23rd October 1913 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY: in Portland, Oregon – Arthur Ruitian Chen, US aviator of Chinese and Peruvian descent who joined the Guangdong Provincial Air Force in 1932, completed further flight training in Munich, Bavaria, Germany with the Luftwaffe before returning to China to fight the Japanese between 1937 and 1945. discharged from the Chinese air force in 1945 so that he could join the United States Army Air Forces.  After his death in 1997, posthumously inducted into the Hall of Fame of the American Airpower Heritage Museum in Midland, Texas, United States and now recognised as the first American ace of World War 2.


Accidents: Manchester, Connecticut suffers its largest ever fire when local school buildings housing 1000 teachers and pupils are destroyed in an afternoon fire. “Because of the insistence of School Superintendent Fred A. Verplanck in conducting routine fire drills, all students and teachers escaped the burning building without loss of life and without serious injury” [Manchester Historical Society, September 2013].

Click to access couriersept13.pdf

Women’s suffrage: In protest at the arrest of Mary Richardson and Rachel Pease for arson, British suffragettes set light to and destroy the Bristol University Sports Pavilion, leaving a card demanding the release of Richardson who had been forcibly fed while awaiting trial.


Shipping accidents:

~ the French liner Amiral Exelmans runs aground and is lost on a reef at Tabou, on the West African coast, en route from  Dunkerque to Gabon. Her engine room is completely flooded when her hull is holed by the reef.

~ the steamship “Chesterfield” is lost off the mouth of the Brisbane River in Australia, with the loss of two lives.



27th April 1913 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY, in Buenos Aires, Argentina – Julio Jorge Nelson (real name – Isaac Rosofsky), poet and broadcaster.

Society and culture: Dr Albert Schweitzer opens for business, treating patients at his new hospital in a remote part of Gabon.

James Armstrong, aged 39, a miner at Bebside colliery in County Durham, UK, dies from injuries sustained earlier in the month when a piece fo stone fell from the roof on to his back.

In Malta, the 24th International Eucharistic Congress comes to an end. It will be the last of its kind.

16th April 1913 (Wednesday)

BORN TODAY,  at 2 Harris Cottages, Widford, Nr Chelmsford, Essex, UK – Hilda Rayner, daughter of Edgar (born 1887) and Emily. in 1915 her father enlisted with the British Army, serving at Chatham, Warminster, Pangbourne, Beganiivy and Pilay before embarking for Salonika, Greece in October 1916. Edgar went missing and was later presumed killed in action on 18th September 1918. The November 1918 edition of the Widford  Parish Magazine reported: “Death of Sapper E Rayner is reported as having occurred on Sept 17th. He leaves a widow and four young children who reside in the village”. Edgar has no known grave.

Also born today: Thurston Hopkins, Picture Post photo-journalist – “unsung hero of photography” [The Guardian]. HAPPY CENTENARY!


Arms Race – In Portsmouth, England, the fitting out of the Japanese Battleship “Kongo” (indestructible) is completed after her launch by the Vickers Shipbuilding Company in Barrow-In-Furness in May 1912. After serving in two world wars she will eventually be sunk by a US submarine in November 1944.

Society and Culture: Dr Albert Schweitzer arrives in Lambarene in Gabon, beginning his mission to Africa by combining evangelism with the founding of a hospital.

Shipping News: US Coastguard Harry McGinley is awarded the Gold Lifesaving Medal for acts of bravery on 30th December last year (1912) rescuing crew from the sea going tug “Margaret” off the coast of New Jersey.

History of Transport: In Monaco, the first award of the Schneider Trophy for seaplanes goes to a french aircraft manufactured by the Deperdussin company.

21st March 1913 (Good Friday)

BORN TODAY, in Rotherham, England – Ordinary Seaman Bennett Southwell GC, posthumously awarded the George Cross after being killed on bomb disposal duty in Hoxton, London during the blitz, on 17th October 1940.

Also: Sabiha Gökçen, one of the adopted daughters of Mustafa Kamal Atatürk, founder and first President of Turkey. After enrolling and training in a military academy she flew bomber plans, becoming the first female Turkish aviatrix and (apparently) the world’s first female combat pilot.

World Affairs: Constantine I takes the oath of office as the new King of Greece.

Extreme Weather: In Dayton, Ohio, a storm arrives which will bring death and destruction over the Easter weekend.

Into Africa: Albert Schweitzer and his wife Helene leave their home in Gunsbach in Alsace bound for Lambarene in Gabon.

Accidents: In Smallburgh, Norfolk, UK – Eva Abigail, aged 10, drowns while trying to save her 6 year old brother, Reggie, who has been caught by the wheel of a water mill and dragged into the well of the mill. Reggie is saved, but severely injured.

In pursuit of spring: the Anglo-Welsh essayist and poet, Edward Thomas, sets off on a bicycle from Clapham in South London to the Quantock hills in England’s West Country “In Pursuit of Spring”. Currently (1913) an essayist, he will turn to poetry in 1914, enlist in the British army in 1915, and be killed at the Battle of Arras soon after arriving in France in 1917.