11th June, 1914 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY: Renaat Demoen, Belgian illustrator and creator of comics.


World Affairs: In Serbia, King Peter I (Peter Karađorđević) “retires” in favour of his son, the Crown Prince Alexander, following a short period of strife between military and civil authorities. On 1 December 1918, after the implosion of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, King Peter I will be  proclaimed King of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.


Transportation: In Bern Switzerland, the “European [Train] Timetable Conference” concludes it biannual meeting, where the timetable for train co-ordination across Europe for the winter season 1914-1915 has been agreed and set. Passengers should be warned there may be substantial delays…


Society and culture: Wealthy Californian socialite Aimee Crocker,  marries Prince Alexandre Miskinoff, a Russian nobleman.They will divorce in 1916, leaving him with the dubious honour of being her fourth divorce, but not with the satisfaction of being her only Russian divorce. In 1925 she marries Prince Mstislav Galitzine, Count Ostermann of Russia, becoming Princess Galitzine, a title she retains after divorcing him too, in 1927.



17th March 1914 (Tuesday)

BORN TODAY: location not known  – James Duncan “Smudger” Smith, RAF pilot shot down and killed in action over Libya, in 1941, aged 27. Buried in Knightsbridge War Cemetary, Acroma, Libya.


Migration: In Madras (now Chennai) In India, mathematical genius Srinivasa Ramanujan boards the steamship SS Nevasa to begin his month long voyage to London, and ultimately to Cambridge University, where in October 1918 he will become the first Indian to be elected a Fellow of Trinity College.


Shipwrecks:  in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the SS Sydney, carrying passengers and coal, runs aground on Shag Rock, at the entrance to Halifax harbour. Fortunately, all 11 passengers and 50 crew are rescued.


8th March 1914 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY: in Indianapolis, Indiana – Priscilla Shortridge: daughter of Elmer and Minnie; in due course a “statuesque brunette”; later Miss Miami Beach; and later still Mrs Lawson. Then she became Princess Aura, daughter of Ming the Merciless, before settling for “Mrs Curtis”. Only in Hollywood…


Women’s suffrage: International Women’s Day, a movement which has been growing for several years, takes place for the first time on 8th March, on which day it will, in future, settle. This year, the event in Germany (“Frauen-Tag”) is dedicated to women’s right to vote, which will not finally be won for another 4 years.



Spanish suffrage: Spain holds a General election. Well, sort of…


28th January 1914 (Wednesday)

BORN TODAY: In California – Beverley Hills, 90210.  Happy Centenary!


Arms Race – At the Germaniawerft shipyard in Kiel, Germany – submarine U32 is launched. After sinking 36 merchant ships and 1 warship she will herself be destroyed north west of Malta, in May 1918, with the loss of 41 lives (all hands).


In Britain, the Admiralty [naval authorities] order a series of C Class Light Cruisers to be built by Cammell Laird of Birkenhead, including HMS Caroline, finally decommissioned in 2011.


Women’s suffrage: At the Walker Theatre in Winnipeg, Manitoba (now a Canadian National Historic Site) , Nellie McClung and fellow activists stage a play in which “the women discussed a number of their own issues as if pertaining to men – whether to give men the vote, and whether to allow them equal guardianship over children. Ultimately, the play was a success and helped advance the cause of women’s suffrage. In January 1916, Manitoba became the first Canadian province to give women the right to vote”. [Canada’s historic places]


24th May 1913 (Saturday)

BORN TODAY: in Langnau im Emmenthal in Switzerland – Hans Schwarzenbach, Swiss equestrian who won silver in the eventing event (?) at the Rome Olympics in 1960.

Arms Race: In Kiel, Germany the Germaniawerft shipyard launches the submarine “U24”. She will sink 34 ships before surrendering in November 1918.

Accidents and disasters: in Long Beach, California, the municipal pier collapses while 10,000 weekenders are crowded on to the pier. Thirty six people die.

In Smyrna (now Izmir) on the Turkish coast, the steamship Nevada strays into a mined part of the harbour, strikes three mines, and sinks with the loss of forty lives.

Empire: The British Empire celebrates “Empire Day”.

Each Empire Day, millions of school children from all walks of life across the length and breadth of the British Empire would typically salute the union flag and sing patriotic songs like Jerusalem and God Save the Queen. They would hear inspirational speeches and listen to tales of ‘daring do’ from across the Empire, stories that included such heroes as Clive of India, Wolfe of Québec and ‘Chinese Gordon’ of Khartoum. But of course the real highlight of the day for the children was that they were let of (sic) school early in order to take part in the thousands of marches, maypole dances, concerts and parties that celebrated the event. [“Historic UK” website – http://www.historic-uk.com/]

In Bulawayo, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) – The British South Africa Police Regimental Association is formed. The UK Branch is planning centenary celebrations in various locations across the UK this month.