20th June 1915 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY: in Hamburg – SM UC-6, a German  minelayer submarine.  In just over two years she will sink over 50 ships before herself being destroyed in September 1917.



Eastern Front: At the Battle of Lemberg, German & Austro-Hungarian forces lauch an attack to re-take the city and the Austrian fortress lost to the Russians in 1914 (later Lwów in Poland, now Lviv in Ukraine).


Across Empires: in St John’s on the Island of St. Pierre et Miquelon ( a vestige of the colony of New France off the Atlantic coast of Canada) 242 Canadian recruits of “F” company embark on HM Troopship Calgarian, bound for Liverpool and the war in Europe, including Inuit and Métis volunteers from Labrador.


23rd June 1914 (Tuesday)

BORN TODAY: in Ireland – Iris Frances Mary Combe, collie lover, border, rough and smooth.


World Affairs: In Mexico, in the fourth year of the revolution, at the Battle of Zacatecas, Pancho Villa’s forces defeat the troops of General Luis Medina Barron, which leads (on July 15th) to the resignation of General Huerta.


Arms Race: After having been widened to take larger ships, the Kiel Canal, linking the North Sea with the Baltic, is re-opened by Kaiser Wilhelm II. In Britain, well informed observers have believed for many years that this event will bring the naval arms race to a climax and signal the start of the long expected Anglo-German naval war.


Law and Order: In Taradale in victoria, South Australia the “desperate ruffian” Charles Sanger, better known as the “Fryerstown bushranger’, is arrested while trying to rob Gorman’s, the bakers.




In Gloucestershire, in England’s West Country, a young poet is unexpectedly delayed for a few minutes on a train, and manages to immortalize the moment:


Yes, I remember Adlestrop–
The name, because one afternoon
Of heat the express- train drew up there
Unwontedly. It was late June.

The steam hissed. Someone cleared his throat.
No one left and no one came
On the bare platform. What I saw
Was Adlestrop – only the name

And willows, willow-herb, and grass,
And meadowsweet, and haycocks dry,
No whit less still and lonely fair
Than the high cloudlets in the sky.

And for that minute a blackbird sang
Close by, and round him, mistier,
Farther and farther, all the birds
Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.

EDWARD THOMAS 1878 – 1917  (killed in action on the Western front, April, 1917)

6th June, 1914 (Saturday)

BORN TODAY: In Chelmsford, England – Jack Fisk, son of George, a journeyman plasterer, and his wife, Martha, both originally from Norfolk, and more recently from Braintree. Mr Fisk Senior will die from bronchio-pneumonia in November 1918 in the unhealthy climate of Salonika, Greece, leaving Martha to manage alone with four year old Jack and his seven siblings.


Arms Race: The Imperial Russian Navy launches the battleship “Imperatritsa Ekaterina Velikaya”, renamed the “Svobodnaya Rossiya” in April 1917.





11th February 1914 (Wednesday)


~ in Preetz, Schleswig-Holstein, Imperial Germany – Hans Hermann Junge, Hitler’s Aide-de-Camp who joined the Waffen SS in July 1943 to regain “his sense of objectivity” after his time with Hitler.  He died in combat in August 1944, aged 30. “Hitler had liked Hans Junge and was so upset by his death that he broke the news to [Frau Junge] personally” [Wikipedia].


~ In Montreal, Canada – George Gordon Hyde, Royal Canadian Air Force pilot stationed in Britain from 1940, killed in a flying accident in May 1941, aged 27.


~ In Worcester, in the Western Cape, South Africa – G.L.F.Hartwig, Professor of Wood Technology at Stellenbosch University from 1950 to 1979.


World Affairs: Ivan Longinovich Goremykin replaces Vladimir Nikolaevich Kokovtsev as Prime Minister of Russia. After retiring from public life in 1916 he will be murdered by a mob in his home region in the Caucasus in 1917.


Society and culture: In Sikkim, the landlocked Himalayan state in British India, Sidkeong Tulku Namgyal, 35 year old Oxford graduate, is recognised as the reincarnation of his uncle and becomes the ruling Maharaja. He dies (of jaundice and heart failure?) in suspicious circumstances in less than a year, to be succeeded by his brother.


Science and technology: In Istanbul, the Silahtarağa Power Station is powered up for the first time, bringing electric power to the city’s trams and lighting the Sultan’s Topkapi Palace.


6th October 1913 (Monday)

BORN TODAY: In Poręba, Poland, Flight Lieutenant Szarzyński-Sęp, who was lost with his Spitfire VIII in the Leguna Veneta off Venice on 9th August 1944, aged 30.


Early flight:

~ Charles DeForest Chandler becomes the first person ever to be awarded the US Military Aviator badge.


~ Englishman Christopher Draper (Later Flight Commander Christopher Draper, RNAS) receives his British Royal Aero Club Aviators’ Certificate, No.646.


~ Welshman Ivan Beauclerk Hart-Davies qualifies as a pilot, flying a Grahame-White biplane at Hendon, in England. He will die in July 1917 during a training flight for the British Royal Flying Corp.


25th May 1913 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY: In Marylebone, London, England – Donald Duart Maclean, son of Sir Donald Maclean (MP) and member of the “Cambridge Five” who spied for the Soviet Union during and after WW2. Defected to the USSR on his 38th birthday (25th May 1951) when public knowledge of his treachery had become inevitable. Died in Moscow in 1983.

World Affairs: In Vienna, Colonel Alfred Redl, Director of Intelligence for the Austro-Hungarian army, commits suicide after it is discovered that he has been passing secrets to the Russian Empire for the last eleven years.

Society and Culture: In the Kremlin, Moscow – the Romanov family host the first of two lavish banquets to celebrate the tercentenary of the Romanov dynasty in Russia. 700 guests are entertained by a dinner toast accompanied by cannon fire; an ornate and inscribed menu card; and an after dinner performance of the Bolshoy theatre.

The menu card includes a three-person group symbolising the prosperity of Russia and the support of the Czar by all classes of the society . A boyar (nobleman in pre-1700 Russia) is holding a scroll with inscription TRUTH and GRACE. The shield of an ancient warrior is inscribed FOR CZAR AND FATHERLAND and a boy in medieval dress is pouring fruits from a Horn of Plenty. At the sides it reads ABUNDANCE OF FRUITS OF THE LAND.

In four years time the Romanovs will be swept away by the Russian Revolutions of 1917.

25th April 1913 (Friday)

BORN TODAY, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA – Earl Bostic, American Jazz and Rhythm and Blues alto-saxophonist.

Also, in Los Angeles, Kenneth Spencer, bass-baritone opera singer killed in an air crash in 1964.

Arms Race: The Italian Regia Marina launches the submarine “Nautilus”.

Britain’s first “Defensively Armed Merchant Ship” (DAMS), RMS Aragon (later HMT Aragon) leaves Southampton. After serving as a troop carrier at Gallipoli (1915), she will eventually (1917) be sunk in the Mediterranean by a german submarine, with the loss of 610 lives.

Women’s suffrage: in the UK, Royal Assent is given for the notorious “Cat and Mouse Act” whereby a suffragette hunger striker in prison can be released on health grounds and re-incarcerated as soon as feasible to complete her original term of sentence.

Crime and punishment: Ivory Frazer is hanged in New Mexico for the murder of a Deputy Sheriff.

Society and culture: the US Marine Corps Association is founded at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.