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Births: William the Silent, Prince of Orange, 1533; Giambattista Martini, historian of music, 1706; Edmund Cartwright, inventor of the power loom, 1743; Anthony Trollope, author and inventor of the pillar box, 1815; Jules Egghard (Count Hardegg), pianist, 1834; Henri-Philippe Petain, soldier and leader, 1856; Arthur Christopher Benson, scholar and author, 1862; Air Chief Marshal Hugh Caswall Tremenheere Dowding, first Baron Dowding, 1882; Sir Richard Stafford Cripps, lawyer, diplomat and statesman, 1889; William Joyce ('Lord Haw-Haw'), collaborator with the Nazis, 1906.

Deaths: Daniel Defoe, author, 1731; Louisa Stuart Costello, artist and poet, 1870; Maria Faglioni, ballerina, 1884; Willa Cather, novelist, 1947; Bill (William John) Edrich, cricketer, 1986; The Duchess of Windsor (Wallis Warfield), 1986.

On this day: Mary, Queen of Scots, aged 16, married the Dauphin of France, 1558; the words and music of the 'Marseillaise' were composed by Rouget de Lisle, 1792; the Library of Congress was established, 1800; the Garrick Theatre, London, opened, 1889; Joshua Slocum set sail from Boston, Massachusetts, on the first solo round-the-world voyage, 1895; Spain declared war on the United States, 1898; the first issue of the Daily Express appeared, 1900; a Republican insurrection in Ireland began, , the Easter Rising 1916; in the German general election, Nazis won many seats in large cities, 1932; the Gambia was proclaimed a republic, 1970.

Today is the Feast Day of St Egbert, St Fidelis of Sigmaringen, St Ives or Ivo, St Mary Euphrasia Pelletier, St Mellitus of Canterbury and St William Firmatus.


Births: (St) Louis IX, King of France, 1214; King Edward II, 1284; Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of England, 1559; Sir Mark Isambard Brunel, engineer and inventor, 1769; John Keble, founder- member of the Oxford Movement, 1792; Charles Burgess Fry, cricketer and writer, 1872; Walter de la Mare, poet and novelist, 1873; Guglielmo Marconi, radio pioneer, 1874.

Deaths: Leon Battista degli Alberti, architect, sculptor, writer and musician, 1472; Margaret of Anjou, Queen, wife of Henry VI, 1482; Torquato Tasso, poet, 1595; David Teniers the Younger, painter, 1690; John Woodward, geologist and physician, 1728; Anders Celsius, inventor of the centigrade thermometer, 1744; William Cowper, poet, 1800; Johann Karl Friedrich Zollner, astrophysicist, 1882; Gertie Millar (Countess of Dudley), musical comedy actress, 1952; Joseph Hergesheimer, novelist, 1954; Sir Carol Reed, film director, 1976; Dame Celia Johnson, actress, 1982.

On this day: the Dutch defeated the Spanish in the Bay of Gibraltar, 1607; a Convention Parliament met and voted for the restoration of Charles II, 1660; the guillotine was first erected in Paris, 1792; construction of the Suez Canal began, 1859; British, French, Australian and New Zealand forces landed at the Gallipoli peninsula, Turkey, 1915; Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg became president of Germany, 1925; Puccini's opera Turandot was first performed, Milan 1926; the BBC radio serial The Dales ended after 21 years and over 5,400 episodes, 1969.

Tomorrow is Anzac Day and the Feast Day of St Anianus of Alexandria, St Heribald and St Mark the Evangelist.