BORN TODAY: in Gò Công, in Cochinchina (now Vietnam) – Marie-Thérèse Nguyễn Hữu Thị Lan, schoolgirl at the Couvent des Oiseaux, in Neuilly-sur-Seine in France, distant cousin of Bảo Đại, King of Annam (the central region of what is now Vietnam), whom she married in 1934 to become Empress Nam Phương, the “first and primary wife” of the last Emperor of Vietnam. Promoted from “Her Majesty” to “Her Imperial Majesty” in 1945, but then self-exiled to Cannes in France in 1947 following the communist takeover. [Wikipedia].
BORN TODAY: in Hanoi, in French Indochina (now Vietnam) – Henri Laborit, neurosurgeon and award winning medical researcher. “He pioneered the use of dopamine antagonists to reduce shock in injured soldiers”. [Wikipedia]
Caring for the wounded:
~ In Brighton, on England’s south coast, the local mayor receives a visit from Colonel Sir Walter Lawrence with a request from King George V for the use of the famous Royal Pavilion (a relic of an earlier King George) as a military hospital for the wounded Indian soldiers arriving from France. Agreement is reached immediately, and planning begins for the late eighteenth century palace to be converted to receive and care for Hindu, Muslim and Sikh soldiers.
~ In Brisbane on Australia,’s east coast the 1st Australian General Hospital (1AGH) unit, formed in Queensland in August, embarks on the vessel Kyarra, bound -in two separate teams – for Cairo, Egypt, and for Rouen in France.
BORN TODAY: in Hoài Đức District in French Indochina (now Vietnam) – General Lê Trọng Tấn, Deputy Commander of the Viet Cong, Director of the National Academy of Defence and Deputy Minister of Defence. “One of the finest commanders of the Vietnam People’s Army”. [Wikipedia].
Siege: Winston Churchill visits the beleagured city of Antwerp and persuades King Albert of Belgium not to withdraw his forces in response to the German siege.
[Burg and Purcell].
The human cost: In Britain, the “Spectator” magazine speculates on the number of german casualties in the war so far:
“It is difficult,,, to put their losses in killed, wounded, prisoners, and missing much below four hundred thousand, and they are probably heavier. To this stupendous figure must be added the losses on the Russian frontiers. We need not say that we take no delight in this -appalling “butcher’s bill”—to use the Duke of Wellington’s phrase. It is difficult to see how a war waged on this scale can be a long war—and yet history shows that mere losses have seldom brought wars to an end.”
War at Sea: Off the Belgian coast, the British cargo vessel Dawdon strikes a mine and sinks with the loss of her crew of ten men.
~ in Florence, South Carolina – USAF Lieutenant General Joseph Harold Moore, who led “Operation Rolling Thunder”, the three and a half year US mission to bomb North Vietnam into submission, thereby compelling Hanoi to end its aggression against South Vietnam.
~ (today? or possibly earlier?) In Tunapuna, Trinidad – Winifred Atwell, boogie-woogie and ragtime pianist.
World Affairs: Sir Henry McMahon, working on behalf of his British masters at the Shimla border-treaty conference in British India, finalises the border demarcation treat between india and Tibet, which to this day is known as the “McMahon Line”.
Railway accidents: in South Kortright, Delaware County, New York State, Mrs. Rebecca White, the proprietor of the South Kortright Inn, is killed when she steps in front of an Ulster and Delaware coal train at a local crossing.
Society and culture: New Zealand farmer and diarist, George Adkin, is busy with the mundane business of life: skinning dead sheep and making plans to furnish his new marriage home.
BORN TODAY: in Saxon, South Carolina – William Childs (“Westy”) Westmoreland, four star general who commanded US military operations in Vietnam from 1964 to 1968.
Shipwrecks: In Brisbane, Australia, the steamship St Paul, carrying chromium ore from New Caledonia which was ultimately bound for Europe, strikes Smith’s Rock and sinks within minutes with a loss of 18 lives, including the Captain’s.
~ in Bà Rịa, in French Indochina (now in Bà Rịa–Vũng Tàu province in South East Vietnam) – Jacques Nguyễn Văn Mầu, Vietnamese bishop of the Roman Catholic church. Died 31 January 2013, aged 99 years.
~ In Phnom Penh, in French Indochina (now in Cambodia) – Prince Sisowath Sirik Matak, a member of the Cambodian Royal Family, who renounced his royal title after helping to bring about a right wing coup d’etat in 1970, but retained his military uniform and his swagger stick.
~ in Aurangabad, Maharastra in British India – Sikandar Ali Wajd, urdu poet. civil servant, judge, parliamentarian and President of Anjuman Taraqqī-ē-Urdū, an organisation dedicated to promotion of urdu language and literature and Indian muslim cultural heritage.
~ In Wyndham, Southland, South Island, New Zealand – Ronald James McLean, saviour of Lake Manapouri.
BORN TODAY: in Hue, French Indochina (now Vietnam) – Bao Dai, King of Annam (a “protectorate” of French Indochina) from 1926 to 1945, and briefly the last Emperor of Vietnam when the Japanese ousted the French in 1940 and ruled through him.
Accidents & Disasters: An explosion at the Dawson coal mine in New Mexico kills 263 mine workers.
Crime: The Cornell Daily Sun reports an interesting case of extortion:
“Chemists employed by the postal authorities discovered today colonies of germs in a letter sent to extort money from Mrs. Frederick Steele, a wealthy suburban resident. The letter warned Mrs. Steele that it contained 2,000,000 malignant bacilli with which she was infected by opening it and demanded a sum of money in return for a supply of the only serum that could cure her. Indications of the presence of a germ culture were found by the government chemist who, however, were unable to state the nature of the disease they might convey”. [the Cornell Daily Sun, 22nd October 1913].
Elsewhere in the US, the papers report the breaking up of a “wholesale jewellery smuggling” operation from Canada into the USA.
BORN TODAY, in Wabaunsee County, Kansas – Lewis, WIlliam Walt (“Lew Walt”), decorated US Marine Corp leader, WW2 and Korean War hero, Commander of 3rd Marine amphibious force in Vietnam (1965-67) and Senate investigator into international drug trafficking. Author of 3 books, including “Strange war, strange strategy”, about the Vietnam War.
Also, in Constantinople in the Ottoman Empire, Keriman Halis Ece, Miss Turkey 1932, and winner of the “International Pageant of Pulchritude”, in Spa, Belgium, in the same year.
World Affairs: In Mexico City, a brief (9 hour) armistice is declared between the government and opposition forces. US Ambassador Wilson continues to discuss with General Huerta plans to remove President Madero and instal an alternative to the constitutionally elected President.
Society & Culture: In Columbus, Ohio a travelling evangelist, the Reverend Billy Sunday, concludes his two month long revivalist program at a purpose built 12,000 seat wooden auditorium. An estimated 1million people have attended the 93 services (up to three a day) over two months. Attendance has presumably been aided by the 60 protestant churches of Columbus who have ceased their services while the Reverend Billy has been in town.
Shipping News: in Hafnarfjörður in Iceland, the new pier designed to accommodate the growing fishing industry is consecrated at a large ceremony less than two months after the arrival of its first steamship, on 28th December 1912.