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Births: Alice Mary Smith, composer, 1839; Dame Nellie Melba, singer, 1861; William Waldorf Astor, second Viscount Astor, 1879; Viscountess Astor (Nancy Witcher), 1879; Ho Chi Minh, Vietnamese leader, 1890; Bruce Bennett (Herman Brix), actor, 1909.

Deaths: Alcuin, Anglo-Latin poet and scholar, 804; Ann Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII, executed 1536; James Boswell, biographer of Dr Johnson, 1795; Nathaniel Hawthorne, novelist, 1864; William Ewart Gladstone, statesman, 1898; Ronald Colman, actor, 1958; Frederic Ogden Nash, writer and humorist, 1971; Sir John Betjeman, Poet Laureate, 1984.

On this day: the Spanish Armada set sail from Lisbon, 1588; the Legion d'Honneur was instituted by Napoleon, 1802; an international crisis developed after Adolf Hitler made territorial demands on Czechoslovakia, 1938; after friction between British trawlers and Icelandic gunboats, Britain sent Royal Navy frigates inside the Icelandic 50-mile limit, 1973.

Today is the Feast Day of Saints Calocerus and Parthenius, St Crispin of Viterbo, St Dunstan, St Ivo of Kermartin, St Peter Morrone and St Pudens.