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Births: Torquato Tasso, poet and playwright, 1544; William Huskisson, statesman, 1770; Prince Paul Anton von Galanthea Esterhazy, diplomat, 1786; Louis Boulanger, painter and lithographer, 1807; Sir Henry Tate, sugar refiner and art collector, 1819; Dorothy Gish (le Guiche), silent screen actress, 1898; Jessie Matthews, actress and dancer, 1907.

Deaths: Donato Bramante (d'Agnolo), architect, 1514; Hannah Cowley (Parkhouse), playwright and poet, 1809; Sir Henry Walford Davies, composer and organist, 1941; Sir Alexander Fleming, bacteriologist, 1955; Admiral Richard Evelyn Byrd, aviator and explorer, 1957; Erle Stanley Gardner, lawyer, author and creator of 'Perry Mason', 1970.

On this day: Chelsea Hospital for old soldiers was founded, 1682; the first performance of Rigoletto by Verdi was given in Venice, 1851; the Bradfield reservoir, near Sheffield, burst its banks, and 250 people lost their lives, 1864; the first telephone call was made by Alexander Graham Bell, 1876; following a proclamation by Hermann Goering, the Luftwaffe, or German air force, was created, 1935; the German army marched into Austria, 1938; meat rationing began in Britain, 1940; in the US, the Lease-Lend bill became law, 1941; during a thousand-bomber raid on Germany, the Krupps factory was destroyed, 1945.

Today is the Feast Day of St Aurea, St Benedict of Milan, St Constantine of Cornwall, St Eulogius of Cordova, St Oengus or Aengus the Culdee, St Sophronius of Jerusalem, St Teresa Margaret Redi and St Vindician.

Sir George Turnbull

A service of thanksgiving for the life of Sir George Turnbull will be held at St George's Church, Hanover Square, London W1, on Tuesday 16 March at noon.