22nd September 1914 (Tuesday)

BORN TODAY: in Erlangen, Germany – Fritz Scheller, olympic cyclist at the 1936 summer olympics.



In the North Sea, German U-boat U-9 torpedoes and sinks three British cruisers: Aboukir, Hogue and Cressy. Hogue and Cressy are each destroyed while rescuing survivors. 1400 seamen perish.

In the Indian Ocean, German light cruiser SMS Emden shells the facilities at the Burmah Oil Company in Madras (now Chennai), India, destroying fifty thousand tons of oil.

In the Pacific, off the Island of Tahiti, German battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau bombard the town of Papeete, the Capital of French Polynesia.

In Germany – British planes bomb Zeppelin sheds in Cologne and Dusseldorf.

[Burg and Purcell: “Almanac of World War 1”]

5th April 1914 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY: in Warialda, New South Wales – Aubrey “Aub” Lawson, Australian and international speedway cyclist.


Women’s suffrage: In London, a bomb explodes inside the church of St Martin’s-in-the-fields, in Trafalgar Square. The suffragettes are suspected of committing the crime. Fortunately, despite the bomber’s choice of Sunday, no-one is hurt.


Arts and Literature: In Tahiti, where he has been indulging in part of a “gap year” before taking up a fellowship at King’s College, Cambridge, poet Rupert Brooke boards ship to return to England. In August he will defer his fellowship once more, with the comment “Well, if Armageddon is on, I suppose one should be there”.


Shipwrecks: the British cargo ship, SS Croydon, runs aground in Barbuda in the West Indes.