17th March 1914 (Tuesday)

BORN TODAY: location not known  – James Duncan “Smudger” Smith, RAF pilot shot down and killed in action over Libya, in 1941, aged 27. Buried in Knightsbridge War Cemetary, Acroma, Libya.


Migration: In Madras (now Chennai) In India, mathematical genius Srinivasa Ramanujan boards the steamship SS Nevasa to begin his month long voyage to London, and ultimately to Cambridge University, where in October 1918 he will become the first Indian to be elected a Fellow of Trinity College.


Shipwrecks:  in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the SS Sydney, carrying passengers and coal, runs aground on Shag Rock, at the entrance to Halifax harbour. Fortunately, all 11 passengers and 50 crew are rescued.


28th December 1913 (Sunday)


~ in Beijing (then known in the West as Peking) – Wang Luobin, Chinese folk song writer who, after graduating from music school in Beijing, spent 50 years collecting and revising western Chinese folk songs.


~ In Berlin – Polish musician Jozef Kropinski, survivor of Auschwitz and Buchenwald.


~ in Ofena, Italy – Paolo Silveri, operatic baritone.


Archaeology: In the Ancient Greek and Roman town of Cyrene in Libya,  Italian troops find a headless marble sculpture, “Venus of Cyrene”, after torrential rains washed away the topsoil at Trajan’s Baths in the Sanctuary of Apollo.  After a long sojourn in Italy she returned home to Cyrene in 2008.


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].


10th July 1913 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY: in Santa Coloma de Farners, Catalonia, North East Spain –  Salvador Espriu i Castelló, Catalan poet, dramatist and  Spanish Civil War combatant.

World Affairs/ Second Balkan War: Romania declares war on Bulgaria

Extreme Weather: Death Valley California experiences the highest temperature ever recorded (globally, at that time) when the mercury reaches 57 degrees celsius (134 fahrenheit). Although the record passes to Libya in 1922, that Libyan record is rejected in 2011 by the World Meteorological Organisation, thereby returning the world record to Death Valley.

At the end of June, 2013, forecasters are predicting the 100 year old record may finally be broken in the South Western USA.


Royal Lancastrian Progress: On the fourth day of their royal tour, King George V and Queen Mary visit Blackburn.

19th June 1913 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY: at Stanway, Gloucestershire, UK  – Ann Charteris, grand daughter of the 9th Earl of Wemyss. Wife sequentially to Shane Edward Robert  (“Third Baron”) O’Neill; Viscount Rothermere (owner of the Daily Mail) and Ian Fleming, stockbroker turned James Bond novelist, with whom she lived at his Jamaican retreat “Goldeneye”. http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/WNfleming.htm

World Affairs: In the aftermath of the Turco-Italian War (which closed with the Treaty of Lausanne in 1912) Italian forces overcome a large Sanussi (arab) force in Ettangi, Tripolitania (Libya).

Society and culture: The South African Parliament prohibits the ownership by black citizens of land designated for whites.

Labour Relations: In Birmingham, UK –  “The Rest House” to commemorate the Silver Wedding Anniversary of George and Elizabeth Cadbury is donated by employees of the company. The design is taken from the medieval butter market in Dunster, Somerset.

Inside, an inscription reads: ‘This Rest House was erected to commemorate the Silver Wedding of Mr & Mrs George Cadbury by the employees of Cadbury Brothers Ltd at Bournville and in all parts of the world. A lasting memorial of esteem and affection as an expression of gratitude for the unceasing interest in their welfare and in admiration of manifold services to the world at large.’  Today, the building houses the Carillon Visitor Centre and a gift shop and is used as the logo for Bournville Village Trust”.  http://www.culture24.org.uk/places%20to%20go/west%20midlands/birmingham/tra22960

A whiff of financial scandal: After an investigation into corruption involving the government ministers and the private communications company, Marconi, the British Parliament votes by a majority of 346-268 to acquit the Chancellor of the Exchequer (ie Minister of Finance) and the Attorney General on charges of malfeasance.

Transport accidents: Thirteen people die in a rail collision in California.

Off Sable Island, 300kilometres south east of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Captain John Andrew Doggett from Portland, Maine and five members of his crew, including one of his two sons on board, perish when their fishing boat is rammed in thick fog by a steam passenger liner en route from Liverpool. Eight crew members are rescued, including the Captain’s second son.

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.