Anniversaries: 19th December 1995


Births: Philip V, King of Spain, 1683; Sir William Edward Parry, Arctic explorer, 1790; John Ella, violinist and writer, 1802; Sir Stanley Unwin, publisher, 1884; Oliver Hazard Perry La Farge, author, 1901; Sir Ralph David Richardson, actor, 1902; Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev, Soviet leader, 1906; Jean Genet, playwright and essayist, 1910; Edith Piaf (Edith Giovanna Gassion), singer, 1915. Deaths: Anastasius I, Pope, 401; Vitus Jonassen Bering, navigator, 1741; Jean-Baptiste Vanloo, painter, 1745; Frederick Melchior, Baron von Grimm, statesman and wit, 1807; Benjamin Smith Barton, naturalist, 1815; Emily Bronte, novelist, 1848; Joseph Mallord William Turner, painter, 1851; Subhas Chandra Bose, politician, 1945. On this day: Huguenots and Catholics clashed when the Battle of Dreux was fought, 1562; during the American-British war of 1812, the Toronto parliament building was set alight, and Fort Niagara was taken by the British, 1813; the United States recognised the independence of Hawaii, 1842; in the New Hebrides, over 500 people were killed following a volcanic eruption, 1913; an air service between London and Moscow was begun, 1957; eight crew members were drowned from the Penlee lifeboat of Mousehole, Cornwall, as were eight people of the Union Star coaster, 1981; Ted Hughes was appointed Poet Laureate, 1984. Today is the Feast Day of St Anastasius I of Antioch, St Gregory of Auxerre, St Nemesius of Alexandria and St Timothy.