16th February 1914 (Monday)

BORN TODAY – In Howard County, Arkansas – James Clarence (“Jimmy”) Wakely, “one of the last singing cowboys”.


Society and culture: In New South Wales, Charles Gilbert Heydon, a Judge at the Industrial Court, rules that a living wage for a family of four should be 48 shillings a week, and that the living wage should be governed by the degree of prosperity of the age.


Science and technology: In the USA, J. C. Carberry and W. R. Taliaferro set a new army altitude record of 8,700 feet.


9th February 1914 (Monday)

BORN TODAY: in Crisp, Texas – Ernest Dale Tubb, the Texas Troubadour.


Law and order: At the Bluecoat school in Bath, England, Gilbert Mullins is awarded a “good conduct certificate”  for “good conduct… and as an earnest that he will learn and labour truly to get his own living, and to do his duty in that state of life unto which it shall please God to call him”. 


Society and culture: New Zealand farmer and diarist, George Adkin, is poorly all day but struggles on with the labours of the farm.


Early flight: in San Diego, California, Lieutenant Henry B. Post of the First Aero Corps, considered one of the most skillful US Army aviators, plunges to his death in San Diego Bay when the right wing of his hydro-aeroplane crumples.


8th February 1914 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY: In Spokane, Washington State – Margaret Virginian Wittman, “Miss Idaho” in the 1933 Miss America beauty pageant, even though she had never lived in Idaho or participated in a state contest. At the centre of a disqualification scandal after a newspaper reveals her (lack of) credentials.


Early Flight: Between Damascus and Jerusalem, in the Ottoman Near East, Turkish Pilot Fethi Bey dies when his Bleriot XI/B aircraft called the “Muavenet-i Milliye” crashes into rocky terrain while he is attempting to fly from Istanbul to Alexandria.


10th January 1914 (Saturday)

BORN TODAY: in Auray, Brittany – Pierre Cogan, French professional cyclist before and after the second world war.


World Affairs:

~ Police authorities in Munich, Germany inform their counterparts in Linz, Austria of the whereabouts of a young man, an artist, who is wanted for failing to register for military service: one Herr Adolf Hitler, born 1889.


~ In the long running Saverne (or Zabern) affair in Alsace Lorraine (then part of Germany, previously and later, part of France), two senior German military officers are acquitted of charges of unlawfully appropriating authority from the civilian police. The Prussian elite and the emperor Wilhelm are jubilant, but “Alsatians and Lorrainers felt themselves more helplessly at the mercy of the arbitrariness of the German military than ever” [Wikipedia].


Speed crazy (science and technology) In Emeryville, California, the “Speed Championship of the World” features a race between a Curtiss biplane and a Simplex racing car.


Natural disasters:

~ Earthquakes begin at the Sakura-jima volcano on the Island of Kyushu in southern Japan. They will increase in frequency and magnitude over the next two days, with the largest  a magnitude of 7.0. In two days time the volcanic eruptions will begin on the west flank of the volcano, closely followed by  an eruption on the eastern flank. Lava flows will continue for roughly a year.


~ In the Arctic, sea ice punctures the wooden hull of the “Karluk” which is carrying scientists, Inuit hunters,  and crewmen. “As the Karluk slowly sank, expedition members removed all remaining supplies and then abandoned ship. [Captain] Bartlett stayed onboard until the last possible moment, playing dozens of records on the ship’s Victrola [phonograph]. At about 3:30 p.m. on 11 January, he placed Chopin’s “Funeral March” on the turntable, stepped onto the ice, and watched the Karluk disappear below the water”. [www.heritage.nf.ca]

Sang froid par excellence…


1st January, 1914 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY – from the union of two separate British Colonies in West Africa – a new nation called Nigeria, named – if the internet is to be believed – by Flora Louise Shaw, originally of 2 Dundas Terrace in Woolwich, England, and later the Colonial Editor of the Times. She first coined the term “Nigeria” in 1897, and five years later she married Sir Frederick Lugard, a colonial administrator who, by a strange quirk of fate, became the Governor-General of Nigeria in 1914.


~ Also born today (or possibly tomorrow?), in Moscow, in the Russian Empire – Noor Inayat Khan, GC, also known as Nora Baker and “Madeleine”, poet and children’s author who became a British SOE operative (spy) and worked as a radio operative with the French resistance. She was arrested in October 1943 and died in the Dachau concentration camp in 1944, aged 30.


Science, technology and travel: In Florida, the St Petersburg to Tampa airboat line becomes the first ever scheduled passenger airline flight, a 23 mile journey, taking 23 minutes. Happy Centenary, public air transport!


Society and culture: In Exeter, in South West England, the Western Times reports on an early legal casualty of the new year celebrations:

A cab-driver named Richard Gill … opened the New Year very badly, for at 2.40 yesterday morning he was found by P.S. Bradford to be drunk while in charge of a cab outside the Victoria Hall where a dance was being held. He was brought up at the Police Court yesterday before Mr. Tom Linscott, and was fined 5s. P.S. Bradford and P.C, Weeks giving evidence. Defendant, who, was said, was very troublesome, maintained that he was quite fit to drive, although he had been treated by several “fares” during the evening. [Western Times – 2 January 1914].


Health and safety: Meanwhile the Kilmore Free Press in Victoria, Australia, reports on the antiseptic cleaning  properties of petrol for use in accidents (“petrol good for wounds”), taking care to point out however that “its one great disadvantage is that it is so inflammable, and unless operations or application can be made away from a fire its use is contra-indicated”.


17th December 1913 (Wednesday)

BORN TODAY: in San Diego, California – Burton “Butch” Baskin, co-founder of the ice-cream empire, Baskin-Robbins, and midwife to the American fast food franchising business.


World Affairs: Under the terms of the Treaty of London, signed in May, the Protocol of Florence delineates the boundaries of the newly independent state of Albania, “permanently” denying Serbia access to the Adriatic coastline (at least until it later “merged” with Montenegro) and ceding the Greek region of Northern Epirus to Albania,


Early flight – Today is the tenth anniversary of the Wright Brothers’ first successful flights, in the Kill Devil Hills of North Carolina.


24th November 1913 (Monday)

BORN TODAY: in Greystones, County Wicklow, in British Ireland (now the Republic of Ireland) – Geraldine Fitzgerald, Irish theatre actress (Dublin, 1932) and London film actress (Twickenham, 1934-1937), Broadway theatre actress (1938) and award winning Hollywood star by 1939.


Early Flight: In San Diego, California – two young US army officers die when their airship crashes to the ground from a height of 80 feet.


Sales and marketing: In Ithaca, New York, the Modern Method Laundry is experimenting with some modern advertising:  “If we were not pretty good, we would not be as large” (Eat your heart out, Madison Avenue).


Society and Culture: At Blundells school in the West of England, 18 year old Lionel Harding from Westward Ho! in North Devon applies to join the Woolwich Military Academy.  In a little over 18 months from now, he will be posted to France (15th June, 1915), injured multiple times the following day and die two days later from  his injuries, never to reach 20 years old.