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Today: Births: Alexander the Great, 356 BC; Kenneth More, actor, 1914. Deaths: Jean Julius Christian Sibelius, composer, 1957; Jule Styne (Julius Kerwin Stein), songwriter and composer, 1994. On this day: Salisbury Cathedral was consecrated, 1258; six Victoria Crosses were awarded for gallantry at the Battle of Alma, 1854; the liner Queen Elizabeth II was launched at Clydebank, 1966. Today is the Feast Day of St Candida of Carthage, Saints Fausta and Evilasius, Saints Theodore, Philippa and their Companions, St Vincent Madelgarus and the Martyrs of Korea.

TOMORROW: Births: Herbert George Wells, novelist, 1866; Gustav Holst (Gustavus Theodore von Holst), composer, 1874. Deaths: Virgil (Publius Vergilius Maro), poet, 19 BC; Sir Walter Scott, novelist, 1832; Arthur Schopenhauer, philosopher, 1860. On this day: Britain abandoned the Gold Standard, and the pound fell from $4.86 to $3.49, 1931. Tomorrow is the Feast Day of St Matthew the Apostle, and St Maura of Troyes.