28th September 1914 (Monday)

BORN TODAY: in Zell am See, Salzburg, Austria – Maria Agatha Franziska Gobertina von Trapp, member of the Trapp Family Singers who migrated to the USA in 1938, and later a lay missionary in Papua New Guinea. Maria Franziska von Trapp died on Tuesday, 18 February 2014 in Vermont aged 99. RIP.



On the Western Front: As German forces advance to La Boisselle (a village in the Sommes department which will be completely destroyed by later events) they cross a flat area where they find the bodies of dead French soldiers killed by shrapnel….

“The French put these bodies off the road but did not take the time to bury them. In fact the corpses were never to be buried as this part of France was to become one of the most dangerous, if not the most dangerous place on the whole Western Front” [“The Other Side of the Wire – With the German XIV Reserve Corps on the Somme, September 1914 – June 1916”]




11th September 1914 (Friday)

BORN TODAY: in Iowa, USA – Gladys Hanora Hughes, Daughter of Independence.



In German New Guinea in the Bismarck Archipelago (now part of Papua New Guinea), the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force successfully invades the island of Neupommern (“New Pomerania” – now called “New Britain”), which it will occupy for the duration of the war. The occupation is in response to a request from the British government for Australian help to destroy German wireless stations in the region, including the one on Neupommern. Australia suffers the first six of its sixty thousand WW1 fatalities.


Click to access AWM-Media-kit-The-action-at-Bita-Paka.pdf

Eastern Front: After more than two weeks fighting, the Battle of Galicia, between Russian and Austrian forces, draws to a close. A total of some 130,000 prisoners have been taken by the Russians who have also inflicted 324,000 casualties. The Russians have suffered 225,000 casualties, including 40,000 captured. Russian forces have pushed the front 100 miles into the Carpathian Mountains, completely surrounding the Austrian fortress of Przemyśl (now in South Eastern Poland) which the Russians will besiege until March 1915, when the garrison finally surrenders. [Wikipedia].






22nd May 1913 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY ONE HUNDRED YEARS AGO TODAY (1813): In Leipzig, Germany – Wilhelm Richard Wagner, revered opera composer who: brought to the world the Ring of the Nibelung; built his own opera house in Beyreuth; endured and enjoyed political exile, turbulent love affairs, poverty and repeated flight from his creditors; became associated with antisemitic ideas; and died in living memory in Venice, just 30 years ago in 1883.

Arms Race – at Barrow in Furness, UK – the Vickers Armaments company launches HMAS AE1, a submarine of the Royal Australian Navy. She will be lost at sea off Papua New Guinea in September 1914.

Transport and technology: In Wabash, Indiana – 11 year old Morris Eagan is killed when he fails to see an approaching automobile being driven by a “demonstrator” [Madison Courier newspaper, 23rd May 1913].

3rd April 1913 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY, in a fjord fractured unpronounceable county in mid-Norway – Per Borten, agriculturalist and later the down to earth Prime Minister of Norway from 1965 to 1971.

Women’s suffrage: British suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst is found guilty in a London court of incitement to arson in the bombing of the country home of David Lloyd George, Chancellor of the Exchequer.  She is sentenced to three years in prison.

Meantime, in Manchester, UK, Evelyn Manesta, Annie Briggs and Lillian Forester attack pictures in the Manchester Art Gallery.

Arms Race: The German Zeppelin LZ-16 accidentally crosses the French border and makes an emergency landing in Lunéville.  The French detain the airship and its crew for one day, making detailed drawings and investigations of its workings.  The affair raises tensions on both sides.

In Glasgow, at the William Beardmore shipyard, HMS Inconstant, an Arethusa class light destroyer is laid down for the UK Royal Navy.

Science and technology: J.B. Watson launches Behavioural Psychology on an unsuspecting world with his lecture at Columbia University: “Image and affection in behaviour”.

Exploration: Alexander Wollaston brings to a close his expedition (“The second english south New Guinea expedition”) after he capsizes his canoe and loses most of his equipment and his diary, but not his collection. He intends to return to New Guinea but the First World War will prevent him from returning. On 3rd June1934 he will be shot dead in his college rooms by one his Cambridge students.

The Dismal science: John Maynard Keynes takes a seat on the Royal (British) Commission to enquire into (Indian) Finance and Currency.

Society and Culture: the first block of land is sold in Leeton, in the newly irrigated rice-growing Riverina district of New South Wales.

Transportation: Nova Lima, in the Minas Gerais State in central South Eastern Brazil, opens its electic tramway system.

Shipping accidents: the trawler “Dauntless” out of Hull, England is posted missing after failing to arrive back from a five week trip to the Icelandic fishing grounds. 12 crewmen are lost.