6th July 1915 (Tuesday)

BORN TODAY:  At the centre of the [Prague] Old Town Square is the Jan Hus statue, erected on the 6th July 1915 to mark the 500th anniversary of the reformer’s death. The groundswell of support for his beliefs during the 14th and 15th centuries led to the Hussite wars”.


History kills. Be careful how you use it… 


22nd April, 1915 (Thursday)

War – from above, from beneath, and from within…


BORN TODAY: in Brno, in Austria-Hungary (now part of the Czech Republic ) – Vilem Goth, Czechoslovakian exile who joined the RAF 310 squadron at Duxford, England, and died in action over Kent fighting for the Allies in 1940 .


The Western Front: At the Second Battle of Ypres, the Germans secure an initial advantage by releasing poison gas onto a favorable wind, which totally surprises French colonial troops – Algerian and Zouaves, with many collapsing and dying while trying to flee. [Burg & Purcell].

War at Sea: In Washington DC, the German Imperial Embassy issues the following public notice addressed to US citizens:


Travellers intending to embark on the Atlantic voyage are reminded that a state of war exists between Germany and her allies and Great Britain and her allies; that the zone of war includes the waters adjacent to the British Isles; that, in accordance with formal notice given by the Imperial German Government, vessels flying the flag of Great Britain, or any of her allies, are liable to destruction in those waters and that travellers sailing in the war zone on the ships of Great Britain or her allies do so at their own risk.


28th February 1915 (Sunday)


~ in Petropolis, Brazil – Sir Peter Brian Medawar, Nobel winning biologist.

~ in Sedlčany, Bohemia, in the Austro-Hungarian empire (later Czechoslovakia, now in the Czech Republic) – Jiri Jaromir Machacek, fighter pilot with the Czech airforce, and later the French airforce, who joined the (British) RAF in 1940. Shot down and lost at sea while flying a spitfire in July 1941, aged 26.



9th October 1914 (Friday)

BORN TODAY: at Vlasim in Bohemia (now in the Czech Republic) – Josef Prihoda, Czech airman who made his way to Poland when the Germans invaded in March 1939, and then to France after they invaded Poland. Eventually, after the French in Algeria also capitulated to the Germans, he made his way to England and joined the (British) Royal Air Force. Lost in combat in March 1943.



Belgium: The mayor of Antwerp surrenders the city to occupying German troops. [Burg & Purcell].


13th June 1914 (Saturday)

BORN TODAY: At Ashton under Lyne, Manchester, England – George Currie, Royal Navy Stoker, First Class, serving on HMS Hood at the age of 26 when it was sunk during the Battle of Denmark Strait. He was not one of the three men who survived.



World Affairs:

~ Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany is spending the weekend  as the guest of  the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, at the Archduke’s  hunting lodge and country estate in Konopischt, Bohemia, in the Austria- Hungarian Empire (now in the Czech Republic). On the agenda is the tenuous balance of power in the Balkan’s in recent years, where  Ottomans, Habsurgs, Russians and Italians have been vying for position.


~ in Paris, Jean Raphaël Adrien René Viviani is appointed the 81st Prime Minister of France by its President, Raymond Poincare


Science and technology: The Bulgarian island of  St. Anastasia in the Black Sea is blessed with a new lighhouse, visible from 10 miles.


18th May 1914 (Monday)


~ in Nové Mesto nad Váhom (“the new town on the River Vah”) in the Austro-Hungarian Empire (later in Czechoslovakia, now in Slovakia) – Stefan Schwarz, survivor of Sachsenhausen and Buchenwald, Professor of Mathematics, and Head of the Mathematical Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences from 1966 until 1987.


~ In Plovdiv, Bulgaria – Boris Christoff, “probably the best known of all Bulgarian opera singers”.


~ in Kishinev in Imperial Russia (now Chișinău, capital of the Republic of  Moldova) – Alla Nikolayevna Bayanova, “Russian romance singer singer sometimes compared with Edith Piaf for her simple yet dramatic style of performance”. [Wikipedia].


Women’s Suffrage: In well-to-do Hampstead, in London – the personal property of Mrs Louisa Thomson Price is auctioned to settle her debts for unpaid taxation. Mrs Price is a member of the Women’s Tax Resistance League, whose motto is ” No taxation without representation”.


15th May 1914 (Friday)

BORN TODAY:  at Lutopecny, near Kroměříž, in the Moravia region of Czechoslovakia – Alois Siska, survivor. “One man’s struggle against Nazi tyranny, the elements and Communism” .


Arms Race: The British First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill visits the the Naval Wing of the Royal Flying Corps in Kent.


Women’s suffrage: In the west of England, the Western Times reports: “Men support suffrage”:

“A meeting under the auspices of the National Union of Women Suffrage Societies and the Conservative and Unionist Women’s Franchise Association was held at the Barnfield Hall, Exeter, Tuesday afternoon. Miss Montgomery, who was announced to preside, was unable to be present… In the evening, at the Barnfield Hail, there was meeting for men only in connection with the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies. It was the first of such meetings promoted by the Southwestern Federation, and though the hall was not full, the attendance was certainly good, and a smack of novelty was lent to the proceedings by the fact that smoking was permitted—a concession, if that description may be used, which those on the platform took full advantage of.”     [Western Times – 15 May 1914]


4th April 1914 (Saturday)

BORN TODAY: in Litomyšl in Czechoslovakia, Zdeněk Kopal, Cambridge, Harvard and Manchester astronomer after whom asteroid 2628 Kopal is named.


Disasters: In St John’s, Newfoundland, the sealing vessel, SS Bellaventure arrives in port with a gruesome cargo of 69 sealers from the vessel SS Newfoundland, who perished while stranded in a North Atlantic blizzard.


Transportation: in the north of England, the 11 mile railway from Carlisle to Port Carlisle, on the Solway Firth sees the final day of its horse drawn railway service. The route was originally (1823) a canal, replaced by horse drawn railway carriages in 1854. In two days from now a steam train service will open, and will run until 1932, when this branch line will permanently close.



22nd March 1914 (Sunday)


~ in the city of Nukha in the south of Imperial Russia (now Shaki in northern Azerbaijan) – Lutfali Amir oglu Abdullayev, Azeri theatre and film actor.


~ in the bilingual city of Oberglogau (variously in Bohemia, Prussia and Poland, now Głogówek in Poland) – Josef Niemietz, highly decorated Hauptfeldwebel (Company Sergeant Major) in the German Wehrmacht.


~ place unknown – John Alexander Elphinstone, prisoner of war in Colditz, and later the 17th Lord Elhpinstone.


~ In Aranmula temple village in Kerala, British India – Aranmula Ponnamma, award winning Malayalam film actress widely known as the mother figure in Malayalam cinema.


Women’s suffrage: In London, the East London Federation of Suffragettes  choose today, Mothering Sunday,  to march from East London to Westminster Abbey to pray for Votes for Women and those on hunger strike.


9th November 1913 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY: In Vienna, Austria – Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler (aka Hedy Lamarr), six times married actress who both lived and played the role (in Gustav Machaty’s film “Extase”) of a neglected young wife married to an older man. (Presumably?) the first woman to be filmed (in 1933) in the throes of full orgasm, allegedly faked by “by the film director’s off-screen manipulation of a safety pin strategically poking her bottom”. [?Hamilton Amateur Radio Club].


You could make it up, but didn’t.

Society and culture: The Kingdom of Bohemia in the Austro-Hungarian Empire (now part of the Czech Republic) gets its first airborne postal service with the arrival of a commercially operated Zeppelin.