3rd August 1915 (Tuesday)

BORN TODAY: Roman Fischer, an Austrian fencer, and  Arthur Birch, an Australian chemist.




On the Italian Front: After 91,000 casualties the Second Battle of Isonzo on the Italian/ Austrian border (now the Soca valley in north west Slovenia) draws to a close because both sides have run out of ammunition, both for small arms and for artillery. [Wikipedia].


On the (Belgian) Home Front: British nurse Edith Cavell, who has been based in Brussels for many years, is arrested by the German authorities on suspicion of helping British, French and Belgian soldiers and citizens to escape from German occupied Belgium.


31st May 1915 (Monday)

BORN TODAY: in Canberra – Judith Wright, poet, environmentalist and campaigner for aboriginal land rights.



In Turkish Mesopotamia (now Iraq, allegedly) – British and Indian troops are pushing back the Turks as the Allied forces advance northward in an amphibious operation on the River Tigris. [Burg & Purcell]

On the Austrian Isonzo river in the Julian alps (now the Soca River in Slovenia), Italian forces are attempting to push back Austrian troops and to advance eastward into the province of Carnolia (northern Slovenia). [Burg & Purcell]

26th April 1915 (Monday)

BORN TODAY: in Furth, Bayern, Germany – Ludwig Schweickert, European wrestler killed in action during World War 2.


ACCIDENTS: In the English village of Brayton in Cumberland, a pit explosion injures 8 miners, seven of whom will subsequently die of their injuries.



World affairs: In London,  Italian diplomats agree to declare war on Germany and her allies within one month, in exchange for territory in the South Tyrol, and in the Adriatic, including Gorizia, Istria and most of Dalmatia – the homes of 230,000 German speaking Austrians and around 750,000 Slovenes and Croats, far outnumbering the 650,000 Italians also residing there. [The White War: Life and Death on the Italian Front, 1915-1919].

Dardanelles: British submarine E-14 successfully passes through the Dardanelles, reaching the sea of Marmara and sinking a Turkish gunboat. [Burg & Purcell].

1st March 1915 (Monday)

BORN TODAY: in Solesmes, in northern France – Gustave Choque, mathematician.



Southern Europe: Stirred in part by the belief that the Allies are making progress against Turkey in the Dardanelles, and therefore might overwhelm Turkey before the Italians have created a negotiating position fror themselves, the Italian general staff puts the army on a “red alert” for mobilisation. A secret proposal is presented in London whereby Italy’s reward for joining the Allies would be significant gains in the South Tyrol, Trieste, Gorizia and Istria, Dalmatia, Kotor (in modern Montenegro) and Albania, effectively turning the Adriatic into an Italian fjord. [Mark Tompson: “The White War, Life and Death on the Isonzo Front, 1915-1919″].

In the Dardanelles:  British fishing trawlers, equipped as minesweepers and with largely civilian crews, begin a two week attempt to clear the straits of mines.


The Home Front: in London, on St David’s Day, the newly formed Welsh Guard (part of the British Guards Division) mounts its first “Kings Guard” at Buckingham Palace.


6th September 1914 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY: In Accra on the Gold Coast (now Ghana) – Jacob Hackenburg Griffiths-Randolph, Ghanaian Commissioner of Income Tax; political exile; Speaker of Parliament of Ghana; and father-in-law of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the contemporary Ghanaian politician and contender for the 2016 Presidential election.



Western Front: German, French and British troops clash on the first day of the Battle of the Marne. In the stuff of legends, and at a crucial stage on this first day, the Parisian authorities send an additional 6000 troops who are de-training in Paris back to the front in Parisian taxis.

[Tuchman – the Guns of August]

West Africa: At the Battle of Nsanakong in Kamerun, German forces successfully expel a British invasion force, pushing it back into Nigeria one week after the original incursion.


Eastern Front: Writing from the small spa resort of Trenčianske Teplice (now in in Western Slovakia) Žiga, a Hungarian or Slovenian soldier writes to his wife:

“I wrote you a letter in the morning, but I don’t know if you’ll get it. I received your postcard, but not a closed letter. After 24 hours of travelling we arrived to Trenčianske Teplice at noon. We’ll have lunch here and then move on. Don’t write until I send you an address. I won’t receive your letters. Staying yours faithful husband,


They just brought 2000 Russians; I have seen a Russian soldier”


25th July 1914 (Saturday)

BORN TODAY: in Nabrežina near Trieste (then the Mediterranean port of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, eventually annexed by Italy at the expense of its Slovene community)  – Miroslav Zei, Slovenian marine biologist, after whom the The Miroslav Zei Award  for outstanding scientific achievements in Biology (bestowed by the Slovenian National Institute of Biology) is named.


World Affairs: The Serbian Government accepts all but one of the Austro-Hungarian demands in “almost humiliating” reply to the ultimatum. Both Serbia and Austria mobilize their troops. Serbia appeals to Russia for assistance. Serbian general Radomir Putnik, who happens to be visiting Budapest, is immediately arrested. Later he is released in a “chivalrous and possibly self-defeating gesture by the Austro-Hungarian emperor” [Wikipedia].



11th June, 1914 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY: Renaat Demoen, Belgian illustrator and creator of comics.


World Affairs: In Serbia, King Peter I (Peter Karađorđević) “retires” in favour of his son, the Crown Prince Alexander, following a short period of strife between military and civil authorities. On 1 December 1918, after the implosion of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, King Peter I will be  proclaimed King of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.


Transportation: In Bern Switzerland, the “European [Train] Timetable Conference” concludes it biannual meeting, where the timetable for train co-ordination across Europe for the winter season 1914-1915 has been agreed and set. Passengers should be warned there may be substantial delays…


Society and culture: Wealthy Californian socialite Aimee Crocker,  marries Prince Alexandre Miskinoff, a Russian nobleman.They will divorce in 1916, leaving him with the dubious honour of being her fourth divorce, but not with the satisfaction of being her only Russian divorce. In 1925 she marries Prince Mstislav Galitzine, Count Ostermann of Russia, becoming Princess Galitzine, a title she retains after divorcing him too, in 1927.



18th January 1914 (Sunday)


~ In Llubljana, in the Duchy of Carniola, Austria-Hungary (now the capital of Slovenia) – Vitomil Zupan, Slovenian writer and poet.

~ In Hamburg, Germany – Arno Schmidt, author and translator.

~ In Geitau bei Bayrischzell, Bavaria – Marianne Schech, operatic soprano.

~In Buenos Aires, Argentina  – Oscar Rubens, “prototypical lyricist of the 40s”.

“His family came from Ekaterinoslav, in Ukraine. His parents, the cobbler Motl and María Kaplán, a teacher at the Hebrew school, decided to emigrate because of the scourge of anti-Semitism, that had broken out again at times of the Russian-Japanese war. They arrived in Buenos Aires in the early 1906 with three daughters, Luisa, Aída and Eugenia. In Argentina they would have seven children more, the second of which was Luis, born in 1908 and with whom the tango dynasty began together with Mauri, Elías (who used the pseudonym Elías Randall) and Oscar. The Rubinsteins or Rubisteins (in the documents of some of them the “n” disappeared) were part of a massive Jewish emigration”. [Todotango.com].





28th August 1913 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY: in Trst, Austria-Hungary (occupied by Italy after 1918, officially annexed to Italy as “Trieste” in 1920, occupied by Germany after the Italian Armistice in 1943, taken by Yugoslavia for forty days in 1945, a “United Nations Free Territory” from 1947-54, under Allied Military rule, and returned to Italy in 1954) – Boris Pahor – a man destined to spend his life with no country to call his own after the disappearance of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Emblematic of life on a twentieth century geo-political fault line.


He is finally – late in his 100th year – receiving some recognition from his native and adoptive lands… A few days ago, on 23rd August 2013 Italy conferred on him the title of “Honorary Citizen of Trieste”, the first ever minority Slovene to receive this recognition.


Trieste - the City in the Bay

Trieste – the City in the Bay

26th June 1913 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY – in Ljubljana, Austria-Hungary (later Yugoslavia, eventually Slovenia) – Vida Tomsic, lawyer, women’s rights activist and prominent Yugoslav politician. A member of the banned communist party in the late 1930s,  she was arrested – along with her husband – by the occupying force’s secret police in the early 1940s, tortured and sentenced to 25 years imprisonment. Her husband was shot. After the war, in the new socialist state, she rose to prominence in both domestic and international political circles and played a key role in the improvement of Yugoslav women’s rights and circumstances in the 1970s.

Also,in Brossen (Meuselwitz) in Germany – Rudolf Brazda, the gay son of Czech immigrants who partnered Werner from the age of 20 (1933) and was arrested by the nazis for “debauchery between men” and later (1942) deported to the Buchenwald concentration camp. He survived the horrors of Buchenwald and was liberated in April 1945, following which he settled in East Germany. He died in August 2011, aged 98, in Bantzenheim (Alsace, France – very near the Rhine).

Disasters and accidents: In Batavia, in Genesee County, New York State, a fire destroys the canning factory of the Batavia Preserving Company. Half a million cans of beans, spinach, salmon, mackeral, potted ham, chicken, brown bread and plum pudding are destroyed but fortunately no-one was killed.

Society and Culture: the City of Avalon (on Catalina Island) is incorporated – now part of Los Angeles County. Population in 1920 – 586. Population in 1960 – 1,536. Population in 2010 – 3,728.