28th February 1913 (Friday)

BORN TODAY, in the Bronx, New York City – Victoria Hamilton Adair, American Poet.

DIED TODAY – shot in Possession Bay, South Georgia, Antartica – the largest ever recorded elephant seal (Mirounga leonina) measuring 6.85 meters (22.5 ft) long and estimated to weigh 5,000 kilograms (11,000 lb).

Disasters & accidents: In Omaha, Nebraska, a fire a the Dewey Hotel kills 20 people.

Arms Race: At Portland Harbour in Dorset (UK) an airship is seen by a postman, a government official and a nurse. It is using a strong searchlight and clearly unconcerned about being observed by casual passers-by.

Science and technology: In Sydney, NSW, the “Royal Hall of Industries” opens with a range of modern and forward looking exhibits including motorbikes, insecticides and photographic equipment.

Empire, shipping, labour and migration: The SS Ganges – a 3475 ton steam ship launched in Glasgow in 1906 – leaves Fiji bound for India. On board are 807 Indian indentured laborers who have completed their contract in Fiji. 681 are heading home to Calcutta (modern Kolkata) and 126 to Madras (modern Chennai). Between 1879 and 1916 tens of thousands of Indians migrated to Fiji to find work – mostly on sugar plantations. Repatriation began in 1892 and will continue (eventually using aeroplanes) until 1956.

27th February 1913 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY, at Bieliny in South Central Poland – Kazimierz Sabbat, President of the Polish Government in Exile (based in London) from 1986 to 1989. He died in London, aged 76, in 1989 – on the same day that the Parliament in Poland elected its first President since the 1950s (Wojciech Jaruzelski, who would be replaced in 1990 by Lech Walesa of the Polish second republic).

World Affairs: The Albanian Congress of Trieste convenes in Trieste, Austria- Hungary (now part of Italy). The objectives of the congress include the preparation of a request for Albania to be formally recognized as independent by the Great Powers, the delineation of its borders, and a treaty of friendship with neighboring Aromanian (Vlach) populations.

Natural disasters:  Ethiopia experiences the Asmara earthquake, a strong seismic event felt as far away as Kassala in Eastern Sudan.

Society & culture: In London, the first edition of the journal “Muslim India and the Islamic Review” is published. It will change its name to “The Islamic Review and Muslim India” in 1914 and to simply “The Islamic Review” in 1921.

Empire: In Windhoek, in the German Protectorate of German South West Africa (now Namibia), John Ludwig – pioneer tobacco farmer – dies and becomes (on 1st March) the first person to be buried in the Klein Windhoek cemetery. He is considered by many to be the founder of Klein Windhoek.

26th February 1913 (Wednesday)

BORN TODAY, in Loughton, Essex, UK – George Barker, maverick poet and father of 15 children by 4 different wives. “A very perverse poet who would often bugger up a perfectly good poem with a pun in the last line” [Elspeth, his second wife].

“His work was passionate, intellectually challenging and highly original, his language incantatory and often hypnotic. There are echoes of Blake, Housman, Verlaine and Barker’s contemporary, Dylan Thomas. At 22, Barker was a literary phenomenon. TS Eliot declared him a genius, accepted his first work for the magazine Criterion, commissioned him to write a volume for Faber (where Eliot was then poetry editor) and persuaded wealthy friends to set up a support fund. Yeats thought him the finest poet of his generation – better than Auden (whom Eliot initially rejected) and comparable in “rhythmic invention” to Gerard Manley Hopkins.”[The Guardian newspaper, 19 April 2008].

“At the age of nine, inspired by Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, he resolved to be a poet: ‘While other urchins were blowing up toads / With pipes of straw stuck in the arse, / So was I, but I also wrote odes’ ”

“It’s a woman’s duty to be beautiful,” Barker told the Sunday Times in 1983. “When we have a civilised society, they will put down ugly and stupid women.”

25th February 1913 (Tuesday)

BORN TODAY, in Cuyahoga, Ohio – Jim (James Gilmore) Backus, the voice of Mr Magoo, voted the “29th greatest cartoon character of all time” in 2002.

World Affairs: Enrique Varela, Prime Minister of Peru, resigns.

Arms Race: The German U Boat SM-U38 is laid down by Germainwerft in Kiel. It will eventually become the third most successful u-boat operating during World War I, sinking 138 ships (300,000 tons in total).

Accidents & disasters: In New Kensington, Pennsylvania, USA, a huge explosion at the Valley Camp Mine kills two, injures two others and leaves rescue workers unclear how many miners are trapped behind a “wall of flame” underground. A rescue party later in the day narrowly escapes death itself after a second explosion.

Women’s suffrage: The UK Home Office (Government ministry) reports that Lilian Lenton (aka Ida Inkley) who was arrested a few days ago and charged with an arson attack has been discharged from prison in response to her hunger strike after “her condition became so serious that…her life would have been in immediate danger if forcible feeding had been continued or if she had been allowed to remain longer without food”.

Meanwhile in the Eastern US, the second suffrage hike from New York City to Washington continues through its 13th day.

Society & culture: Horatio Nelson, 3rd Earl Nelson, dies aged 89. His father, Thomas Bolton, was the nephew of THE Nelson, “1st Viscount Nelson”. Mr Bolton inherited the title “Earl Nelson” in 1835, which prompted him to change his surname to “Nelson”. Since his father’s death the 3rd Earl had lived in “Trafalgar House” in Wiltshire, which had been known as Standlynch since the time of the Doomsday Book (11th century) but was renamed Trafalgar by Act of Parliament in honor of the original Nelson, in 1814, twelve years after his death.


24th February 1913 (Monday)

BORN TODAY, in Negros Occidental, Philippines – “Small Montana” (aka Benjamin Gan) Filipino fly weight boxer.

World Affairs: In northern Mexico Venustiano Carranza, governor of Coahuila, stages a revolt against the usurper General Huerta. Guerilla chiefs join the insurrection.

Society and Culture:

Suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst is arrested in London for the bombing of Lloyd George’s house, taken to Leatherhead Police Station, questioned and charged.

The mother of Milvina Dean (who is aged just three years but will eventually become the oldest surviving survivor of the Titanic) is granted a small weekly allowance by the Titanic Relief fund, roughly 10 months after the tragedy, when her husband – Milvina’s father – lost his life. Milvina died in 2009 aged 97.

Extreme Weather: Wegonning Station, in Queensland Australia, records 130 millimetres (over 5 inches) of rain in 40 minutes.

23rd February 1913 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY, in Ashekpur, Tangail District, Bengal, India (now part of Bangladesh) – Protul Chandra Sorcar, Indian magician and presenter of the Indrajal show, live and on Television.

Law and Order: In Clarendon County, South Carolina, Marion Cantri is lynched for the crime of assault.

Joseph Stalin is arrested by the Russian secret police as he arrives in Petrograd for the International Women’s Day. He is imprisoned for four years, and will be released in 4 years time, shortly before the Russian Revolution.

Society and Culture: Meanwhile Tsar Nicholas II and his family attend a lavish Gala ball at the “Assembly of Nobles” (now the Philharmonic Hall) in St Petersburg.

Second Balkan War (prelude): Romania agrees to an arbitration over its disputed boundary with Bulgaria


22nd February 1913 (Saturday)

BORN TODAY, in Sherman Texas – George Holmes “Buddy” Tate – Saxophonist with Count Basie’s band from 1939 to 1948.

World Affairs: In Mexico, the deposed President (Madero) and Vice-President (Pino Suarez) are assassinated while in the custody of the new military government. The exact circumstances are kept obscure, but both assassins are quickly promoted, one to the rank of general.

Society and Culture: On Staten Island, New York, US President Taft dedicates the site for a native Indian monument, breaking the ground with a traditional Indian tool. The plans is to build a monument taller than the Statue of Liberty… (it was never built).

In Gloucestershire (UK), a team of old boys from Cheltenham Grammar School, playing as “Cheltenham Old Boys” win their first ever rugby football match against a local team called “Gloucester South End”.

In Bendigo (Victoria State, Australia) the local “Advertiser” previews the official opening of the “Lyric Theatre, Magnificent Picture Palace… a splendid addition to the City’s many fine buildings”