70BC: Virgil, the greatest Roman poet, best-known for his epic Aeneid, which included the legend of the founding of Rome, was born.

1666: The first waistcoat was worn by King Charles II, according to Pepys.

1783: The first manned balloon ascent took place when Pilatre de Rozier rose 84 feet in a hot-air craft before it reached the end of its tether.

1839: Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were betrothed. She proposed to him and confided to her diary: "It was a nervous thing to do, but Albert could not propose to the Queen of England. He would never presume to take such a liberty."

1864: The Church Times published Onward Christian Soldiers, music by Arthur Sullivan, words by the Rev Sabine Baring-Gould, written for a children's festival.

1881: Novelist PG Wodehouse - later Sir - , creator of Jeeves and Wooster, was born in Guildford, Surrey.

1917: Mata Hari, legendary Dutch spy who danced in the nude, was executed by a firing squad in Paris.

1928: The airship Graf Zeppelin completed its first transatlantic flight.

1940: A 500lb bomb hit Broadcasting house, London, killing seven people. Bruce Belfrage was reading the news at the time and paused for only a second before continuing.

1987: The worst hurricane to hit Britain since records began during the night, devastating southern England and causing at least 17 deaths.

On this day last year: Home Secretary David Blunkett told MPs he was introducing an emergency anti-terrorism Bill that would "strike a balance between respecting our fundamental civil liberties and ensuring they are not exploited".

BIRTHDAYS: Tony Hart, artist, 77; Chris de Burgh, singer, 54; Roscoe Tanner, former tennis player, 51; Tanya Roberts, actress, 47; The Duchess of York, 43; Stephen Tompkinson, actor, 37; Ginuwine, R&B singer, 32; Andy Cole, footballer, 31; Paul Robinson, footballer, 23.