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 84ft 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 Reverend 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".