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Births: Desiderius Erasmus (Gerhard Gerhards), scholar and humanist, 1466; Capt James Cook, naval officer and explorer, 1728; Niccolo Paganini, violinist and composer, 1782; Sir William Alexander Smith, founder of the Boys' Brigade, 1854; Theodore Roosevelt, 26th US president, 1858; Enid Bagnold, novelist, 1889; Dylan Marlais Thomas, poet, 1914; Sylvia Plath, poet, 1932.

Deaths: Ivan III (the Great), Tsar of Russia, 1505; Michael Servetus, theologian, burnt at Geneva on the orders of Calvin 1553; Lascelles Abercrombie, writer and critic, 1938; James Mallahan Cain, novelist, 1977; Sir Peter Courtney Quennell, editor and author, 1993.

On this day: the Cavaliers eluded the Roundheads in the Battle of Newbury, 1644; the US Navy was established, 1775; the Liverpool Echo was first published, 1879; the New York Subway was opened, 1904; troops from the United States entered the war in France, their first engagement on the Western Front, 1917; the Pall Mall Gazette was last issued, 1923; the present building of the Prince of Wales's Theatre was opened, 1937; Winston Churchill became prime minister of Britain for the second time, 1951.

Today is the Feast Day of St Frumentius of Ethiopia and St Otteran or Odhran of Iona.