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Anniversaries: 16th & 17th December


TODAY: Births: Catherine of Aragon, first queen of Henry VIII, 1485; Jane Austen, novelist, 1775; Sir Noel Pierce Coward, playwright, actor and composer, 1889. Deaths: Wilhelm Grimm, philologist and folklorist, 1859; Charles-Camille Saint-Saens, composer, 1921; Alton Glenn Miller, dance band leader, lost on an air flight, 1944; William Somerset Maugham, novelist, 1965. On this day: Oliver Cromwell became Lord Protector, 1653; the "Boston Tea Party" took place, 1773; the Manchester Ship Canal was completed, 1893; the first production of the musical Me and My Girl took place in London, 1937. Today is the Feast Day of St Adelaide, St Ado, St Albina, Saints Ananiah, Azariah & Mishael (Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego) and St Irenion.

TOMORROW: Births: Ludwig van Beethoven, composer, baptised 1770; Sir Humphry Davy, chemist and inventor, 1778; Ford Madox Ford (Ford Hermann Hueffer), novelist, 1873; Erskine Preston Caldwell, novelist, 1903. Deaths: Simon Bolivar, South American patriot, 1830; Kaspar Hauser, the foundling "wild boy" of Nuremberg, 1833; Louis-Marie Alphonse Daudet, novelist, 1897; Dana Andrews (Carver Daniel Andrews), actor, 1992. On this day: Drake's ship The Pelican (afterwards called The Golden Hind) sailed out of Plymouth on a round-the-world voyage, 1577; the Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, opened, 1888; the first radio message was sent across the Atlantic, 1902; the Wright brothers made their first flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, 1903. Tomorrow is the Feast Day of St Begga, St Lazarus, St Olympias, St Sturmi and St Wivina.