5th September 1915 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY: in Colombo in British Ceylon  – Arthur Terence Sahanandan Paul, pioneering Sri Lankan cardiothoracic surgeon.



Protest: In Zimmerwald, Switzerland, delegates from international socialist parties in 11 countries hold a conference to advocate anti-militarist and pacifist policies and (for some) international socialist revolution, later making this small Swiss town a part of the foundation myth of the Soviet Union.


28th May, 1915 (Friday)

BORN TODAY: In Cambridge, England – Fred Unwin, local man, brush salesman, milkman, psychiatric nurse and ‘desert rat’ with the Eighth Army. Later, an amateur (Cambridge) community historian. Passed away in December 2014, aged 99. RIP.


Colonial unrest: In Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) against a backdrop of the recent imposition of martial law by the (British) authorities, A Buddhist procession celebrating Vesak Poya Day defies orders to stop drum beating while passing a mosque in Gampola town. Violence follows, including Buddhists attacks on a mosque, and on muslim businesses, escalating to 63 deaths across the island [Lanka Herald website].


11th April 1915 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY: Sunil Santha – Sri Lankan composer, singer and lyricist.


DIED TODAY: In prison in the Netherlands – Serial killer Maria Swanenburg, aged 75, convicted in 1885 of poisoning over 100 people with arsenic between 1880 and 1883, of whom at least 27 died, after starting with her own mother (1880) and shortly after her own father. Her motive – insurance policies. Her punishment – life imprisonment.



In the Middle East: Turkish forces shell the city of Qurna in Mesopotamia (now Iraq) which has been held by the British since early December 1914. [Burg & Purcell].

29th September 1914 (Tuesday)


~ in Woodridge, Manitoba, Canada – Joseph Patrice Ephreme (“Andy”) Desjarlais, Métis fiddler.


~ In Natal, South Africa – Diederik Johannes Opperman, Professor of Afrikaans Literature at
the University of Stellenbosch, 1960 – 1979, and “one of South Africa’s most important poets and literary men”.



In the Middle East: the British gunboat HMS ESpiegle arrives from Ceylon (Sti Lanka) and takes up a position at the head of the Arabian/Persian Gulf with the task of protecting the British interests in the Anglo-Persian oil company, including the refinery on the Persian  island of Abadan. [“Eden to Armageddon: World War 1 in the Middle East”].

On the (english) Home Front, the Worcestershire Hunt (the organisation for hunting foxes in the County of Worcestershire) debates whether the hunt should continue in wartime:

“Masters of Foxhounds all over the country had been ‘robbed of their brood’ and, in many cases, few horses had been left except old cobs. Mr Jones said the Hunt should really go in for killing more foxes than usual because it was reported that there was a scarcity of foreign eggs. Major Baldwin strongly supported the policy of continuing the Hunt. Some of the subscribers had lost friends and others of them were busy and could not hunt, but they wanted to see the sport kept alive.” [Quoted on the Worcestershire World War 1 web-site].


18th April 1913 (Friday)

BORN TODAY in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) – Harold St. Elmo Bogaars of the famous (?) Bogaars family of Ceylon. His ancestor Henricus Ezechiel Bogaars  was born at Zierikzee in Holland (the Netherlands) and arrived in Ceylon in 1785, one hundred and twenty eight years before Harold’s birth.

Henricus Ezechiel died in 1811 and his son Hendrikus Marinus Bogaars who was born in 1789, died in 1838. Another Henricus Ezekiel Bogaars was born in 1832. A relative, Charles Llewellyn Bogaars was born  in 1848, and his son (another) Charles Llewellyn Bogaars (born 1873) was Harold St Elmo’s father. Unfortunately the internet does not divulge what all these Bogaars were doing in Ceylon.

Arms Race: HMS Nottingham, a town class light cruiser, is launched at Pembroke in Wales. She will survive for a little over 3 years until being sunk by German UBoat U-52 on 19th August 1916.

Also today, the French Navy lays down two Normandie class battleships: the “Normandie” in St Nazaire and the “Languedoc” in Lorient. Both will be scrapped during the late 1920s.

Society and culture: The first Indian (silent) feature film ““Raja Harishchandra” enjoys its premiere before its general release early in May.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that In Leeton, New South Wales,  “the heart of SunRice country”, author Sir Rider Haggard will officially open the new butter factory on Thursday 24th April.

13th April 1913 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY  – A miscellany of thirteen on the 13th.

> in Greenfield, Lancashire, UK – Basil Fanshawe (“Joe”) Jagger, father of Sir Michael Philip Jagger, the Duracell rock rabbit.

> in Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan – Masatoshi Nakayama, internationally renowned master of Stotokan Karate.

> in St Paul, Minnesota, USA – Bill Sackter, mentally disabled son of Russian immigrants who helped bring attention to the plight of the mentally disabled.

> in Ilford, Essex, UK – Air Vice-Marshal Sir Bernard Chacksfield, who served on the North West Frontier and  in Burma, and was mentioned in despatches four times.

> In Worcester, UK – Ruth Kettlewell, film actress and self acknolwedged “character bag”, and a specialist in landladies and mothers-in-law.

> (Somewhere in Mexico?) – Leon Poullada, American diplomat son of an immigrant Mexican doctor who served US embassies in Togo, Ceylon, Pakistan  and Afghanistan and specialised in Afghan history.

> In Mislap, Texas, USA  – Jake Mooty, Major League Baseball pitcher in the later thirties and early forties.

> in Harrow, UK – Peter Robinson, Hurricane Pilot (56th squadron) who fought in and survived the Battle of Britain but was shot down and killed over the English Channel the following year (June 1941).

> in Grimsby, England – Walter (“Wally”) Ponting, professional footballer for Grimsby Town, Chesterfield and Lincoln City throughout the nineteen- thirties.

> in Coesfeld, North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany – Paul Eising, local politician and Minister of the Interior for the Land of North-Rhine Westphalia from 1959.

> in Oelwein, Iowa –  Kermit Tyler, US air-force officer who on 7th December 1941 was the officer in charge of the “Intercept Center” at Pearl Harbor. In April 1942 a Naval Inquiry Board cleared him of any wrongdoing for failures to identify the size of the incoming Japanese attack.

> Pastoe furniture store in Utrecht, celebrating 100 years of design innovation.

> Mangapapa Church, Gisborne on the East Coast of North Island, New Zealand, celebrating a century of worship “where the sun shines first in the world of every new day”.


24th January 1913 (Friday)

BORN TODAY – Professor Maurice Pryce, in Croydon, UK, the internationally respected authority on the peaceful uses of atomic energy, who spent much of his career considering what was becoming one of the most pressing issues of our time: the disposal of nuclear waste.

First Balkan War: A Greek seaplane flies over the Dardanelles dropping bombs (unsuccessfully) on the Turkish fleet – possibly the first use of aeroplanes for aggressive warfare (as opposed to simple reconnaissance).

The Catholic Archbishop of Skopje reports details back to Rome of the massacre of between 300 and 400 Albanian muslims at Ferizaj by the Serbian army after the Serbian commander has invited the men to return to their homes in peace. He also reports another massacre at Gjilan and the sacking of Gjakova.

Empire and Labour Relations: Reginald Edward Stubbs becomes the Colonial Administrator (Governor) of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) a position he will hold intermittently until 1918, during which time he achieves notoriety for his unsuccessful attempt to deport a white radical, Mark Bracegirdle, for attempting to incite insurrection among plantation workers.

Society and Culture: the “Boy Rangers of America” are established in Montclair, New Jersey, USA.