29th June 1913 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY: in Willesden Green, North London – Sir Gerald David Nunes Nabarro: son of a sephardic jewish shopkeeper; convert to christianity; army sergeant in the 1930s; machine hand, factory manager, and saw-mill owner; successful and maverick post-war conservative politician; owner of a legendary handle-bar moustache; eventually brought down from politics by a court-room scandal involving his secretary and driving the wrong way around a roundabout. All frightfully British, don’t cha think?

World Affairs: The Second Balkan War commences with a surprise Bulgarian attack on Serbian forces at Slatovo and Greek forces at Salonica.

Arts and Literature: D.H.Lawrence publishes “Sons and Lovers”

Accidents: In Leechburg, Pennsylvania a raft ferry crossing the river Kiskiminetas at night sinks, drowning 10 people, including “two negroes, several foreigners and two Americans” [Washington Post District of Columbia].

Society and Culture: in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, over 50,000 confederate and union veteran soldiers from 47 US states begin to congregate to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg (1st to 3rd July, 1863),


28th June 1913 (Saturday)

BORN TODAY: in Byton, Kujawsko-Pomorskie, in the Province of Wloclawek (Poland) – Leon Nowakowski, Priest of the diocese of Wloclawek. Killed by the nazis in October 1939 (aged 26).

Also: in Nowy Sącz (then in Austria-Hungarian Galicia, soon to be annexed by Russia, then occupied by Germany [WW1], briefly claimed by Ukraine, then part of Poland, before being re-occupied by Germany [WW2] and finally (?) settling in Poland, just north of the Slovakian border) – Efraim Racker, “Austrian” biochemist who grew up in Vienna, but fled to Britain before settling in the USA. “the regional Jewish community [of Nowy Sącz] numbered about 25,000 before World War 2… ninety percent of them died or did not return” [Wikipedia].

World Affairs: the Bulgarian king Ferdinand I orders his army to march into the disputed areas of Macedonia which were  taken from the Ottoman Empire by Greece and Serbia during the First Balkan War. This action destroys the Balkan League, and also forces Russia to rethink its strategic positions in the southern Balkans between the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empires. the Second Balkan War will be short but bloody, and leave all parties dis-satisfied and with their objectives in the Balkans and the Aegean unresolved. In exactly one year from today the Austrian Archduke Ferdinand will be assassinated in Sarajevo…

King George of V of Great Britain and Ireland is visited by a delegation of four Tibetan boys bearing letters and gifts from the 13th Dalai Lama.

Accidents: In London’s Hyde Park, Captain Matthew Meiklejohn, who lost his right arm but gained the Victoria Cross at the Battle of Elandslaagte in the Boer War, in 1899, is out riding when his horse bolts. Unable to control the horse with just one  arm he narrowly prevents the horse from trampling a group of children by forcing it up against the railings of Rotten Row. Impaled on the railings, he dies of his injuries on 4th July.

Society and Culture: At London’s “Olympia” Exhibition Centre, Londoners are enjoying the 7th International Horse Show.

30th May 1913 (Friday)

BORN TODAY: in Falls City, Nebraska – Pee Wee (George) Erwin, Jazz trumpeter.

World Affairs – in London, at the conclusion of the international conference which has lasted over 5 months, combatants of the First Balkan War sign the Treaty of London. The Balkan League (Serbia, Greece, Bulgaria, Montenegro), having defeated the Ottomans, successfully confirm the boundaries of the Turkish state in Eastern Thrace, substantially limiting Turkey’s territory in Europe. Issues relating to Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia and Thrace remain unresolved, thereby sowing seeds for later disputes – the earliest of which will re-emerge within weeks.

Crime and Punishment: Henry Brock is executed for murder in the State of Texas.

1st April 1913 (Tuesday)

BORN TODAY – Robert Adrian de Jauralde Hart, English horticulturalist – the “gardener with a vision of sustainable forests in the city” (the Guardian). Author, ecologist and conservationist.

“Obviously, few of us are in a position to restore the forests.. But tens of millions of us have gardens, or access to open spaces such as industrial wastelands, where trees can be planted. and if full advantage can be taken of the potentialities that are available even in heavily built up areas, new ‘city forests’ can arise…”

First Balkan War: The Turkish government accepts the peace terms for the end of the war, thereby losing 60,000 square miles of its previous European territory and retaining only a tiny foothold in Europe.

Philippe, Duke of Montpensier and pretender to the French throne, is proclaimed King of Albania – one of the former Ottoman provinces in Europe.

Arms Race/ Second Balkan War: The Romanian air-force is founded.

Science, technology and labour relations: Ford Motor company begins its first experiment with the assembly line method of manufacturing.

The Natural History Museum in London opens its Department of Entomology (the study of insects – I had to check).

Transport: In the village of Elsenham, Essex, UK – a branch railway line opens to the town of Thaxted, approximately 6  miles away. (It will survive until 1952).

In Tokyo, Japan, the Oji electric tramway station opens (now the Toden Arakawa line).

Womens’ Suffrage: At the Old Bailey (law court) in London, Emmeline Pankhurst (aged 53) is sentenced to three years penal servitude for “feloniously procuring and inciting a person or persons unknown to commit felony; unlawfully soliciting and inciting persons unknown to commit felony and certain misdemeanours”.

Society and culture: The first permanent force South African army comes into being under the terms of the South Africa Defence Act, 1912.

In German East Africa, the town of Bismarckburg (now Kasanga in Tanzania) on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, with around 3900 inhabitants, becomes the official seat of the District Office.

In Prague (then in Austria-Hungary, later Czechoslovakia, now the Czech Republic) the Jedlicka Institute for the Disabled is founded, specialising in the care of disabled children and adults.

27th March 1913 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY, in West Ham, London – Stanley Reginald Knight, Royal Navy joiner (4th class). Perished with the sinking of HMS Hood, 24th May 1941, aged 28.

First Balkan War: In Sofia, Bulgaria, there are celebrations of the fall of Adrianople (Edirne) including a requiem for the dead and a Te Deum for the victory. King Ferdinand and the Royal Bulgarian princes travel to Adrianople.

Arms Race: Geoffrey de Havilland crashes while testing the B.S.1 (UK) Royal Air Force bi-plane, damaging the aircraft and breaking his jaw.

Accidents: At Irvine in Scotland, miner Robert McGrevey is killed instantly by a fall of coal.

Music and entertainment: In Helsinki, Finland – Jean Sibelius conducts the Philharmonic Society Orchestra for the first ever performance of his Opus 64 “The Bard”.


26th March 1913 (Wednesday)

BORN TODAY, in Budapest, in Austria-Hungary (now just Hungary) – Paul Erdos, “legendarily eccentric” personality and the mathematician who “published more papers than any other mathematician in history” (wikipedia).

Arms Race: After the recent accidental wrecking of the airship “Mayfly” during trials, the UK First Lord of the Admiralty, Sir Winston Churchill, admits that  development of naval airships has been “retarded” and that the mishap of the Mayfly – or the “Won’t fly” as he prefers to call it –  is a serious setback.

First Balkan War: The Turkish city of Edirne, once the capital of the Ottoman Empire (known in Greek as Adrianople and Bulgarian as Odrin) is captured by Bulgarian troops  after a four month siege, when its commander, Mehmed Sukru Pasha, surrenders to the Bulgarian forces.  After centuries of coveting control of the Bosphorus, Bulgaria’s principal sponsor, Russia, is shocked that Bulgaria is so close to succeeding where Russia has so often failed.

Society and culture: In Worcester, Massachusetts, there is general excitement over a scheduled visit by the millionaire philanthropist Andrew Carnegie who is visiting to lay the cornerstone of a new public lending library. The great man is scheduled to arrive at 14.12hrs and to leave at 17.02hrs precisely, during which time he will wield a silver trowel especially made for the occasion.

Meanwhile, earlier in the day, Francesco Di Rago arrives in Sydney, Australia from his home town of Viggiano, Basilicata in Italy and soon opens a fruit shop in Military Road, in the (now) lovely Neutral Bay area of the city.



13th February 1913 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud (Khalid, “son of Abdulaziz the Saud”). Future King of Saudi Arabia (1975-1982). Commemorated in various ways after his death, including through a wonderful international airport just north of Riyadh.

World Affairs: After invasion by Chinese Manchu forces, the Tibetans drive out the invaders and declare their independence.

In Mexico City, the battle between government and opposition forces continues throughout the fifth of the “Ten Tragic Days” of the Mexican Revolution.

Society and Culture: Mary Harris Jones, 83 year old labor activist, is arrested in Charleston, West Virginia during the mine confrontations and later sentenced under military law to three years in prison.

Shipping News: Off the coast of Norfolk (UK) the steamships “London” and “Edingurgh” collide, with the loss of the Edinburgh and her four crewmen. Meanwhile, off the North Oregon coast, the barque “Mimi” runs aground in fog on the Nehalem Spit and capsizes in the salvage operation with 17 deaths.