31st January 1913 (Friday)

BORN TODAY, at Govan on the Clyde, Scotland – HMS Valiant, Queen Elizabeth Class battleship. Launched November 1914, completed February 1916, collided and repaired in August and September 1916, severely damaged  by “human torpedos” in December 1941, and again by a collapsing dry dock in Ceylon in  1944. Retired in 1945 and sold for scrap in 1948.

Transport News: According to a news report (Norfolk News, 8th February 1913) in the sleepy North Norfolk (UK) seaside town of Sheringham, there are multiple witnesses, including a former army officer using binoculars, who see three mysterious aircraft heading west (towards central england) in the early evening darkness. At midnight a man hears an aircraft overhead…


…if this was the biggest news that day, then it must have been a VERY quiet end to January 1913 on planet earth.

30th January 1913 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY, in Buckinghamshire, England – Percy Thrower, gardener, “Dig for Victory” campaigner, and broadcaster.

Ireland: The UK House of Lords rejects the Home Rule for Ireland Bill.

First Balkan War: Hazan Riza Pasha, the 41 year old Ottoman Governor of Scutari, who is defending the Albanian city against the ongoing Montenegrin siege, is assassinated in a plot by Essad Pasha Toptani, who takes over the command the following day.

Extreme Weather: A tropical cyclone hits Cairns, Queensland, Australia, taking the roof off the railway station, destroying the local banana crop and lifting houses from their blocks.

Law and Order: at Lewes Prison in England, the “Hooded Man’ (George Mackay, also known as John Williams) is hanged after being convicted earlier this month of murdering (shooting) a policeman in Eastbourne to avoid arrest.

Entertainment: The Sheffield (UK) Daily Telegraph advertises, at the “Sheffield Jungle” :

“Ginger, An Orang-Outang with accomplishments that know no laws. See him [at] The Jungle, daily at (about) 4.10 and 9.10.”


29th January 1913 (Wednesday)

BORN TODAY, In Louisville, Kentucky – Victor Mature, famous US film actor whose film career ran for 45 years, from 1939 to 1984.

Women’s suffrage: The Morning Post reports that after a confrontation with police officers at the entrance to the (UK) House of Commons over 20 “suffragists” (sic) , including “General” Drummond and “Miss” Sylvia Pankhurst have been arrested. Following an incitement to “destroy property” windows have been smashed at the Home Office, the Treasury and other Government Departments. The assembled crowds [of men?] had been hostile to the suffragists (?suffragettes), and some had to be “put into cabs or assisted on to omnibuses when matters became threatening”.

Shipping news: The Greek cargo steamer, Aeolus SS, carrying coal from Newport (Wales) to Piraeus in Greece, runs aground and is wrecked on the Wolves Rocks in the Bristol Channel (UK).

Society and Culture: The Nedlands Primary School opens for 33 pupils in Western Australia.

Congratulations, Nedlands Primary School!


28th January 1913 (Tuesday)

BORN TODAY in Rastatt, Germany – Franz Gotz, German WW2 Luftwaffe fighter ace, who was awarded the  Iron Cross for extreme bravery in battle.

First Balkan War: The “Young Turks” vote against the surrender of Adrianople and the Aegean Islands, in accordance with the demands of the new leader, Enver Bey.

Empire:  Letsie II Lerotholi, Paramount Chief of the British Crown Colony of Basutoland (now Lesotho), dies, and is succeeded in due course by Nathaniel Griffith Lerotholi.

Arms Race: “HMS E4” – a British E class submarine – is commissioned. She will be attacked by a German airship in 1915 and then sink with the loss of all of her crew after colliding with another (British) submarine in 1916. Raised, repaired and re-commissioned, she will be sold for scrap in 1922.

Society and Culture: The Parramatta High School is established in New South Wales.

Congratulations, Parramatta High School!


27th January 1913 (Monday)

BORN TODAY In Amsterdam, Netherlands – Lodewijk Prins, Dutch Chess Player.

Labour Relations: In Berbice, British Guiana (now Guyana), 150 years after a slave revolt against the Dutch started in the same vicinity, indentured laborers at Plantation Rose Hall on the Canje River refuse to obey the orders of their Scottish manager who is interfering with their traditional end of season four day holiday. In the ensuing conflict (“The Rose Hall Disturbances”) police fire on a crowd who are attempting to prevent the arrest of a ringleader. 14 laborers are killed by the gunfire.

Women’s rights: The British cabinet votes to remove the women’s suffrage bill from the order of business in Parliament.

Society and culture: The Imperial German Army Service authorizes the  Flugzeugführerabzeichen (Pilot’s badge) for those who have demonstrated proficiency as pilot or observer.

In London, the Maida Vale Picture Palace opens. In addition to a cinema there is a seven piece orchestra. The cinema seats an audience of 1500, including a balcony for 500. Programmes change twice a week and bookings can be made by telephone.

Law and order: The first sitting of the (British) Legislative Council of the Central Government (of India) after its transfer from Calcutta to Delhi , takes place at the “Old Secretariat” building newly constructed for the purpose.

26th January 1913 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY, in Rome, Italy – Mario Riva – The popular Italian film actor and TV personality who died in Verona in 1960 after falling from a stage.

Also Adolf Vodicka, from Czechoslovakia, one of the few surviving combatants of the Spanish Civil War, where he fought as part of the International Brigade.

First Balkan War: Ottoman and Bulgarian forces meet at the Battle of Bulair as the Turks make an attempt to relieve Adrionople (Edirne). In the resulting Bulgarian victory around 50% of the Turkish forces are killed.

Society and Culture: John Paul Jones, a US Naval Hero (or rebel “privateer” and terrorist, depending on your point of view) who died in 1792 in Paris, alone and forgotten, and who has spent much of the intervening period buried beneath a laundry in a Paris suburb, finds his final resting place – a marble sarcophagus (modelled on the tomb of Napoleon) in the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, USA.

Colonial unrest: the USS Rainbow shifts her location from Olongapo to Cavite and remains in the Phillippines until 28 March 1913. The US is in the final stages of a 14 year war against insurgents in the Phillippines, which hostilities will end in June this year at the Battle of Bud Bagsak.

25th January 1913 (Saturday)

BORN TODAY – Huang Hua, Foreign Minister of China from 1976-1982, who died in 2010, aged 97.

Society and culture: the USA introduces a literacy test for all incoming immigrants.

The Picture House cinema opens in Oxford Street, London, with 601 seats and standing room for another 63, and a ballroom in the basement.

Arms Race:

John Brown and company in Clydesdale (Scotland) launch HMS Ambuscade, a Royal Navy Destroyer. She will be sold for scrap after just eight years.

The Royal Australian Navy “lays down” HMAS Brisbane which will launch in December 1916 and see 20 years intermittent service before being sold for scrap in 1936. Also (on the same day) HMAS Torrens and HMAS Huon, which will be sunk by gunfire for target practice by the Australian Navy in 1930 and 1931 respectively. All three vessels (and various other Australian ships) will briefly see action in the Mediterranean during 1917.

The Illustrated London News publishes a fascinating picture of H.G.Wells and two friends (three middle aged gentlemen) playing “war games” in an english drawing room.

Colonial unrest: In Morocco, French forces based in Mogador successfully take control of the Kasbah of dar Aflous to improve the grip of the “French Protectorate”.

24th January 1913 (Friday)

BORN TODAY – Professor Maurice Pryce, in Croydon, UK, the internationally respected authority on the peaceful uses of atomic energy, who spent much of his career considering what was becoming one of the most pressing issues of our time: the disposal of nuclear waste.

First Balkan War: A Greek seaplane flies over the Dardanelles dropping bombs (unsuccessfully) on the Turkish fleet – possibly the first use of aeroplanes for aggressive warfare (as opposed to simple reconnaissance).

The Catholic Archbishop of Skopje reports details back to Rome of the massacre of between 300 and 400 Albanian muslims at Ferizaj by the Serbian army after the Serbian commander has invited the men to return to their homes in peace. He also reports another massacre at Gjilan and the sacking of Gjakova.

Empire and Labour Relations: Reginald Edward Stubbs becomes the Colonial Administrator (Governor) of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) a position he will hold intermittently until 1918, during which time he achieves notoriety for his unsuccessful attempt to deport a white radical, Mark Bracegirdle, for attempting to incite insurrection among plantation workers.

Society and Culture: the “Boy Rangers of America” are established in Montclair, New Jersey, USA.

23rd January 1913 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY – Harold and Hugh Butler (twins), in London. They emigrated to Australia with their family in 1929/30, becoming Anglican priests in 1939 and 1940 respectively, and were both still active in Tasmanian church life 60 years later, after the turn of the millennium.

First Balkan War: The Turkish War Minister is assassinated by a member of the Young Turk movement, and Kamil Pasha, the Grand Vizier, is put under house arrest and forced to resign.

Society and culture:

In a general election in the Australian state of Tasmania, the position of the Liberal party is temporarily strengthened, although the government will only survive for a little over 1 more year.

In the UK, Sir William Julien Courtald, 1st Baronet of Bocking (in Essex) and family member of the Courtauld business empire, marries Constance Cecily Courtauld, his cousin, in Gosfield, Essex.

Man Made Disasters: In McKinney, Texas, a department store collapses during shopping hours and fire break out in the ruins. Eight are killed and more are injured.

Labour relations: In the US, 800 workers begin a strike in “Silk City”, Peterson, New Jersey. In two weeks they will be joined by another 24,000 workers at over 100 other mills in the City.

Law and Order: 14 year old Al Capone is expelled from school.

22nd January 1913 (Wednesday)

BORN TODAY – Henry Bauchau, Belgian psychoanalyst and author, in Mechelen, Antwerp Province.

First Balkan War: The Turkish government votes to surrender Adrianople to the Balkan Allies and to accept the other demands for peace, including surrendering the Aegean Islands to Greece.

The Arms Race:  A dreadnought battleship is launched by the Armstrong company in Newcastle Upon Tyne (UK). The ship has been ordered by the Brazilian Government (as the “Rio de Janeiro”), but by December 1913 the Brazilians are unable to finance it, and therefore sell it to the Ottoman Empire.  The Turkish authorities rename it “Sultan Osman I”. The ship is still undergoing sea trials when World War 1 breaks out, and the British refuse to release it to the Ottomans, renaming it “HMS Agincourt”.

Society and culture: The Chicago, Illinois “Day Book” headlines with “Citizens better keep off streets while police hunt bandits with rifles” … and continues “citizens who value their lives should barricade their homes and stay inside while the present operations of the police are going on”.

Shipping News: The steamboat “Cheslakee” capsizes at Van Anda, British Columbia, killing seven.