8th May 1913 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY,  in Johannesburg, South Africa – Solomon Joel Cohen. Later he became Sidney Joel Cohen and trained as a hairdresser. After serving in the South African Army during WW2 he used his end of service gratuity to move to Britain in 1946. His acting career took off with the “Lavender Hill Mob” in 1951 and most of Sid James’ career from then on was one long Carry On. Died on stage at the Sunderland “Empire” theatre on 26th April 1976.

Also Francoise Isabella “Francine” Agazarian (“Marguerite”), field agent and guerrilla commander (spy) for the Special Operations Executive in Nazi occupied France in 1943-1944.

Arms Race: In Stettin on the Oder (then in Germany, now Szczecin in Poland), the Hamburg America Line launches SS Konigin Luise, a German steam ferry which will operate between Hamburg and the Netherlands until she is commandeered as a minelaying vessel to lay mines in the Thames Estuary during the first week of August 1914.  The following day she will be sunk by the HMS Amphion with the loss of 54 lives. While returning to port the Amphion will strike two mines laid by the Konigin Luise, resulting in the first British casualties of World War I.

Women’s Suffrage: In London, the “Morning Post” newspaper reports “Bomb at St Pauls [Cathedral] – Unsuccessful attempt to wreck chancel”.

“An explosive machine was found near the Bishop’s Throne in the chancel of St. Paul’s Cathedral yesterday morning a few minutes prior to the celebration of early Communion, and there is no doubt in the minds of the authorities that the contrivance was designed and placed there by someone associated with the militant Suffragist movement. The “bomb,” as it is described by the police, was carefully wrapped in brown paper and in part of a recent issue of the militant newspaper The Suffragette. An expert stated that while such a bomb as that found at St.Paul’s would have done relatively little damage to that building because of the great air spaces which exist within it, a similar machine in Westminster Abbey….might result in irreparable injury to an historic structure.” [The London “Morning Post” – 8th May 1913].

Early Flight: A Frenchman sets a new record by carrying six passengers and staying airborne for a total of one and quarter hours. In the US, a Curtiss Flying boat makes a 169 mile flight, taking over 3 hours.

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