22nd January, 1914 (Thursday)


~ in Bà Rịa, in French Indochina (now in Bà Rịa–Vũng Tàu province in South East Vietnam) – Jacques Nguyễn Văn Mầu, Vietnamese bishop of the Roman Catholic church. Died 31 January 2013, aged 99 years.

~ In Phnom Penh, in French Indochina (now in Cambodia) – Prince Sisowath Sirik Matak, a member of the Cambodian Royal Family, who renounced his royal title after helping to bring about a right wing coup d’etat in 1970, but retained his military uniform and his swagger stick.

~ in Aurangabad, Maharastra in British India – Sikandar Ali Wajd, urdu poet. civil servant, judge, parliamentarian and President of Anjuman Taraqqī-ē-Urdū, an organisation dedicated to promotion of urdu language and literature and Indian muslim cultural heritage.

~ In Wyndham, Southland, South Island, New Zealand – Ronald James McLean, saviour of Lake Manapouri.






9th July 1913 (Wednesday)

BORN TODAY: At Kenardington in Kent, UK – Charlie Bridger, quarryman son of a farm labourer from a musical lineage. British folk music revivalist in the 1980s. (“Three maidens a-milking did go“)

World Affairs: China signs a treaty with Russia relinquishing its claims to Mongolia.

Second Balkan War: Serbian forces defeat a Bulgarian army at the Battle of Bregalnica (now part of  Macedonia).

Crime and Punishment: In the UK, Thomas Fletcher, jilted lover, is hanged at Worcester Gaol by Thomas Pierrepoint for the murder of his former fiance, Lilian (Lily) Wharton.

Royal Lancastrian Progress: On the third day of their royal tour, King George V and Queen Mary visit Accrington, Bacup, Shawforth, Whitworth, and also Rochdale, where they are treated to the opening recital of the new James J Binn’s organ which is the centrepiece of the Rochdale town Hall. The recital is performed by Herbert Walton, the organist of Glasgow cathedral.

Science and Technology: in Maadi, by the Nile, (now a suburb of Cairo) American Frank Shuman demonstrates his new invention – the solar panel power plant.

27th June 1913 (Friday)

BORN TODAY: In Philadelphia, PA – William Joseph (“Willie”) Mosconi – 15 times World Billiards Champion, 1941-1957.

Society and Labour Relations: In the UK, the newspaper the “Western Gazette” reports how the agricultural workers  of East Chinnock in Somerset, egged on by the local grocer (manager of the local Co-operative Society) are threatening to strike “in a district of dairy farms [and] where the hay harvest has barely commenced”. The men’s demands include: 18 shillings per week cash, plus cider; and 4 pence per hour for overtime after 6.pm and on Sundays. (A total of perhaps a little over one British Pound for a long labouring week  – hence the need for the cider).

Science: Philip Lutley Sclater FRS, FRGS, FZS., FLS dies today, aged 83. Lawyer and famous naturalist who, among many other achivements, managed to have no less than seven of god’s creatures named after him: Sclater’s lemur (Eulemer flavifrons); Sclater’s Monal (Lopophorus sclateri); the erect-crested penguin (Eudyptes sclateri); the Ecuadorian Cacique (Cacicus sclateri); the dusky-billet parrotlet (Psittacula sclateri); the Mexican chickadee (Poecile sclateri); and the Bay-vented cotinga  (Doliornis sclateri).

[A monal – by the way, for the non-ornithologists among us – is apparently a member of the pheasant family, and a cotinga is a bird of the central and south american tropical forest].

Mr Sclater may not make it into the history books but for certain he will make it into the zoology books for many years to come.

24th June 1913 (Tuesday)

BORN TODAY: In “Royal Berkshire” in the UK, John Banks, the son of a blacksmith, who finding demand for blacksmiths declining, moved to Wyld Court in Hampstead Norreys (still in Berkshire), where for forty years he looked after the orchids of Sir William Cooke and his daughter, Betty Garton. The orchid Zygopetalum John Banks is named in his honour.

Disasters and accidents: In Buffalo, New York, a grain elevator explodes, killing 17 men.

Law and Order: In Dorchester, Dorset, UK – William Walter Burton is hanged by the famous professional hangman Thomas Pierrepoint for the crime of murder.

10th June 1913 (Tuesday)

BORN TODAY: in Shirley, Southampton, England – Dr Edward Abraham, CBE, FRS – antibiotics pioneer who developed cephalosporin, an antibiotic capable of destroying penicillin resistant bacteria.

Labour Relations: At the Wheal Martin China Clay quarry in South West England, employers are sent a union demand for a minimum wage of 25 shillings per week or a strike is threatened.

Women’s suffrage: In Newcastle, UK a bomb explodes in the Barras Bridge Post Office.

Transportation: Marcel Beindejone des Moulinais wins the Pommeroy Cup  for the longest flight between sunrise and sunset, covering a distance of 900 miles.

Society and culture: The Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens are established on the Kirstenbosch estate  near Cape Town.

5th June 1913 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY: in Rijeka on the Kvarner in Austria-Hungary (now Croatia) – Guido Nonveiller, Croatian entomologist. Officer in the International Brigade in the Spanish Civil War, captured by Franco’s forces, later a member of the French Resistance movement during WW2. Founder and director of the Federal Institute for Plant Protection in Yugoslavia, then a plant protection officer in Tunisia and,  later still, Cameroon. Prolific author in German, French, English, Spanish, Italian and Serbo-Croat.

Arms Race: at the Swan Hunter and Wigham Richardson shipyard in Wallsend, UK – the British Royal Navy launches the destroyer HMS Sarpedon (later Laertes). 

Society and Culture: In London, the Ambassadors Theatre opens for the business of pleasure.

At London’s Albert Hall, a Grand Gala Ball is held as a charity benefit in aid of the The Incorporated Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Help Society. The theme for the evening is the “Procession of Courts”, a lavish costume event where each “court” occupies a separate section of the hall and is hosted by a high society hostess. For example: The “Court of France” is organised by Lady Paget; “Portugal” by the Marchioness of Donegal; “Turkey” by the Countess Fitzwilliam; “Holy Roman Empire” by the Countess of Drogheda; and so on. A romantic evocation of a civilised and harmonious Europe which – if it ever existed – has slipped quietly away somewhere in the late nineteenth century.

In Robeson County, North Carolina, Pembroke Mayor McInnis reports that Town Council have made it clear that the new Railroad Station must have THREE waiting rooms in order to accommodate the three races in Pembroke: “the White, the Negro and the Cherokee Indian”, observing of the Cherokee that “there are some of the Indians who are very nice and good people and there is a large majority of them who are otherwise”. [http://www.learnnc.org/]

Science and technology: The journal “Nature” reports on the recent work of the (US) Eugenics Record Office, including a “series of quarto memoirs, beautifully printed at the expense of Mr. Rockefeller” which includes a study of the “Hill Folk” of New England. Recording that 700 individuals had descended from 2 individuals it comments that “Feeblemindedness, alcoholism and the evils which spring from each or both in combination are terribly prevalent among them, and their distribution within the families is clearly shown in the extensive pedigree charts which embellish the memoir”.

(The Eugenics Record Office in New York State was opened in 1910. Over the years it advocated laws that led to forced sterilisation before it was eventually closed in 1944).

3rd June 1913 (Tuesday)

BORN TODAY:  in South Devon, England – Brixham Bowling Club: strictly men only – the ladies will have to wait until 1952 before they can join.

Society and culture: Mirza Ghulam Samdani is awarded the Indian Title Badge, third class (muslim type). According to the (UK) National Army Museum web-site:

“Indian Title Badges were announced at the Delhi Durbar in 1911 and first issued in 1912. The badges were awarded in three classes to civilians and Viceroy’s Commissioned Officers of the Indian Army for faithful service or acts of public welfare. Recipients proceeded from the lowest class to a higher one, and each was accompanied by a distinctive title, inscribed upon the badge, differing according to whether the recipient was a Muslim, Hindu or Sikh.

Thus 1st Class holders received the title: Diwan Bahadur (Muslim) or Sardar Bahadur (Hindu or Sikh); 2nd Class holders, Khan Bahadur (Muslim) or Rao Bahadur (Hindu or Sikh) and recipients of the 3rd Class, Khan Sahib (Muslim), Rao Sahib (Hindu or Sikh) or Sardar Sahib (Sikhs only)”.

[National Army Museum – http://www.nam.ac.uk/ ].

Women’s suffrage: Emily Wilding Davison and a friend decide to attend tomorrow’s famous Derby horse-race and disupt the race by waving the WSPU colours in front of the racing horses.

Oysters: An ornithologist captures and then releases the last confirmed Canary Island Oystercatcher Haematopus meadewaldoi, since believed to be extinct.  Meanwhile Mr and Mrs Igor Stravinsky eat oysters for dinner and then fall ill with typhus for a month.

10th May 1913 (Saturday)

BORN TODAY – in Keighley, West Yorkshire, England – “The Picture House” – the town’s first purpose built cinema.

World Affairs: War from the air reaches the Western Hemisphere when a French aviator drops pipe bombs on to Mexican shipping, including a gunboat.

After being rejected for a place at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, followed by several years of poverty and misery on the streets and in poor homes, 24 year old Adolf Hitler leaves Vienna in search of a better life in Munich (and to avoid mandatory military service in the Austrian Army). Later he will write in Mein Kampf: “I owe it to that period that I grew hard and am still capable of being hard.”

Science, technology and society: In Grafton, New South Wales, the Clarence and Richmond Examiner reports Sir Rider Haggard’s comments: “…one of the greatest evils which is going on in Australia today is the destruction of the magnificent timber in which it was once so rich”.

12th April 1913 (Saturday)

BORN TODAY, in Tokyo, Japan – Keiko Fukuda, the highest ranked female judo practitioner in history and until two months ago the sole surviving student of the founder of Judo. At 99 she was still teaching her art in the San Francisco Bay area, where she emigrated after first visiting in the 1950s and 1960s.  She died just two months ago, aged 99 and 10 months.

Obituary:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/9868578/Keiko-Fukuda.html

World Affairs/ Second Balkan War At a conference in St Petersburg dealing with the outcomes of the First Balkan War, Austria Hungary, Italy and Germany fail to obtain agreement (concessions) from Bulgaria for Rumania over the Silistra region on the Black Sea coast.

Arms Race: In Wellington, New Zealand, the battlecruiser “HMS New Zealand” starts a ten week tour during which around half a million New Zealanders will inspect their gift to the mother country. With 26 guns and 800 crew, the New Zealand will earn a reputation as a a “lucky” ship when it escapes significant damage or casualties at the Battle of Jutland in 1916. Some will attribute this to the Maori kilt and pendant which the captain wears during the battle.

Accidents and disasters: in the Wairarapa district of New Zealand an earthquake shakes the town. Te Hone Ngawhiro is struck by a piece of falling concrete as he flees from a local post office and is killed instantly.

Society and culture: In Britain, the weekly magazine “New Statesman” is founded by Sidney and Beatrice Webb. HAPPY CENTENARY!

Also founded today: The British Ecological Society, the first organisation of its kind in history – founded by 47 people invited by the British Vegetation Committee. HAPPY CENTENARY!

In California, the City of San Marino was incorporated. HAPPY CENTENARY!

3rd April 1913 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY, in a fjord fractured unpronounceable county in mid-Norway – Per Borten, agriculturalist and later the down to earth Prime Minister of Norway from 1965 to 1971.

Women’s suffrage: British suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst is found guilty in a London court of incitement to arson in the bombing of the country home of David Lloyd George, Chancellor of the Exchequer.  She is sentenced to three years in prison.

Meantime, in Manchester, UK, Evelyn Manesta, Annie Briggs and Lillian Forester attack pictures in the Manchester Art Gallery.

Arms Race: The German Zeppelin LZ-16 accidentally crosses the French border and makes an emergency landing in Lunéville.  The French detain the airship and its crew for one day, making detailed drawings and investigations of its workings.  The affair raises tensions on both sides.

In Glasgow, at the William Beardmore shipyard, HMS Inconstant, an Arethusa class light destroyer is laid down for the UK Royal Navy.

Science and technology: J.B. Watson launches Behavioural Psychology on an unsuspecting world with his lecture at Columbia University: “Image and affection in behaviour”.

Exploration: Alexander Wollaston brings to a close his expedition (“The second english south New Guinea expedition”) after he capsizes his canoe and loses most of his equipment and his diary, but not his collection. He intends to return to New Guinea but the First World War will prevent him from returning. On 3rd June1934 he will be shot dead in his college rooms by one his Cambridge students.

The Dismal science: John Maynard Keynes takes a seat on the Royal (British) Commission to enquire into (Indian) Finance and Currency.

Society and Culture: the first block of land is sold in Leeton, in the newly irrigated rice-growing Riverina district of New South Wales.

Transportation: Nova Lima, in the Minas Gerais State in central South Eastern Brazil, opens its electic tramway system.

Shipping accidents: the trawler “Dauntless” out of Hull, England is posted missing after failing to arrive back from a five week trip to the Icelandic fishing grounds. 12 crewmen are lost.