Births: Pope Leo XII, 1760; Thomas Tredgold, engineer and carpenter, 1788; Alexander Campbell Mackenzie, composer, 1847; Gustaf Froding, poet, 1860; Claude-Achille Debussy, composer, 1862; Jacques Lipchitz, painter and sculptor, 1891; Dorothy Parker (Rothschild), humorist and writer, 1893; Leni (Helene Bertha Amalie) Riefenstahl, actress, film producer and photographer, 1902.

Deaths: Pope Gregory IX, 1241; Philip VI, King of France, 1350; Richard III, King, killed at Bosworth Field 1485; Jean-Honore Fragonard, painter, 1806; Warren Hastings, first governor-general of India, 1818; George Shillibeer, pioneer of London's first bus service, 1866; Sydney Thompson Dobell, poet, 1874; 'Lord' John Sanger, circus entrepreneur, 1889; Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne Cecil, third Marquess of Salisbury, statesman, 1903; Michael Collins, Irish nationalist leader, killed in ambush 1922; Roger Martin du Gard, novelist and playwright, 1958; William Richard Morris, first Viscount Nuffield, motor manufacturer, 1963.

On this day: Henry VII's men defeated Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field, 1485; the Civil War began in England, 1642; Sierra Leone was first settled by the British as a haven for former slaves, 1788; the US annexed New Mexico, 1846; the Geneva Conference adopted the ideas put forward by Jean-Henri Dunant, and the International Red Cross organisation was founded, 1864; the first regular BBC television service began, 1932; Pope Paul VI made the first papal visit to South America when he arrived in Colombia, 1968.

Today is the Feast Day of St Andrew of Fiesole, St John Kemble, St Sigfrid of Wearmouth, St Symphorian and St Timothy.


Births: Louis-Francois Beffara, lexicographer, 1751; Louis XVI, King of France, 1754; Edgar Lee Masters, poet and novelist, 1869; Sir Henry Thomas Tizard, scientist, 1885; Leonard Constant Lambert, composer and critic, 1905.

Deaths: Flavius Stilicho, Roman general, beheaded 408; Sir William Wallace, Scottish patriot, executed 1305; Luis de Leon, scholar and poet, 1591; George Villiers, first Duke of Buckingham, assassinated by John Felton 1628; Charles- Augustin de Coulomb, physicist, 1806; Rudolph Valentino (Rodolfo Alfonzo Raffaele Pierre Philibert Guglielmi), actor, 1926; Adolph Loos, architect, 1933; Oscar Hammerstein II, lyricist, 1960; Irving Fine, composer, 1962; Francis Xavier Bushman, actor, 1966.

On this day: the Prussians under von Bulow threw back the French at the Battle of Grossbeeren, 1813; Mexico was declared to be independent, 1821; the Britsh took Hong Kong, 1839; the Treaty of Prague was signed, making peace between Austria and Prussia, 1866; the Albert Bridge across the Thames at Chelsea was opened, 1873; Japan declared war on Germany, John Cobb, the British motorist, drove at 368.85mph at Bonneville Salt Flats, US, 1939; the Battle of Stalingrad began, 1942; the World Council of Churches was founded, 1948.

Tomorrow is the Feast Day of Saints Asterius and Claudius, St Eugene or Eoghan of Ardstraw, St Philip Benizi, St Rose of Lima and St Tydfil.