29th August 1914 (Saturday)

BORN TODAY: in Glasgow, Scotland – William “Billy” McEwan, Scottish footballer.



Western Front: In the ongoing “Battle of the Frontiers” French casualties (killed, wounded and missing) exceed a quarter of a million men after just a little more than one week of fighting.

Source: “Mapping the First World War” (Peter Chassaud)

At the Battle of Guise the French Fifth Army, commanded by General Lanrezac, makes a successful counter-attack against the German Second Army, slowing the advance of German forces towards Paris.


In the Pacific: New Zealand soldiers land at Apia and successfully occupy German Samoa.




8th May 1914 (Friday)

BORN TODAY: in Christchurch, New Zealand – Gaven John Donne, Knight of the British Empire, Kiwi barrister; Chief Justice to the Supreme Court of Samoa; Chief Justice of the Cook Islands and Niue; Queen’s representative to the Cook Islands; Chief Justice of Nauru and Tuvalu. “One of the longest serving judges in the Southern Hempisphere” [Wikipedia].


Society and culture: the US Congress passes legislation setting the second Sunday in May as “Mother’s Day” in the USA.


Science and technology: The “Wine and Spirit Trade Record” journal publishes an article “The evolution of a cork”, which includes photographs of english cork-cutters practising the dying art of hand-cut corks, increasingly replaced since the mid nineteenth century by more efficient mechanised solutions.


9th July 1913 (Wednesday)

BORN TODAY: At Kenardington in Kent, UK – Charlie Bridger, quarryman son of a farm labourer from a musical lineage. British folk music revivalist in the 1980s. (“Three maidens a-milking did go“)

World Affairs: China signs a treaty with Russia relinquishing its claims to Mongolia.

Second Balkan War: Serbian forces defeat a Bulgarian army at the Battle of Bregalnica (now part of  Macedonia).

Crime and Punishment: In the UK, Thomas Fletcher, jilted lover, is hanged at Worcester Gaol by Thomas Pierrepoint for the murder of his former fiance, Lilian (Lily) Wharton.

Royal Lancastrian Progress: On the third day of their royal tour, King George V and Queen Mary visit Accrington, Bacup, Shawforth, Whitworth, and also Rochdale, where they are treated to the opening recital of the new James J Binn’s organ which is the centrepiece of the Rochdale town Hall. The recital is performed by Herbert Walton, the organist of Glasgow cathedral.

Science and Technology: in Maadi, by the Nile, (now a suburb of Cairo) American Frank Shuman demonstrates his new invention – the solar panel power plant.

12th June 1913 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY: in Wila, in the canton  of Zurich in Swtizerland – Elisabeth Eidenbenz, daughter of a Zurich pastor who joined the Asociación de Ayuda a los Niños en Guerra (“Association to Aid Children in War”). She arrived in Madrid in 1937 and later founded the “Maternite Suisse” in an abandoned Chateau just across the French border where, with the aid of funds from the Swiss Red Cross, she provided refuge for Spanish mothers-to-be, despite (from 1942) harassment from Nazi authorities searching for Jews and Tziganes (Roma/ Hungarian gypsies). She was awarded France’s “Legion d’Honneur” in 2006 and died on May 23rd 2011 in Zürich (Switzerland) at the age of 97.

World Affairs: In Constantinople, Said Halim Pasha is appointed as the new Grand Vizier (First Minister) following the assassination of Mahmoud Shevket Pasha yesterday.

In Samoa, the German Governor of Samoa, Erich Schultz, persuades the Samoans to accept the German Kaiser’s sovereignty over Samoa.

Colonial unrest: In Reykjavik Harbour, Iceland, Einar Petursson is arrested by the Danish coastguard for sailing his small boat flying an “unofficial” new flag for Iceland – a blue and white flag which has been growing in popularity. His arrest provokes outrage among Icelanders who pass a resolution to adopt the new flag for Iceland. The proposal is denied by the Danish authorities, on the grounds that it is considered too similar to the flag of Greece.

Society and Culture: V.I.Lenin publishes “Child Labour in Peasant Farming”

“Capitalism condemns the peasant to extreme degradation and ruin. There is no other salvation for him than through joining the class struggle of the wage-workers. But before the peasant can arrive at this conclusion he will have to experience many years of being disillusioned by deceptive bourgeois slogans”.


18th January 1913 (Saturday)

BORN TODAY, in Brooklyn, NY  – David Daniel Kaminsky – better known as Danny Kaye, American actor, singer, dancer and comedian. Died in 1987, aged 74.

First Balkan War: in the Battle of Lemnos, a Greek flotilla defeats the Ottoman Navy and secures the islands in the northern Aegean for Greece.

Extreme Weather: in the USA, devastating flooding continues across a wide area including the Ohio Valley District, the Green River in Kentucky, the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers, and the Wabash and White Rivers in Indiana and Illinois.

Disasters and accidents: The Liverpool Mercury reports “Two lives lost for a Dog: Distressing Fatality at Colwyn Bay” (North Wales). Jennie Robinson (23, a housemaid) and Elizabeth Gaskell (54, servant) both drown while trying to rescue their Mistress’s dog from rough seas. At the inquest, the Council recommends attaching a line to the life buoy, and inspecting it daily.

Science and technology: Thomas Edison predicts that books will soon be obsolete in schools because it is possible to teach every branch of human knowledge using motion pictures.

4th January 1913 (Saturday)

Born today  – Malietoa Tanumafili II (aka Susuga), Head of State in Samoa from 1962 until his death in 2007, when he was the oldest serving head of state in the world (aged 94).

World Affairs: Bulgaria gives notice to Turkey that it is terminating the armistice signed 3rd December to end the First Balkan War.

Warfare: Count Alfred von Schlieffen dies (aged 79) after bequeathing to Germany the notorious Schlieffen Plan designed to bring victory if Germany faces war simultaneously on two fronts – with France in the West and Russia in the East.

Science and technology: (Airships, Dover, Kent, UK). At about 5am, town employee John Hobbs sees an aircraft carrying a light (which, it is thought, makes it more likely to be an airship than an aeroplane), coming in from over the sea. It is moving very fast in a north-easterly direction, with strong winds coming from the west. He first hears the throb of its engines, which is also heard by police constable Pierce and a tradesman named Langley.

Human Rights: (in) the London Literary Review (a man) reports “The Ruin of the English suffragette movement”… “The militant woman-suffrage movement in England is dead.”