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Births: Sir John Cheke, classical scholar, 1514; Giovani Paolo Colonna, composer, 1637; Henrietta Smart, Duchess of Orleans, 1644; Julius Plucker, mathematician and scientist, 1801; Otto Jahn, philologist and archaeologist, 1813; William Shakespeare, tenor and composer, 1849; Gustav V, King of Sweden, 1858; Stan Laurel, actor, comedian, 1890; Lupino Lane (Henry Lupino), singer and entertainer, 1892.

Deaths: John Churchill, first Duke of Marlborough, 1722; Crawford Williamson Long, surgeon who pioneered the use of ether, 1878; Arthur Wallis Myers, lawn tennis authority, 1939; Harry Arthur Saintsbury, actor, producer and author, 1939; Margaret Grace Bondfield, trade union leader and first woman cabinet minister, 1953; Imre Nagy, prime minister, executed 1958; Sir John Charles Walsham Reith, first Baron Reith of Stonehaven, first director-general of the BBC, 1971; Wernher von Braun, rocket engineer, 1977.

On this day: Lambert Simnel, pretended Earl of Warwick, was defeated at the Battle of Stoke, 1487; the English and Dutch squadrons under Admiral Rooke were defeated by the French at the Battle of Cape St Vincent, 1693; King George II defeated the French at the Battle of Dettingen, 1743; the siege of Gibraltar began with Spanish and French attacks on the rock, 1779; the Prince of Orange defeated Napoleon's army under Marshal Ney at the Battle of Quatre Bras, 1815; the insurrection of the Janissaries at Constantinople ended, 1826; the London Working Men's Association was founded, 1836; Henry Ford founded his motor company, and became its first president, US 1903; the Automobile Association was founded, 1905; the first public meeting of the League of Nations council was held in London, 1920; mixed bathing in the Serpentine in Hyde Park, London, was first permitted, 1930; the Soviet Union sent an ultimatum to Estonia, 1940; Winston Churchill offered France indissoluble union with Britain, 1940; Marshal Petain took over the French government and asked Germany for an armistice, 1940; a Cathay Pacific Airways Catalina flying-boat was the first aircraft to be hijacked (by Chinese bandits), 1948; the first woman astronaut, Valentina Tereshkova, blasted off in Vostok 6, 1963; the first London performance of the musical show 1776 was staged, 1970; burglars were arrested at the Democratic Party headquarters, Watergate Building, Washington DC, 1972.

Today is the Feast Day of St Aurelian, St Benno of Meissen, Saints Cyr and Julitta, Saints Ferreolus and Ferrutio, St Lutgard and St Tychon of Amathus.