10th September, 1915 (Friday)

BORN TODAY: in New York City – Edmond O’Brien, actor.


Local journalism, 100 years ago today:  in England, the Western Times provides its readers with an update:

“Cycle accident     – On enquiry at the Royal Devon and Hospital last evening we were informed that the youth, Albert Madge, who met with a  serious accident on Wednesday through colliding, while cycling, with a taxi-cab in Queen-street, Exeter, had passed  a comfortable day.”



Crime and punishment: At the Tower of London, at 6.00AM, Ernst Waldemar Melin, a Swedish national, is executed by firing squad for the crime of spying on behalf of the German government.


25th August 1915 (Wednesday)

Modern Life: In Exeter, in England’s west country, the local paper reports that 72 year old Mr Charles Steele has been fined 10 shillings at the Police Court for leaving his motor car unattended in Queen street for nearly an hour… thereby causing an obstruction. His plea that he was engaged on important business appears to have made no impression on the local magistrates.  [Western Times].


10th April 1915 (Saturday)

BORN  TODAY: in Detroit, Michigan – Harry Bratsburg, better known as Harry Morgan, and better still as Colonel Sherman Tecumseh Potter, M.D.



Crime and Punishment: In England, the “Hertfordshire Mercury” reports on four boys aged 9 to 12 who have been apprehended for burglary, who are sentenced at Cheshunt Petty Sessions to “receive six strokes each with the birch rod”.



Western Front: Major-General Ilse, Chief of Staff of German 4th Army, is summoned to Supreme Headquarters at Charleville-Mézières for a meeting with General von Falkenhayn, where he is informed that the trial of the gas cloud is now urgent and should be carried out as quickly as possible.


In the Aegean: The harbour at Moudros, on the Greek Island of Lemnos, temporarily commandeered by the British, is becoming congested with warships bringing troops to the impending land attack on the  Dardanelles.



3rd February 1915 (Wednesday)


~ in Sarajevo, then in the condominium of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the Austria-Hungarian Empire (now the capital of independent Bosnia Herzegovina) – Danilo Ilic, a member of the “black hand” secret society who recruited Gavrillo Princip, is executed (along with two others) for his part in the assassination of Archduke Franz-Ferdinand in the summer of 1914.


In Malawi, the Reverend John Chilembwe, “freedom fighter”, is shot dead by colonial police forces while allegedly resisting arrest for his part in a recent attack on, and murder of, several European settlers. “Chilembwe led the uprising in early January fighting for freedom from social injustices faced by his countrymen, and was killed at noon [on] 3rd February 1915” [The Maravi Post].




In the Middle East: British and Egyptian troops, including a British naval contingent, defeat the long expected Turkish attack on the Suez Canal. The German advisers to the Turkish forces begin to realise that their hopes of an Islamic uprising against British power in Egypt and India are misplaced, with evidence before and after the attack that the local Arab forces show no particular loyalty or botherhood with their Turkish masters, and that the Egyptian forces will not easily be turned against their colonial masters  [Scott Anderson: “Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East” ].




23rd January 1915 (Saturday)

BORN TODAY: in St Lucia, in the British Windward Islands (now a sovereign independent state) – Sir (William) Arthur Lewis, Nobel Prize winner for Economics who specialised in the economics of development.


War at Sea:

The German submarine SM-U21 sinks three British merchant vessels in the Irish Sea.


Colonial Unrest:

in Magomero in British Nyasaland (now Malawi), John Chilembwe, a US educated Baptist pastor and educator, and supporter of the new creed of “Ethiopianism”, leads an anti-european attack on the estate of William Jervis Livingstone, himself the son of a Baptist Minister.

William Jervis Livingstone was murdered and beheaded in front of his wife, small daughter Nyasa (5 years old) and infant baby Alastair then only 6 months old; two other European employees were also murdered – Duncan MacCormick from the Isle of Lismore (like William), and Robert Ferguson. Three Africans were also killed by the rebels, and European-run mission was set on fire and a missionary was severely wounded. All the dead and injured were men, as Chilembwe had ordered that women should not be harmed. In wholly unchristian act, on 24 January, a Sunday, Chilembwe conducted a service in the Providence Industrial Mission church next to a pole where Livingstone’s head was impaled – a macabre and gruesome incident in the extreme – especially where a man of the church was instrumental in its implementation” [Wikipedia]

John Chilembwe Day is observed annually on January 15 in Malawi.


Rural Unrest:

In Hertford, England – Herbert Wright and Samuel Playle are found guilty of poaching on land belonging to Lord Desborough and each fined 10 shillings. An expensive pheasant.


3rd January 1915 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY: in Germany, Erika Bergman – Nazi slave labour camp overseer.



The Dardanelles: Having considered the options for supporting Russia by an attack threatening Constantinople, the British Foreign Office sends a message to Tsar Nicholas assuring him that there will be some form of Britsh attack against Turkey. [Burg & Purcell].

In the Caucasus: As the figthing between Russia and Turkey at the Battle of Sarikamish comes to a close, the  “legend of ‘Armenian treachery’ ” is born, supporting the turkish government’s determination to “remove all traces of the Armenian population from the empire”.


From the Eastern Front, come disturbing stories that the German army has used gas for the first time as a weapon of war.


18th December 1914 (Friday)

BORN TODAY: in Liberty Hill, Texas – Connie Curtis (“Pee Wee”) Crayton, blues guitarist and singer.



In the Middle East: In Cairo, which is still nominally a Turkish Province, but increasingly being filled with Australian soldiers (whose behaviour is shocking the muslim community), the British authorities declare Egypt a “protectorate”, in preparation for an expected Turkish attack across the Suez Canal.




Crime: – in Islington, London, “Brides in the Bath” murderer George Joseph Smith (alias Oliver George Love, Charles Oliver James, Henry Williams and John Lloyd) “finds” his third wife dead in the bath just a few hours after she has made a will in his favour.


28th November 1914 (Saturday)

BORN TODAY: in Springhill, Nova Scotia – Arthur James Cochran Wilson, Canadian crystallographer.



Global finance: After a four month closure, the New York Stock Exchange re-opens for bond trading, but not yet for buying and selling equities.


Society and culture: In response to recent complaints from cinema go-ers in London’s Holloway district, the local police station sends an undercover officer to observe behaviour at the “Rink” cinema in Finsbury Park. [“Khaki Fever Moral Panic: Female spectators and women police at the Finsbury Park Rink cinema, London, 1913-1919”, by Alex Rock].


27th November 1914 (Friday)

BORN TODAY: in Neu-Ulm, Bavaria – Gustav Knittel, many time decorated Nazi Party Sturmbannführer and convicted war criminal. [Wikipedia]



Society and culture: In Grantham in England, Mrs Edith Smith becomes Britain’s first ever police woman “called in by Lincolnshire’s Chief Constable to help deal with the upsurge in prostitution in the area because huge numbers of new army recruits were billeted there for training. Such was the seriousness of the problem that the Town Council and local Watch Committee were persuaded by the Chief Constable to allow her to be sworn in with full powers of arrest”.


13th November 1914 (Friday)

BORN TODAY: in Fulham, London – Leonard Appelbee, painter.



~ At Khenifra in the Atlas Mountains, in the French “Protectorate” of Morocco around 5000 tribesmen from the Zayanes confederation (of Berber tribes) clash with French colonial forces at the Battle of El Herri. Over 800 men die, around 75% from the French forces. The Zayan war will continue until 1921.


~ In Ploegsteert Wood in Flanders, Belgium (“Plugstreet”), it rains hard all day. The mud is 3feet deep, and movement is “difficult”.


~ The New York Times reports that the Turkish Armenians are now “in armed revolt” and “see day of deliverance” (ie from Turkish rule) by being “ready to join Russian invaders”.

Click to access turkisharmeniansinarmedrevolt.pdf


In Dublin, businessman Martin Fitzgerald is charged with driving at speeds in excess of 30 miles per hour. He describes the charge as ‘absurd’, but is convicted of driving ‘at a speed dangerous to the public’, and fined 40 shillings.