In Turkish Mesopotamia (now Iraq, allegedly) – British and Indian troops are pushing back the Turks as the Allied forces advance northward in an amphibious operation on the River Tigris. [Burg & Purcell]
On the Austrian Isonzo river in the Julian alps (now the Soca River in Slovenia), Italian forces are attempting to push back Austrian troops and to advance eastward into the province of Carnolia (northern Slovenia). [Burg & Purcell]
Society and culture: In Central England, a local paper, the Herts Mercury, reports on the trial of a young lady accused of the crime of attempted suicide:
“At Much Hadham Alice Gould (21), a domestic servant, of Little Hadham, was charged with attempting to commit suicide on April 14, by taking spirits of salts, a corrosive poison. The defendant, who had been arrested that day, looked very ill, and was allowed to be seated in court in charge of Mrs. Lee, acting as wardress.”
After hearing the evidence against the young lady:
“The Chairman said any person attempting to take his or her life was liable to serious punishment. The defendant did not seem to be aware that she would cause herself serious injury. She had a perfectly good character, good home, and very respectable parents. The Bench under the circumstances felt justified in dismissing the case, and would appeal to the parents to look after her so that she might recover her health.”
BORN TODAY: In Cambridge, England – Fred Unwin, local man, brush salesman, milkman, psychiatric nurse and ‘desert rat’ with the Eighth Army. Later, an amateur (Cambridge) community historian. Passed away in December 2014, aged 99. RIP.
Colonial unrest: In Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) against a backdrop of the recent imposition of martial law by the (British) authorities, A Buddhist procession celebrating Vesak Poya Day defies orders to stop drum beating while passing a mosque in Gampola town. Violence follows, including Buddhists attacks on a mosque, and on muslim businesses, escalating to 63 deaths across the island [Lanka Herald website].
BORN TODAY: in New York, New York: Herman Wouk – Pulitzer Prize winner.
Happy Centenary, Mr Wouk!
On the (industrial) front: “Commercial Motor Magazine”, introducing a review for its readers of the very latest model of Dennis Ambulance, as delivered to the Wimbledon Fire Brigade, reflects (by way of preamble) on the heavy demand for ambulances to serve on the Western Front:
“There have been hundreds of first-class ambulances sent out to the Front, but there have additionally been many more despatched which were very ill suited for the strenuous work, for which they were intended. This has been a golden opportunity for many people to dispose of second-hand chassis of pleasure-car types of doubtful age and record. The casualties amongst ambulances have been very serious indeed. Then again, there has been a good deal of seeking after publicity by individuals who have been anxious to identify themselves with the sending out of the Zebediah or the Mord-D.11’1y ambulances. We have had very little to say of all this activity, preferring rather not to throw cold water on all this endeavour which, in spite of its shortcomings, has included much well-meant kindness.”
On the (German) Home Front: The French airforce bomb the German chlorine gas and acid factory at Ludwigshafen releasing clouds of gas over parts of the city of Mannheim. [Burg & Purcell].
On the (Russian) Home Front: In Moscow, the start of three days of rioting targeting ethnic germans, and foreigners more generally, brings Russia’s second city to “a chaotic orgy of looting, arson, destruction, and violence that observers saw as akin to civil war or revolution. Approximately eight were killed and 40 seriously injured by the rioters [before] the troops finally intervened on 29 May.”
Anatolian atrocities: In response to growing tales of forced marches and massacres of Armenians in Anatolia by the Turkish government, the foreign ministers of the Triple Entente (France, Russia and Britain) issue a proclamation vowing that Young Turk (party) leadership would be held responsible for “these new crimes of Turkey against humanity and civilization”. In response, the Turkish cabinet three days later approves the “Provisional Law of Relocation” by which the army is “authorised and compelled to crush in the most severe way any sign of resistance or aggression among the population… including to transfer and relocate the populations of villages and towns, either individually or collectively in response to military needs or…any signs of treachery or betrayal”
“By best estimate, some 800,000 of the Armenian deportees were to perish – starved, shot, or beaten to death – en route [to the] “barren reaches of northern Syria”.
[Scott Anderson: “Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East”]
Railway Accident: At Quintinshill, near Gretna Green, on the Scottish-English border, a railway crash involving five trains turns to an inferno when the gas lamps in one of the trains, carrying troops bound for Gallipoli, ignite. With the destruction of the Regimental records the exact number of deaths is never fixed with certainty, but certainly exceeds two hundred. [Wikipedia].