26th January 1913 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY, in Rome, Italy – Mario Riva – The popular Italian film actor and TV personality who died in Verona in 1960 after falling from a stage.

Also Adolf Vodicka, from Czechoslovakia, one of the few surviving combatants of the Spanish Civil War, where he fought as part of the International Brigade.

First Balkan War: Ottoman and Bulgarian forces meet at the Battle of Bulair as the Turks make an attempt to relieve Adrionople (Edirne). In the resulting Bulgarian victory around 50% of the Turkish forces are killed.

Society and Culture: John Paul Jones, a US Naval Hero (or rebel “privateer” and terrorist, depending on your point of view) who died in 1792 in Paris, alone and forgotten, and who has spent much of the intervening period buried beneath a laundry in a Paris suburb, finds his final resting place – a marble sarcophagus (modelled on the tomb of Napoleon) in the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, USA.

Colonial unrest: the USS Rainbow shifts her location from Olongapo to Cavite and remains in the Phillippines until 28 March 1913. The US is in the final stages of a 14 year war against insurgents in the Phillippines, which hostilities will end in June this year at the Battle of Bud Bagsak.

19th January 1913 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY – Rudolf Walter Wanderone, Jr., in New York City. As “Minnesota Fats”, a nickname he adopted from a film character allegedly based on him (from “The Hustler”, 1961), Rudy entered the American Billiard Congress Hall of Fame.

Antarctic Exploration: The five surviving mules from the Scott and Oates expedition are shot, after the rescue party reaches the Terra Nova (rescue ship). “The mules had played a vital historical role in the expedition for without them the world may never have known about the fate of Scott and his companions” [British Mule Society  Journal, Spring, 2004].

Another quiet Sunday, unless you happened to be Fats Minnesota’s mum or an unlucky mule in Antarctica…

14th January 1913 (Tuesday)

BORN TODAY – in Evangeline Parish, Louisiana, Luderin Darbone – Cajun-Western swing fiddler for the Hackberry Ramblers. He died in Sulphur, Louisiana in 2008, aged 95.

Also, Walter Liesner, who at the age of 94 years and 268 days (2007)  sets a Guinness world record by becoming the oldest person to perform a back flip into a swimming pool, in Wetzlar, Germany.

First Balkan War: – the London peace conference closes without reaching a successful outcome between the negotiating countries.

The Greek army achieves successes against the Turks (Ottoman Empire) in the early stages of the Battle of Bizani.

Science and technology: John Joseph Rawlings, engineer and building contractor from Richmond, England, is granted a patent (22680/11) for his new invention, the “Rawlplug”, an improved method for fixing objects to masonry walls.

8th January 1913 (Wednesday)

BORN TODAY – Lionel Emmett, who trained as a physician in Calcutta (now Kolkata) and won gold for India at the Berlin Olympics in 1936 as part of the field hockey team.

Exploration: On the 1911-1914 Australasian Antarctic Expedition, in previously unexplored coastal regions, the Swiss ski expert Xavier Mertz dies – possibly from poisoning by excessive vitamin A as result of eating the livers of the expedition’s Greenland Huskies. His sole surviving companion, expedition commander Douglas Mawson eventually makes it back to safety a month later, after what Sir Edmund Hillary would later call “probably the greatest story of lone survival in Polar exploration”.

Natural disasters and events: The Hobart Mercury (Tasmania) reports the arrival in Sydney of the barque “Belfast”, in a damaged state, having been struck by a meteorite. ” On December 15 [1912] … the vessel was going along with all sail set when an intense bluish light streaked over the ship from stern to bow, with a downward direction. This was followed by the foretop gallant mast and main royal yard coming downwith a run. They had been cut right through, but the sails were not damaged.  Directly after the visitation it was found that the ship’s compasses had been affected, and showed a serious difference. Captain Paragon decided to return to Sydney,which port was made mostly by dead reckoning”.

First Balkan War: at the London Peace conference, Serbia gives up its demand for a port on the coast of the Adriatic.

2nd January 1913 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY, in Kent, England – Anna Lee, MBE (aka Joan Boniface Winnifrith) –  screen actress from 1934 to 1989. Hollywood Walk of Fame, 1993.

World Affairs: In the First Balkan War – the Turkish cruiser Hamidiye sinks a Greek transport ship at Syros, also bombarding the island’s harbour. This action causes panic in Athens, and under the pressure of public opinion an order is sent to the Greek fleet, commanding it to “sail immediately in pursuit”.

Law and Order: The New Orleans “Times Democrat” reports “Few Juveniles arrested” in new year celebrations, but identifies one Louis Armstrong  – “a 12 year old negro” as the most serious case – for discharging a revolver on the corner of Rampart and Perdido streets. He is sentenced to serve time in the “Negro waif’s home”, where he subsequently learns to play trumpet.

Science and Technology: Newspaper reports that scientist Mr Carroll Riker of Brooklyn has a plan to melt the Northern Ice Cap by building a 200 mile jetty off Labrador to change the dominant temperature flows in the currents of the North Atlantic. Estimated cost $38million dollars – cheaper and easier than building the Panama Canal (which has been a work  in progress for 31 years but will not yet open for another year and a half).

Human Rights: After 20 years opposing discrimination against Indians in South Africa, English trained barrister Mahatma Ghandi leaves “Tolstoy Farm” where he has lived for several years with a diverse group including Gujaratis, Tamils, Hindus, Christians, Muslims, Parsis and African families.