18th October 1913 (Saturday)


BORN TODAY: in Nashwauk, Itasca County, Minnesota – Robert R Gilruth, a boy who built rubber-band powered toy airplanes before studying under Jean Felix Piccard at the University of Minnesota, later becoming “godfather to the astronauts”.


World Affairs: exactly one year after the end of the Italo-Turkish War, the two countries sign the Treaty of Lausanne which settles their respective powers in Libya, in return for which Italy returns the Island of Rhodes and other Aegean Islands to Turkish control.


The Austro-Hungarian Government sends an utlimatum to Serbia  requiring her to withdraw all Serbian troops from Albanian territory within eight days.

The “Spectator” (newspaper) assesses the situation as follows:

“The action of Austria-Hungary was unexpected, as the other members of the Triple Alliance had shown no signs of putting pressure on Serbia, and independent action by Austria- Hungary obviously involved many risks. For example, if it were necessary for Austria-Hungary to occupy the north of Albania Italy would certainly plant her foot in the south. But this is one of the things which Austria-Hungary particularly wants to prevent. She would never be happy with Italy at Avlona. Fortunately all anxiety was very soon ended, as the Serbian Government announced on Monday that it had already ordered the evacuation of Albania in accordance with the Austrian demand. No one has any stomach for serious fighting just now in the Balkans. Events pass quietly which a year ago would have shaken Europe from end to end” [Spectator – 25th October 1913].


16th May 1913 (Friday)

BORN TODAY: In Milwaukee, Wisconsin – Woodrow (Woody) Charles Herman, jazz musician and big band leader.

Also, in Rosa, in the Veneto in Italy –  Sebastiano Baggio –  Italian Cardinal and President of the Vatican city State in 1984.

World Affairs: In a continuation of the hostilities between Italy and the Ottoman Empire in Libya (Italo-Turkish War, or Guerra di Libia) which was officially concluded during 1912, the Italians suffer a serious defeat by bedouin tribesmen at Sidi Garba, near Derna, in Tripoli. General Mabretti attacks what he believes to be a force of 2000 bedu, but is actually an army ten times larger armedwith cannons. An estimated 2000 Italian  lives are lost as the Italian army retreats in disarray, abandoning its dead and injured.

Science, technology and the weather:  In Falmer, Sussex, UK – the Race Hill Windmill, built in 1861, is blown down in a storm.