11th December 1914 (Friday)

BORN TODAY: in Michigan, USA – Robert Ayres, actor.



War from the air: After some “friendly fire” incidents caused by mis-identification of aircraft, the British RFC (Royal Flying Corp) abandons it practice of marking its planes with the union flag (sometimes mistaken at a distance for an Iron Cross) and adopts instead a distinctive “roundel” symbol.[Museum of Army Flying].


War at Sea: Eight trawler-men from Grimsby on England’s east coast are missing, after their trawler the “Earl Howard” is lost, “presumed to have struck a mine in the North Sea”.


Lest we forget (the horses): In Ormskirk, Lancashire (yet) more horses are being loaded into trains, destined ultimately, for the Western Front.



In the New Zealand general election, 84% of eligible Maori voters exercise their democratic right.


1st September 1914 (Tuesday)

DIED TODAY:  RIP Martha, who passes away in her cage today in Cincinatti zoo. Martha is the very last member of the species Ectopistes migratorius  (passenger pigeon), once the most abundant bird in North America. As recently as 1866 one large flock of her ancestors in Ohio was estimated to contain 3.5 billion birds [Wikipedia].


“Her body was frozen into a block of ice and sent to the Smithsonian Institution, where it was skinned, dissected, photographed and mounted. Currently, Martha is in the museum’s archived collection and not on display. A memorial statue of Martha stands on the grounds of the Cincinnati Zoo” . [Wikipedia]

QUOTE:  “A poignant example of what happens when the interests of man clash with the interests of nature…When their interests clashed with the interests of man, civilization prevailed”

[Smithsonian Institute].


Meanwhile, the affairs of men twist and turn…

In Russia, the city of St Petersburg is rebranded to Petrograd, ditching its germanic title for a suitably slavic alternative.

In Paris, Kitchener meets the BEF commander at the British Embassy and orders him to bring the British troops in to the line with French forces. The Germans, meanwhile, are within 30 miles of the French capital.



10th June 1914 (Wednesday)

BORN TODAY: in Vina Del Mar, Chile – Rosita Maria Martha Esther Aldunate del Campo Serrano, the “Chilean Nightingale”, especially popular in Nazi Germany in the 1930s and early 1940s.


Crime: In Sydney, Australia – armed robbers Ernest Ryan (aka “Shiner”) and Samuel Freeman (aka “Jewey”) rob the payroll delivery at the Eveleigh Railway Workshops. Cab driver Albert Andrews tries, but fails, to overtake the getaway car in his horse drawn wagon.


Science and technology: At 60 00.00’N 000 39.00’E, Captain Brown, acting on behalf of the Fishery Board for Scotland, releases a (scientific) message in a drift bottle.  The bottle will not be recovered until April 2012 – nearly 98 years later (a Guinness World Record) -having (apparently) travelled a distance of just 9.5 nautical miles.


Society and culture: in the Alexander Garden in Moscow, the “Romanov Obelisk” is officially opened, commemorating the 300 year anniversary of the Romanov dynasty in 1913. Later it will be re-styled as a “monument to socialist thinkers”.


Animal Rights: Carbine, the New Zealand thoroughbred racehorse, Melbourne Cup winner and sire of many later winners, is humanely put down at the age of 29, after suffering a stroke. Today “his skeleton can be seen on display at the Australian Racing Museum and Hall of Fame in Melbourne” [alldownunder.com – “celebrating the things that make Australia unique”].


15th December 1913 (Monday)

LAUNCHED TODAY:  At the John Brown shipyard, in Clydebank, Scotland – the British Royal Navy launches HMS Tiger, its most heavily armoured battlecruiser, costing 2.5 million British pounds. Tiger fought at the Battle of Jutland in 1916. she was decommissioned and sold for scrap in 1932.



Animal Rights: At Kensington Town Hall in London, author John Galsworthy delivers a speech protesting against cruelty to performing animals.


Extreme Weather: The English are busy reflecting on their extremely mild (“unseasonable”) weather. “The heat of the sunshine was hardly less extraordinary for the time of year, and it was possible to sit writing out of doors until the sun had set and it was too dark to see” [The Spectator, 27th December 1913].


9th December 1913 (Tuesday)

NOT BORN TODAY:  On Deception Island, in the South Shetland archipelago, in Antarctica, a passing whaler removes  two eggs from the nest of an unlucky chinstrap penguin (Pygoscelis antarctica),  and later passes them to Falkland Islander, Mrs Vera Packe. The eggs are now in the care of the Norfolk Museum in England. How the parent penguins felt about the tragedy is lost for all time.



3rd June 1913 (Tuesday)

BORN TODAY:  in South Devon, England – Brixham Bowling Club: strictly men only – the ladies will have to wait until 1952 before they can join.

Society and culture: Mirza Ghulam Samdani is awarded the Indian Title Badge, third class (muslim type). According to the (UK) National Army Museum web-site:

“Indian Title Badges were announced at the Delhi Durbar in 1911 and first issued in 1912. The badges were awarded in three classes to civilians and Viceroy’s Commissioned Officers of the Indian Army for faithful service or acts of public welfare. Recipients proceeded from the lowest class to a higher one, and each was accompanied by a distinctive title, inscribed upon the badge, differing according to whether the recipient was a Muslim, Hindu or Sikh.

Thus 1st Class holders received the title: Diwan Bahadur (Muslim) or Sardar Bahadur (Hindu or Sikh); 2nd Class holders, Khan Bahadur (Muslim) or Rao Bahadur (Hindu or Sikh) and recipients of the 3rd Class, Khan Sahib (Muslim), Rao Sahib (Hindu or Sikh) or Sardar Sahib (Sikhs only)”.

[National Army Museum – http://www.nam.ac.uk/ ].

Women’s suffrage: Emily Wilding Davison and a friend decide to attend tomorrow’s famous Derby horse-race and disupt the race by waving the WSPU colours in front of the racing horses.

Oysters: An ornithologist captures and then releases the last confirmed Canary Island Oystercatcher Haematopus meadewaldoi, since believed to be extinct.  Meanwhile Mr and Mrs Igor Stravinsky eat oysters for dinner and then fall ill with typhus for a month.

8th March 1913 (Saturday)

BORN TODAY, in Kabylia, a Berber-speaking region in Algeria – Mouloud Feraoun, popular Algerian novelist who was assassinated a few days before the Algerian War of independence from France, by a colonial terrorist organisation.

Arms Race:The German  Imperial Navy launches the SMS Wolf, an auxiliary cruiser or “merchant raider”, equipped with six guns and 450 mines to be dropped outside enemy ports. Her mines will be effective as far afield as Australia’s southern coast during the coming years.

Womens Suffrage: Norway introduces Universal Suffrage (ie giving women the vote). Meanwhile womankind in an increasing number of countries celebrate the fifth annual International Women’s Day

Society and Culture: The Sheffield Independent announces the first UK appearance, at the “Rostock Jungle” of Fitz, the amazing boxing kangaroo. Fitz has just arrived in England on the steamship Aurania, from Buenos Aires.

In Milan, the Teatro alla Scala is officially inaugurated.

In Farnham, Surrey (UK) the “Electric Theatre” (actually a 618 seat cinema) opens for business. In 1917 it will be renamed the Palace Cinema.