4th November 1913 (Tuesday)

BORN TODAY: In Switzerland, Paul Irniger – fraudster, robber and murderer who became, at the age of 25, the second to last person judicially executed in Switzerland – guillotined on the 25th August 1939.


Crime and Punishment: In Wolverhampton, England, Josiah Davies murders his landlady, for which crime he will be convicted in December 1913 and executed (hanged) in March 1914.


World Affairs:

~ In Constantinople (now Istanbul) in Turkey, representatives of the Ottoman Empire and of Persia sign a protocol defining the boundary between Persia and the Turkish lands (which are now part of Iraq).


~ The Kingdom of Bavaria, which has been “annexed” by the German Empire since 1871 (when the crown was offered to King William I of Prussia) amends its constitution to include a clause specifying that if a regency for reasons of incapacity lasts for ten years with no expectation that the King will ever be able to reign, the Regent can proclaim the end of the regency and assume the crown himself. Bavaria’s most recent two kings have been Ludwig II (1864-1886) who “bankrupted the country building fairytale castles and hosting Wagner concerts”, before he was mysteriously drowned, and his younger brother and successor King Otto, who was declared insane in 1875. King Otto was “by some accounts not even aware that he had become King” [Colonel J’s Bavaria].


Natural Disasters: in the Apurimac region of Peru an earthquake kills 155 people.


A sign of the times?  The pre-dreadnought class steel armoured battleship launched in 1891 – HMS “Empress of India” is ignominiously used for target practice, presumably by her fully dreadnought class successors, and sent to a watery grave.


23rd October 1913 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY: in Portland, Oregon – Arthur Ruitian Chen, US aviator of Chinese and Peruvian descent who joined the Guangdong Provincial Air Force in 1932, completed further flight training in Munich, Bavaria, Germany with the Luftwaffe before returning to China to fight the Japanese between 1937 and 1945. discharged from the Chinese air force in 1945 so that he could join the United States Army Air Forces.  After his death in 1997, posthumously inducted into the Hall of Fame of the American Airpower Heritage Museum in Midland, Texas, United States and now recognised as the first American ace of World War 2.


Accidents: Manchester, Connecticut suffers its largest ever fire when local school buildings housing 1000 teachers and pupils are destroyed in an afternoon fire. “Because of the insistence of School Superintendent Fred A. Verplanck in conducting routine fire drills, all students and teachers escaped the burning building without loss of life and without serious injury” [Manchester Historical Society, September 2013].

Click to access couriersept13.pdf

Women’s suffrage: In protest at the arrest of Mary Richardson and Rachel Pease for arson, British suffragettes set light to and destroy the Bristol University Sports Pavilion, leaving a card demanding the release of Richardson who had been forcibly fed while awaiting trial.


Shipping accidents:

~ the French liner Amiral Exelmans runs aground and is lost on a reef at Tabou, on the West African coast, en route from  Dunkerque to Gabon. Her engine room is completely flooded when her hull is holed by the reef.

~ the steamship “Chesterfield” is lost off the mouth of the Brisbane River in Australia, with the loss of two lives.



13th July 1913 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY: The State Technical University of Konisgsberg (then in East Prussia) now known as Kaliningrad (after 1945 an oblast of the Soviet Union, now an exclave  of Russia).

World Affairs: The UK House of commons publishes the Casement Report into atrocities perpetrated by the British Peruvian Amazon company in its pursuit of profit from the rubber industry.

Society and Culture: Liepzig, in Germany, hosts the twelfth German gymnastics festival.

Railway accident – 15 die and 100 are injured in a rail collision at Venice Beach, Los Angeles.

Royal Lancastrian Progress: On the seventh day of their royal tour, King George V and Queen Mary become the first reigning monarchs to visit a UK football (soccer) league venue when they visit local schoolchildren at the Goodison ground, home of the Everton club in Liverpool.

11th May 1913 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY, in Resende, Portugal – Edgar Cardoso, builder of bridges (literally, not metaphorically) on three continents across the Portuguese (ex) empire, including: Angola, Portuguese Guinea (now Guinea Bissau) and Mozambique in Africa; Macau and India in Asia; and of course in Portugal.

First Balkan War: The Bulgarian town of Silistra is awarded to Romania as part of the settlement.

Extreme Weather: A typhoon strikes the Philippines, killing over 800 people.

Society and Culture: In the US House of Representatives, Members wear white carnations to honor American Mothers – the first observance of Mothers’ Day in the USA.

Dr Marie Charlotte Carmichael Stopes, author of “Married Love” and “Wise Parenthood”, files for divorce on the grounds that her marriage has never been consummated.


25th February 1913 (Tuesday)

BORN TODAY, in Cuyahoga, Ohio – Jim (James Gilmore) Backus, the voice of Mr Magoo, voted the “29th greatest cartoon character of all time” in 2002.

World Affairs: Enrique Varela, Prime Minister of Peru, resigns.

Arms Race: The German U Boat SM-U38 is laid down by Germainwerft in Kiel. It will eventually become the third most successful u-boat operating during World War I, sinking 138 ships (300,000 tons in total).

Accidents & disasters: In New Kensington, Pennsylvania, USA, a huge explosion at the Valley Camp Mine kills two, injures two others and leaves rescue workers unclear how many miners are trapped behind a “wall of flame” underground. A rescue party later in the day narrowly escapes death itself after a second explosion.

Women’s suffrage: The UK Home Office (Government ministry) reports that Lilian Lenton (aka Ida Inkley) who was arrested a few days ago and charged with an arson attack has been discharged from prison in response to her hunger strike after “her condition became so serious that…her life would have been in immediate danger if forcible feeding had been continued or if she had been allowed to remain longer without food”.

Meanwhile in the Eastern US, the second suffrage hike from New York City to Washington continues through its 13th day.

Society & culture: Horatio Nelson, 3rd Earl Nelson, dies aged 89. His father, Thomas Bolton, was the nephew of THE Nelson, “1st Viscount Nelson”. Mr Bolton inherited the title “Earl Nelson” in 1835, which prompted him to change his surname to “Nelson”. Since his father’s death the 3rd Earl had lived in “Trafalgar House” in Wiltshire, which had been known as Standlynch since the time of the Doomsday Book (11th century) but was renamed Trafalgar by Act of Parliament in honor of the original Nelson, in 1814, twelve years after his death.