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.

12th June 1913 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY: in Wila, in the canton  of Zurich in Swtizerland – Elisabeth Eidenbenz, daughter of a Zurich pastor who joined the Asociación de Ayuda a los Niños en Guerra (“Association to Aid Children in War”). She arrived in Madrid in 1937 and later founded the “Maternite Suisse” in an abandoned Chateau just across the French border where, with the aid of funds from the Swiss Red Cross, she provided refuge for Spanish mothers-to-be, despite (from 1942) harassment from Nazi authorities searching for Jews and Tziganes (Roma/ Hungarian gypsies). She was awarded France’s “Legion d’Honneur” in 2006 and died on May 23rd 2011 in Zürich (Switzerland) at the age of 97.

World Affairs: In Constantinople, Said Halim Pasha is appointed as the new Grand Vizier (First Minister) following the assassination of Mahmoud Shevket Pasha yesterday.

In Samoa, the German Governor of Samoa, Erich Schultz, persuades the Samoans to accept the German Kaiser’s sovereignty over Samoa.

Colonial unrest: In Reykjavik Harbour, Iceland, Einar Petursson is arrested by the Danish coastguard for sailing his small boat flying an “unofficial” new flag for Iceland – a blue and white flag which has been growing in popularity. His arrest provokes outrage among Icelanders who pass a resolution to adopt the new flag for Iceland. The proposal is denied by the Danish authorities, on the grounds that it is considered too similar to the flag of Greece.

Society and Culture: V.I.Lenin publishes “Child Labour in Peasant Farming”

“Capitalism condemns the peasant to extreme degradation and ruin. There is no other salvation for him than through joining the class struggle of the wage-workers. But before the peasant can arrive at this conclusion he will have to experience many years of being disillusioned by deceptive bourgeois slogans”.


11th June 1913 (Wednesday)

BORN TODAY: in Brooklyn, New York – Vince Lombardi, American football player and coach. “Winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing”.

Also, at Fontanelle in Romania, Walter Adolph, Luftwaffe Ace who served with the Condor Legion during the Spanish Civil War (from autumn 1937 until spring 1938), successfully destroying a Republican (Soviet sourced) Polikarpov I-15 fighter biplane. Later a successful fighter pilot in East Prussia (1939) and then over Belgium and the English Channel/ La Manche during 1939/41. Shot down in late September 1941 (aged 28) and his body recovered on a Belgian beach in early October 1941.

World Affairs: In Constantinople, the Grand Vizier (First Minister) Mahmud Shevket Pasha is assassinated in a drive-by shooting while travelling through the city.

In the Philippines the US Army, supported by local police and military forces, begin the 5 day Battle of Bud Bagsak to root our Moro warrior insurgents. The insurrection has been ongoing for the last 14 years.

Society and Culture: At Denison University, Ohio, Kent Pfeiffer is expelled from school and ordered out of town for his part in harrassing Stuart Collett, a 25 year old British immigrant who survived the Titanic catastrophe last year. Kent and five  masked unidentified colleagues branded Stuart on the forehead using nitrate of silver, disfiguring him for life, because he would not mix with other students.


5th June 1913 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY: in Rijeka on the Kvarner in Austria-Hungary (now Croatia) – Guido Nonveiller, Croatian entomologist. Officer in the International Brigade in the Spanish Civil War, captured by Franco’s forces, later a member of the French Resistance movement during WW2. Founder and director of the Federal Institute for Plant Protection in Yugoslavia, then a plant protection officer in Tunisia and,  later still, Cameroon. Prolific author in German, French, English, Spanish, Italian and Serbo-Croat.

Arms Race: at the Swan Hunter and Wigham Richardson shipyard in Wallsend, UK – the British Royal Navy launches the destroyer HMS Sarpedon (later Laertes). 

Society and Culture: In London, the Ambassadors Theatre opens for the business of pleasure.

At London’s Albert Hall, a Grand Gala Ball is held as a charity benefit in aid of the The Incorporated Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Help Society. The theme for the evening is the “Procession of Courts”, a lavish costume event where each “court” occupies a separate section of the hall and is hosted by a high society hostess. For example: The “Court of France” is organised by Lady Paget; “Portugal” by the Marchioness of Donegal; “Turkey” by the Countess Fitzwilliam; “Holy Roman Empire” by the Countess of Drogheda; and so on. A romantic evocation of a civilised and harmonious Europe which – if it ever existed – has slipped quietly away somewhere in the late nineteenth century.

In Robeson County, North Carolina, Pembroke Mayor McInnis reports that Town Council have made it clear that the new Railroad Station must have THREE waiting rooms in order to accommodate the three races in Pembroke: “the White, the Negro and the Cherokee Indian”, observing of the Cherokee that “there are some of the Indians who are very nice and good people and there is a large majority of them who are otherwise”. [http://www.learnnc.org/]

Science and technology: The journal “Nature” reports on the recent work of the (US) Eugenics Record Office, including a “series of quarto memoirs, beautifully printed at the expense of Mr. Rockefeller” which includes a study of the “Hill Folk” of New England. Recording that 700 individuals had descended from 2 individuals it comments that “Feeblemindedness, alcoholism and the evils which spring from each or both in combination are terribly prevalent among them, and their distribution within the families is clearly shown in the extensive pedigree charts which embellish the memoir”.

(The Eugenics Record Office in New York State was opened in 1910. Over the years it advocated laws that led to forced sterilisation before it was eventually closed in 1944).