29th September 1914 (Tuesday)


~ in Woodridge, Manitoba, Canada – Joseph Patrice Ephreme (“Andy”) Desjarlais, Métis fiddler.


~ In Natal, South Africa – Diederik Johannes Opperman, Professor of Afrikaans Literature at
the University of Stellenbosch, 1960 – 1979, and “one of South Africa’s most important poets and literary men”.



In the Middle East: the British gunboat HMS ESpiegle arrives from Ceylon (Sti Lanka) and takes up a position at the head of the Arabian/Persian Gulf with the task of protecting the British interests in the Anglo-Persian oil company, including the refinery on the Persian  island of Abadan. [“Eden to Armageddon: World War 1 in the Middle East”].

On the (english) Home Front, the Worcestershire Hunt (the organisation for hunting foxes in the County of Worcestershire) debates whether the hunt should continue in wartime:

“Masters of Foxhounds all over the country had been ‘robbed of their brood’ and, in many cases, few horses had been left except old cobs. Mr Jones said the Hunt should really go in for killing more foxes than usual because it was reported that there was a scarcity of foreign eggs. Major Baldwin strongly supported the policy of continuing the Hunt. Some of the subscribers had lost friends and others of them were busy and could not hunt, but they wanted to see the sport kept alive.” [Quoted on the Worcestershire World War 1 web-site].


28th September 1914 (Monday)

BORN TODAY: in Zell am See, Salzburg, Austria – Maria Agatha Franziska Gobertina von Trapp, member of the Trapp Family Singers who migrated to the USA in 1938, and later a lay missionary in Papua New Guinea. Maria Franziska von Trapp died on Tuesday, 18 February 2014 in Vermont aged 99. RIP.



On the Western Front: As German forces advance to La Boisselle (a village in the Sommes department which will be completely destroyed by later events) they cross a flat area where they find the bodies of dead French soldiers killed by shrapnel….

“The French put these bodies off the road but did not take the time to bury them. In fact the corpses were never to be buried as this part of France was to become one of the most dangerous, if not the most dangerous place on the whole Western Front” [“The Other Side of the Wire – With the German XIV Reserve Corps on the Somme, September 1914 – June 1916”]




27th September 1914 (Sunday)


~ Place unknown – Herbert Franke, German sinologist.

~ In Johnson City, Tennessee – Catherine Sarah Wood Marshall LeSourd, author of “nonfiction, inspirational, and fiction works”.

~ at Kirkham in Lancashire – William Braithwaite Roberts, “lower-order batsman and left-arm spin bowler.”



On the Western Front, an anonymous British nursing sister receives news that she is assigned to a hospital train which will operate just behind the front:

“It was worth waiting five weeks to get this; every man or woman stuck at the Base has dreams of getting to the Front, but only one in a hundred gets the dream fulfilled…

“There is no doubt that ‘the horrors of war’ have outdone themselves by this modern perfection of machinery killing, and the numbers involved, as they have never done before, and as it was known they would. The details are often unprintable…”



Migration strife: The steamship Komagata Maru, carrying British sikhs, hindus and muslims who were refused entry to Vancouver during the summer, docks in Calcutta (now Kolkata) in British India. At the docks in Budge Budge, the authority’s attempt to arrest the “reingleader” is met with resistance which escalates to a riot (the “budge Budge riot”). Nineteen passengers are shot dead, and the rest are imprisoned for the duration of world War 1. (some sources, including the SikhiWiki, date this incident to yesterday – 26th),



26th September 1914 (Saturday)

BORN TODAY: in Santa Caterina di Valfurva – Achille Compagnoni, Italian mountaineer and skier.



Siege Warfare: In the West, German forces lay siege to the City of Antwerp, and in the East to the fortress of Osovets in the Russian Empire (now in North East Poland).

South West Africa: At the Battle of Sandfontein a South African/ British force of around 3000 men and 4000 horse surrender to a smaller but heavier armed unit of Germans from German South West Africa.


The Dardanelles: After a skirmish between a Turkish torpedo boat (partly manned by German sailors) and British ships patrolling the Aegean outside the straits, the German commander of the Turkish forts controlling the straits orders the straits to be closed. Technically, Turkey is not yet at war, but this action has a major impact on Russia, who will now be unable to earn foreign currency by exporting her wheat harvest in the winter months when her northern ports are ice-bound. [Roger Ford “Eden to Armageddon, World War 1 in the Middle East”].



25th September 1914 (Friday)

BORN TODAY: In České Budějovice, Bohemia, part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (now in the Czech Republic)  – Vladimír Čech, film director and screenwriter.



On the Western Front, the First Battle of Albert marks the opening attempts by French and German forces to outflank each other as the front edges northwards.



24th September 1914 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY: in Nagpur, India – Seshrao Krishnarao Wankhede, politician and “cricket administrator”, after whom the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai is named.



Western Front: From the emerging stalemate, a British Soldier writes…

We are heavily shelled by German batteries and ours answer. It is certainly more of an artillery battle than anything else at present. However no one takes any notice of all that now. Too much accustomed to it. C Company lose three men at one of their lookout posts. Poor fellows. If I am to be killed let it be in the heat and rush of an advance and not by a dirty sniper who awaits his chance for perhaps hours. In this case it was 10 snipers. News from Brigade that all goes well.”


In the Empire: In Brisbane, Australia, around 1000 men from the 9th Battalion of the Australian Light Horse (“32 officers and 977 ‘other ranks’ “) embark on HMAT A5 “Omrah”, heading for the war in Europe.


Nearby, the “A’ squadron of the Second Light Horse Regiment is embarking on HMAT A15.


23rd September 1914 (Wednesday)

BORN TODAY: in Kampung Sultan Lama – Al-Marhum Kebawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia Maulana Paduka Seri Begawan Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saifuddien Saadul Khairi Waddien Ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Muhammad Jamalul Alam II, better known  ~ for the sake of time management ~ as Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien III of Brunei.




At the Sunshine Harvester Works in South Australia, the factory is busy making its contribution to the Australian war effort, as reported today in the Melbourne “Argus”:

Over a four week period, the factory produced 200 wagons, 23 ambulances and 150 water carts for the Australian Expeditionary Forces. Additional axles were created at Sunshine Harvester Works when those ordered from Sydney and Adelaide were insufficient. This was the first time that the factory had produced wagons. Proud of this achievement, McKay exhibited a sample wagon and water cart at the Melbourne Showgrounds in September 1914. The Argus praised the quality of the machinery produced by the factory. The ambulances were described as being ‘very elaborate’ as they were ‘fitted with all conveniences in the way of medical appliances’, while the water carts could carry 150 gallons. Similarly, the general service wagons were ‘sturdily built’ and included updated features such as two brakes and ‘special swingletrees encased in steel’ [museumvictoria.com.au]



In the US, the early film industry releases “Ireland, a Nation”  [quote] – “The story of Ireland and her fight for Home Rule, as seen through the experiences of Father Tom Murphy, a patriot with a price on his head, and the famous Irish leader Robert Emmet.”




22nd September 1914 (Tuesday)

BORN TODAY: in Erlangen, Germany – Fritz Scheller, olympic cyclist at the 1936 summer olympics.



In the North Sea, German U-boat U-9 torpedoes and sinks three British cruisers: Aboukir, Hogue and Cressy. Hogue and Cressy are each destroyed while rescuing survivors. 1400 seamen perish.

In the Indian Ocean, German light cruiser SMS Emden shells the facilities at the Burmah Oil Company in Madras (now Chennai), India, destroying fifty thousand tons of oil.

In the Pacific, off the Island of Tahiti, German battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau bombard the town of Papeete, the Capital of French Polynesia.

In Germany – British planes bomb Zeppelin sheds in Cologne and Dusseldorf.

[Burg and Purcell: “Almanac of World War 1”]

21st September 1914 (Monday)


On the Western Front an anonymous French soldier shares his day’s experiences in a letter to his mother:

“War in rain. It is suffering beyond what can be imagined. Three days and three nights without being able to do anything but tremble and moan, and yet, in spite of all, perfect service must be rendered.

To sleep in a ditch full of water has no equivalent in Dante, but what can be said of the awakening, when one must watch for the moment to kill or be killed!

Above, the roar of the shells drowns the whistling of the wind. Every instant, firing. Then one crouches in the mud, and despair takes possession of one’s soul.

When this torment came to an end I had such a nervous collpase that I wept without knowing why – late, useless tears.”

[Letters of a Solider 1914-1915]