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Births: Thomas a Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1118; Mathurin Regnier, satirical poet, 1573; Jean Racine, playwright, 1639; Benjamin Disraeli, first Earl of Beaconsfield, statesman, 1804; Josef Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili (Joseph Stalin), Sovi et leader, 1879; Frank Hampson, creator of "Dan Dare", 1918.

Deaths: Giovanni Boccaccio, author, 1375; Catherine of Braganza, consort of King Charles II, 1705; Bernard de Montfaucon, critic and classical scholar, 1741; Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald, novelist, 1940; General George Smith Patton, military leader, 1945.

On this day: the Pilgrim Fathers landed at Plymouth Rock in North America, 1620; the first co-operative store was opened in Rochdale, 1844; anaesthetics were used for the first time in Britain (by Robert Liston), 1846; Charley's Aunt, the farce by Brandon Thomas, was first performed, 1892; the Port of London Authority was inaugurated, 1908; the premiere of the first full-length full-colour animated cartoon (Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs) took place, 1935.

Today is the Feast Day of St Anastasius II of Antioch, St Glycerius, St John Vincent, St Peter Canisius and Saints Themistocles & Dioscorus.