13th August 1914 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY: In Lahore in British India (now in Pakistan) – Munawar Hussain, Pakistani cricket umpire.



In Belgium, three of the forts which have been holding out under sustained shelling from giant German guns surrender.

In St Petersburg, Alfred Kattner – an employee in the German embassy – is killed when an angry Russian mob ransacks  and torches the building.


In Istria, Croatia, the steamship “Baron Gautsch”, strikes an underwater mine and sinks near the town of Rovinj, where it now protected by the Croatian authorities and considered to be “among the best known and most attractive diving locations in Europe and in the world“.

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14th July 1914 (Tuesday)

BORN TODAY: in Panama, Kenneth B Clark – psychologist who studied the effects of racial prejudice on children.


World Affairs: In a telegram to the German Kaiser, Baron Tschirschky (the German Ambassador to Vienna) confirms that Hungarian premier, Count Tisza, has been brought around to the idea of war, and that the Austro-Hungarian authorities have decided to send an ultimatum to the Serbian government. The text will be ready by 19th July, but a decision has been made to delay issuing it until after the French President, Poincare, finishes his state visit to Russia, to reduce the likelihood of a quick and well coordinated reponse from Russia and France.


Exploration: In London’s docklands, the SS “Montcalm” arrives from Manitoba, Canada with a cargo of 99 “endurance dogs”. Each dog has travelled first by freight train from Winnipeg to Manitoba and each is caged individually. They are part of the preparations for Ernest Shackleton’s trans-Antarctic expedition. The “Endurance” will leave Plymouth, bound first for Buenos Aires, on 8th August.


Mysteries: The German cargo ship “Werner Kunstmann” founders on the Goswick Sands in England’s northern waters. “Reputed to have been scuppered following reports that she was on route to supply her cargo of iron ore to German factories which had been building up in their preparations for the start of World War 1. All 17crew were saved when the ship ran aground in fine weather on the Goswick sand ridge and was lost”. [The Berwick Advertiser].


Womens’ Suffrage: Militant suffragette Maude Edwards is released from Perth prison on the grounds that “excitement is injurious to [her] health”.



29th May 1914 (Friday)

BORN TODAY: in Khumbu, Nepal – Tenzing Norgay, mountaineer.


Shiiping Accidents: In the early morning fog of the St Lawrence River, the RMS Empress of Ireland collides with the Norwegian collier, SS Storstad and sinks. 1012 souls perish.


5th April 1914 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY: in Warialda, New South Wales – Aubrey “Aub” Lawson, Australian and international speedway cyclist.


Women’s suffrage: In London, a bomb explodes inside the church of St Martin’s-in-the-fields, in Trafalgar Square. The suffragettes are suspected of committing the crime. Fortunately, despite the bomber’s choice of Sunday, no-one is hurt.


Arts and Literature: In Tahiti, where he has been indulging in part of a “gap year” before taking up a fellowship at King’s College, Cambridge, poet Rupert Brooke boards ship to return to England. In August he will defer his fellowship once more, with the comment “Well, if Armageddon is on, I suppose one should be there”.


Shipwrecks: the British cargo ship, SS Croydon, runs aground in Barbuda in the West Indes.




26th March, 1914 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY: in Saxon, South Carolina – William Childs (“Westy”) Westmoreland, four star general who commanded US military operations in Vietnam from 1964 to 1968.


Shipwrecks: In Brisbane, Australia, the steamship St Paul, carrying chromium ore from New Caledonia which was ultimately bound for Europe, strikes Smith’s Rock and sinks within minutes with a loss of 18 lives, including the Captain’s.


19th March, 1914 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY: in Hamilton County, Florida – Berne Davis, “Fort Myers Arts Matron”. Happy Centenary Ma’am!


World Affairs and global finance: The Anglo-Persian and Royal Dutch Shell oil companies sign an agreement with the Armenian millionaire Calouste Gulbenkian (“Mr five per cent”) who is a major shareholder in the Turkish National Bank (British controlled), in an attempt to secure exclusive oil rights in Mesopotamia (now Iraq).


Death in Venice:  a ferry boat (vaporetto) carrying around 50 passengers collides with a naval ship because the crew are busy watching the new marvels of a seaplane circling overhead. 14 die in the accident.


Food and agriculture: New Zealand farmer and diarist George Adkin spends a busy day with his raddle.


Extreme weather:  Torrential rain hits north London, causing sewers to overflow. Rainwater floods down Highbury Hill pushing mud against the west terrace boundary wall of the Arsenal football club, opened just six months ago. The wall is unable to take the pressure and begins listing in towards the terracing.


17th March 1914 (Tuesday)

BORN TODAY: location not known  – James Duncan “Smudger” Smith, RAF pilot shot down and killed in action over Libya, in 1941, aged 27. Buried in Knightsbridge War Cemetary, Acroma, Libya.


Migration: In Madras (now Chennai) In India, mathematical genius Srinivasa Ramanujan boards the steamship SS Nevasa to begin his month long voyage to London, and ultimately to Cambridge University, where in October 1918 he will become the first Indian to be elected a Fellow of Trinity College.


Shipwrecks:  in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the SS Sydney, carrying passengers and coal, runs aground on Shag Rock, at the entrance to Halifax harbour. Fortunately, all 11 passengers and 50 crew are rescued.