6th November 1914 (Friday)

BORN TODAY: in Furth, in Germany – Alfred Zwiebel, landscape, floral, and still-life painter.




The famous Tower of London witnesses its first execution for 167 years when the German spy, Carl Hans Lody, is shot at dawn by firing squad. He will be buried in an unmarked grave which will be destroyed by German bombing during the second world war.


In the Middle East, Britain’s 6th Indian division begins a major offensive in Turkish Mesopotamia (southern Iraq) designed to protect Britain’s oil interests in Persia (Iran) and to draw Turkish forces away from other theatres of war closer to Europe.


23rd October 1914 (Friday)

BORN TODAY: in London, England – Ian Clifford Henry, a “right-handed batsman who bowled leg break…  made a single first class  appearance in 1937, in a match which Oxford University won [and Henry’s team lost] by ten wickets. This was his only first-class appearance”. [Wikipedia]



Eastern Front: In Poland, Russian troops recapture the town of Jarosław. [Burg & Purcell].

Western Front: The first Indian soldiers arrive in the trenches around Laventie, in the region of Allœu to the west of Lille, to provide support to the British units and the French Cavalry Corps.


In the Middle East: Having left Bombay (now Mumbai) a week ago, the Indian 16th Brigade reaches Bahrain and is immediately ordered to move up towards the Shatt-Al-Arab waterway (at the head of the Persian / Arabian gulf) in order to protect British interests in the Gulf. Turkey is still, theoretically at least, a neutral country, with significant – but weak – imperial outposts stretching across (what is now) Modern Syria and Iraq, as far as the Gulf.


War at Sea: In the South Atlantic, the British refrigerated cargo ship “Hurstdale” is captured by a German light cruiser. The merchantmen are taken as prisoners of war and the vessel is sent to the ocean floor.



In New Zealand, farmer George spends his leisure time re-reading Sir Arthur Coan-Doyle’s “The hound of the Baskervilles”.


22nd September 1914 (Tuesday)

BORN TODAY: in Erlangen, Germany – Fritz Scheller, olympic cyclist at the 1936 summer olympics.



In the North Sea, German U-boat U-9 torpedoes and sinks three British cruisers: Aboukir, Hogue and Cressy. Hogue and Cressy are each destroyed while rescuing survivors. 1400 seamen perish.

In the Indian Ocean, German light cruiser SMS Emden shells the facilities at the Burmah Oil Company in Madras (now Chennai), India, destroying fifty thousand tons of oil.

In the Pacific, off the Island of Tahiti, German battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau bombard the town of Papeete, the Capital of French Polynesia.

In Germany – British planes bomb Zeppelin sheds in Cologne and Dusseldorf.

[Burg and Purcell: “Almanac of World War 1”]

31st August 1914 (Monday)

BORN TODAY: in Zanesville, Ohio – Richard Basehart, American actor whose film career started with a repeat performance and ended in ancient Rome.



Western Front:

~ In Paris, where the government are feverishly debating whether to abandon the city to the Germans (ie move the French government elsewhere) – German planes return for a second evening of light, but frightening (and for an unlucky few, fatal), bombing.

~ In London, the Government meets (“in cabinet”) after Kitchener realises that Sir John French, the commander of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) has effectively withdrawn the British forces from the defences in France against the German advance. The cabinet is described as “perturbed” by the news, and its apparent desertion of its ally. Kitchener waits until after midnight for clarification by telegram from Sir John, before leaving for France at 2.30AM. [Tuchman – the Guns of August].

~ From Berlin, “In preparation for the greatest moment in Teutonic history, the Germans with admirable efficiency [have] already struck off, and distributed to staff officers for ultimate presentation to the troops, a bronze medal confidently inscribed ‘Einzug d. Deutschen Truppen in Paris’ (arrival of German troops in Paris)”. [Tuchman].


At the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh, Scotland – William Purvis, a foreman at the Seafiled Oil Works in Linlithgowshire, dies from injuries sustained in an industrial accident in June.


21st May, 1914 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY: In Hibbing, Minnesota (motto” “We’re ore, and more”) – to Andrew Anderson and Carl Eric Wickman, Greyhound, now the World’s larget bus company.


Transportation: In Britain, the “Commercial Motor” magazine reports on the way that, in London and other cities, the “electric-tramcar undertaking is being so hardly pressed in competition with petrol motorbuses”.


20th May 1914 (Wednesday)

BORN TODAY:  in Ashby de la Zouch, Leicestershire (England) – John ‘Ted’ Edward Dickinson, left-handed cricketer.


World Affairs: In Athens, the Ottoman Ambassador to Greece proposes to the Greek Premier Venizelos a “population exhange” whereby the muslim communities of Macedonia (including Salonica – now Thessaloniki) will be “swapped” for the Greek communities  in and around Smyrna (now Izmir) on the Anatolian coast.


Global oil: The British government and the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (APOC) sign an agreement for the British Government to become a majority (51%) shareholder in APOC. The agreement gives the British government the right to appoint two directors on the Board who have the power of veto on any questions relating to British national interests. Also on the same day, a contract is signed between APOC and the British Admiralty by which APOC guarantees the supply of oil to the British Admiralty for 30 years at fixed prices.


Exploration: In St Petersburg (later Petrograd, then Leningrad, now St Petersburg again) Sergei Fedorovich Oldenburg leaves for his second Russian Turkestan expedition, accomapnied by the  artist V. S. Bikenberg, topographer N. A. Smirnov, photographers Dudian and Romberg, seven Kazakh guards, and a Chinese interpreter. The expediton will take 3 months to reach its final destination  –  the ‘caves of a thousand Buddhas’ at Mogao, near Dunhuang.


Society and culture: In a village south of Lyon in France, Monsieur Falour accepts a wager to eat 50 eggs and a pound of bread at a single sitting. Sadly, he drops dead after the 45th egg.

Men, eh?