Trollope, writer and inventor of the pillar box, 1815; Henri-Philippe Petain, soldier and French leader, 1856; Arthur Christopher Benson, scholar and writer, 1862; Sir Richard Stafford Cripps, lawyer, diplomat and statesman, 1889; William Joyce ("Lord Haw-Haw"), collaborator with the Nazis, 1906.

Deaths: Daniel Defoe, writer, 1731; Willa Cather, novelist, 1947; Bill (William John) Edrich, cricketer, 1986; The Duchess of Windsor (Wallis Warfield), 1986.

On this day: Mary, Queen of Scots, aged 16, married the Dauphin of France, 1558; the words and music of the "Marseillaise" were composed by Rouget de Lisle, 1792; the Library of Congress was established, 1800; the Garrick Theatre, London, opened, 1889; Joshua Slocum set sail from Boston, Massachusetts, US, on the first solo round-the-world voyage, 1895; Spain declared war on the United States, 1898; the first issue of the Daily Express appeared, 1900; the Republican insurrection in Ireland known as the Easter Rising occurred, Easter Monday 1916; in the German general election, Nazis won many seats in large cities, 1932; the first performance of the musical Man of La Mancha was presented, London 1968; the Gambia was proclaimed a republic, 1970.

Today is the Feast Day of St Egbert, St Fidelis of Sigmaringen, St Ives or Ivo, St Mary Euphrasia Pelletier, St Mellitus of Canterbury and St William Firmatus.


Births: (St) Louis IX, King of France, 1214; King Edward II, 1284; Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of England, 1599; Sir Marc Isambard Brunel, engineer and inventor, 1769; John Keble, Anglican priest and founder-member of the Oxford Movement, 1792; Charles Burgess Fry, cricketer and writer, 1872; Walter de la Mare, poet and novelist, 1873; Guglielmo Marconi, radio pioneer, 1874; Edward (Egbert) Roscoe Murrow, broadcaster and journalist, 1908; Ella Fitzgerald, singer, 1917.

Deaths: Leon Battista degli Alberti, architect, sculptor, writer and musician, 1472; Margaret of Anjou, Queen, wife of Henry VI, 1482; Torquato Tasso, poet, 1595; David Teniers the Younger, painter, 1690; Anders Celsius, inventor of the centigrade thermometer, 1744; William Cowper, poet, 1800; Gertie Millar (Countess of Dudley), musical comedy actress, 1952; Joseph Hergesheimer, novelist, 1954; Sir Carol Reed, film director, 1976; Dame Celia Johnson, actress, 1982; Ginger Rogers (Virginia Katherine McMath), actress and dancer, 1995.

On this day: the Dutch defeated the Spanish in the Bay of Gibraltar, 1607; a Convention Parliament met and voted for the restoration of Charles II, 1660; the guillotine was first erected in Paris, 1792; construction of the Suez Canal began, 1859; the US declared war on Spain, 1898; British, French, Australian and New Zealand forces landed at the Gallipoli peninsula, Turkey, 1915; Puccini's opera Turandot was first performed, Milan 1926; the BBC radio serial The Dales ended after 21 years and over 5,400 episodes, 1969; in Portugal, a military junta deposed the government, president and prime minister, 1974; the West German embassy in Stockholm was blown up by terrorists and two people shot, 1975; Portugal held its first free elections for 50 years, 1975.

Tomorrow is Anzac Day and the Feast Day of St Anianus of Alexandria, St Heribald and St Mark the Evangelist.