3rd June 1914 (Wednesday)

BORN TODAY: on Menorca, in the Balearic Islands – Ignacio Ponseti: son of a watchmaker; graduate of Barcelona University; medical officer for the Spanish loyalists; refugee from the Spanish Civil War; family doctor in Mexico; orthopedic specialist in Iowa; developer of the Ponseti technique for correcting congenital clubfoot;  and Professor Emeritus in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. The Ponseti International Association, the global leader in training and educating healthcare providers on the treatment for congenital clubfoot, is named in his honour.




Society and culture: Cecil Sharp, the English folk song collector, “collects” the sailors sea shanty “Noah’s Ark Shanty” from Captain Hole of Wachet, in Somerset.


Aristocracy: In Paris, Henry Sackville-West, neglected scion of an aristocratic English family, shoots himself minutes after the death of his wife.

In the small hours of the morning of 3 June 1914, a woman and her husband were found dead in a sparsely furnished apartment in Paris. It was only when the identity of the couple was revealed in the English press a fortnight later that the full story emerged. The man, Henry Sackville-West, had shot himself minutes after the death of his wife from cancer; but Henry’s suicidal despair had been driven equally by the failure of his claim to be the legitimate son of Lord Sackville and heir to Knole. The Disinherited reveals the secrets and lies at the heart of an English dynasty, unravelling the parallel lives of Henry’s four illegitimate siblings: in particular his older sister, Victoria, who on becoming Lady Sackville and mistress of Knole, by marriage, consigned her brothers and sisters to lives of poverty and disappointment”

[Bloomsbury publishing – “The Disinherited” by Robert Sackville-West]

“Brilliantly exposes the shadowy side of the Victorian aristocracy and the horrors of life on the wrong side of the blanket . . . A marvellous book – a gripping story, superbly researched and related with grace and humour in elegant, enjoyable prose.”[The Literary Review].



Philanthropy: The Bishop of Chester (UK) performs the dedication ceremony for the new Emmeline Winstanley Home For Boys in Knutsford. The home is a gift from an anonymous donor. Later in this same year it will be converted to house the sons of soldiers and sailors killed during the war.


Journalism and letters: Mildred Aldrich, Bostonian teacher and journalist who, after sixteen years working as a journalist and translator in Paris, has recently moved to Huiry, to a house on a hillside overlooking the Marne Valley, writes the first of her letters which will later be published collectively as “A Hilltop on the Marne”, recording a civilian’s account of life “On the Edge of the War Zone”



30th March 1914 (Monday)


~ In Doncaster, England – Wing Commander Ernest Reginald Baker, DSO, DFC and Bar

~ place unknown – Pio Tomaselli, Italian biplane fighter ace.

~ at Pietermaritzburg, Natal, South Africa – Group Captain C.P. (“Paddy”) Green, DSO, DFC, South African Air Ace.





27th November 1913 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY: in New York City – Walter Benjamin Garland, Brooklyn college mathematics student, communist party and National Negro Congress activist, volunteer fighter with the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War. US Army volunteer in World War 2 whose request to serve overseas was denied. Post war activist against discrimination and police brutality, co-founder of the United Negro Allied Veterans Association.


Crime and punishment: At Pentonville Prison, in London, England – Frederick Robertson is hanged by the neck for the double murder of his relatives – Nellie and Beatrice Robertson.


Transport and gallantry: In the village of Liss in Hampshire, England, Percy Norwood sustains serious head injuries while rescuing blacksmith Harry Rasell from the path of an oncoming train. Harry’s pony had bolted, crashing into the crossing gates and throwing him onto the rails ahead of the train.


Thanksgiving: In the US State of New Mexico, Governor William C McDonald proclaims this Thursday, the fourth Thursday in  November, as a day of thanksgiving:  “I urge upon all that this day be observed as one of prayer and praise to God for the many blessings enjoyed by our people. At the same time may we not forget the poor and needy, making the day what its name implies for all”.


Journalism, society and culture: The National Geographic magazine publishes an article with ethnographic plates entitled “The Non-Christian Peoples of the Philippine Islands”.


22nd July 1913 (Tuesday)

BORN TODAY: In Jura, Switzerland – Andre Boesiger – anarchosyndicalist, member of the Geneva Anarchist Group, and advocate of the “bad pay, bad work” approach to labour relations. Conscientious objector from army service (jailed for 2 years), arms smuggler for both the Spanish Civil War and the Algerian (independence) War.

Disasters & accidents: In Binghampton, New York State, fifty workers – mostly female – die in a fire at the Binghampton Clothing Company.  The fire alarms – recently installed in response to health and safety laws – operate effectively, but the workforce has been subjected to so many fire-drills that it fails to react promptly to the alarms.

In Oakley, Mississippi: 35 black prisoners on the Oakley convict cotton farm perish in a night-time fire which destroys their jail and prevents them escaping from their second floor cells.

10th July 1913 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY: in Santa Coloma de Farners, Catalonia, North East Spain –  Salvador Espriu i Castelló, Catalan poet, dramatist and  Spanish Civil War combatant.

World Affairs/ Second Balkan War: Romania declares war on Bulgaria

Extreme Weather: Death Valley California experiences the highest temperature ever recorded (globally, at that time) when the mercury reaches 57 degrees celsius (134 fahrenheit). Although the record passes to Libya in 1922, that Libyan record is rejected in 2011 by the World Meteorological Organisation, thereby returning the world record to Death Valley.

At the end of June, 2013, forecasters are predicting the 100 year old record may finally be broken in the South Western USA.


Royal Lancastrian Progress: On the fourth day of their royal tour, King George V and Queen Mary visit Blackburn.

25th June 1913 (Wednesday)

BORN TODAY: In Cetinje, Montenegro (later Yugoslavia, then Serbia-Montenegro, now Montenegro again) – Peko Dapcevic, Yugoslav communist who fought in the Spanish Civil War, then joined the Partisan resistance to German  occupation in Yugoslavia, helped liberate Belgrade in 1944 and was appointed Chief of Staff of the Yugoslav Peoples’ Army under Tito in 1953.

Accidents and disasters: Near Ottawa, Canada, a train is derailed and two of its nine carriages plunge into the Ottawa River. Eight people are killed, including Patrick Mulvenna from Country Antrim, Northern Ireland, who has just arrived and is crossing Canada in search of a new life.

21st June 1913 (Saturday)

BORN TODAY: Giuseppe Scarpetta, Italian biplane fighter ace who fought in the Spanish Civil War, and then in World War 2. Killed in combat on 14 August 1942, aged 29 years.

World Affairs: The first Arab Congress closes in Paris

Society and Culture:  In the skies above Los Angeles, Georgia “Tiny” Broadwick becomes the first woman to parachute from an aeroplane.

Science and Technology: The Sydney, NSW ambulance service takes possession of its first motorised ambulance, a 16-horse power Armstrong-Whitworth motor wagon, at a cost of  £800.