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Births: Richard III, King of England, 1452; Mikhail Yuryevich Lermontov (Learmonth), poet, 1814; Julius von Sachs, botanist and naturalist, 1832; Hans Thoma, painter, 1839; Ferdinand Foch, Marshal of France, 1851; Charles de Souzy Ricketts, artist, 1866; Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Indian leader, 1869; Wallace Stevens, poet, 1879; Julius 'Groucho' Marx, comedian, 1890; Bud Abbot, comedian, 1895; Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri, statesman, 1904; Henry Graham Greene, novelist, 1904.

Deaths: Isaac Oliver, miniature painter, 1617; Benoit Audran, artist and engraver, 1721; John Andre, English army officer, executed by George Washington for spying 1780; Samuel Adams, statesman, 1803; Dr William Ellery Channing, cleric and writer, 1842; Max Bruch, composer, 1920; Sir Thomas Johnstone Lipton, sportsman and merchant, 1931; Marie Stopes, birth control pioneer, 1958; Marcel Duchamp (Henri-Pierre Roche), Surrealist painter, 1968; Rock Hudson (Roy Fitzgerald Scherer), actor, 1985; Sir Peter Brian Medawar, medical scientist, 1987.

On this day: Saladin entered Jerusalem, 1187; Rome became the capital city of Italy, 1870; Brigham Young, the Mormon leader, was arrested for bigamy, 1871; the first rugby football match was played at Twickenham, 1909; the British Council received a Royal Charter, 1940; after colliding with the Queen Mary liner, the British cruiser Curacao sank off the coast of Donegal, with the loss of 338 lives, 1942; a new island appeared off Fayal Island, Azores, with a volcano at the centre, 1957; Guinea became an independent republic, 1958; the first London performance of the musical show Promises, Promises was presented, 1968; Neil Kinnock became leader of the Labour Party, 1983.

Today is the Feast Day of St Eleutherius of Nicomedia, The Guardian Angels and St Leger or Leodegarius.


Births: George Bancroft, diplomat and historian, 1800; Woldemar Bargiel, composer, 1828; Sir Patrick Manson, physician and parasitologist, 1844; Eleanora Duse, actress, 1858; Sergei Alexandrovich Yesenin, poet, 1865; Pierre Bonnard, painter, 1867; (Henri-Alban) Alain-Fournier, writer, 1886; Louis Aragon, poet and novelist, 1897; Thomas Clayton Wolfe, novelist, 1900.

Deaths: St Francis of Assisi, 1226; Myles Standish, Pilgrim Fathers leader, 1656; Elias Howe, sewing machine inventor, 1867; William Morris, writer, artist and printer, 1896; Carl Nielsen, composer, 1931; Sir Henry Malcolm Watts Sargent, conductor, 1967; Woody (Woodrow Wilson) Guthrie, singer and composer, 1967; Jean Anouilh, playwright, 1987.

On this day: Gilbert and Sullivan's Yeomen of the Guard was first performed at the Savoy Theatre, London, 1888; the international distress signal SOS was adopted, 1906; the official name of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was changed to Yugoslavia, 1929; the Dominion Theatre, London, opened, 1929; the first British atomic device was exploded in the Monte Bello islands, in the Pacific, 1952; the first London production of the musical show A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum was presented, 1963; East and West Germany were reunited as the Federal Republic of Germany, 1990.

Tomorrow is the Feast Day of St Attilanus, St Froilan, St Gerard of Brogne, St Ewald the Dark, St Ewald the Fair, St Hesychius and St Thomas Cantelupe of Hereford.