27th June 1915 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY: in Japan – Hideo Shimada, graduate of Tohoku Imperial University; Vice-president of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, auditor and Vice President of the Japanese football association; and later President of the JFA from 1992 to 1994; Chairman of the board of the Japan Sports Association;  and member of the board of the Japanese Olympic Committee.


13th June 1915 (Sunday)

The 19th century is slowly passing away


~ RIP Viscount Nabeshima Naoyoshi, 13th and final daimyo of the Kashima Domain, in Hizen Province in the north west corner of the island of Kyushu, in south west Japan.


~ RIP Danish explorer Anders Christian Barclay Raunkiær, traveller to Riyadh and through eastern Arabia.


~ RIP Amédée William Merlaud-Ponty, Governor General of French West Africa.


31st March 1915 (Wednesday)

BORN TODAY: in Central Japan, Sgt. Shoichi Yokoi, the “last Japanese straggler” (soldier) on the jungle island of Guam. In 1944 his regiment was “practically annihilated” by US forces, and in 1955 he was announced officially dead by the Japanese government. He was found alive in January 1972.

“Yokoi’s capture made national headlines and captivated people on Guam and around the world. The army sergeant had survived almost three decades in the hills of the Talofofo River basin until two Chamorro hunters from Talofofo, Manuel D. Garcia, age 36, and Jesus Duenas, age 43, were checking their fish traps around 6:30 p.m. that evening. The hunters noticed a man by the river who, according to their report to the police, they assumed was an individual from their village known for roaming this area. They surprised Yokoi, who charged at them after dropping a homemade net sack containing shrimp traps. Yokoi, already 57 years old at the time, still feared his life was in danger and panicked. According to his nephew Omi Hatashin, Yokoi reached for one of the hunter’s rifles, but in his weakened state, he was no match for the two men. The hunters then subdued Yokoi, and brought him out of the jungle tied and slightly bruised. As he was led through the jungle, the soldier asked to be killed then and there. Treating the straggler with kindness instead, they fed him before they brought him to the commissioner’s (mayor’s) office.” [www.guampedia.com/]



Your country needs you! (even more):  The British Government announces that it has lifted its ban on the military recruiting men with bad teeth.


Stiff upper lip: Bruce Bairnsfather’s first published satirical cartoon from the trenches appears in the “Bystander” magazine.


25th March, 1915 (Thursday)


Tsutomu Sekido, Japanese skier at the 1936  Winter Olympics in Bavaria.

Béla Háray, Hungarian ice-hockey and hockey player at the 1936 Winter Olympics in Bavaria and the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin.

1936 was the last year when both Winter and Summer Olympics were held in the same country.



Accidents: Off Honolulu in Hawaii, the US Submarine F-4 sinks while on maneuvres with the loss of its crew of 21 sub-mariners, the first loss of a US submarine while at sea.


18th January 1915 (Monday)


~ in Trikala, Greece – Vassilis Tsitsanis – songwriter and bouzouki player. “One of the leading Greek composers of his time and widely regarded as one of the founders of modern Rebetika” [Wikipedia].

~ Also, in Poznan, Poland – Kazimierz Wichniarz, actor.




War from the air: After dark, two German zeppelins successfully bomb the towns of Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn on England’s east coast, returning undamaged to their base near Hamburg [Burg & Purcell].

War at Sea: His (British) Majesty’s submarine E10 sinks in the North Sea.


Asia-Pacific:  In what “westerners” call “the Far East”, the Japanese government issues its “twenty-one demands” to the Republican government of China in an attempt to build on its gains in Manchuria and Northern China during the first sino-Japanese war (1894-95) and the Russo-Japanese war (1904-05).



Railway accident: In Colima-Guadalajara Mexico, a train crash kills around 600 people.

(some sources place this event a day or two later).

3rd November 1914 (Tuesday)

BORN TODAY: in Japanese occupied Port Arthur  in the Kwantung Leased Territory (a territorial concession from the Chinese to Western Powers) on the Liáodōng Peninsula in Manchuria (now Dalian in North East China – voted “China’s most livable city” in 2006) – Saburo Okita, Japanese economist, politician and briefly Minister for Foreign Affairs.



Russia declares war On Turkey, and British and French forces bombard the Turkish forts at the entrance to the Dardanelles. Montenegrin forces bombard the Austro-Hungarian naval base at Cattaro (modern Kotor). The British bombard Aqaba (then a Turkish possession, now in Jordan) on the Red Sea Gulf of Aqaba.


The German navy unsuccessfully raids Great Yarmouth on England’s East coast.


The North Sea: disregarding complaints about International Law, the British government declares the whole of the North Sea a “military area”, and requires all neutral merchant ships in future to put into British ports for inspection and subsequent escort, without   any ‘illegal’ cargo bound for Germany. [UK Government archives].


In Armenia, near the foot of Holy Mount Ararat (later successfully annexed by Turkey), Russian forces occupy the town of Bayazid.

Middle East: The 16th Brigade, Indian soldiers who left Bombay on 16th October, arrive at the mouth of the Shatt Al-Arab waterway in (what is now) southern Iraq. [Roger Ford – “Eden to Armageddon: World War 1 in the Middle East”].



3rd September 1914 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY: in Kusminki, in the Oryol Governorate of Western Russia – Ivan Pereverzev, Russian actor whose career started “in the Donbass” (now the Donets region of Eastern Ukraine) and ended with a Very English Murder. [Wikipedia].



Eastern Front: Russian troops occupy the (formerly Austrian-ruled) city of Lemberg/ Lvov/ Lviv in Galicia (now in Ukraine).

Western Front: German troops, sweeping south to the east of Paris, reach the river Marne.

War at Sea:

~ In the German “concession” area of Jiaozhou Bay off China’s Shandong peninsula, the Japanese destroyer “Shirotaye” is itself destroyed by the German gunboat “Jaguar”.


~ British HMS “Speedy”, a torpedo gunboat and the sixth of nine Royal Navy vessels christened “Speedy”, is not fast enough to avoid the mine which sinks it, in the Humber Estuary on England’s east coast.



In Rome: the College of Cardinals chooses 59 year old Giacomo Paolo Giovanni Battista della Chiesa as the new Pope – Benedict XV.

2nd September 1914 (Wednesday)

BORN TODAY: in London, England – Baron George Brown: city clerk; fur salesman for John Lewis; ledger clerk for the Transport and General Workers Union; then District Organiser; Labour MP in the landslide victory of 1945; Minister and later Deputy Prime Minister in the Labour government of the 1960s.



Eastern Front: The Austro-Hungarian army abandons the city of Lemburg in Galicia (Lvov in Polish, now Lviv, in Ukraine) under pressure from the Russian advance westward.

Western Front: The French Government leaves Paris, relocating to Bordeaux. In Germany, today is Sedantag, a semi-official memorial holiday commemorating King Wilhelm of Prussia’s victory over the French in the Battle of Sedan in 1870.

The Asia Pacific Theatre:   More than 20,000 Japanese troops land on the Shandong peninsula in North East China. Their target is the German port of Tsingtao (now Qingdao).



25th August 1914 (Tuesday)


~ in Jyväskylä, Finland – Ilmari Vartia, olympic fencer who died of a fencing wound in 1951.


~ In Okawa District, Kagawa, Japan – “The Queen of Boogie-Woogie, Shizuko Kasagi


“Tokyo Boogie-Wookie” 1947 – C’est La Chanson du Siecle!


Eastern Front: Austrian troops take 6000 prisoners in their victory over the Russians at the Battle of  Krasnik (in Galicia, in present day Poland).


Southern (Balkan) Front: The Serbians are mopping up after the complete defeat of the Austro-Hungarians, who have retreated behind their own borders, leaving Serbia bloodied, but not bowed.

Western Front: German troops take Namur, Louvain and Sedan.

A French soldier writes to his mother (in anticipation of an imminent move to the front line):

“…Know that it would be shameful to think for one instant of holding back when the race demands the sacrifice. My only part is to carry an undefiled conscience as my feet may lead”

[Letters of a Soldier, 1914-1915]