6th April 1914 (Monday)

BORN TODAY: in Lvov, Poland (now in Ukraine) – Michal Stefan Pienkowski: privileged Polish son; chemistry graduate; Polish Air Force conscript; internee in Romania; refugee in Yugoslavia, Italy and France; member of the Polish forces in exile (in  Britain); member of the Polish Air force under RAF command; interpreter and instructor; Derbyshire tailor and store-keeper; Duffield sub-postmaster; and Staffordshire smallholder. He died in 1985 from pneumonia originally contracted during World War 2.


Military matters: General  Sir Charles Whittingham Horsley Douglas, GCB (“Knight Grand Cross”), ADC (“aide de camp”), is appointed as the third (successive) Chief of the (British) Imperial General Staff (“CIGS”).  He has previously served as a British Officer in the second Anglo-Afghan War, The first Boer War, the Suakin Expedition (Sudan), and the second Boer War. He will die from strain and overwork later this year, less than three months after the outbreak of World War 1.


Accidents: Three passengers die when the Wabash passenger train plunges from a collapsing bridge near Attica, Indiana, USA.



Society and culture: In Dartford, South East London, Mr Samuel Bonmak, gravedigger, spends his day digging the first grave in the new Watling Cemetery, in preparation for the burial, tomorrow, of Mr James Duggan.





18th February 1914 (Wednesday)

DIED TODAY: Frances (Fanny) Matilda Van de Grift Osbourne (later, Stevenson) – a life less ordinary. “The only woman in the world worth dying for”, is commemorated in the novel, “Under the Wide and Starry Sky” by Nancy Horan.


Agriculture and society: George Adkin, New Zealand farmer, is busy clearing (firing) the bush at the margins of his land. In the summer afternoon he attends a garden party organised by the ladies of the Methodist Church.


Society and culture: In England, Geoffrey Stewart, 35 year old Eton educated son of Major-General Sir Herbert Stewart, K.C.B., is promoted to the rank of Major in the Leicestershire Yeomanry. He previously joined the Coldstream Guards in 1898, and served with them through- out the South African (“Boer”) War, 1899-1902. From 1905-07 he served in the Egyptian Army and retired in 1910, joining the Reserve of Officers.

He will be killed while retiring from a reconnaissance he makes, alone, to the enemy’s trenches at Givenchy, in Flanders, on the 22nd December, 1914.

Today, he and others are commemorated in a memorial bus shelter, and the local Church, in Winwick, Northamptonshire. [www.roll-of-honour.com].


16th December 1913 (Tuesday)

BORN TODAY: At WIgston Barracks, Leicester, England – Reg Twigg, author of “Survivor on the River Kwai, the Incredible Story of Life on the Burma Railway”, who died in May this year – one of the last survivors of the Death Railway.



World Affairs: In Blomfontein, South Africa, the “Women’s Monument” is unveiled, commemorating the death of around 27,000 Boer women and children who died in British concentration camps during the Boer War (1899-1902).


Natural Disasters: in the Rio Blanco valley in Patagonia, Chile the Rio Blanco Glacier breaks out of its natural dam and sends a huge flood of water, earth and rocks down the valley below.

Click to access igs_journal_vol02_issue013_pg172-175.pdf

Accidents: – A bad day for the global mining industry…

~ At the Radium Mine in South Australia, 22 year old miner, K Lively, loses a foot in an underground explosion.

~ On the same day, at the Mainsforth coal-mine in County Durham, England, Joseph Aspey, colliery driver,  loses an arm in an accident.

~ And at the Vulcan  Mine in Colorado an explosion kills “thirty-eight men practically all Americans”.