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Births: Charles II, King, 1630; Sarah Jennings, Duchess of Marlborough, 1660; Dr John Walker, inventor of the friction match, 1781; Heinrich von Kaan, pianist and composer, 1852; Terence Hanbury White, novelist, 1906; John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th US President, 1917.

Deaths: Henry Dundas, first Viscount Melville, statesman, 1811; Sir Humphry Davy, scientist and inventor of the miners' safety lamp, 1829; John Lothrop Motley, diplomat and historian, 1877; Julius von Sachs, botanist and naturalist, 1897; Sir William Schwenck Gilbert, librettist and playwright, 1911; John Barrymore (Blythe), actor, 1942; Mary Pickford (Gladys Mary Smith), film ctress, 1979.

On this day: Charles II entered London after the restoration of the monarchy, 1660; the first steam cable tram in Europe began operating in Highgate, London, 1884; the liner Normandie left Le Havre on her maiden voyage to New York, via Southampton, 1935; the evacuation from Dunkirk began, 1940; Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing reached the summit of Mount Everest, 1953; Charles de Gaulle formed a government of national safety in France, 1959.

Today is the Feast Day of St Bernard of Montjoux or Menthon, St Cyril of Caesarea, St Maximinus of Trier, Saints Sisinnius, Martyrius and Alexander, St Theodosia of Constantinople and Saints William, Stephen, Raymund and their Companions.


Births: Peter the Great, Tsar of Russia, 1672; Johann Christian Lobe, composer, 1797; Samuel Spalding, moral philosopher, 1807; Peter Carl (Karl Gustavovich) Faberge, goldsmith, 1846; Alexander Porfirevich Archipenko, sculptor and painter, 1887; Howard Hawks, film director, 1896.

Deaths: Joan of Arc, burnt at the stake at Rouen 1431; Christopher Marlowe, playwright, killed in a brawl 1593; Sir Peter Paul Rubens, painter, 1640; Alexander Pope, poet and satirist, 1744; Francois Boucher, painter, 1770; Voltaire (Francois-Marie Arouet), philosopher and writer, 1778; Wilbur Wright, pioneer aviator, 1912; Boris Leonidovich Pasternak, poet and author, 1960; Marcel Dupre, organist and composer, 1971.

On this day: Christopher Columbus set sail on his third voyage, 1498; King Henry VIII was married to Jane Seymour, 1536; the Grenadier Guards were formed, 1656; Napoleon annexed Tuscany, 1808; John Francis attempted to assassinate Queen Victoria, 1842; the Balkan War was ended by the Treaty of London, which created the new state of Albania, 1913; Cologne was raided by a large force of RAF aircraft, 1942; the first hovercraft flight took place at Cowes, Isle of Wight, 1959; Eastern Nigeria declared itself independent, as the Republic of Biafra, 1967; the British Trans-Arctic Expedition completed the first surface crossing of the continent, 1969.

Tomorrow is Whit Sunday (Pentecost) and the Feast Day of St Exuperantius of Ravenna, St Ferdinand of Castile, St Isaac of Constantinople, St Joan of Arc, St Luke Kirby, St Madelgisilus or Maugeille and St Walstan.