31st August 1914 (Monday)

BORN TODAY: in Zanesville, Ohio – Richard Basehart, American actor whose film career started with a repeat performance and ended in ancient Rome.



Western Front:

~ In Paris, where the government are feverishly debating whether to abandon the city to the Germans (ie move the French government elsewhere) – German planes return for a second evening of light, but frightening (and for an unlucky few, fatal), bombing.

~ In London, the Government meets (“in cabinet”) after Kitchener realises that Sir John French, the commander of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) has effectively withdrawn the British forces from the defences in France against the German advance. The cabinet is described as “perturbed” by the news, and its apparent desertion of its ally. Kitchener waits until after midnight for clarification by telegram from Sir John, before leaving for France at 2.30AM. [Tuchman – the Guns of August].

~ From Berlin, “In preparation for the greatest moment in Teutonic history, the Germans with admirable efficiency [have] already struck off, and distributed to staff officers for ultimate presentation to the troops, a bronze medal confidently inscribed ‘Einzug d. Deutschen Truppen in Paris’ (arrival of German troops in Paris)”. [Tuchman].


At the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh, Scotland – William Purvis, a foreman at the Seafiled Oil Works in Linlithgowshire, dies from injuries sustained in an industrial accident in June.


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