Births: Sir Godfrey Kneller (Gottfried Kniller), painter, 1646; Jacques Basnage de Beauval, protestant theologian, 1653; Hermann Anton Gelinek (Cervetti), monk, violinist and composer, 1709; George Cattermole, water- colour painter, 1800; Wilhelm Friedrich Wieprecht, inventor of the bass-tuba, 1802; F. Anstey (Thomas Anstey Guthrie), author, 1856; Cecile- Louise Stephanie Chaminade, composer and pianist, 1861; Frank Richards (Charles Harold St John Hamilton), author and creator of 'Billy Bunter', 1876; Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, novelist, 1896; Victor Young, composer and conductor, 1900; Ernest Orlando Lawrence, physicist and inventor of the cyclotron, 1901.

Deaths: Thomas a Kempis (Thomas Hammerken von Kempen), Augustinian monk and writer, 1471; Girolamo Fracastoro, astronomer, poet and physician, 1553; Antoine Arnauld, Jansenist theologian, 1694; George Canning, statesman, 1827; Lucia Elizabeth Vestris (Matthews), actress, 1856; Dr Robert Moffat, missionary and traveller, 1883; Sir William James Erasmus Wilson, dermatologist, who, at his own expense, brought 'Cleopatra's Needle' to London, 1884; Eugene-Louis Boudin, painter, 1898; James-Joseph Jacques Tissot, painter and illustrator, 1902; Frank Winfield Woolworth, chain store founder, 1919; Anton Ivanovich Denikin, anti-Bolshevik Russian general, 1947; James Gould Cozzens, novelist, 1978; Nicholas John Turney Montsarrat, novelist, 1979; Louise Brooks, actress, 1985.

On this day: Queen Elizabeth I reviewed her troops at Tilbury, 1588; the first mail coach ran in Britain, from London to Bristol, 1784; Dr Michel Paccard and Jacques Balmat reached the summit of Mont Blanc, 1786; the Poor Law Act was passed in England, 1834; the Red Cross League, founded by Jean-Henri Dunant, was granted immunity in time of war at the Geneva Convention, 1864; the British Academy was granted a Royal Charter, 1902; the Battle of Amiens began, 1918; the Treaty of Rawalpindi was signed, 1919; the Battle of Britain began, 1940; the Great Train Robbery took place when pounds 2.5m was stolen from a train at Cheddington, near Bletchley, Bucks, 1963; President Richard Nixon resigned, the first US president to do so, 1974; the London production of the musical show Forty-Second Street was first presented, 1984; John McCarthy, the journalist held hostage by Islamic Jihad in the Lebanon since 1986, was freed, 1991.

Today is the Feast Day of St Altman, Saints Cyriacus, Largus and Smaragdus, St Dominic, The Fourteen Holy Helpers and St Hormisdas the Martyr.