31st August 1915 (Tuesday)


DIED TODAY: Europe’s first ever parachutist (in 1913), Adolphe Celestin Pegoud – shot down by his former student, Unteroffizier Kandulski.


BORN TODAY: Hauptmann Adolf Vogt of the German Wehrmacht, Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross .


An update from Cairo:  Intelligence officer T.E. Lawrence writes home to his family:  he has heard that the weather in Britain has been terrible; he sends a request for a book search for him at Blackwell’s bookshop; and, today being his mother’s birthday, he speculates that “For the next one there will probably be peace”. 


18th June 1914 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY: The Victorian [that is, the South Australian] Croquet Association. Centenary celebrations  “will start with cutting the birthday cake at the AGM on 17th June 2014, followed by a luncheon at the opening of the Croquet Victoria season, on 6th August 2014”. [Croquet Victoria – “Advancing Croquet in Victoria”].


Accidents: At Carr Bridge, Inverness, Scotland – flooding causes a bridge to collapse, and a derailment and fall from a height for a Highland Railways train. Five drown and ten are injured.


Early flight: At the International Airplane Safety Competition in France, US inventor Lawrence Burst Sperry demonstates his new three-way gyrostabilizer (autopilot) by having himself and his engineer stand on the wings of the aircraft with the pilot’s seat empty, during a flypast.  There are claims that in 1916 he used his new invention to become the founding member of the “mile-high club”. [Wikipedia]. What is more certain is that his last flight took place on 23rd December, at the age of 31, when his craft was lost in, and his body later recovered from, the English Channel/ La Manche.







23rd May 1914 (Saturday)

BORN TODAY: Les Watkins and Daaf Drok – footballers: Australian Rules and Dutch world cup team respectively.



Ireland: The British “Spectator”  magazine reports a debate in the House of Commons last Wednesday, under the heading “The Irish Financial Debate”. The article highlights that the Irish are pressing for home rule but seem to be expecting that the bills will somehow be paid by the (rest) of the British.  We hear passionate protests that Ireland must be free, independent of English control, and allowed to shape her own destiny in her own way. When, however, we get down to the facts we find that all this talk is governed by the master-consideration— ‘provided that she is handsomely paid by England and Scotland for doing so… What is yours is ours, and what is ours is our own.’ “


Migrationthe steamship Komagata Maru (“normally used for transporting coal”) arrives in Vancouver, carrying 376 Indian Sikhs who claim rights of entry as citizens of the British Empire.  DENIED, and sent back to India. “Upon return the majority was labelled as anti-British and killed by the British colonial government”. [www.http://socialhistory.org/ ]



Society and culture: At the “Whiteways” Freemason’s Lodge, in St John’s Newfoundland, Eric Stanley Ayre (25) of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment is initiated into the mysteries of Freemasonry. In just over three years from now he will be killed on active military service.


Accidents: Pioneer aviator Gustav Hamel disappears over the English Channel/ French La Manche while flying a Morane-Saulnier monoplane.


Arms Race: The Imperial Russian Military-Technical Administration places an order with the Russo-Balt Factory for the delivery of ten aircraft at a cost of 150,000 rubles apiece. 






9th April, 1914 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY: in Vyshny Volochyok, in Imperial Russia – Boris Sergeyevich Sokolov, geologist and paleontologist.


World Affairs: Off the West Coast of Mexico the world experiences its first ever air/ naval skirmish as opposing forces in the Mexican revolution confront each other: A biplane representing the constitutionalist forces, flown by a pilot trained in the USA,  drops bombs on gunboats of the Huertista regime.  All the bombs miss, and the blockade continues.


On the same day, in what will become known as the “Tampico incident”,  “a paymaster of the U.S.S. Dolphin [lands] at the Iturbide Bridge landing at Tampico [Mexico] with a whaleboat and boats’ crew to take off certain supplies needed by his ship , and while engaged in loading the boat [is] arrested by an officer and squad of men of the army of General Huerta”. US President Wilson becomes involved in subsequent remonstrations with the Mexican government, requesting permission from the US Congress [on April 20th] to use US troops if necessary ” to obtain from General Huerta and adherents the fullest recognition of the rights and dignity of the United States”. 







27th March 1914 (Friday)

BORN TODAY: In Litherland, Lancashire – Squadron Leader William Hubert Rigby ‘Nits’ Whitty DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross).


~Also, in Siam (Thailand) – The Siam Army Air Corps, later to be renamed the Royal Thai Air Force.


Science and technology: In Belgium, Doctor Albert Hustin conducts the first successful non-direct blood transfusion, using a combination of (not so new) anti-coagulant technology (sodium citrate ) and refrigeration.


19th March, 1914 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY: in Hamilton County, Florida – Berne Davis, “Fort Myers Arts Matron”. Happy Centenary Ma’am!


World Affairs and global finance: The Anglo-Persian and Royal Dutch Shell oil companies sign an agreement with the Armenian millionaire Calouste Gulbenkian (“Mr five per cent”) who is a major shareholder in the Turkish National Bank (British controlled), in an attempt to secure exclusive oil rights in Mesopotamia (now Iraq).


Death in Venice:  a ferry boat (vaporetto) carrying around 50 passengers collides with a naval ship because the crew are busy watching the new marvels of a seaplane circling overhead. 14 die in the accident.


Food and agriculture: New Zealand farmer and diarist George Adkin spends a busy day with his raddle.


Extreme weather:  Torrential rain hits north London, causing sewers to overflow. Rainwater floods down Highbury Hill pushing mud against the west terrace boundary wall of the Arsenal football club, opened just six months ago. The wall is unable to take the pressure and begins listing in towards the terracing.


1st March 1914 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY: in Haden, Queensland – Marjorie May (Madge)  Bratby (later Gormley), nine times Australian buckjumping champion and by 1950 the only woman in the Queensland Wild West Stampede Rodeo.


Arms Race: The first ever military flight in Australia takes place at Point Cook in Victoria. Happy Centenary, Point Cook Air Base!


Extreme Weather:  New York records its lowest ever pressure reading (at that time) – down to 961mb, with 16 inches of snow, 84 mile per hour winds and a temperatures as low as -9 celsius.