13th May, 1915 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY: in Valle de Zaragoza, in the state of Chihuahua – Francisco Avitia Tapia (“El Charro Avitia”), Mexican singer and actor.



The (British) Home Front: The British government decides to intern all residents who are citizens of military service age from enemy countries  [Burg & Purcell].


War at Sea (the Dardanelles) – in the early hours before daylight, the Turkish destroyer Muavenet-i Milliye  slips through British naval defences off Cape Helles and successfully torpedoes HMS Goliath, which sinks in minutes, drowning 570 of her 700 strong crew.


Western Front: The english war poet Julian Grenfell is struck and mortally wounded by a shell-splinter to the head while monitoring enemy troop movements, dying nearly two weeks later.


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).

13th July, 1914 (Monday)


~ In Leuk, Switzerland – Franz Xaver Baron von Werra, fighter pilot and flying ace shot down and captured over Britain. Incarcerated in a Canadian POW camp, and “generally regarded as the only Axis POW  to succeed in escaping from a Canadian prisoner of war camp and returning to Germany”.  He arrived back in Germany in 1941, via the US, Mexico, South America and Spain. [Wikipedia].


~ In Surrey, England – Squadron Leader Wilfrid Thomas Page, mentioned in despatches, June 1942, shot down and killed in the English Channel, November 1943.


World Affairs:  From Sarajevo, the Austrian investigators of the Archduke’s assassination report that “there is nothing to prove or even to suppose that the Serbian government is accessory to the inducement for the crime, its preparations, or the furnishing of weapons. On the contrary, there are reasons to believe that this is altogether out of the question” [Fromkin – “Europe’s Last Summer – Why the World went to War in 1914].


Crime: In the village of Camerata Cornello in Northern Italy,  56 year old Simone Pianetti shoots and kills seven people who have ruined his life and reputation, including the town clerk, the priest and the doctor. He escapes to the mountains, and is never brought to justice.


Society and culture: In London, at the Kensington Registrar’s office, Novelist D.H.Lawrence marries Frieda Weekley (nee von Richthofen), the former wife of his erstwhile modern languages professor at University College, Nottingham.


~ In Milwaukee, Senators are busy investigating the causes of prostitution in Wisconsin (“Prostitutes testimony”),  and “committee staff questioned several madams and prostitutes about how they got into ‘the sporting life’ and what caused men and women to engage in it”


23rd June 1914 (Tuesday)

BORN TODAY: in Ireland – Iris Frances Mary Combe, collie lover, border, rough and smooth.


World Affairs: In Mexico, in the fourth year of the revolution, at the Battle of Zacatecas, Pancho Villa’s forces defeat the troops of General Luis Medina Barron, which leads (on July 15th) to the resignation of General Huerta.


Arms Race: After having been widened to take larger ships, the Kiel Canal, linking the North Sea with the Baltic, is re-opened by Kaiser Wilhelm II. In Britain, well informed observers have believed for many years that this event will bring the naval arms race to a climax and signal the start of the long expected Anglo-German naval war.


Law and Order: In Taradale in victoria, South Australia the “desperate ruffian” Charles Sanger, better known as the “Fryerstown bushranger’, is arrested while trying to rob Gorman’s, the bakers.




In Gloucestershire, in England’s West Country, a young poet is unexpectedly delayed for a few minutes on a train, and manages to immortalize the moment:


Yes, I remember Adlestrop–
The name, because one afternoon
Of heat the express- train drew up there
Unwontedly. It was late June.

The steam hissed. Someone cleared his throat.
No one left and no one came
On the bare platform. What I saw
Was Adlestrop – only the name

And willows, willow-herb, and grass,
And meadowsweet, and haycocks dry,
No whit less still and lonely fair
Than the high cloudlets in the sky.

And for that minute a blackbird sang
Close by, and round him, mistier,
Farther and farther, all the birds
Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.

EDWARD THOMAS 1878 – 1917  (killed in action on the Western front, April, 1917)

3rd June 1914 (Wednesday)

BORN TODAY: on Menorca, in the Balearic Islands – Ignacio Ponseti: son of a watchmaker; graduate of Barcelona University; medical officer for the Spanish loyalists; refugee from the Spanish Civil War; family doctor in Mexico; orthopedic specialist in Iowa; developer of the Ponseti technique for correcting congenital clubfoot;  and Professor Emeritus in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. The Ponseti International Association, the global leader in training and educating healthcare providers on the treatment for congenital clubfoot, is named in his honour.




Society and culture: Cecil Sharp, the English folk song collector, “collects” the sailors sea shanty “Noah’s Ark Shanty” from Captain Hole of Wachet, in Somerset.


Aristocracy: In Paris, Henry Sackville-West, neglected scion of an aristocratic English family, shoots himself minutes after the death of his wife.

In the small hours of the morning of 3 June 1914, a woman and her husband were found dead in a sparsely furnished apartment in Paris. It was only when the identity of the couple was revealed in the English press a fortnight later that the full story emerged. The man, Henry Sackville-West, had shot himself minutes after the death of his wife from cancer; but Henry’s suicidal despair had been driven equally by the failure of his claim to be the legitimate son of Lord Sackville and heir to Knole. The Disinherited reveals the secrets and lies at the heart of an English dynasty, unravelling the parallel lives of Henry’s four illegitimate siblings: in particular his older sister, Victoria, who on becoming Lady Sackville and mistress of Knole, by marriage, consigned her brothers and sisters to lives of poverty and disappointment”

[Bloomsbury publishing – “The Disinherited” by Robert Sackville-West]

“Brilliantly exposes the shadowy side of the Victorian aristocracy and the horrors of life on the wrong side of the blanket . . . A marvellous book – a gripping story, superbly researched and related with grace and humour in elegant, enjoyable prose.”[The Literary Review].



Philanthropy: The Bishop of Chester (UK) performs the dedication ceremony for the new Emmeline Winstanley Home For Boys in Knutsford. The home is a gift from an anonymous donor. Later in this same year it will be converted to house the sons of soldiers and sailors killed during the war.


Journalism and letters: Mildred Aldrich, Bostonian teacher and journalist who, after sixteen years working as a journalist and translator in Paris, has recently moved to Huiry, to a house on a hillside overlooking the Marne Valley, writes the first of her letters which will later be published collectively as “A Hilltop on the Marne”, recording a civilian’s account of life “On the Edge of the War Zone”



5th May 1914 (Tuesday)

BORN TODAY: In Harbin, China – to Russian parents, Eugenia Fomenko. Daughter of a suspected (Russian) US agent; architect in Harbin; dancer in Shanghai (with new name of  Jeanne LeGon); emigrant to the US; successful department store worker in Brooklyn; sportswear executive in Dallas, and briefly in California; suspected communist spy; divorcee; spouse of a Russian nobleman emigre with dubious connections (now Mrs Jeanne de Mohrenschildt); adventurer in Mexico and Central America; supporter of Russian emigres and refugees in Dallas; expatriate with interesting connections in Haiti; witness at the Warren Commission into the assassination of John Kennedy; widow of a man whose exact role (if any)  in the assassination remains unclear to this day. [Spartacus Educational]


4th May 1914 (Monday)

BORN TODAY: in Alamos, Sonora, Mexico – María de los Angeles Félix Guereña, actress, better known as Maria Felix. 


Society and culture: in the British Parliament, questions are being asked about the rules for paying Members of Parliament, and “why they continue to draw their salaries while feeling that they are not entitled to them?” [Hansard].


Women’s suffrage: At the Royal Academy in London, “ an elderly woman of distinctly peaceable appearance” commits another “outrage” with a meat cleaver against a famous work of art.

Mr. Lamb, the secretary of the Academy, told a representative of The Times that the picture was greatly admired by the King on Sunday during his informal visit. He could not say at at present what would be done. Pictures were not insured and hung at the artist’s or the owner’s risk. ‘I think’ he added, ‘that in future artists will require to paint their pictures on armour plate.’ ” [The Times, London, 5th May 1914].


22nd April 1914 (Wednesday)

BORN TODAY: in  Vogelthal near Oberpfalz in Bavaria – SS-Hauptsturmfuhrer Michael Wittmann, “the most successful and famous tank commander of World War II”. He died in battle on 8th August 1944, after the D Day landings, aged 30. 


World Affairs: during its invasion and occupation of Veracruz in Mexico, the US opens its military roll of honour by awarding what will – in two days of fighting – become the highest ever number of Medals of Honour for a single US action.


Society and culture: In Southampton, on the south coast of England, a crowd of 100,000 people gather to witness the unveiling of a memorial to commemorate the engineers of the steam ship “Titanic” lost to an iceberg two years previously.




21st April 1914 (Tuesday)


~ In Iowa – Howard Dimsdale, screenwriter whose work included “Planet of the Apes”


~ and in Capilla Del Senor, Buenos Aires Province,  Carlos Garcia, pianist, bandleader and composer.


World Affairs: The USA invades Mexico.


Arms Race: The good people of Exeter, in the West of England, are entertained with a cinema documentary on the life of the British soldier. Quote: “So long is the film that the first half is being screened for the first three; days, the latter part being shown for the remainder of the week”. [Exeter and Plymouth Gazette, 21st April 1914].


Society and culture: Twenty two year old Alfred Edgar Stokes, the youngest of eleven children of Essex blacksmith Thomas Stokes, signs up for 12 years with Britain’s Royal Navy – “killed in action when H.M.S. Hogue was torpedoed and sunk by the German U-boat U-9. on 22nd September 1914 in the North Sea along with her sister ships H.M.S. Aboukir and H.M.S. Cressy”.


Twenty year old Henry Albert Wishart, the fourth son of Walter Wishart an engineering works storekeeper in Newcastle, is promoted in his position in the Royal Navy and assigned to HMS Black Prince.  “Along with Henry, 37 officers, 814 other men and 5 civilians were killed” when the ship was “fired on at short range by [a] German battleship” in June 1916.



20th April 1914 (Monday)

BORN TODAY: In Bussum, Near Amsterdam in the Netherlands – Carolus Adrianus Maria Thole, science fiction illustrator.


Labour Relations: In Ludlow, Colorado, two dozen men, women and children are killed when the Colorado National Guard and security guards of the Colorado Fuel and Iron company attack a tent colony of 1200 striking coal miners.


World Affairs: US President Wilson asks Congress for the authority to use force against the forces of the Mexican forces of General Huerta in response to the “Tampico Incident”.


Music and entertainment: At the Palace Theatre in London, Elsie Janis sings “Mollie was a Flapper”.