31st March 1915 (Wednesday)

BORN TODAY: in Central Japan, Sgt. Shoichi Yokoi, the “last Japanese straggler” (soldier) on the jungle island of Guam. In 1944 his regiment was “practically annihilated” by US forces, and in 1955 he was announced officially dead by the Japanese government. He was found alive in January 1972.

“Yokoi’s capture made national headlines and captivated people on Guam and around the world. The army sergeant had survived almost three decades in the hills of the Talofofo River basin until two Chamorro hunters from Talofofo, Manuel D. Garcia, age 36, and Jesus Duenas, age 43, were checking their fish traps around 6:30 p.m. that evening. The hunters noticed a man by the river who, according to their report to the police, they assumed was an individual from their village known for roaming this area. They surprised Yokoi, who charged at them after dropping a homemade net sack containing shrimp traps. Yokoi, already 57 years old at the time, still feared his life was in danger and panicked. According to his nephew Omi Hatashin, Yokoi reached for one of the hunter’s rifles, but in his weakened state, he was no match for the two men. The hunters then subdued Yokoi, and brought him out of the jungle tied and slightly bruised. As he was led through the jungle, the soldier asked to be killed then and there. Treating the straggler with kindness instead, they fed him before they brought him to the commissioner’s (mayor’s) office.” [www.guampedia.com/]



Your country needs you! (even more):  The British Government announces that it has lifted its ban on the military recruiting men with bad teeth.


Stiff upper lip: Bruce Bairnsfather’s first published satirical cartoon from the trenches appears in the “Bystander” magazine.


30th March 1915 (Tuesday)

BORN TODAY: in Barcelona – Francisco Sabaté Llopart (known as ‘El Quico’), Spanish resistance fighter, French resistance fighter, anti-Franco rebel and bandit, Spanish “public enemy No 1”, “Anarquista”. Shot and killed by the Spanish civil guard in January 1960, aged 44.



The Home Front: In Britain, “after Lloyd George [the ‘Chancellor of the Exchequer’ or Finance Minister] denounces drinking as an enemy of the war effort, George V declares the royal household’s willingness to abstain from consumption of alcoholic beverages for the duration of the war” [Burg & Purcell].

29th March 1915 (Monday)

BORN TODAY: in Barnes, West London – Seton Robert Tristram (“Bobby”) Headley,  consultant anaesthetist


Natural and man-made disasters: in Palestine, Ihsan Hasan Al-Turjman records in his diary the seventh day of a plague of locusts overwhelming the region:

“The locust invasion started seven days ago and covered the sky. Today it took the locusts clouds two hours to pass over the city. God protect us from three plagues: war, locusts and disease, for they are spreading through the country. Pity the poor.”



 The Home Front: In  England’s west country, the “Exeter and Plymouth Gazette” reports on some “excellent” cultural support being provided to the local troops, where Mrs. J. Skeete, of Heavitree, is teaching French to soldiers billeted in Exeter.

“The classes are held at the United Services Institute, Castle-street, Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday in each week. In three months no less than 450 soldiers have been given a good knowledge of the language, and the Army Council has written Mrs. Braithwaite Skeete in appreciative terms concerning the admirable work she is doing”.


28th March 1915 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY: in McDonald, Pennsylvania – Jay Livingston.

Que Sera Sera.


War at sea

~ Off the coast of Wales, the British steamship, Falaba, en route from Liverpool to Sierra Leone, is torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U28.  One hundred and four people die as a result of the attack, and one of them is an American, Leon Chester Thrasher. The “Thrasher incident” increases public agitation for America to enter the war.

“After persistent requests by Secretary of State Bryan, documents detailing witness statements from the sinking of the Falaba offered proof that the captain of U-28 gave adequate warnings and time for the Falaba to offload passengers. Instead, the crew of the Falaba had used that time to radio the position of the submarine to nearby armed British patrol ships. As the warship approached, the submarine fired at the last minute — and detonated nearly thirteen tons of contraband high explosives in the Falaba’s cargo. This discovery allowed a diplomatic delay in the American response and the decision of whether to go to war.” [Wikipedia].


~ Elswhere today, the SS Brussels is ordered to stop by Uboat U33 but chooses instead to attempt to ram the submarine, thereby forcing it to dive, which prevents the attack. The German authorities are outraged that a merchant vessel should attack a submarine.

“Determined to exact revenge, they deliberately set out to capture [the Captain, Fryatt] and, in June 1916 sent destroyers to again intercept the SS Brussels. This time, he and the vessel were captured and taken to occupied Belgium. Capt Fryatt was found guilty at a court martial of being a “franc tireur” – a civilian who took up arms against the usual rules of war – and executed by firing squad. … His death prompted an international outcry, including in the United States … where there was outrage that a civilian had been killed for defending himself.” [Daily Telegraph].



27th March 1915 (Saturday)

BORN TODAY: in Sydney, Australia: The Mosman-Neutral Bay Rifle Club.

” Many of its members enlisted in the armed forces and some were killed during the First World War. The club continued after the war, enjoying many successes. Today it has a formidable reputation both nationally and internationally.” [http://events.mosman.nsw.gov.au/]

Happy Centenary, Mosman-Neutral Bay Rifle Club!


Society and Culture: In the US “Typhoid Mary”, innocent but deadly carrier of the killer disease, who has been evading the authorities for several years, is arrested and returned to quarantine on North Brother Island, New York.


Sport: On what will be the last FA Cup semi-final day in England until 1920, Sheffield United beat Bolton Wanderers 2-1 at Villa Park in Birmingham, and Chelsea beat Everton 2-0 at Ewood Park in Blackburn.


26th March, 1915 (Friday)

BORN TODAY: in Brooklyn, NY – Joseph Edward Filipelli, better known as “Flip Phillips” American jazz tenor saxophone and clarinet player.



On the “North West Frontier” of the British Raj, the Indian army is defending Miranshah, on the Tochi River in North Waziristan (now part of Pakistan), from a large force of “insurgents” (Lashkars, from Southern Afghanistan).



25th March, 1915 (Thursday)


Tsutomu Sekido, Japanese skier at the 1936  Winter Olympics in Bavaria.

Béla Háray, Hungarian ice-hockey and hockey player at the 1936 Winter Olympics in Bavaria and the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin.

1936 was the last year when both Winter and Summer Olympics were held in the same country.



Accidents: Off Honolulu in Hawaii, the US Submarine F-4 sinks while on maneuvres with the loss of its crew of 21 sub-mariners, the first loss of a US submarine while at sea.


24th March 1915 (Wednesday)

BORN TODAY: in Butte, Nebraska – “Gorgeous George”, professional wrestler.



Dardanelles: The Turkish ask their trusted German advisor, Liman von Sanders, to take command of the Turkish troops defending the straits, which he agrees to do. [Burg & Purcell].


23rd March 1915 (Tuesday)

BORN TODAY: United Breweries Holdings Limited, an Indian Non-Government Company registered at the Registrar of Companies, Bangalore, with authorized share capital (now amounting to)  1,000,000,000 Rupees, and paid up capital of Rs. 668,185,220.


After 100 years, the United Breweries group now holds 40% of India’s brewery market…



The Home Front: In Newcastle, in the north of England, 17 year old William Douglass Horsley is found guilty under the Defence Of the Realm Act (DORA) of…

“possessing wireless telegraphy apparatus Including ‘one complete receiving set of a fairly formidable type that could receive a message from a considerable distance, probably Paris or Berlin’. The apparatus was‘home made but very powerful and much more than a mere toy’. Furthermore, its aerials were concealed”

William pleads guilty, is fined 20 shillings (one British pound) and his equipment is confiscated.


22nd March 1915 (Monday)

BORN TODAY: Ian Cameron Jackson – details available from the UK National Archives for 3.3 British Pounds “1 file, approximately 0Mb” or “view free at the National Archives.. see our opening times”



Eastern Front: After a 133 day siege, Russian troops finally capture Przemysl (then in the Austro-Hungarian empire, now in  Poland) taking 120,000 prisoners and 700 artillery pieces.


Dardanelles: The Allied naval command decides to postpone any further naval attempt on the straits until land forces are brought into the attack from collection bases around the eastern Mediterranean [Burg & Purcell].