30th June 1913 (Monday)

BORN TODAY: in Bogota, Colombia – Alfonso López Michelsen, son of a future two times President of Colombia (Alfonso Lopez Pumarejo 1934-1938 and 1942-1945) and himself the President of Colombia from 1974 to 1978.

World Affairs: Mexican rebels take the city of Guaymas in the third year of Mexico’s 10 year revolution.

Second Balkan War: The Bulgarian army torches the wealthy town of Drama one day before it is taken by Greek forces (then in the disputed area between Turkey, Bulgaria and Greece, now in the Greek region of “Eastern Macedonia and Thrace”).

Arms Race – The German Parliament votes to increase the size of its army by 136,000 officers and men.

Accidents: In Lawrence, Massachusetts 11 boys drown in the Merrimack River when a pier leading to a floating bath-house collapses.

Mysteries: Observation confirms that the star we refer to as “the Sun” completed a second sequential calendar month (May and June 1913) with no observed sun spots. There will now be no sun spot free calendar months for at least another 95 years. Sadly, I have no idea of the significance of this fact, but hopefully there are some who do.

29th June 1913 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY: in Willesden Green, North London – Sir Gerald David Nunes Nabarro: son of a sephardic jewish shopkeeper; convert to christianity; army sergeant in the 1930s; machine hand, factory manager, and saw-mill owner; successful and maverick post-war conservative politician; owner of a legendary handle-bar moustache; eventually brought down from politics by a court-room scandal involving his secretary and driving the wrong way around a roundabout. All frightfully British, don’t cha think?

World Affairs: The Second Balkan War commences with a surprise Bulgarian attack on Serbian forces at Slatovo and Greek forces at Salonica.

Arts and Literature: D.H.Lawrence publishes “Sons and Lovers”

Accidents: In Leechburg, Pennsylvania a raft ferry crossing the river Kiskiminetas at night sinks, drowning 10 people, including “two negroes, several foreigners and two Americans” [Washington Post District of Columbia].

Society and Culture: in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, over 50,000 confederate and union veteran soldiers from 47 US states begin to congregate to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg (1st to 3rd July, 1863),

28th June 1913 (Saturday)

BORN TODAY: in Byton, Kujawsko-Pomorskie, in the Province of Wloclawek (Poland) – Leon Nowakowski, Priest of the diocese of Wloclawek. Killed by the nazis in October 1939 (aged 26).

Also: in Nowy Sącz (then in Austria-Hungarian Galicia, soon to be annexed by Russia, then occupied by Germany [WW1], briefly claimed by Ukraine, then part of Poland, before being re-occupied by Germany [WW2] and finally (?) settling in Poland, just north of the Slovakian border) – Efraim Racker, “Austrian” biochemist who grew up in Vienna, but fled to Britain before settling in the USA. “the regional Jewish community [of Nowy Sącz] numbered about 25,000 before World War 2… ninety percent of them died or did not return” [Wikipedia].

World Affairs: the Bulgarian king Ferdinand I orders his army to march into the disputed areas of Macedonia which were  taken from the Ottoman Empire by Greece and Serbia during the First Balkan War. This action destroys the Balkan League, and also forces Russia to rethink its strategic positions in the southern Balkans between the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empires. the Second Balkan War will be short but bloody, and leave all parties dis-satisfied and with their objectives in the Balkans and the Aegean unresolved. In exactly one year from today the Austrian Archduke Ferdinand will be assassinated in Sarajevo…

King George of V of Great Britain and Ireland is visited by a delegation of four Tibetan boys bearing letters and gifts from the 13th Dalai Lama.

Accidents: In London’s Hyde Park, Captain Matthew Meiklejohn, who lost his right arm but gained the Victoria Cross at the Battle of Elandslaagte in the Boer War, in 1899, is out riding when his horse bolts. Unable to control the horse with just one  arm he narrowly prevents the horse from trampling a group of children by forcing it up against the railings of Rotten Row. Impaled on the railings, he dies of his injuries on 4th July.

Society and Culture: At London’s “Olympia” Exhibition Centre, Londoners are enjoying the 7th International Horse Show.

27th June 1913 (Friday)

BORN TODAY: In Philadelphia, PA – William Joseph (“Willie”) Mosconi – 15 times World Billiards Champion, 1941-1957.

Society and Labour Relations: In the UK, the newspaper the “Western Gazette” reports how the agricultural workers  of East Chinnock in Somerset, egged on by the local grocer (manager of the local Co-operative Society) are threatening to strike “in a district of dairy farms [and] where the hay harvest has barely commenced”. The men’s demands include: 18 shillings per week cash, plus cider; and 4 pence per hour for overtime after 6.pm and on Sundays. (A total of perhaps a little over one British Pound for a long labouring week  – hence the need for the cider).

Science: Philip Lutley Sclater FRS, FRGS, FZS., FLS dies today, aged 83. Lawyer and famous naturalist who, among many other achivements, managed to have no less than seven of god’s creatures named after him: Sclater’s lemur (Eulemer flavifrons); Sclater’s Monal (Lopophorus sclateri); the erect-crested penguin (Eudyptes sclateri); the Ecuadorian Cacique (Cacicus sclateri); the dusky-billet parrotlet (Psittacula sclateri); the Mexican chickadee (Poecile sclateri); and the Bay-vented cotinga  (Doliornis sclateri).

[A monal – by the way, for the non-ornithologists among us – is apparently a member of the pheasant family, and a cotinga is a bird of the central and south american tropical forest].

Mr Sclater may not make it into the history books but for certain he will make it into the zoology books for many years to come.

26th June 1913 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY – in Ljubljana, Austria-Hungary (later Yugoslavia, eventually Slovenia) – Vida Tomsic, lawyer, women’s rights activist and prominent Yugoslav politician. A member of the banned communist party in the late 1930s,  she was arrested – along with her husband – by the occupying force’s secret police in the early 1940s, tortured and sentenced to 25 years imprisonment. Her husband was shot. After the war, in the new socialist state, she rose to prominence in both domestic and international political circles and played a key role in the improvement of Yugoslav women’s rights and circumstances in the 1970s.

Also,in Brossen (Meuselwitz) in Germany – Rudolf Brazda, the gay son of Czech immigrants who partnered Werner from the age of 20 (1933) and was arrested by the nazis for “debauchery between men” and later (1942) deported to the Buchenwald concentration camp. He survived the horrors of Buchenwald and was liberated in April 1945, following which he settled in East Germany. He died in August 2011, aged 98, in Bantzenheim (Alsace, France – very near the Rhine).

Disasters and accidents: In Batavia, in Genesee County, New York State, a fire destroys the canning factory of the Batavia Preserving Company. Half a million cans of beans, spinach, salmon, mackeral, potted ham, chicken, brown bread and plum pudding are destroyed but fortunately no-one was killed.

Society and Culture: the City of Avalon (on Catalina Island) is incorporated – now part of Los Angeles County. Population in 1920 – 586. Population in 1960 – 1,536. Population in 2010 – 3,728.

25th June 1913 (Wednesday)

BORN TODAY: In Cetinje, Montenegro (later Yugoslavia, then Serbia-Montenegro, now Montenegro again) – Peko Dapcevic, Yugoslav communist who fought in the Spanish Civil War, then joined the Partisan resistance to German  occupation in Yugoslavia, helped liberate Belgrade in 1944 and was appointed Chief of Staff of the Yugoslav Peoples’ Army under Tito in 1953.

Accidents and disasters: Near Ottawa, Canada, a train is derailed and two of its nine carriages plunge into the Ottawa River. Eight people are killed, including Patrick Mulvenna from Country Antrim, Northern Ireland, who has just arrived and is crossing Canada in search of a new life.

24th June 1913 (Tuesday)

BORN TODAY: In “Royal Berkshire” in the UK, John Banks, the son of a blacksmith, who finding demand for blacksmiths declining, moved to Wyld Court in Hampstead Norreys (still in Berkshire), where for forty years he looked after the orchids of Sir William Cooke and his daughter, Betty Garton. The orchid Zygopetalum John Banks is named in his honour.

Disasters and accidents: In Buffalo, New York, a grain elevator explodes, killing 17 men.

Law and Order: In Dorchester, Dorset, UK – William Walter Burton is hanged by the famous professional hangman Thomas Pierrepoint for the crime of murder.