14th January, 1915 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY: In Kettering, England – Raymond Lewin, GC – (British) Royal Air Force volunteeer awarded the George Cross for bravery in Malta in November 1940 and killed in action in November 1941, aged 26.



Arms Race: Devonport Dockyard launches “HMS Cleopatra”, a Royal Navy cruiser that survived to be sold for scrap in 1931, at the grand old age of 16 years.


Blackout: Britain’s “Commercial Motor” magazine reports on the growing problem of fatal traffic accidents in city streets as a result of new precautions against night time bombing raids.


28th January 1914 (Wednesday)

BORN TODAY: In California – Beverley Hills, 90210.  Happy Centenary!


Arms Race – At the Germaniawerft shipyard in Kiel, Germany – submarine U32 is launched. After sinking 36 merchant ships and 1 warship she will herself be destroyed north west of Malta, in May 1918, with the loss of 41 lives (all hands).


In Britain, the Admiralty [naval authorities] order a series of C Class Light Cruisers to be built by Cammell Laird of Birkenhead, including HMS Caroline, finally decommissioned in 2011.


Women’s suffrage: At the Walker Theatre in Winnipeg, Manitoba (now a Canadian National Historic Site) , Nellie McClung and fellow activists stage a play in which “the women discussed a number of their own issues as if pertaining to men – whether to give men the vote, and whether to allow them equal guardianship over children. Ultimately, the play was a success and helped advance the cause of women’s suffrage. In January 1916, Manitoba became the first Canadian province to give women the right to vote”. [Canada’s historic places]


28th October 1913 (Tuesday)

all things english & ever so slightly eccentric…


BORN  TODAY: A brace of english exportable thespians:

~ In London, England – Douglas Seale, stage and film actor and Disney voiceover, who died in New York in  1999, aged 86.

~ In London, England – Peter Patrick Brabazon Browne, stage name Peter Grenville, stage and film actor and director, who died in New York in 1996, aged 82

Crime and punishment: At St Paul Walden in Hertfordshire, England – Albert Edward Fox, half of the infamous Fox twins of Stevenage, and brother of Edward Albert Fox, steals seven tame turkeys belonging to Harold Knight, for which crime he is later convicted and sentenced to 6 months hard labour.


Society and culture: In the City of Leicester, in England, the newly formed Wire Fox Terrier Association holds its first “show”. Mr George Raper judges the dogs and Mr Robert Vicary, the bitches.


Music and madness: Great aunt Bubbles (aka Diana Whishaw Benson) is born in the Lodge of Fiddington House, a lunatic asylum on the northern edge of Salisbury Plain in southern England, from where she will become an accomplished musician. In 1940 she divorced her husband after he refused to allow her to bring her grand piano to the Island of Malta, where has was stationed during the war. He later “described the experience as ‘not unlike standing on a rake in such a way that the handle leaps up and belts you in the face’. She subsequently converted to Catholicism and became a nun”.


16th October 1913 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY: In Florence, Italy – Cesar Bresgen – Austro-Hungarian composer and organist.


Arms Race: At Portsmouth, Hampshire the British Royal Navy launches HMS Queen Elizabeth, a “super dreadnought” class battleship, first of a new generation of warships to be fuelled by oil instead of coal, which will mark a turning point in British geo-political strategy as its focus moves from coaling stations (Gibraltar, Malta, Cyprus, Aden etc) towards oil producing territory, most especially in Persia.


Labour Relations: In South Africa railway workers and miners go out on strike in support of the Satyagraha campaign for Indian and Tamil rights.


Society and culture:  The Cornell Daily Sun reports a ruling from the Board of Student Representatives of Columbia University rejecting a petition from its journalism students claiming exemptions from its rules for freshers. “Freshmen must conform”. For the disappointed wannabe journalist this means that he will have to…

“wear a small skull cap with a white pearl button all year; he cannot walk on the grass; I he must not have cuffs on his trousers; he may not wear flashy ties or socks and he cannot smoke”


27th April 1913 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY, in Buenos Aires, Argentina – Julio Jorge Nelson (real name – Isaac Rosofsky), poet and broadcaster.

Society and culture: Dr Albert Schweitzer opens for business, treating patients at his new hospital in a remote part of Gabon.

James Armstrong, aged 39, a miner at Bebside colliery in County Durham, UK, dies from injuries sustained earlier in the month when a piece fo stone fell from the roof on to his back.

In Malta, the 24th International Eucharistic Congress comes to an end. It will be the last of its kind.

30th March 1913 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY, in Victoria on the Island of Gozo, Malta – Vincent “Censu” Tabone, 4th President of Malta (1989-1994). He died in 2012, shortly after celebrating his 70th Wedding Anniversary and less than a month before his 99th birthday. He was survived by his wife, eight children, nineteen grandchildren and twenty-four great grandchildren.

Art, Literature and Society: The English author, D.H. Lawrence brings to an end his 6 month stay in Gargnano, on Lake Garda in Italy, where he has been staying with his lover Frieda von Richtofen, the wife of his French Professor at Nottingham University. Lawrence later describes his lake-side escape from the industrialisation of the english midlands as “paradise”, where he finishes “Sons and Lovers” works on “Women in Love” and starts “The Rainbow”.

Arms Race: Meanwhile, 160 miles away at La Spezia naval yard, the Regia Marina (royal Navy)  is launching the battleship Andrea Doria, named after a sixteenth century Genoese admiral.

Sport: In an early game-rigging scandal, the English Football Association starts a two week enquiry into whether the recent match between Liverpool and Chelsea football clubs has been rigged.