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Anniversaries Births: Erasmus Darwin, physician and writer, 1731; Sir William Beechey, painter, 1753; Gustave Flaubert, novelist, 1821; Edvard Munch, painter, 1863; Alfred Werner, chemist, 1866; Edward G. Robinson (Emanuel Goldenburg), actor, 1893.

Deaths: Darius II Nothus (``The Bastard''), King of Persia, 404 BC; Sir Marc Isambard Brunel, civil engineer, 1849; Robert Browning, poet, 1889; Douglas Fairbanks Snr (Douglas Elton Ulman), actor, 1939; Tallulah Brockman Bankhead, actress, 1968; Clementine Ogilvy, Baroness Spencer-Churchill, widow of Winston Churchill, 1977; Anne Baxter, film actress, 1985.

On this day: Spain declared war on Britain, 1804; the first transatlantic radio signal was transmitted by Marconi, 1901; King George V held a great Coronation Durbar in Delhi, India, 1911; in Germany, Hugo Junkers built the first all-metal aircraft, 1915

; martial law was declared in the counties of Cork, Tipperary, Kerry and Limerick, 1920; Reza Pahlevi became Shah of Persia, 1925; China declared war on Japan, 1936; Christopher Cockerell patented the first hovercraft, 1955; Kenya became independent, 196

3, and became a republic, 1964; women members were elected to the Jockey Club for the first time, 1977; an express train from Bournemouth crashed near Clapham Junction, London, killing 36 people and injuring 111, 1988.

Today is the Feast Day of St Corentin or Cury, St Edburga of Minster, Saints Epimachus and Alexander, St Finnian of Clonard, St Jane Frances de Chantel and St Vicelin.