BORN TODAY: in Perth, Western Australia – George Le Couteur, wool broker.
Nostalgia – 100 years ago today
In England, the Guardian newspaper waxes nostalgic for the rustic pleasures of early autumn:
“The luxuriance of early autumn is seen in the open wood not less than in the orchard. Leaves of the horse chestnut and the sycamore litter the ground, but the beech and the oak are beautifully green. There is a great show of acorns this year; they will be very useful for the cottagers and young porkers. Most of the gleanings, or leasings, as some country folk call them, will probably be used for mixing with the strong bitter fruit of the oak. Of old they used, after gathering the corn, a long and slow process, to take aprons full across to a watermill worked by a stream – where the fishing is as good as ever; but the mill has gone, steam and steel have captured all: the millstone stands upright against a worn beam of the wall, and the water-rat comes up to stroke his whiskers on its edges. Bread from leased corn always had a fuller, sweeter flavour than you get now from the finely dressed flour. Only “pollard” for the June calf and “sharps” for the trough were taken out of the ground corn, then, worked up with barm, baked and kept on a dairy shelf, it cut as ripe and sweet as a russet apple. Now we rub or beat the grain out for the fowls, and they enjoy it finely until the more masterful ducks come up and simply hustle them about the yard. Geese and ducks have no respect for the proper amenities of farmyard life” [The Guardian: A Country Diary, published 4th September 1915].
Nostalgia’s just not what it used to be…
BORN TODAY: in Washington DC – Norman Foster Ramsey Jr, US physicist.
The (British) Home Front: The hop growers of Worcestershire are facing a serious labour shortage because inceasing numbers of men are at war and women and girls are being attracted away to better pay in munitions factories.
BORN TODAY: in Copenhagen – Anna Rachel Rastén, the Danish singer better known as Raquel Rastenni.
MODERN AGRICULTURE: In California, the Pacific Rural Press reports on a Texan farmer’s recent success in breeding “Cattelo”, a hybrid cattle and buffalo stock.
Gallipoli: In what will prove to be the last major offensive in the Gallipoli campaign, a force of New Zealand, Ghurka and (later) Australian troops launches the attack on “Hill 60”.
Armenian expulsions: Harrowing stories continue to emerge about the forced mass expulsion of Armenians through and out of Anatolia.
BORN TODAY: in Vilnius (in the Russian Empire, but occupied at the time by Germany) – Harold Pupkewitz, Lithuanian emigre and Namibian businessman.
Society and culture: at Penantigi Uchaf, Dinas Mawddwy in North Wales, today is a sheep-shearing day.
Midsummer on the home front…
On the English home front: at Maidstone barracks, in Kent, a concert raises funds for wounded servicemen.
On the Scottish home front: the SS Carisbrook, a British merchant steamer carrying wheat from Montreal, Canada, to Leith in Scotland, is captured and sunk by German submarine U-38 off the north east coast of Scotland.
On the Alsatian home front: the town of Metzeral in Alsace (formerly and more recently in France) is destroyed at the end of six days of intense fighting.
Gallipoli: Australian soldier Herbert Reynolds from Victoria records in his diary one of war’s quieter days, for him at least:
“A T.B.Destroyer went in close to Kaba Tepe this morning and shelled the enemy tranches from a while, she returned again this afternoon and shelled the enemy away inland, on this occasion the enemy fired at her with their field gun from behind Kaba Tepe but did not succeed in hitting her. I managed to buy 3 tins of milk one shilling each from some sailors on the beach, we get very little here other than our rations which are bully beef, biscuits, cheese and bacon, so anything is very welcome as change. The sea has been rather rough today. At about 11pm some of us sat and watched heavy action down at Cape Helles from the top of the ridge above our camp, the flash of guns and explosion of the shells proved that the artillery on both sides was very heavily engaged and the start shells and flares illuminated the whole ridge from Achi Baba to the Cape”.
[Australian War Memorial blog – the diary of H.V. Reynolds]
Strike! The Chicago Livestock World (“The world’s greatest farm newspaper”) reports the “Street Car Men on Strike”
“The general strike order for all union employes of the surface and elevated railway lines in Chicago became effective at I2 o’clock last night. Since 4 o’clock this morning not a wheel has turned on the 1200 miles of elevated and surface tracks within the city limits. The decision to make the strike order effective was reached shortly before midnight after a day spent by the officers of the unions and officials of the railway companies ln a vain exchange of notes and parleys looking to arbitration. Half a million men and women, upon business bent, found themselves without their usual means of transportation this morning.”
BORN TODAY: on the island of Sandøy in Norway – Oddmund Myklebust, Norwegian fisherman and politician.
Society and culture: Speaking at a reception in Madras in British India [now Chennai in India] Ghandi praises the Madrassis for their fortitude during the long civil disobedience campaign in South Africa:
“It was the Madrassis who of all the Indians were singled out by the great Divinity that rules over us for this great work. Do you know that in the great city of Johannesburg, the Madarasis look on a Madrasis as dishonored if he has not passed through the jails once or twice during this terrible crisis that your countrymen in South Africa went through during these eight long years?”
Western Front: the second Battle of Ypres commences in Belgium.
BORN TODAY: at Miedzybrodzie, Cracow, Austria-Hungary (now in Poland) – Józef Karol Czulak: Cavalry Officer in Poland; prisoner of war in Romania; fugitive in Yugoslavia; resistance fighter in Italy and France; exile in England; Army Captain in Scotland; liberator in France; undergraduate and research bacteriologist in England; and migrant and cheese scientist in Australia, where he won the Australian Society of Dairy Technology’s gold medal in 1960.
War from the air: French Pilot “Roland Garros is forced down behind German lines and taken prisoner. His plane is recovered intact by the Germans, which results in a technological leap forward for aerial warfare.”
BORN TODAY: The Australian 4th Light Horse Brigade: “Shipped to Egypt without horses where it was broken up 26 August 1915″. [http://www.diggerhistory.info/].
Counting chickens: The Allied “Triple Entente” nations – Russia, France and Britain – begin secret talks on how to divide up the lands of the Ottoman Empire (The “Constantinople Agreement”, agreed two weeks from today on 18th March 1915). In the event, the agreement is never implemented because: firstly, the British and French campaign in the Dardanelles fails; and secondly, the Russian empire collapses (temporarily at least) with the Bolshevik revolution in 1917, which takes Russia out the war (and the subsequent peace) completely.
In the Dardanelles: HMS Agamemnon spends the day with its 9.2 inch Mk XI guns trained relentlessly on the Turkish forts at Sedd el Bahr (“Walls of the Sea”).
Across Turkey’s north west frontier, in Bulgaria (its recent foe in the second Balkan War): The Bulgarian Armenian Committee telegraphs to London confirming a force of 20.000 Armenian Volunteers who want to fight against the Turks and await British assistance to assist them to Iskenderun province (the ancient greek city of Alexandretta on the borders of Turkey and what is now Syria).
Life on the land: In Connecticut, USA – farmer Frank Seger records his day in his diary:
“8 Above” [that is, 8 Fahreneit – well below freezing]
“Clear & cold as Hell and Damnation. Began to warm up after noon. Heman took the milk. Lewis dug load of dirt down in the little meadow for box stall was 8 inches of frost. Cleaned out barn to load of munare [sic] up to Comestocks. Boys cut some stalks. I went up and helped Rubin Wolf saw down trees.”