22nd June 1915 (Tuesday)

EXPLORATION: Members of Ernest Shackleton’s Antarctic expedition celebrate mid-winter with a dinner on board HMS Endurance.


DIED TODAY: at  Bukovina (now split between Romania and Ukraine) – Ferenc Istvan Dénes Gyula Békássy, Cambridge graduate, Hungarian bi-lingual poet and Imperial Hussar. Killed in action, aged 22.



Eastern Front: Austro-Hungarian forces recapture the city of Lemberg (Lwow/ Lviv) from the Russians.


Africa: On the shores of Lake Victoria in German East Africa, the British 25th (Frontiersmen) Battalion, Royal Fusiliers and others have launched an amphibious attack on Bukoba (“The Battle of Bukoba”) with the objective to destroy the German wireless station.


19th January 1915 (Tuesday)


In Antarctica, the three masted ship “Endurance” which is carrying the Imperial Trans-Antarctic expedition becomes trapped in pack-ice in the Weddell Sea, where she will remain until October when the Antarctic spring changes to the ice-pack break her hull, forcing complete abandonment.




In the US, the American Film Manufacturing Company releases W W Young’s film version of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland”, starring Viola Savoy as Alice.


12th January 1915 (Tuesday)

BORN TODAY: in Boston, Massachusetts – Richard Evans Schultes, the “father of modern ethnobotany” and co-author of “The Plants of the Gods: Their Sacred, Healing, and Hallucinogenic Powers” (1979). [Wikipedia].



Addiction: The R.J Reynolds tobacco company advertises its “Camel” brand in the New York Times: “You can’t buy a more delightful cigarette than Camels at any price”.

Women’s suffrage: The US House of Representatives votes, 204-174, to reject a constitutional amendment to give women the right to vote.


Exploration: In Antarctica, explorer Ernest Shackleton and his team spend part of their day photographing young empire penguins…


A farmer’s life: in New Zealand, sheep farmer George Adkin fills his day with raddle and “matted, yellow, broken fleeces”, and fills his mind with dreams of his beloved fiance, Maud.


Meanwhile – on a dairy farm in Kent, Connecticut, farmer’s daughter Lucy Seger records her routine today:

“30 [fahrenheit] above. Cold rain. It rained all day. I did housework same as usual. Made a cake. Nellie came down after milk. I cleaned house in morning and mother finished it in afternoon. She finished her ironing also. After dinner I went to Kent after children. I went to Watson’s and bought some outing flannel and apron gingham, twenty five cent of Xmas cards.”



8th August 1914 (Saturday)

BORN TODAY: In London, England – Unity Valkyrie Mitford, “an aristocratic English socialite who was a devotee of Adolf Hitler”.  [Wikipedia]



Across Western Europe: Many thousands of the figthing men of many nations are converging on Belgium, Luxembourg and the Rhine…

In Eastern Europe: German soldiers are also pressing East through Poland, as Russian men move West…

In German East Africa: The British cruiser “Astraea” arrives off the coast and begins to shell Dar Es Salaam, landing a few troops for good measure. The ship’s captain and the local German authorities agree a truce, but neither of their Imperial masters are happy with the arrangement [Burg and Purcell: “Almanac of World War 1“].

In Britain, Parliament hastily introduces DORA – the Defence of the Realm Act, giving sweeping authoritarian powers to the Government:

”  ‘No person shall by word of mouth or in writing spread reports likely to cause disaffection or alarm among any of His Majesty’s forces or among the civilian population’.  The trivial peacetime activities no longer permitted included flying kites, starting bonfires, buying binoculars, feeding wild animals bread, discussing naval and military matters or buying alcohol on public transport. Alcoholic beverages were watered down and pub opening times were restricted to noon–3pm and 6:30pm–9:30pm (the requirement for an afternoon gap in permitted hours lasted in England until 1988).”  [quoted on Wikipedia].


In British India: The first Indian troops involved in World War 1 leave India headed for Egypt, where the plan is to hold them in reserve (for example if more British troops are required in Europe). The reality will be different: they will join the Allied forces fighting on the Western Front.



Exploration: Sir Ernest Shackelton’s “Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition (1914–17)”, also known as the “Endurance Expedition” leaves Plymouth, England, bound for Argentina, and ultimately for the Antarctic. The ship, “Endurance” , leaves without Sir Ernest, who is detained on expedition business but will join the expedition in Buenos Aires.


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.



8th October 1913 (Wednesday)

BORN TODAY: in Grytviken, on the (British) Island of South Georgia in the South Atlantic, Solveig Gunbjørg Jacobsen, daughter of Fridthjof Jacobsen, Assistant Manager (and soon to be Manager) of the local whaling station, and his wife, Klara Olette. Solveig immediately sets a new record for the human birth recorded closest to the South Pole, and later has a valley named after her – the Jacobsen Valley in Antarctica.


Labour Relations: In Swords, County Dublin, Ireland, there are riots when striking workers try to prevent farmers from bringing their cattle to market.


Society and culture: At Treforest in South Wales, the South Wales and Monmouthshire School of Mines opens with 17 mining diploma students, including 3 from China. Happy Centenary, University of Glamorgan!


Early flight: Harry Hawker, the Australian aviation pioneer, is seriously injured in a flying accident at  Brooklands in England.