12th March, 1915 (Friday)

BORN TODAY: in Pehuajó, Argentina – Aquiles Roggero, “un músico, violinista, director y compositor” [Wikipedia]  – Tango aficionado.


DIED TODAY: of tuberculosis, aged 46, Archduke Ferdinand Carl Ludwig Joseph Johann Maria of Austria, latterly known as Ferdinand Burg after rusticating himself from the Austrian court (to the Southern Tyrol) in disgrace for his elopement and unequal marriage to a common daughter of an Austrian mathematician.



Dardanelles: Britain forms the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force under General Sir Ian Hamilton to carry out military operations at the Dardanelles, with forces being gathered together on the temporarily occupied Greek Island of Lemnos, including men from Australia, Britain and New Zealand.



Society and culture: In New South Wales, the Shaftesbury Institution for Inebriate Males (later, and less exclusively, the Shaftesbury Institute for Inebriates) admits its first intake of “sixteen male inebriates of the non-criminal type” for “medical or other treatment necessary”. [NSW government – state records].


9th January 1915 (Saturday)

BORN TODAY: in Buenos Aires – Fernando Lamas, actor.



War from the air: The German Kaiser authorises Zeppelin bombing raids on Britain.



Society and culture: After a long sojourn in South Africa, Mahatma Ghandi returns to India, landing in Bombay (Mumbai) today.

24th December 1914 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY: in Quilmes, Buenos Aires – Lieutenant Noel Wilson Cooper, missing, presumed dead, in 1943 during a Royal Marine commando reconnaisance operation for the invasion of Sicily. Aged 28.



In England’s west country, the Western Times publishes a letter from a sailor:

Sailor Indignant at Slow Recruiting of Exeter.

Quote: An Exeter sailor on duty in the North Sea, writing to his parents, says: “I felt a bit sick when I read your letter dealing with the slow recruiting for ‘Exeter’s Own.’ To think that we are at sea doing our best to ensure food supply for these ‘ k’nuts ‘ and give them a place where they can lay their heads in safety! It not very encouraging to know that there are hundreds at Exeter watching football matches and walking out with girls. Those at Exeter ought to follow the example of the young ladies in Newcastle. They ‘ Cut’ every young fellow who will not join up.” [www.exetermemories.co.uk]



In London’s eastern docklands, two police constables – PCs John Severn and William Ware – both drown while on patrol, when they fall into a dock in dense fog.


12th November 1914 (Thursday)


~ in Argentina – Roberto Lorenzo Cavanagh y Hearne, Olympic polo gold medallist in 1936 and voted the World’s Greatest Polo player for 1954.

~ In Fairlight, Saskatchewan – Victor Robert William (“Vic”) Myles, Canadian professional ice-hockey player.





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.


14th July 1914 (Tuesday)

BORN TODAY: in Panama, Kenneth B Clark – psychologist who studied the effects of racial prejudice on children.


World Affairs: In a telegram to the German Kaiser, Baron Tschirschky (the German Ambassador to Vienna) confirms that Hungarian premier, Count Tisza, has been brought around to the idea of war, and that the Austro-Hungarian authorities have decided to send an ultimatum to the Serbian government. The text will be ready by 19th July, but a decision has been made to delay issuing it until after the French President, Poincare, finishes his state visit to Russia, to reduce the likelihood of a quick and well coordinated reponse from Russia and France.


Exploration: In London’s docklands, the SS “Montcalm” arrives from Manitoba, Canada with a cargo of 99 “endurance dogs”. Each dog has travelled first by freight train from Winnipeg to Manitoba and each is caged individually. They are part of the preparations for Ernest Shackleton’s trans-Antarctic expedition. The “Endurance” will leave Plymouth, bound first for Buenos Aires, on 8th August.


Mysteries: The German cargo ship “Werner Kunstmann” founders on the Goswick Sands in England’s northern waters. “Reputed to have been scuppered following reports that she was on route to supply her cargo of iron ore to German factories which had been building up in their preparations for the start of World War 1. All 17crew were saved when the ship ran aground in fine weather on the Goswick sand ridge and was lost”. [The Berwick Advertiser].


Womens’ Suffrage: Militant suffragette Maude Edwards is released from Perth prison on the grounds that “excitement is injurious to [her] health”.



11th July 1914 (Saturday)

BORN TODAY: in Buenos Aires – Aníbal Carmelo Troilo, Argentine bandoneonist and tango musician.

Click to access Phantastango-2013-2-TheBeautifulFive.pdf

Society and culture: Leading anarchist Alexander Berkman addresses a large crowd at a rally of like-minded supporters in Union Square, New York City.



~ In Jedburgh, on the English/ Scottish border, at 6.00AM precisely,  the traditional ceremonies for the opening of Jedburgh Border Games are carried out, “as they have been done since their inauguration in 1853”.  


~George Herman “Babe” Ruth makes his major league baseball debut.



21st June 1914 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY: in Victoria, British Columbia – Wiliam Spencer Vickrey, post Keynesian economist and Nobel Laureate.


World Affairs: Serbian diplomat Jovan Jovanovic warns Leon Bilinski, the Austrian finance minister, that there may be an assassination plot against Archduke Franz Ferdinand when he visits Sarajevo next week. His warning is ignored.


Extreme Weather: the city of Termez in Central Asia (previously belonging to the Emirate of Bukhara, at this time part of Imperial Russia, later in the Soviet Union, and now the most Southern point in Uzbekistan)  experiences the hottest temperature ever recorded in Uzbekistan – 49.6 celsius.


Sport: In Buenos Aires – England’s Exeter City football club beat a team representing Southern Argentina 3-0.



17th June 1914 (Wednesday)

BORN TODAY: in Tientsin, China – to missionary parents – John Hersey, journalist, author, lecturer and professor.


Society and Culture:

~ Mary Dorothy Lyndon of Athens, Georgia, becomes the first woman ever to be awarded a degree by the Univeristy of Georgia.


~ In London, 26 year old Marcus Mosiah Garvey boards the steamship “Trent” to return home to Jamaica after two years studying law and philosophy at London’s Birkbeck College, and working for the “African Times and Orient Review.”  [Wikipedia}   ” I read ‘Up From Slavery’ and then my doom – if I may so call it – of being a race leader dawned on me”. [Barbados Underground].



Sport: In England, the Western Times newspaper reports that the Exeter City football (soccer) team have played their first match (a few days ago) in a tour of South America, against a team representing North Argentina. The final score is reported at 1-0, but the cablegram received is unclear about which team was victorious.

“The cablegram received by Mr. Sid Thomas, the Secretary of the club yesterday, gives the score 1-0. According to the usual rule of the home teams score coming first, North Argentina won. On the other hand it is argued that the message means that the City were victorious. Supporters will have to possess themselves in patience.” [Western Times – Wednesday 17 June 1914]




21st April 1914 (Tuesday)


~ In Iowa – Howard Dimsdale, screenwriter whose work included “Planet of the Apes”


~ and in Capilla Del Senor, Buenos Aires Province,  Carlos Garcia, pianist, bandleader and composer.


World Affairs: The USA invades Mexico.


Arms Race: The good people of Exeter, in the West of England, are entertained with a cinema documentary on the life of the British soldier. Quote: “So long is the film that the first half is being screened for the first three; days, the latter part being shown for the remainder of the week”. [Exeter and Plymouth Gazette, 21st April 1914].


Society and culture: Twenty two year old Alfred Edgar Stokes, the youngest of eleven children of Essex blacksmith Thomas Stokes, signs up for 12 years with Britain’s Royal Navy – “killed in action when H.M.S. Hogue was torpedoed and sunk by the German U-boat U-9. on 22nd September 1914 in the North Sea along with her sister ships H.M.S. Aboukir and H.M.S. Cressy”.


Twenty year old Henry Albert Wishart, the fourth son of Walter Wishart an engineering works storekeeper in Newcastle, is promoted in his position in the Royal Navy and assigned to HMS Black Prince.  “Along with Henry, 37 officers, 814 other men and 5 civilians were killed” when the ship was “fired on at short range by [a] German battleship” in June 1916.