Anniversaries

Births: Willem van Mieris, painter, 1662; James Hutton, physician and geologist, 1726; Sydney Smith, preacher, reformer and writer, 1771; Robert Tannahill, poet, 1774; William Hone, writer and satirist, 1780; William Hilton, painter, 1786; Richard Cobden, political reformer, 1804; Jefferson Davis, president, Confederate States of America, 1808; Johan Barthold Jongkind, artist, 1819; Charles Steggall, organist and composer, 1826; Alexandre- Charles Lecocq, composer, 1832; Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie, archaeologist, 1853; George V, King, 1865; Raoul Dufy, painter, 1877; Georg von Bekesy, physiologist, 1899; Josephine Baker, singer, 1906; Paul Rotha, author and film director, 1907; Miss Adele Dixon (Adela Helena Dixon), actress, 1908; Paulette Goddard (Marion Levy), film actress, 1911; The Hon William Douglas-Home, playwright, 1912.

Deaths: William Harvey, exponent of the theory of the circulation of the blood, 1657; Jean-Francois Millet, painter, buried 1679; Jonathan Martin, fire-raiser who set fire to York Minster, 1838; Georges (Alexandre Cesar-Leopold) Bizet, composer, 1875; Lionel de Rothschild, banker, 1879; James Thomson, poet, 1882; Samuel Plimsoll, politician and social reformer, 1898; Johann Strauss the Younger, composer and conductor, 1899; Mary Henrietta Kingsley, writer and explorer, 1900; Franz Kafka, writer, 1924; Pope John XXIII (Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli), 1963; Arthur Michell Ransome, critic and writer of children's books, 1967; James Laver, man of letters, 1975; Dame Anna Neagle (Marjorie Robertson), actress and dancer, 1986; Robert Morley, actor and playwright, 1992.

On this day: the Dutch were defeated by the English fleet at the Battle of Lowestoft, 1665; the game of lacrosse was introduced into Britain from Montreal, 1876; the foundation stone of the opening lock of the Kiel Canal was laid, 1887; a great fire at Constantinople (Istanbul) rendered 15,000 people homeless, 1912; the postage of one penny for sealed letters in Britain was abolished, 1918; the Duke of Windsor married Mrs Wallis Warfield Simpson, 1937; the British army was evacuated from Dunkirk, 1940; the Battle of Midway Island began, 1942; in the United States, the Mount Palomar telescope was dedicated, 1948; third- class travel on British Railways was abolished, 1956; Ed White, the first US astronaut to walk in space, spent 21 minutes outside Gemini 4, 1965; at a French air show, a Tupolev-144 supersonic airliner crashed six miles from Le Bourget, killing 13 people, 1973.

Today is the Feast Day of St Cecilius, St Charles Lwanga, St Clothilde, St Genesius of Clermont, St Isaac of Cordova, St Joseph Mkasa, St Kevin or Coemgen, St Liphardus and Urbicius, St Lucillian and his Companions, St Morand and Saints Pergentinus and Laurentinus.

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