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TODAY: Births: William Henry (W.H.) Smith, bookseller and politician, 1825; Jack Dempsey, heavyweight boxer, 1895; Brian Alexander Johnston, broadcaster and cricket commentator, 1912. Deaths: Lucrezia Borgia, Duchess of Ferrara, 1519; Stephen Grover Cleveland, 22nd and 24th US President, 1908. On this day: Robert the Bruce and his army defeated the forces of Edward II at Bannockburn, 1314; the Mersey Tunnel was opened, 1971. Today is the Feast Day of St Bartholomew of Farne, St John the Baptist, St Ralph or Raoul of Bourges and St Simplicius of Autun.

TOMORROW: Births: Robert Erskine Childers, author and Irish nationalist, 1870; Louis, first Earl Mountbatten of Burma, 1900; George Orwell (Eric Blair), author and essayist, 1903. Deaths: Ernest Theodor Amadeus Hoffman, writer, composer and caricaturist, 1822; George Armstrong Custer, cavalry officer, killed in battle 1876. On this day: Samuel de Champlain hoisted the French flag in Nova Scotia at France's first settlement in North America, 1604; the Strand Magazine published the first "Sherlock Holmes" story by Arthur Conan Doyle, 1891; Dr Douglas Hyde, a Gaelic scholar and protestant, was inaugurated as the first president of the Irish Republic, 1938. Tomorrow is the Feast Day of St Adalbert of Egmond, St Eurosia, St Febronia, St Gallicanus, St Gohard, St Maximus of Turin, St Moloc or Luan, St Prosper of Aquitaine, St Prosper of Reggio, St Thea and St William of Vercelli or Monte Vergine.