30th April, 1915 (Friday)

BORN TODAY: in Livorno, Italy  – Elio Toaff, Chief Rabbi of Rome who died on 19th April 2015, just 11 days before his 100th birthday.



On the (English) Home Front: Boche batters Bury butter bazaar.


29th April, 1915 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY: Three knights and two aces:

~ In Haynau in eastern Germany (now Chojnów in western Poland) – Hans Karl Bunzel, Oberleutnant and Knights Cross of the Iron Cross.

~ In Rehhof in East Prussia (now Ryjewo in northern Poland) – Paul Brandt, Luftwaffe Ace and Knights Cross of the Iron Cross.

~ In Altenburg, in the Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg (now part of Thuringia in Germany) – Heinrich-Wilhelm Ahnert, Luftwaffe Ace and Knights Cross of the Iron Cross.





War from the air: Just before midnight the German Zeppelin LZ.38 crosses the Suffolk coast of eastern England, bombing the towns of Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds during the early of hours of April 30th.


West Africa: From Kamerun a German force raids the town of Gurin just over the border in British Nigeria.


28th April 1915 (Wednesday)


Arms makers: in the US, the Bethlehem Steel Corporation issues its shipping note for “1,248 cases of three-inch calibre shrapnel shells, filled”, due to be carried across the Atlantic (from neutral USA) in the cargo hold of the passenger liner “Lusitania” to the (British) Royal Arsenal at Woolwich. The weapons do not appear in the ship’s final manifest.


Peace makers: The International Congress of Women convenes at The Hague, Netherlands, with more than 1,200 delegates from 12 countries—including Britain, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Italy, Poland, Belgium and the United States—all dedicated to the cause of peace and a resolution of the war. “With mourning hearts we stand united here….We grieve for many brave young men who have lost their lives on the battlefield before attaining their full manhood; we mourn with the poor mothers bereft of their sons; with the thousands of young widows and fatherless children, and we feel that we can no longer endure in this twentieth century of civilization that government should tolerate brute force as the only solution of international disputes”.



News makers: The New York Times reports a recent explanation in Russia’s Duma [Parliament} explaining the presence of Russian troops in Persia:

“The presence of our troops in Persian territory by no means involves a violation of Persian neutrality. Our detachments were sent to that country some years ago for the definite purpose of establishing and maintaining order in districts contiguous to our possessions, of high economic importance to us, also to prevent the seizure of some of these districts by the Turks, who openly strove to create for themselves there, especially in the district of Urumiah, a convenient base for military operations against the Caucasus. The Persian Government, not having the actual power to maintain its neutrality, met the Turkish violation of the latter with protests, which, however, had no results.”


27th April 1915 (Tuesday)

BORN TODAY: in Alexandropol in the Russian Empire (now Gyumri in western Armenia, near the Turkish border)  – Hovhannes (Onik) Tadevosi Karapetyan, poet.



War at Sea: In the Straits of Otranto, between Italy and Albania, where the French are attempting to blockade the Austro-Hungarian navy inside the Adriatic (ie preventing access to the wider Mediterranean), the Austrian submarine U-5 torpedoes and sinks the cruiser Leon Gambetta, sending 547 sailors to their death. [Burg & Purcell].

 Africa: At Gibeon Station in German South West Africa (now Namibia)  – 41 German and South African soldiers die in battle.


Western Front: GAS!

The 3rd and 4th [gas] attacks took place on 26-27 April 1915 at Steenstrate-Lizerne, near Ieper, in which British, Sikhs and French were the victims. To the left of the Sikhs were French Colonial troops with essentially North Africans and at their right were the British. The Ferozepur Brigade, and the French colonial troops to the left of them, were the worst hit. More gas attacks followed on 27-29 April and 01-02 May 1915 and the victims were again British, Sikhs, Pathans, French and Algerians. [http://www.sikhiwiki.org/].


26th April 1915 (Monday)

BORN TODAY: in Furth, Bayern, Germany – Ludwig Schweickert, European wrestler killed in action during World War 2.


ACCIDENTS: In the English village of Brayton in Cumberland, a pit explosion injures 8 miners, seven of whom will subsequently die of their injuries.



World affairs: In London,  Italian diplomats agree to declare war on Germany and her allies within one month, in exchange for territory in the South Tyrol, and in the Adriatic, including Gorizia, Istria and most of Dalmatia – the homes of 230,000 German speaking Austrians and around 750,000 Slovenes and Croats, far outnumbering the 650,000 Italians also residing there. [The White War: Life and Death on the Italian Front, 1915-1919].

Dardanelles: British submarine E-14 successfully passes through the Dardanelles, reaching the sea of Marmara and sinking a Turkish gunboat. [Burg & Purcell].

25th April 1915 (Sunday)


At dawn, the Allied landings begin. “Air Commander C.R.Samson, flying reconaissance overhead, reports the sea ‘absolutely red with blood’ “. [Burg & Purcell].

“The Helles landings were a massacre… rifle and machine gun fire killed most of those who made the attempt.”   [ Peter Chasseaud: Mapping the First World War]. (Later) “the losses were compounded by dysentery caused by heat, flies and lack of sanitation. Landing sufficient supplies and drinking water was a perennial problem”. 

So bewildered was General von Saunders [the German commander of the Turkish troops] by his enemy’s idiocy that for the next day he remained convinced the southern landing was a mere feint and that the main invasion force was still coming elsewhere.” [ Scott Anderson: Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East].

“The first day objective of those landing on Cape Helles had been to secure a small village some four miles inland…over the next seven months the British would never reach that village, but would suffer nearly a quarter of a million casualites trying” [Anderson].

24th April 1915 (Saturday)

BORN TODAY: in Bletchingley, Surrey, England – Field Marshal Richard Michael Power (Baron) Carver, GCB, CBE, DSO & Bar, MC, educated at Winchester and Sandhurst; Chief of General Staff and Head of the British Army from 1973 to 1976.



On the (Turkish) Home Front: In Istanbul the authorities arrest around 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders, today being conventionally referenced as the start of the Armenian massacres which some describe as a holocause or genocide. An estimated 1 to 1.5 million Armenians will die in the troubles ahead.



On the (English) Home Front: In East London (UK)Leyton Orient football (soccer) club beat visitors Leicester City 2-0  to maintain their position at 9th in England’s second division.


On the Western Front: at the Battle of St Julien (Ypres), the German army releases more chlorine gas, successfully breaking the line of the Canadian 1st Division, who have been advised to counteract the gas by urinating on thier handkerchiefs.