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Births: Pierre Bonnard, painter, 1867; (Henri-Alban) Alain-Fournier, writer, 1886; Sir Michael Murray Hordern, actor, 1911.

Deaths: St Francis of Assisi, 1226; Elias Howe, sewing-machine inventor, 1867; William Morris, writer, artist and printer, 1896; Sir Arnold Edward Trevor Bax, composer, 1953; Sir Henry Malcolm Watts Sargent, conductor, 1967; Woody (Woodrow Wilson) Guthrie, singer and composer, 1967; Jean Anouilh, playwright, 1987; Alfred Leslie Rowse, scholar and historian, 1997.

On this day: Gilbert and Sullivan's Yeomen of the Guard was first performed at the Savoy Theatre, London 1888; Queen Victoria and her children were filmed while at Balmoral, 1896; the international distress signal SOS was adopted, 1906; Tsar Ferdinand of Bulgaria abdicated, 1918; the official name of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was changed to Yugoslavia, 1929; the first British atomic device was exploded in the Monte Bello islands, in the Pacific, 1952; the Bolshoi Ballet appeared at Covent Garden for the first time, 1956; the first London production of the musical show A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum was presented, 1963; East and West Germany were reunited as the Federal Republic of Germany, 1990; in Russia, President Yeltsin declared a state of emergency after fighting took place in Moscow, 1993.

Today is the Feast Day of St Attilanus, St Froilan, St Gerard of Brogne, St Ewald the Dark, St Ewald the Fair, St Hesychius and St Thomas Cantelupe of Hereford.


Births: Louis X ("The Stubborn"), King of France, 1289; Lucas Cranach the Elder (Lucas Muller), painter, 1472; Lucas Cranach the Younger, painter, 1515; Richard Cromwell, Lord Protector, 1626; Giambattista Piranesi, engraver, 1720; Jean-Francois Millet, painter, 1814; Rutherford Birchard Hayes, 19th US president, 1822; Alfred Damon Runyon, writer and journalist, 1884; Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, sculptor, 1891; Buster Keaton (Joseph Francis Keaton), comedian, 1895; Richard Sorge, German spy for the Soviet Union, 1895.

Deaths: St Teresa of Avila (Teresa de Cepeda y Ahumada), Carmelite nun, 1582; Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, painter, 1669; John Rennie, civil engineer, 1821; Max Ludwig Planck, physicist, 1947; Sir Arthur Whitten Brown, pioneer aviator, 1948; Janis Joplin, rock singer, 1970.

On this day: Peterborough Cathedral was consecrated, 1238; Miles Coverdale's translation of the Bible was published, 1535; the Boys Brigade was founded, 1883; the world's first artificial satellite was launched by the Soviet Union, Sputnik 1, 1957; the first transatlantic passenger jet service started operating, 1958; Pope Paul VI became the first pope to visit America when he landed at New York, 1965.

Tomorrow is the Feast Day of St Ammon, St Francis of Assisi and St Petronius of Bologna.