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Births: Virgil (Publius Vergilius Maro), poet, 70 BC; Mikhail Yuryevich Lermontov, poet and novelist, 1814; James-Joseph Jacques Tissot, painter and illustrator, 1836; Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, philosopher, 1844; Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, novelist, 1881; SS Van Dine (William Huntington Wright), mystery writer, 1888.

Deaths: Pope Gregory XIV, 1591; Adam Frans van der Meulen, painter, 1690; Mata Hari (Margaretha Geertruida Zelle), executed for espionage 1917; Pierre Laval, Vichy Government leader, executed 1945; Hermann Goering, Nazi leader, committed suicide 1946; Cole Albert Porter, composer and lyricist, 1964.

On this day: Pilatre de Rozier was the first man to make a balloon ascent, 1783; the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park was closed, 1851; the Gaiety Theatre, London, opened as the Strand Musick Hall, 1864; the first British Motor Show was held, at Tunbridge Wells, 1895; the airship Graf Zeppelin completed its first transatlantic flight, 1928; in the United States, demonstrations were staged to protest against the Vietnam War, 1969.

Today is the Feast Day of St Euthymius the Younger, St Leonard of Vandoeuvre, St Teresa of Avila and St Thecla of Kitzingen.


Births: James II, King of Scotland, 1430; Robert Stephenson, civil engineer, 1803; Oscar Fingall O'Flahertie Wills Wilde, playwright and author, 1854; Sir Joseph Austen Chamberlain, statesman, 1863; David Ben Gurion, Israeli statesman, 1886; Eugene Gladstone O'Neill, playwright, 1888.

Deaths: Hugh Latimer, bishop and Protestant martyr, burnt at the stake 1555; Nicholas Ridley, bishop and Protestant martyr, burnt at the stake 1555; Marie Antoinette (Josephe- Jeanne Marie-Antoinette), Queen of France, executed 1793; Liaquat Ali Khan, prime minister of Pakistan, assassinated 1951; Moshe Dayan, Israeli general, 1981.

On this day: the Eddystone Lighthouse was officially opened, 1759; the Houses of Parliament were almost completely destroyed by fire, 1834; Girton College, Cambridge, was opened (in Hitchin, Hertfordshire), 1869; the first detention centre was opened at Borstal, Rochester, Kent, 1902; the first aircraft flight was made in Britain by 'Colonel' Samuel F. Cody, showman and inventor, at Farnborough, 1908; German forces advanced to within 96 kilometres of Moscow, 1941; a nuclear device was exploded in China, 1964; Harold Wilson became prime minister, 1964.

Tomorrow is the Feast Day of St Anastasius of Cluny, St Bercharius, St Bertrand of Comminges, St Gall, St Gerard Majella, St Hedwig, St Lull, St Margaret-Mary, Saints Martinian and Maxima and St Mommolinus.