24th June 1915 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY:  in Bingley, West Yorkshire – Sir Fred Hoyle, stellar nucleosynthesist.




Western Front: After being missing from his regiment for nearly nine months Corporal Frederick Ives (12295) of the 3rd Battalion Worcestershire Regiment, is arrested today, wearing civilian clothes, by an officer of the Army Veterinary Corps.  Corporal Ives will be court-martialled on 7th July and executed by firing squad with four other deserters on 26th July.


18th June, 1915 (Friday)


~ in Houston, Texas  – Paul Neal “Red” Adair, arch-enemy of oil well fires.


~ In Hervey Bay, across the water from Fraser Island, on the coast of Queensland in Australia – Isaac Garry “Ike” Owens, “one of the last full-blooded Butchulla” . In 1975 he made a statement for the Fraser Island Environmental Inquiry:

“I do not like to see the Island as it is now, being knocked about, the way they’re doing. All of my old friends have gone and the Island is not like it used to be. The beach is different — dirty, with bottles, cans of beer, and bottled beer and rubbish… It’s going to be like Queen Street in Brisbane, I think, before long. Even though there were two or three thousand aboriginal people before the white man came, they weren’t knocking it about like the people are now. They didn’t throw everything about like they do now on the beach. There are cars running up and down the beach. All we left was a few footprints.

Click to access 38%20Ike%20Owens%20Backgrounder.pdf


Western Front: The second Battle of Artois is brought to an end when the French generals acknowledge that the German defences are too strong… after 40 days, 2 million shells, and 102,500 French casualties. The French have advanced approximately 3 kilometres.


6th June 1915 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY: Brebis Bleaney, CBE (Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) FRS (Fellow of the Royal Society), British physicist specialising in the use of microwaves to study the magnetic properties of solids.



Miracles and second thoughts:

When Zeppelin LZ-37 is attacked and destroyed by a British fighter plane eight crew members perish in the flames, but a ninth crew member throws himself overboard as the vessel is crashing above a convent in Ghent and falls into a bed,where he survives. [Burg & Purcell].

Meanwhile the government in Berlin orders U-boat commanders not to torpedo large passenger ships. [Burg & Purcell].


17th May 1915 (Monday)

BORN TODAY: in Zurich – Marcel Roland de Quervain, Swiss glaciologist, “known for his fundamental work on the metamorphism and physical properties of snow.”



Anatolia: In the Armenian city of Van, in eastern Turkey, the one month long siege of the city by Ottoman forces intent on suppressing Armenian activists is relieved by the arrival of Russian troops from the city of Malazgirt, temporarily under Russian control.


On the (British) Home Front: The Liberal Government (Asquith’s first ministry) is brought down by high levels of unpopularity, partly fuelled by the continuing failures at Gallipoli.


12th May 1915 (Wednesday)

BORN TODAY: in Canada – Doris Edna Gray, BSc, MSc, PhD and research fellow at the University of Western Ontario, and later Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Hong Kong. Later still, a retiree in Dunblane, Scotland, where she bequeathed “a sum of money to the Women’s Engineering Society to encourage women in Scotland to become professional engineers. Part of this sum of money was allocated to provide £1,000 per year for women studying in Scotland” (the Doris Gray Scottish Scholarships).



22nd April, 1915 (Thursday)

War – from above, from beneath, and from within…


BORN TODAY: in Brno, in Austria-Hungary (now part of the Czech Republic ) – Vilem Goth, Czechoslovakian exile who joined the RAF 310 squadron at Duxford, England, and died in action over Kent fighting for the Allies in 1940 .


The Western Front: At the Second Battle of Ypres, the Germans secure an initial advantage by releasing poison gas onto a favorable wind, which totally surprises French colonial troops – Algerian and Zouaves, with many collapsing and dying while trying to flee. [Burg & Purcell].

War at Sea: In Washington DC, the German Imperial Embassy issues the following public notice addressed to US citizens:


Travellers intending to embark on the Atlantic voyage are reminded that a state of war exists between Germany and her allies and Great Britain and her allies; that the zone of war includes the waters adjacent to the British Isles; that, in accordance with formal notice given by the Imperial German Government, vessels flying the flag of Great Britain, or any of her allies, are liable to destruction in those waters and that travellers sailing in the war zone on the ships of Great Britain or her allies do so at their own risk.


15th April, 1915 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY: in Karlesruhe, Germany – Walter Seelmann-Eggebert, radio chemist.



Western Front: British General Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien has now been presented with so much evidence of German plans to use asphyxiating gas as soon as the wind direction is right that he confides to his diary: “The details given are so voluminous and exact that I am sure they are untrue” . [Burg & Purcell].

Eastern Front: The German High Command issues orders to transfer eight divisions of the German Army from the Western Front to the Carpathian Mountains on the Eastern front. [Burg & Purcell].

13th April 1915 (Tuesday)


~ in New Mexico – Sue Baier Ferris, “Beauty Queen, Homemaker, Business Woman and Philanthropist”.


~ In St Louis, Missouri – Lillian Kroener, Miss Illinois, 1933.



War on two fronts: The German High Command, having concluded that no real progress is feasible on the Western Front for the forseeable future, turns its attention, and in due course more of its forces, back to the East.


The Western Front: Private August Jaeger of the German 234. Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment (51. Reserve-Division) deserts to the French trenches, bringing news that his compatriots are plannning to use asphyxiating gas in their upcoming attacks…


10th April 1915 (Saturday)

BORN  TODAY: in Detroit, Michigan – Harry Bratsburg, better known as Harry Morgan, and better still as Colonel Sherman Tecumseh Potter, M.D.



Crime and Punishment: In England, the “Hertfordshire Mercury” reports on four boys aged 9 to 12 who have been apprehended for burglary, who are sentenced at Cheshunt Petty Sessions to “receive six strokes each with the birch rod”.



Western Front: Major-General Ilse, Chief of Staff of German 4th Army, is summoned to Supreme Headquarters at Charleville-Mézières for a meeting with General von Falkenhayn, where he is informed that the trial of the gas cloud is now urgent and should be carried out as quickly as possible.


In the Aegean: The harbour at Moudros, on the Greek Island of Lemnos, temporarily commandeered by the British, is becoming congested with warships bringing troops to the impending land attack on the  Dardanelles.