30th April 1913 (Wednesday)

BORN TODAY, in Viljandi, Estonia (later illegally annexed by the Soviet Union, then occupied by the Germans, reconquered by the Soviets and returned to independence in 1994) – Ilmar Raud, Estonian Chess Master who briefly made his home in Argentina after 1939 but died in 1941, at the age of 28.

Arms Race: In the UK, questions are asked (but not answered) “in the House” about possible plans to buy-out battleships currently under construction in British shipyards  for the Turkish government.

The USS Ajax, an American collier ship, arrives in Cavite in the Philippines where the US is in the final stages of suppressing a 10 year Islamic insurgency. USS Ajax is carrying the USS B-2 submarine, known informally as the “Cuttlefish”.

Women’s Suffrage: In a lavatory at Oxted Railway Station in rural England,  police investigating an explosion find a basket containing petrol, a clock, a battery, two firelighters, a half pint tin which had contained burning cycle oil and a cardboard box which had probably been filled with gunpowder. In response, all railway stations and tunnels will now be patrolled in an effort to prevent future attacks.

Also today, in a separate incident, police raid the offices of the Women’s Social and Political Union in London, and arrest the financial secretary of the union, the office manager, the business manager and two sub-editors of the “Suffragette”. All five women are charged with conspiring to damage property.

Society and culture: An attempt to prohibit motor cars from entering Yosemite national park in the US is abandoned.

In St Louis, Missouri, USA, the Jefferson Memorial Building is dedicated to the memory of the great man. It has been built on the site of the main entrance to the 1904 “Louisiana World Fair”  (The Louisiana Purchase Exhibition) the proceeds of which financed the new building. The fair celebrated the centenary of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. the Memorial Building is now the home of the Missouri History Museum.

29th April 1913 (Tuesday)

BORN TODAY, at Copmanhurst, near Grafton, New South Wales – John Jackson, Aborigine soldier captured by the Japanese at the fall of Singapore. Sent as a prisoner of war to British North Borneo as a member of the labour force assembled to build an airfield at Sandakan.  Six of the 2500 Australian and British prisoners survived. John was not one of them. He died on 29th April 1945, on his 32nd birthday.

World Affairs: Senior German politicians acknowledge the fact that the neutrality of Belgium is guaranteed by international treaty.

Society and Culture: The Child Welfare League is established in Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times reports that the kidnapper of 4 year old Bobby Dunbar, who went missing last August in Louisiana but has recently been found alive and well with William Walters of Mississippi and has now been reunited with his parents, “may be hanged”. Walters insists the child is his own. He serves two years for kidnapping before successfully applying for a re-trial and being released. Only in 2004 will DNA testing finally prove that the child “returned” was not the real Bobby Dunbar.

28th April 1913 (Monday)

BORN TODAY, in Windhoek, Namibia – Walter Ehle, WW2 Luftwaffe night fighter ace. Died 18 November 1943, aged 30 during a crash landing in Belgium.

Global Finance: In order to repay a $10million bond due to Britain, Guatemala is forced to apply to the US for aid.

Early Flight: the first prototype of the Cody V experimental  biplane breaks up in mid air and crashes, killing the pilot, Lt L.C Rogers Harrison. The second (and only other) prototype is retired, eventually finding its way to the science museum in London.

Migration: Eva Theresa Korhammer, aged 5, from Ofuttak in Austria-Hungary (now Serbia) arrives in New York with her mother and siblings on board SS Bueruia, to join her father who is living in Pennsylvania.

Transport: The city of Aberdeen in Scotland begins an experimental “pay as you enter” fare collection arrangement on its local trams.

27th April 1913 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY, in Buenos Aires, Argentina – Julio Jorge Nelson (real name – Isaac Rosofsky), poet and broadcaster.

Society and culture: Dr Albert Schweitzer opens for business, treating patients at his new hospital in a remote part of Gabon.

James Armstrong, aged 39, a miner at Bebside colliery in County Durham, UK, dies from injuries sustained earlier in the month when a piece fo stone fell from the roof on to his back.

In Malta, the 24th International Eucharistic Congress comes to an end. It will be the last of its kind.

26th April 1913 (Saturday)

BORN TODAY, in Steuben County, Indiana, USA – Edgar “Pop” Buell, who gave up farming in Indiana at the age of 47, leaving the US for the first time to become an agricultural advisor in Laos, where he worked for 14 years before having to be “smuggled out” for his own safety after a regime change.

Arms Race: The US Navy launches USS Nereus, a collier (coal transportation) vessel.  She will be lost at sea sometime in December 1941, presumed torpedo’ed by a german submarine, but neither the cause nor the location of the wreckage have ever been confirmed.

Society and Culture: The 28th world exposition opens in Ghent in Belgium, with a “floral palace” as its main attraction.

Crime and punishment: In the basement of a pencil factory where she worked, in Atlanta, Georgia, 13 year old Mary Phagan is found sexually molested and murdered. In response, the innocent Jewish factory owner, Leo Frank, is lynched by a Georgia mob led by the “Knights of Mary Phagan”.

Sport: UK soccer team Woolwich Arsenal play their last fixture at their south London ground (Manor Ground, Plumstead) , drawing 1-1 with Middlesbrough, resulting in the home team’s relegation from the english first division.  Their next match will be at their new ground at Highbury, North London, where they will be known simply as “Arsenal”.

25th April 1913 (Friday)

BORN TODAY, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA – Earl Bostic, American Jazz and Rhythm and Blues alto-saxophonist.

Also, in Los Angeles, Kenneth Spencer, bass-baritone opera singer killed in an air crash in 1964.

Arms Race: The Italian Regia Marina launches the submarine “Nautilus”.

Britain’s first “Defensively Armed Merchant Ship” (DAMS), RMS Aragon (later HMT Aragon) leaves Southampton. After serving as a troop carrier at Gallipoli (1915), she will eventually (1917) be sunk in the Mediterranean by a german submarine, with the loss of 610 lives.

Women’s suffrage: in the UK, Royal Assent is given for the notorious “Cat and Mouse Act” whereby a suffragette hunger striker in prison can be released on health grounds and re-incarcerated as soon as feasible to complete her original term of sentence.

Crime and punishment: Ivory Frazer is hanged in New Mexico for the murder of a Deputy Sheriff.

Society and culture: the US Marine Corps Association is founded at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

24th April 1913 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY, in New York – The Woolworth Building. At 57 stories it was the highest skyscraper in the world until the Chrysler Tower opened in 1930.

Also born today, Dieter Grau, rocket scientist, first for Germany and later for the USA.

Arms Race: In Castellammare Di Stabia, south east of Naples, the Italian Regia Marina launches the battleship Caio Duilio. She will successfully survive two world wars and be sold for scrap in 1957.

Women’s suffrage: In the UK Parliament, a petition from suffragette organisations is read in the Lower House:

To the honourable the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of the undersigned representatives of organisations of working women respectfully showeth: That Mr. Speaker, having informed us that it is in the power of your honourable House to pass a Resolution whereby women shall be granted permission to appear at the Bar of the House, we representing 34,500 working women pray your honourable House to pass such a Resolution to enable us to lay before the House their special claims to enfranchisement, feeling that the exclusion of working women from the rights of citizenship is detrimental to the nation. Because women as wage-earners occupy a weaker position in the industrial world than men, and therefore specially require the protection of the vote in dealing with industrial legislation affecting women workers. Because the majority of married working women who are not wage-earners are deeply concerned as wage-spenders in all industrial legislation and in such social questions as taxations, education, housing, and land reform. Because the lives of women are greatly affected by questions of national service and foreign policy, and they should, therefore, have a voice therein as citizens. Because so long as women are excluded from the counsels of the nation their capacity for public service is lost to the State. Because justice demands political freedom for men and women alike, and the refusal of it to working women hinders them in the struggle they are daily waging to raise the burdens of poverty from their homes and gain a happier future for then children. And your Petitioners will ever pray. MARGARET LLEWELLYN DAVIES, hon. general secretary, Women’s Co-operative Guild. MARION PHILLIPS, general secretary, Women’s Labour League. CHARLOTTE M. WILSON, hon. secretary, Fabian Women’s Group. ELIZABETH GILROY, secretary National Assurance of Midwives. [reproduced from HANSARD]. 

23rd April 1913 (Wednesday)

BORN TODAY, in Covington Tennessee – Admiral William Floyd Bringle – Commander of the US Seventh Fleet from 1967-1970, and of US Naval Forces Europe, 1971-73.

World Affairs: The Ottoman city of Iskodra (now Skadar in Albania, but also known as Scutari because of periodic Italian interest) surrenders to Montenegrin troops after a six month siege.

Arms Race: In Chatham, England, the Royal Navy launches HMS Lowestoft, a light cruiser.

War from the Air: In the UK Parliament, Mr Winston Churchill (First Lord of the Admiralty) is asked what steps are being taken to prevent English cities from being bombarded at night by foreign airships. He is also asked how much money is being provided for building  airships equal in power and speed to the Zeppelins being built by Germany [Hansard].

Accidents and disasters: In Courtney, Pennsyslvania, an explosion at a coal mine kills 96 miners.

Science and technology: King George and Queen Mary of Great Britain and Ireland visit the Birchenwood coking plant in Stoke-on-Trent  and are shown new equipment which turns 7000 tons of coal into 4500 tons of coke each week.

22nd April 1913 (Tuesday)

BORN TODAY, in Fulham London – Ada Florence Goodsir, stage name Peggy Doreen. As a member of the “Sherman Fisher Girls” in the early 1930s who performed their Bunny Dance (1933) she may have been one of the twentieth century’s original Bunny Girls. (Seven years after Hugh Hefner had been born into the innocent milieu of 1926 Chicago).

Also born today: Bruno Tesch, a member of the German Young Communist League found guilty of murder during street fighting with the fascists  and executed in August 1933 (aged 20). His conviction was overturned in 1992.

Arms Race: The German submarine U-41 is laid down at Kiel. It will destroyed with the loss  of 35 lives in September 1915.

World Affairs: The Chinese Government approves by Presidential Order a £25million gold loan from Great Britain, France, Germany, Russia and Japan.

Suffragettes: in Birmingham, England, the boathouse in Victoria Park, Handsworth is torched, and two boats destroyed. As usual, the Women’s Political Union leaves it calling cards.

Society and Culture: The (UK) Yorkshire Telegraph and Star announces that the “Sheffield Jungle”, a circus which has made a lasting contribution to “educative amusement”, will be closing its doors finally on Saturday so that the show can go on to Manchester, Liverpool and Ghent.

21st April 1913 (Monday)

BORN TODAY, in Sheerness, Kent, England – Dr Richard (later Baronet) Beeching, physicist, engineer, Technical Director, and later efficiency guru at large, for ICI (defunct, 2008). In retirement, the axeman of the British Railway network lovingly assembled since (just before) Stephenson’s Rocket kicked it all off in 1829.

Shipping News: On the River Clyde in Scotland, Cunard launches RMS Aquitania.  A crowd estimated at 100,000 people watch the launch of the 900ft luxury liner.

Meanwhile, also today, the German passenger ship Imperator runs aground on her first sea trials. When Cunard announced in May 1912 that RMS Aquitania would be 1 foot longer than Imperator, its owner, Hamburg America Line, extended the bow with a bronze eagle figurehead to ensure the Aquitania stays in second place.

Arms Race: Also launching today, in Brest, France – the battleship “Bretagne”. Destroyed by the British Navy (with the loss of most of her crew) in 1940, amid fears that she would be seized by Germany.

An empire under arms: In Wellington, New Zealand, on board HMS New Zealand, a party of Maoris are entertained by Captain Halsey and his crew. HMS New Zealand is a gift from the colony to the imperial motherland, and the Captain has expressed a “desire to meet representatives of the native race”. Mr C. R Parata, speaking “as one of the parliamentary representatives of the native race” pays a tribute of sorrow to Great Queen Victoria “to whom our elders ceded our sovereignty in the Treaty of Waitingi” and to her late son King Edward VII “whose loss we lament” [Otago Daily Times, 22nd April 1913].