20th September 1914 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY: Vilhjálmur Hjálmarsson – Icelandic politician.



Western Front: An anonymous nursing sister spends her day helping to care for 1175 wounded British soldiers on hospital trains…

“When  I think of the Red Cross practices on boy scouts, and the grim reality, it makes one wonder. And the biggest wonder of all is the grit there is in them [the wounded soldiers], and the price they are individually and unquestioningly paying for doing their bit in this war”.

[Diary of A Nursing sister on the Western Front, 1914-1915]

In East Africa: The German cruiser Konisberg sails into Zanzibar harbour and disables HMS Pegasus with the loss of thirty one crew members.


On the Home Front: in the East of England, on Hartham Common just outside Hertford, the local rector (priest)  holds an outdoor service for troops and local civilians, telling them that “the country has entered this war for the sake of honour. The very existence of our country depends on our entering into this undertaking and we  have to go on until victory is assured”. 



In the uncharted waters off the Aleutian Islands, the US Revenue Cutter USRC Tahoma, which is enforcing summer fisheries regulations and assisting with search and rescue missions, strikes a reef and sinks. Fortunately, no lives are lost.



12th June 1913 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY: in Wila, in the canton  of Zurich in Swtizerland – Elisabeth Eidenbenz, daughter of a Zurich pastor who joined the Asociación de Ayuda a los Niños en Guerra (“Association to Aid Children in War”). She arrived in Madrid in 1937 and later founded the “Maternite Suisse” in an abandoned Chateau just across the French border where, with the aid of funds from the Swiss Red Cross, she provided refuge for Spanish mothers-to-be, despite (from 1942) harassment from Nazi authorities searching for Jews and Tziganes (Roma/ Hungarian gypsies). She was awarded France’s “Legion d’Honneur” in 2006 and died on May 23rd 2011 in Zürich (Switzerland) at the age of 97.

World Affairs: In Constantinople, Said Halim Pasha is appointed as the new Grand Vizier (First Minister) following the assassination of Mahmoud Shevket Pasha yesterday.

In Samoa, the German Governor of Samoa, Erich Schultz, persuades the Samoans to accept the German Kaiser’s sovereignty over Samoa.

Colonial unrest: In Reykjavik Harbour, Iceland, Einar Petursson is arrested by the Danish coastguard for sailing his small boat flying an “unofficial” new flag for Iceland – a blue and white flag which has been growing in popularity. His arrest provokes outrage among Icelanders who pass a resolution to adopt the new flag for Iceland. The proposal is denied by the Danish authorities, on the grounds that it is considered too similar to the flag of Greece.

Society and Culture: V.I.Lenin publishes “Child Labour in Peasant Farming”

“Capitalism condemns the peasant to extreme degradation and ruin. There is no other salvation for him than through joining the class struggle of the wage-workers. But before the peasant can arrive at this conclusion he will have to experience many years of being disillusioned by deceptive bourgeois slogans”.


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.

16th March 1913 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY, in Seyðisfjörður in Iceland (Still in Iceland – a town of 668 inhabitants in 2011) – Nína Tryggvadóttir “one of Iceland’s most important abstract expressionist artists”. After living in Copenhagen, Paris and New York she was banned from the US in 1949 after a short trip to Iceland, suspected of being a communist, but managed to return to New York ten years later.

Also born today: One of the “Capuchin Martyrs of Valencia” (catholic priests executed during the Spanish civil war) – Enrique Garcia Beltran. Imprisoned on 4th August 1936, and killed in a stone quarry near Castellon on 16th August 1936, aged 23.

Society and culture: In Paris, a crowd of 120,000 demonstrators protest at the decision of the French Army to introduce three years of mandatory military service.

Law and Order: In Illinois, USA, the Chicago Tribune headlines with “Morals Court to Open War on Vice”. Chief Justice Harry Olsen warns that the city cannot “permit such important laws regarding public health and sanitation to lie dormant merely because the exploitation of vice has been commercialized and its financial magnates infest and seek to dominate the politics of the city”. Henceforth, citizens of Chicago should remember that “A card index will be kept of all persons arrested, not only inmates frequenters and lessees of property used for improper persons but also the owners”.

16th February 1913 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY, in Wabaunsee County, Kansas – Lewis, WIlliam Walt (“Lew Walt”), decorated US Marine Corp leader, WW2 and Korean War hero, Commander of 3rd Marine amphibious force in Vietnam (1965-67) and Senate investigator into international drug trafficking. Author of 3 books, including “Strange war, strange strategy”, about the Vietnam War.

Also, in Constantinople in the Ottoman Empire, Keriman Halis Ece, Miss Turkey 1932, and winner of the “International Pageant of Pulchritude”, in Spa, Belgium, in the same year.

World Affairs: In Mexico City, a brief (9 hour) armistice is declared between the government and opposition forces. US Ambassador Wilson continues to discuss with General Huerta plans to remove President Madero and instal an alternative to the constitutionally elected President.

Society & Culture: In Columbus, Ohio a travelling evangelist, the Reverend Billy Sunday, concludes his two month long revivalist program at a purpose built 12,000 seat wooden auditorium. An estimated 1million people have attended the 93 services (up to three a day) over two months.  Attendance has presumably been aided by the 60 protestant churches of Columbus who have ceased their services while the Reverend Billy has been in town.

Shipping News: in Hafnarfjörður in Iceland, the new pier designed to accommodate the growing fishing industry is consecrated at a large ceremony less than two months after the arrival of its first steamship, on 28th December 1912.