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”]


4th August 1915 (Wednesday)

BORN TODAY: in Berlin – Eleonore “Loni” Nest, German child star actress who ended her career after more than 40 movies at the age of 13, before retiring to the south of France [Wikipedia]



Adriatic skullduggery: The Triple Alliance  (Britain, France and Russia) reneges on its secret commitment to Italy (that control of parts of the Adriatic coast should only be decided after the war) by sending an official note to Serbia confirming the post-war territorial claims of Serbia and Montenegro. [Wikipedia].


1st March 1915 (Monday)

BORN TODAY: in Solesmes, in northern France – Gustave Choque, mathematician.



Southern Europe: Stirred in part by the belief that the Allies are making progress against Turkey in the Dardanelles, and therefore might overwhelm Turkey before the Italians have created a negotiating position fror themselves, the Italian general staff puts the army on a “red alert” for mobilisation. A secret proposal is presented in London whereby Italy’s reward for joining the Allies would be significant gains in the South Tyrol, Trieste, Gorizia and Istria, Dalmatia, Kotor (in modern Montenegro) and Albania, effectively turning the Adriatic into an Italian fjord. [Mark Tompson: “The White War, Life and Death on the Isonzo Front, 1915-1919″].

In the Dardanelles:  British fishing trawlers, equipped as minesweepers and with largely civilian crews, begin a two week attempt to clear the straits of mines.


The Home Front: in London, on St David’s Day, the newly formed Welsh Guard (part of the British Guards Division) mounts its first “Kings Guard” at Buckingham Palace.


14th November 1914 (Saturday)

BORN TODAY: in Belfast, Ireland – Joseph Barnes, professor of tropical medicine at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and good samaritan in West African leper colonies in the 1940s.



Western Front: As the first Battle of Ypres in Belgium is drawing to a close, the dead on both sides cannot be counted. Only estimated: around a quarter of a million men killed or wounded. And each with parents… wives… siblings… children… grieving.

In Constantinople (now Istanbul) Sheikh-ul-Islam declares an Islamic holy war on behalf of the Ottoman government, urging his Muslim followers to take up arms against Britain, France, Russia, Serbia and Montenegro.


On the “home front” – The New York Times reports an “incident” in one of the “concentration camps” where the British are detaining German and Austrian immigrants.  One german detainee is killed and another injured at the camp in Surrey.


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”].



9th August 1914 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY: in Helsinki, in the Grand Duchy of Finland in the Russian Empire – Tove Jansson, who brought the Moomins to a war torn world in the late 1940s.



Western Front: The first two corps of the British Expeditionary Force land in Northern France, while further south the Germans retake Mulhouse in Alsace from the French (Battle of Mulhouse).

The Southern Front: Austria-Hungary declares war on Montenegro.

War at Sea: The British cruiser “Birmingham” rams German Uboat 15 sending it (the Uboat) to a watery grave with the loss of all on board.


Sources: Wikipedia:


Burg and Purcell: Almanac of World War 1






5th August 1914 (Wednesday)

BORN TODAY: In Cleveland, Ohio – the automated traffic light. The American Traffic Signal Co instals the first electric traffic light system at East 105th Street and Euclid Avenue.



Eastern Front: Austria-Hungary declares war on Russia

The Balkan Front: In Cetinje, Montenegro declares war on Austria-Hungary.

Western Front: The Battle of Liege begins. German troops make a surprise night attack on four of Liege’s twelve forts which is repulsed with heavy German casualties. German forces execute Belgian priests claimed to be engaged in conspiratorial resistance to the invasion.

The War at Sea: In the first naval engagement of the war, two British destroyers sink the German minelayer Konigin Luise, fifty miles off the English coast.

(sources: Almanac of World War 1; The Guns of August)



Accidents: Near Joplin, Missouri, USA, a train collision kills 42 people.




26th July 1914 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY: In Llanelli, Wales, to Lithuanian parents – Isaac Cohen, Chief Rabbi of Ireland from 1956 to 1979.


World Affairs: The British Government, distracted until yesterday with its Irish question, and only just beginning to focus on the European situation, attempts to organize a political conference among the major European powers to resolve the dispute between Austria-Hungary and Serbia. France and Italy agree to participate. Russia then agrees, but Germany refuses.

Meanwhile Russia begins “pre-mobilisation” measures along its borders with Austria-Hungary, part of its “period preparatory to war”, including cancelling leave for reservists and clearing frontier railway lines.

The French also cancel all military leave and order most of their troops back from Morocco.

Tiny Montenegro mobilizes!



Ireland: In the “Howth gun running incident” Irish Nationalists smuggle a consignment of old rifles from the Franco-Prussian War (1870) into the country. They will eventually see service in the Easter Rising in 1916.

When the British authorities attempt to intervene events rapidly turn bloody, resulting in the infamous “Massacre of Bachelor’s Walk”



22nd July 1914 (Wednesday)

BORN TODAY: in Harelbeke, in Western Flanders – André Defoort, Belgian racing cyclist.


World Affairs: In St Petersburg, the Grand Duchesses Anastasia and Militza, daughters of the King of Montenegro, and influential at the Russian Court, report to the French Ambassador a telegram from their father predicting that  “we shall have war before the end of the month  . . . nothing will be left of Austria. . . . You will take back Alsace-Lorraine. . . . Our armies will meet in Berlin. . . . Germany will be annihilated.”


17th December 1913 (Wednesday)

BORN TODAY: in San Diego, California – Burton “Butch” Baskin, co-founder of the ice-cream empire, Baskin-Robbins, and midwife to the American fast food franchising business.


World Affairs: Under the terms of the Treaty of London, signed in May, the Protocol of Florence delineates the boundaries of the newly independent state of Albania, “permanently” denying Serbia access to the Adriatic coastline (at least until it later “merged” with Montenegro) and ceding the Greek region of Northern Epirus to Albania,


Early flight – Today is the tenth anniversary of the Wright Brothers’ first successful flights, in the Kill Devil Hills of North Carolina.