31st May 1914 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY: In Thuringia, Germany – Saalfeld Fairy Grottoes, ” the most colourful grottoes in the world” [Guinness Book of Records, as quoted on Wikipedia], lit by the wonders of electricity.


Science and technology: In Turin, Italy, the Associazione Chimica Industriale convenes a conference which atttracts the Prime Minister as well as leading industrial chemists.Gunpowder is high on the agenda.


Sport: In St Petersburg, Imperial Russia, German driver Willy Scholl wins the second Russian Grand Prix. The next (that is, third) Russian Grand Prix is scheduled to take place in October 2014 in Sochi, which is just about as far from St Petersburg as you can go in European Russia (roughly 2300 kilometres).




30th May 1914 (Saturday)

BORN TODAY: in London, England – Betty Violet Marie Baskcomb, Stalwart of stage, screen and the glory days of radio drama” [The Independent].


Restless Earth: In California, the Lassen Volcano stirs after 27,000 years dormant, with a steam explosion which will prove to be the first in 8 years of increasingly violent activity.


Shipping News: The Cunard Line’s “RMS Aquitania” sets out on her maiden voyage from Britain to New York, just one day after the loss of over a thousand lives on the RMS Empress of Ireland in the St Lawrence River.


Sport: At Indianapolis, the  fourth 500 mile sweepstake race is won by a Frenchman – M. René Thomas


29th May 1914 (Friday)

BORN TODAY: in Khumbu, Nepal – Tenzing Norgay, mountaineer.


Shiiping Accidents: In the early morning fog of the St Lawrence River, the RMS Empress of Ireland collides with the Norwegian collier, SS Storstad and sinks. 1012 souls perish.


28th May, 1914 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY: In Madras, in British India (now Chennai) – Group Captain Wilfrid George Gerald Duncan Smith, Distinguished Service Order (DSO)  and Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) – World War 2 British flying ace; author of “Spitfire into Battle”; and father of the UK’s Conservative Party Leader (2001 to 2003).


Shipping News: The Royal Mail Steamship the Empress of Ireland leaves Quebec, Canada, bound for Liverpool, England, carrying 1477 passengers and crew, but missing one cat.


Emmy the Cat, “A loyal ginger moggie who had never once missed a voyage, repeatedly tried to escape…the crew could not coax her aboard, and the Empress departed without her…”


Ireland: At Curragh, near Dublin, the (British) South Irish Horse Regiment and their wives and families are enjoying a Regimental Sport Day.



26th May 1914 (Tuesday)


~ in Jacksonville, Florida – Frankie Manning, swing dancer, “part of a new generation of Lindy Hoppers, and the most celebrated Lindy Hopper in history’ [Wikipedia]



~ In Philadelphia, PA – Harry Aaron Finkelman, better known as Ziggy Elman, trumpeter.



Sport: The “Shamrock IV”, a yacht designed and built as an American entry for the 1914 Americas Cup, is launched in Portsmouth, in Southern England. While being towed home to New York during August it be temporarily diverted to British Bermuda after war is declared. The 1914 Americas Cup, and those for the next 5 years, will all be cancelled. The race resumes in 1920.


Shipping News: Just over two years after “Titanic”, the Times of London reports another liner, the Canadian “Royal Edward” (en route from Montreal to Bristol) struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic a few days ago, “going dead slow at the time in a dense fog. The stem was twisted and the liner was leaking in the forepeak, but the damage was not serious.”




25th May 1914 (Monday)


~ In Vancouver, Canada – Frederick Howard Buller, aeronautical engineer.


~ In London, England – Bernard Raymond Fink, physician.


Arms Race: In Cowes, on Britain’s Isle of Wight, the shipbuilder J.S. White launches the destroyer Almirante Goñi, built for the Chilean Navy, but destined to be purchsed by the British Admiralty (Navy) and renamed HMS Broke after outbreak of World War 1.


Empire: The “Colac Herald” in Victoria, Australia, reports “enormous attendance” at the Empire Day celebrations which have taken place over the weekend:

“Patriotism reigned supreme on Saturday in Colac in common with other places throughout the British Empire.It is not many years since Empire Day was brought into being, but in a short space of time it has become one of the leading days in the year, when the people have an opportunity of making a display of that love of country which is such an important factor in nation building. Upon patriotism depends the very existence of an empire, for immediately this sense is weakened, so do the foundations upon which nations are built begin to crumble and sooner or later the superstructure will topple down. The sentiment of patriotism is a grand thing in its many aspects. It is through it that the people band together and make enormous sacrifices to keep the land of their fathers safe from attack.” [The Colac Herald, 25th May 1914].


Ireland: For the third time, the British House of Commons passes the “Government of Ireland Bill”  (the “Third Home Rule Bill”) which has on two previous occasions been overturned by the Upper House (the House of Lords – rejecting the first and second bills in 1912 and 1913).


24th May 1914 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY: in Posen in Prussia (now Poznań in Poland) – Lilli Marie Peiser (later, Lilli Palmer), German actress: daughter of a Jewish surgeon and an Austrian Jewish stage actress; refugee in Paris in 1933; Mrs Rex Harrison and emigrant to the US in 1945; Liili Palmer and back in Germany in 1954; Mrs Carlos Thompson and back in the US in 1957, and laid to rest in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California in 1986 [Wikipedia].


Arms Race: In Sydney, the Royal Australian Navy takes delivery of its first two, British built, submarines.


Leisure: New Zealand farmer and diarist George Adkin is taking it easy on the day of rest in the Antipodean Autumn/ Fall.



23rd May 1914 (Saturday)

BORN TODAY: Les Watkins and Daaf Drok – footballers: Australian Rules and Dutch world cup team respectively.



Ireland: The British “Spectator”  magazine reports a debate in the House of Commons last Wednesday, under the heading “The Irish Financial Debate”. The article highlights that the Irish are pressing for home rule but seem to be expecting that the bills will somehow be paid by the (rest) of the British.  We hear passionate protests that Ireland must be free, independent of English control, and allowed to shape her own destiny in her own way. When, however, we get down to the facts we find that all this talk is governed by the master-consideration— ‘provided that she is handsomely paid by England and Scotland for doing so… What is yours is ours, and what is ours is our own.’ “


Migrationthe steamship Komagata Maru (“normally used for transporting coal”) arrives in Vancouver, carrying 376 Indian Sikhs who claim rights of entry as citizens of the British Empire.  DENIED, and sent back to India. “Upon return the majority was labelled as anti-British and killed by the British colonial government”. [www.http://socialhistory.org/ ]



Society and culture: At the “Whiteways” Freemason’s Lodge, in St John’s Newfoundland, Eric Stanley Ayre (25) of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment is initiated into the mysteries of Freemasonry. In just over three years from now he will be killed on active military service.


Accidents: Pioneer aviator Gustav Hamel disappears over the English Channel/ French La Manche while flying a Morane-Saulnier monoplane.


Arms Race: The Imperial Russian Military-Technical Administration places an order with the Russo-Balt Factory for the delivery of ten aircraft at a cost of 150,000 rubles apiece. 






22nd May 1914 (Friday)

BORN TODAY: At Granville Summit, Pennsylvania – Vance Packard, Sociologist, who laid bare for us: the Hidden Persuaders; the Status Seekers; The Waste Makers; The Pyramid Climbers; the Naked society; the Nation of Strangers; and Our Endangered Children, etc


Women’s suffrage: Arrests of protesters continue on London’s streets…