26th February, 1914 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY:

~ At the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, Ireland – HMHS (His Majesty’s Hospital Ship) Britannic, larger sister of HMS Titanic (already in her watery grave for nearly two years now). Built as transatlantic passenger liner, she (Britannic) will be overtaken by the war, and taken over by the Royal Navy. In November 1916, while in use as a hospital ship,  she will become the largest maritime casualty of the first world war, claiming her own watery grave, far from her sister (but with far fewer lives lost) after she strikes a mine off the Greek island of Kea.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMHS_Britannic

~ At the Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company, at Govan on the Clyde, in Scotland – – HMS Lydiard, a torpedo boat destroyer of the Royal Navy. She will survive the first World War before facing an ignominious end at the scrapyard in 1921.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Lydiard_(1914)

World Affairs: In the British Houses of Parliament, the First Lord of the Admiralty (Sir Winston Churchill)  is asked to clarify whether certain cruisers have “been equipped with quick-firing guns by co-operation of the owners and the Admiralty; … do the vessels carry passengers; and, if so, what would be their legal rights if the liners should ever be engaged in a naval action to their injury? “

http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1914/feb/26/ahmed-cruisers-wilson-line#S5CV0058P0_19140226_HOC_218

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7th July 1913 (Monday)

BORN TODAY: in Belzoni, Mississippi – Joseph William (“Pinetop”) Perkins, Blues pianist.

~ Also, in Vancouver, Canada – Howard Douglas (“Howie”) Cleveland, member of the Royal Canadian Air Force awarded the DFC (distinguished flying cross) in 1944.

Arms Race – Launched today: HMS Owl, Acasta class destroyer of the British Royal Navy. Sold for scrap in 1921.

Empire: The UK House of Commons passes the Irish Home Rule Bill. It will be rejected by the upper house (House of Lords) on 15th July, leaving the Irish question unresolved.

Society and Culture:  King George V of Britain and Ireland, and his wife, Queen Mary, start a royal tour of Lancashire, in the town of Warrington. Travelling by motor car, over the next 8 days they will visit no less than 37 towns and cities across Lancashire. Regal tourism!