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Births: Francois, Duc de La Rochefoucauld, writer, 1613; Titus Oates, impostor and fabricator of the 'Popish Plot', 1649; Sophia Dorothea, Electress of Hanover, 1666; James Fenimore Cooper, novelist, 1789; Jose de la Cruz Porfirio Diaz, Mexican leader, 1830; Robert Charles Benchley, humorist, 1889; Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, detective story writer, 1890; Jean Renoir, film director, 1894; Jean Batten, aviator, 1909; Margaret Mary Lockwood, actress, 1916.

Deaths: Sir Thomas Overbury, poet, poisoned while in the Tower of London, 1613; William Huskisson, statesman, run down by the locomotive Rocket, 1830; Isambard Kingdom Brunel, engineer, 1859; John Hanning Speke, explorer, shot by accident 1864; Silas Kitto Hocking, novelist, 1935; Thomas Clayton Wolfe, novelist, 1938; Geoffrey Francis Fisher, Lord Fisher of Lambeth, former Archbishop of Canterbury, 1972; Gustaf VI Adolf, King of Sweden, 1973; Willy Messerschmitt, aircraft designer, 1978.

On this day: to halt the French occupation, the Russians set fire to Moscow, 1812; the Manchester and Liverpool railway opened, during which ceremony, the world's first railway accident occurred (see Huskisson above) 1830; Jumbo, a famous circus elephant, was hit and killed by a goods train in Ontario, Canada, 1885; Russia was proclaimed a republic by Alexander Kerensky, 1917; in Germany, the Nuremberg laws were passed, outlawing Jews and making the Swastika the official flag of the country, 1935; the first traffic wardens went on duty in London, 1960; the Sun newspaper was first published, 1964.

Today is the Feast Day of St Achard or Aichardus, St Catherine of Genoa, St Mirin, St Nicetas the Goth and St Nicomedes. Today is also Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement).