26th September 1914 (Saturday)

BORN TODAY: in Santa Caterina di Valfurva – Achille Compagnoni, Italian mountaineer and skier.



Siege Warfare: In the West, German forces lay siege to the City of Antwerp, and in the East to the fortress of Osovets in the Russian Empire (now in North East Poland).

South West Africa: At the Battle of Sandfontein a South African/ British force of around 3000 men and 4000 horse surrender to a smaller but heavier armed unit of Germans from German South West Africa.


The Dardanelles: After a skirmish between a Turkish torpedo boat (partly manned by German sailors) and British ships patrolling the Aegean outside the straits, the German commander of the Turkish forts controlling the straits orders the straits to be closed. Technically, Turkey is not yet at war, but this action has a major impact on Russia, who will now be unable to earn foreign currency by exporting her wheat harvest in the winter months when her northern ports are ice-bound. [Roger Ford “Eden to Armageddon, World War 1 in the Middle East”].



15th September 1914 (Tuesday)

BORN TODAY: in Lodz (then in the Russian Empire, now in Poland) – Aharon Katzir-Katchalsky, migrant to Palestine in 1925 who was killed in the Lod Airport Massacre in 1972.



In South Africa, parts of the Afrikaans community ~perceived by the (British) South African government to be instigating a rebellion~ follows General Maritz in proclaiming alliance with the Germans of South West Africa:

The former South African Republic and Orange Free State as well as the Cape Province and Natal are proclaimed free from British control and independent, and every White inhabitant of the mentioned areas, of whatever nationality, are hereby called upon to take their weapons in their hands and realize the long-cherished ideal of a Free and Independent South Africa.” 

The Maritz Rebellion, also known as the “Boer Revolt” is only successfully suppressed after martial law is declared in October 1914.


21st August 1914 (Friday)

BORN TODAY: in California – Robert Emmet Smith, “Art Director”



Western Front: On the second day of the “Battle of the Frontiers”, French General de Castenau hears that his son has been killed in battle.  “He said, after a moment’s silence, in a phrase that was to become something of a slogan for France ‘we will continue, Gentlemen’ ” [Barbara Tuchman: “The Guns of August”].

In the Belgian village of Obourg, near Mons, close to the French border, 17 year old British Private John Henry Parr, former butcher’s boy and golf caddy, is shot dead by German riflemen while performing reconaissance on his push-bike. He is believed to be the first British or Commonwealth soldier killed by enemy action during the first world war [Wikipedia].


On a foggy morning in the forests, the Battle of the Ardennes starts badly for both French and German units when advancing forces meet at short range with no previous warning. [Tuchman].

 Africa: In southern Africa, German troops from the colony of South West Africa cross the border and invade British South Africa.



In Sweden  (and other places too – Russia, Turkey, Iraq and Iran) day briefly becomes night as the Swedes experience the first of four total eclipses of the sun that they will ‘enjoy’ over the next 40 years.



27th February 1913 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY, at Bieliny in South Central Poland – Kazimierz Sabbat, President of the Polish Government in Exile (based in London) from 1986 to 1989. He died in London, aged 76, in 1989 – on the same day that the Parliament in Poland elected its first President since the 1950s (Wojciech Jaruzelski, who would be replaced in 1990 by Lech Walesa of the Polish second republic).

World Affairs: The Albanian Congress of Trieste convenes in Trieste, Austria- Hungary (now part of Italy). The objectives of the congress include the preparation of a request for Albania to be formally recognized as independent by the Great Powers, the delineation of its borders, and a treaty of friendship with neighboring Aromanian (Vlach) populations.

Natural disasters:  Ethiopia experiences the Asmara earthquake, a strong seismic event felt as far away as Kassala in Eastern Sudan.

Society & culture: In London, the first edition of the journal “Muslim India and the Islamic Review” is published. It will change its name to “The Islamic Review and Muslim India” in 1914 and to simply “The Islamic Review” in 1921.

Empire: In Windhoek, in the German Protectorate of German South West Africa (now Namibia), John Ludwig – pioneer tobacco farmer – dies and becomes (on 1st March) the first person to be buried in the Klein Windhoek cemetery. He is considered by many to be the founder of Klein Windhoek.