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Births: Francesco Sforza, soldier, 1401; Antonio Maria Gasparo Sacchini, opera composer, 1734; Francois-Eugene Vidocq, police detective, 1775; Franz Berwald, composer, 1796; George Catlin, artist and author, 1796; Coventry Kersey Dighton Patmore, poet, 1823; Richard Hol, composer and organist, 1825; Sir Jonathan Hutchinson, surgeon and scientist, 1828; Edouard (Judas) Colonne, composer and violinist, 1838; Edmund John Armstrong, poet, 1841; Alan Francis Brooke, first Viscount Alanbrooke, Field Marshal, 1883; Salvador de Madariaga y Rojo, writer and diplomat, 1886; Sir Arthur Whitten Brown, aviator, 1886; Raymond Thornton Chandler, novelist, 1888; Ras Tafari Makonnen, Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia, 1892; Michael Wilding, actor, 1912.

Deaths: Sir Henry Percy (Harry Hotspur), killed in battle 1403; Richard Gibson, miniature- painter, 1690; Domenico Scarlatti, composer and harpsichordist, 1757; Arthur Wolfe, first Viscount Kilwarden, Lord Chief Justice of Ireland, murdered 1803; Elizabeth Hamilton, writer, 1816; Isaac Merritt Singer, sewing-machine inventor, 1875; Ulysses Simpson Grant, general and 18th US President, 1885; Sir John Simon, public- health pioneer, 1904; Jean-Jacques Henner, painter, 1905; Sir William Ramsay, chemist, 1916; Glenn Hammond Curtiss, aviator, 1930; James Maxton, politician, 1946; David Wark Griffith, film director, 1948; Robert Joseph Flaherty, documentary film- maker, 1951; Cordell Hull, statesman, 1955; Edward Montgomery Clift, actor, 1966; Sir Henry Hallett Dale, physiologist, 1968; Dell Floyd, writer, 1969; Eddie Rickenbacker (Edward Vernon Rickenbacher), First World War fighter pilot, 1973.

On this day: the Battle of Shrewsbury was fought by the Percys against King Henry IV, 1403; Charles Stuart, the Young Pretender, landed at Eriskay Island in the Hebrides, 1745; the Battle of Mogilev, Russia, was fought between Napoleon's troops and those of Tsar Alexander I, 1812; the Battle of Custoza (Italian Wars of Independence) started, 1848; the Jewish Disabilities Removal Act was passed by Parliament, 1858; Alexandra Park opened, north London 1863; Emperor Napoleon III appointed the Empress Eugenie as Regent of France, 1870; John Boyd Dunlop applied to patent a pneumatic tyre, 1888; in London, the 'blitz' began with an all-night German air raid, 1940; King Farouk of Egypt was deposed by General Neguib, 1952; the Greek military junta resigned, 1974; the Duke of York married Sarah Ferguson, 1986.

Today is the Feast Day of St Anne or Susanna, St Apollinaris of Ravenna, St Bridget of Sweden, St John Cassian, St Liborius, St Romula and her Companions and The Three Wise Men.


Wildlife Trusts

The RSNC Wildlife Trusts Partnership hosted a reception held yesterday at National Westminster Hall, London SW1, in honour of its President, Sir David Attenborough.