10th September, 1915 (Friday)

BORN TODAY: in New York City – Edmond O’Brien, actor.


Local journalism, 100 years ago today:  in England, the Western Times provides its readers with an update:

“Cycle accident     – On enquiry at the Royal Devon and Hospital last evening we were informed that the youth, Albert Madge, who met with a  serious accident on Wednesday through colliding, while cycling, with a taxi-cab in Queen-street, Exeter, had passed  a comfortable day.”



Crime and punishment: At the Tower of London, at 6.00AM, Ernst Waldemar Melin, a Swedish national, is executed by firing squad for the crime of spying on behalf of the German government.


30th August 1915 (Monday)

BORN TODAY: In Swansea, Wales – Lillian May Davies, fashion model, and later Princess Lilian, Duchess of Halland, after her marriage into the Swedish Royal Family in 1976.



~ On the Thames Estuary in Purfleet, Essex – 16 cadets and their training officer on His Majesty’s Training Ship “Cornwall” when it is struck by a government tug.


~ in Mardin, near (what is now) the Turkish/ Syrian border, Ignatius Abded Mshiho II, the 61 year old Patriarch of Antioch, Head of the Syriac Orthodox Church.


~ At Gallipoli – Brigadier General P.A.Kenna VC DSO, 21st Lancers, 3rd Mounted Brigade and Lewis Leonard Grant, a labourer from Allansford, Victoria, Australia… and many others.



15th August 1915 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY: in Stockholm – Signe Eleonora Cecilia Larsson (later, Signe Hasso) Swedish born American actress.


Society and Culture: at St Mary Magdalene Parish church in Old Milton, Hampshire, in southern England, Ethel Henrietta Florence Burton (25) marries Frank Rex (“Jimmy”) Fletcher (25).


Leisure: New Zealand farmer and diarist George Adkin enjoys a Sunday afternoon outing in the country (after church) with friends in their  “lovely Humber car… Maud [his fiance]wore a bewitching black veil tied over a soft hat + her black furs + when she nestled down into the billowy soft cushions + was tucked in with a nice fur rug, she looked like a sweetest little adorable duchess one could imagine.”



Gallipoli: In response to the continuing failures of allied attacks on the Turkish at Suvla Bay, the British Secretary of War (Kitchener) dismisses the General in charge. Several more senior military men are either dismissed or voluntarily resign, an option sadly not available to the long suffering and frequently dying troops.


 On the (British) Home Front: Under the recent National Registration Act, all UK citizens between the ages of 15 and 65 are required today to register as at the their current residential address.


26th November 1914 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY: in Ludvika, Sweden – Birgit Ridderstedt, immigrant to America and Swedish-American folk singer of the 1950s and 1960s.



Shipping Accidents: Off the coast of Sheerness, in England’s Thames estuary, an internal explosion destroys HMS Bulwark, claiming the lives of 738 men.


Society & Culture: In London’s Holloway district, a local resident visits the police station to file a complaint that “while watching a film at the “Rink” [cinema] a couple of nights before, he ‘saw several acts of indecency between males and females occupying seats near where he and his wife were sitting’ ” [“Khaki Fever Moral Panic: Female spectators and women police at the Finsbury Park Rink cinema, London, 1913-1919”, by Alex Rock]

17th September 1914 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY: in Stockholm – William Grut, Swedish pentathlete and Olympic champion at the 1948 Olympics in London.



Western Front: as the Allies (France and Britain) and the Germans try to outflank each other’s armies by moving north after the Battle of the Frontiers, they progressively push the conflict towards the sea: the so called “Race to the Sea” which will end in stalemate on 19th October.


Accidents: HMS Fisgard II founders near Portland,  off England’s south coast, with the loss of 17 men.



Transportation:  In the USA, “Automobile” magazine previews the “Eight-Cylinder Motor for 1915 …  [as] Cadillac Introduces French Motor Design”.


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.



20th August 1914 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY: in Stockholm, Sweden –  Sven “Svenne Berka” Bergqvist, “bandy, ice-hockey and football player” [Wikipedia].



Eastern Front: German forces attack Russians at the Battle of Gumbinnen in East Prussia, but are repulsed and driven back with heavy losses.


Balkan Front:  Towards the conclusion of the Battle of Jadar, also known as the Battle of Cer,  the Austro-Hungarian 5th army is forced back into Austro-Hungarian Bosnia Herzegovina by Serbian troops. “Many Austro-Hungarian soldiers drown in the water [of the Driva River] as they flee in panic”. [Misha Glenny: “The Balkans”, quoted on Wikipedia].

Western Front: German troops occupy Brussels in great numbers.

[Peter Chassaud: “Mapping the First World War”]


In The Vatican City at Rome, Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto, better known as Pope Pius X, dies, after living in poor health following a heart attack in 1913.



17th February 1914 (Tuesday)

BORN TODAY: in Newcastle, northern England – George Mathwin Forrester – RAF Hurricane Pilot who died during the Battle of Britain in July 1940, aged 26.


Arms Race: In the British Parliament, the First Lord of the Admiralty (Winston Churchill) declines to answer a question from a member about comments in the German Parliament regarding proposals for mutual reductions in naval construction.


World Affairs: Hjalmar Hammarskjöld replaces Karl Albert Staaf as Prime Minister of Sweden.


Aftermath of the Second Balkan War: In Northern Epirus (previously part of the Ottoman Empire, but recently granted to newly formed Albania under the Protocol of Florence), Greek forces lead an armed rebellion to declare the Independence of Norther Epirus from the Albanians.


Society and Culture: The National Opera Company of Canada collapses after just one season amid accusations and scandal.


Science and technology: the New York “American” magazine reports on US senate intentions for formally inquire into the use of babies and infants for vivisection experiments.


Shipwrecks: In Massachusetts, USA – the Italian cargo ship “Castagna”, laden with guano from Uruguay, runs aground on Cape Cod. Five of the thirteen crew perish of cold before lifesavers are able to reach them.

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