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Births: George Bancroft, diplomat and historian, 1800; Sir Patrick Manson, physician and parasitologist, 1844; Eleanora Duse, actress, 1858; Pierre Bonnard, painter, 1867; (Henri-Alban) Alain-Fournier, writer, 1886; Louis Aragon, poet and novelist, 1897; Leo McCarey, film director, 1898; Thomas Clayton Wolfe, novelist, 1900.

Deaths: St Francis of Assisi, 1226; Elias Howe, sewing-machine inventor, 1867; William Morris, writer, artist and printer, 1896; Carl Nielsen, composer, 1931; Sir Arnold Edward Trevor Bax, composer, 1953; Sir Henry Malcolm Watts Sargent, conductor, 1967; Woody (Woodrow Wilson) Guthrie, singer and composer, 1967; Jean Anouilh, playwright, 1987.

On this day: Queen Victoria and her children were filmed while at Balmoral, 1896; SOS, the international distress signal was adopted, 1906; the official name of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was changed to Yugoslavia, 1929; the first British atomic device was exploded in the Monte Bello islands, the Pacific 1952; the Bolshoi Ballet appeared at Covent Garden for the first time, 1956; East and West Germany were reunited as the Federal Republic of Germany, 1990; in Russia, President Yeltsin declared a state of emergency after fighting took place in Moscow, 1993.

Today is the Feast Day of St Attilanus, St Froilan, St Gerard of Brogne, St Ewald the Dark, St Ewald the Fair, St Hesychius and St Thomas Cantelupe of Hereford.