6th September 1915 (Monday)

BORN TODAY: Little Willie – the world’s first tank.


Society and culture: Scotland appoints Ms Emily Miller as its first ever policewoman.



The Balkans: Bulgaria signs a military agreement with Germany agreeing to enter on the side of the Central Powers. In return for sending forces against Serbia and Montenegro (thereby re-opening the unresolved business of the recent Second Balkan War), Bulgaria is promised large parts of Macedonia, a sea port on the Adriatic and territorial concessions in European Turkey. [Burg & Purcell: “Almanac of World War 1”]


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?




25th March 1914 (Wednesday)

BORN TODAY: Among the ashes of two Balkan Wars, In Salonica,  (until just before that time, in the Ottoman province of Macedonia, but just recently becoming Thessaloniki in newly expansionist Greece) – Aris Football Club, named after the God of War.


~ Also, in Cresco. Iowa – Norman  Borlaug, “The Man Who Saved a Billion Lives”


Click to access Norman_E._Borlaug.pdf

4th October 1913 (Saturday)

BORN TODAY: In St Petersburg (later Petrograd, now St Petersburg again), Russia – Anatol Kagan: exiled with his father to Berlin in 1922, but unable (as a foreigner) to work there after obtaining his architecture qualification . Emigrated to Melbourne, Australia in 1939, where he pursued a career in both the private and the public sectors until his retirement in 1973.


Science and technology: Mallorca, Spain, inaugurates it first electric tram line.


Society and Culture: “Captain” W.E.Johns, a sanitary inspector from the sleepy town of Swaffham in Norfolk, England, joins the Territorial Army as a Private in the King’s Own Royal Regiment (Norfolk Yeomanry). After fighting on the Macedonian front and joining the Royal Flying Corp during World War 1, his 46 year writing career will include 160 books, most of which (over 100) will feature the fictional James Bigglesworth – “Biggles” – pilot, hero and adventurer.


23rd September 1913 (Tuesday)

BORN TODAY: in Barnstaple, Devon, England, – Hubert Henry Eastmond, emigrant to New Zealand aged 13 on the steam ship Matarori, leaving Southampton for Auckland in August 1927.


World Affairs: In Macedonia, the Albanian Minister of War, Isa Boletini (nickname Luani Kosoves – “The Lion of Kosovo”) leads an uprising against Serbian occupation, thereby rejecting the recent decision of the “Ambassadors Conference” regarding Albania’s border.


Early Flight: Roland Garros becomes the first aviator to fly across the Mediterranean Sea, from France to Tunisia.


24th July 1913 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY: in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania – Britton Chance, The Eldridge Reeves Johnson Emeritus Professor of Biophysics, Physical Chemistry, and Radiologic Physics at the University of Pennsylvania, – “for more than 50 years one of the giants of biochemistry and biophysics and a world leader in transforming theoretical science into useful biomedical and clinical applications”. [ http://www.brittonchance.org ].

World Affairs: A Dutch newspaper reports disturbances at the Russian monastery Panteleimon on Mount Athos, near Salonica (Thessaloniki) in disputed Macedonia (now Greece). “a Russian detachment went ashore, using violence to restore the order. All  troublemakers have been brought to Russia” [ http://athosweblog.com ].

Empire & Ireland: At Six Roads Ends in North Down, Belfast, Sir Edward Carson inspects 2500 members of the Protestant Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) set up in opposition to plans for Home Rule in (Catholic) Ireland. [ http://www.historyireland.com ]

Sport: At  Crystal Palace in London, Edward Aston becomes the first recorded Englishman to lift 300 lb overhead with one hand. [ http://www.davidgentle.com ].

9th July 1913 (Wednesday)

BORN TODAY: At Kenardington in Kent, UK – Charlie Bridger, quarryman son of a farm labourer from a musical lineage. British folk music revivalist in the 1980s. (“Three maidens a-milking did go“)

World Affairs: China signs a treaty with Russia relinquishing its claims to Mongolia.

Second Balkan War: Serbian forces defeat a Bulgarian army at the Battle of Bregalnica (now part of  Macedonia).

Crime and Punishment: In the UK, Thomas Fletcher, jilted lover, is hanged at Worcester Gaol by Thomas Pierrepoint for the murder of his former fiance, Lilian (Lily) Wharton.

Royal Lancastrian Progress: On the third day of their royal tour, King George V and Queen Mary visit Accrington, Bacup, Shawforth, Whitworth, and also Rochdale, where they are treated to the opening recital of the new James J Binn’s organ which is the centrepiece of the Rochdale town Hall. The recital is performed by Herbert Walton, the organist of Glasgow cathedral.

Science and Technology: in Maadi, by the Nile, (now a suburb of Cairo) American Frank Shuman demonstrates his new invention – the solar panel power plant.

1st July 1913 (Tuesday)

BORN TODAY – the German Naval Air Arm and the Dutch Army Aviation Department

At Puck air-station north of Gdansk (then in German West Prussia, now in Poland) Germany establishes its Naval Air Arm, the Marineflieger-Abteilung.

On the same day, at Soesterberg airfield in the province of Utrecht, the Netherlands establishes the aviation department of the Dutch Army, the Luchtvaartafdeling.

Second Balkan War: Serbia and Greece declare war on Bulgaria. The Greek army “liberates” the town of Drama from the Bulgarians.

Empire: in the British “Protectorate” of Zanzibar, control passes from the Foreign Office (in London) to the Colonial Office (in London).

Extreme Weather: Britain is suffering from a heat wave. The London “Telegraph” (newspaper) shows a photograph of gentlemen in suits, waistcoats and high winged collars and ties sitting in the sunshine with their heads shaded by newspapers.

Fashion: the new edition of “Vogue” carries a front page picture of the “Lampshade Dress”, later described as a “turning point” in the history of fashion.

Transportation: In the USA, “a group of automobile enthusiasts and industry officials establish the Lincoln Highway Association (LHA) ‘to procure the establishment of a continuous improved highway from the Atlantic to the Pacific, open to lawful traffic of all description without toll charges’. ”


30th June 1913 (Monday)

BORN TODAY: in Bogota, Colombia – Alfonso López Michelsen, son of a future two times President of Colombia (Alfonso Lopez Pumarejo 1934-1938 and 1942-1945) and himself the President of Colombia from 1974 to 1978.

World Affairs: Mexican rebels take the city of Guaymas in the third year of Mexico’s 10 year revolution.

Second Balkan War: The Bulgarian army torches the wealthy town of Drama one day before it is taken by Greek forces (then in the disputed area between Turkey, Bulgaria and Greece, now in the Greek region of “Eastern Macedonia and Thrace”).

Arms Race – The German Parliament votes to increase the size of its army by 136,000 officers and men.

Accidents: In Lawrence, Massachusetts 11 boys drown in the Merrimack River when a pier leading to a floating bath-house collapses.

Mysteries: Observation confirms that the star we refer to as “the Sun” completed a second sequential calendar month (May and June 1913) with no observed sun spots. There will now be no sun spot free calendar months for at least another 95 years. Sadly, I have no idea of the significance of this fact, but hopefully there are some who do.

29th June 1913 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY: in Willesden Green, North London – Sir Gerald David Nunes Nabarro: son of a sephardic jewish shopkeeper; convert to christianity; army sergeant in the 1930s; machine hand, factory manager, and saw-mill owner; successful and maverick post-war conservative politician; owner of a legendary handle-bar moustache; eventually brought down from politics by a court-room scandal involving his secretary and driving the wrong way around a roundabout. All frightfully British, don’t cha think?

World Affairs: The Second Balkan War commences with a surprise Bulgarian attack on Serbian forces at Slatovo and Greek forces at Salonica.

Arts and Literature: D.H.Lawrence publishes “Sons and Lovers”

Accidents: In Leechburg, Pennsylvania a raft ferry crossing the river Kiskiminetas at night sinks, drowning 10 people, including “two negroes, several foreigners and two Americans” [Washington Post District of Columbia].

Society and Culture: in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, over 50,000 confederate and union veteran soldiers from 47 US states begin to congregate to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg (1st to 3rd July, 1863),