12th July 1915 (Monday)

BORN TODAY: in the Pavlovsk Palace, the 18th-century Russian Imperial residence built by Paul I in Saint Petersburg  – Princess Catherine Ivanovna of Russia, great-great-granddaughter of Tsar Nicolas I and niece of King Alexander I of Yugoslavia: the last member of the Russian Imperial Family to be born before the fall of the dynasty, and ultimately the last surviving uncontested dynast of the Imperial House of Russia. She died in Montevideo, Uruguay, in 2007, aged 92.



Gallipoli: Allied forces make a final attempt to take the hill of Achi Baba which overlooks the places where many allied soldiers have been pinned for weeks.

“As was the norm with operations from Helles casualties were inordinately high.  The Allies incurred 4,000 casualties and the Turkish force rather more, 10,000.  For all that the Turkish force suffered twice as heavily the encounter nevertheless ended with possession of Achi Baba remaining in Turkish hands.”


War at Sea: Off England’s east coast, the German submarine SM-UB6 has a productive day destroying four English fishing boats.


History, not fresh, but preserved and recycled: On the Western Front, Ulstermen from Northerl Ireland  and the Orangemen diaspora celebrate the Battle of the Boyne (1690)…

“We (the Canadians) all gathered together with a good many Ulstermen to celebrate the Battle of the Boyne. The procession started from “Shrapnel Square” and was headed by an old scout mounted on a white horse with its mane and tail plaited with Orange and Purple ribbon. Next came the fife and drums well decorated with Orange Lilies and “No Surrender” was painted on the flag we carried“.


18th April 1915 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY: at Miedzybrodzie, Cracow, Austria-Hungary (now in Poland) – Józef Karol Czulak: Cavalry Officer in Poland; prisoner of war in Romania; fugitive in Yugoslavia; resistance fighter in Italy and France; exile in England; Army Captain in Scotland; liberator in France; undergraduate and research bacteriologist in England; and migrant and cheese scientist in Australia, where he won the Australian Society of Dairy Technology’s gold medal in 1960.



War from the air: French Pilot “Roland Garros is forced down behind German lines and taken prisoner. His plane is recovered intact by the Germans, which results in a technological leap forward for aerial warfare.”


12th October 1914 (Monday)

BORN TODAY: in Pakoštane, in the Austro-Hungarian Empire (later the Kingdom of Serbs and Croats, then Yugoslavia, now Croatia) – Maksimilijan “Maks” Baće, revolutionary.



28th June 1914 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY: A century of strife…

World Affairs: In Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, 19 year old Gavrilo Princip, Serbian by descent, Bosnian by birth, and Austro-Hungarian by Habsburg diktat, steps into the sunlight from a crowd of onlookers and fires two shots from his Belgian John Browning pistol, killing both the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his morganatic wife, Sophia Maria Josephine Albina Countess Chotek of Chotkova and Wognin and Duchess of Hohenberg. This single act unleashes the accumulated political tensions of the last twenty years, triggering a hundred years of conflict, analysis, accusations and debate. The rest, as they say, is history.

At his trial Princip declared: “I am a Yugoslav nationalist, aiming for the unification of all Yugoslavs, and I do not care what form of state, but it must be freed from Austria”…



11th June, 1914 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY: Renaat Demoen, Belgian illustrator and creator of comics.


World Affairs: In Serbia, King Peter I (Peter Karađorđević) “retires” in favour of his son, the Crown Prince Alexander, following a short period of strife between military and civil authorities. On 1 December 1918, after the implosion of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, King Peter I will be  proclaimed King of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.


Transportation: In Bern Switzerland, the “European [Train] Timetable Conference” concludes it biannual meeting, where the timetable for train co-ordination across Europe for the winter season 1914-1915 has been agreed and set. Passengers should be warned there may be substantial delays…


Society and culture: Wealthy Californian socialite Aimee Crocker,  marries Prince Alexandre Miskinoff, a Russian nobleman.They will divorce in 1916, leaving him with the dubious honour of being her fourth divorce, but not with the satisfaction of being her only Russian divorce. In 1925 she marries Prince Mstislav Galitzine, Count Ostermann of Russia, becoming Princess Galitzine, a title she retains after divorcing him too, in 1927.



6th April 1914 (Monday)

BORN TODAY: in Lvov, Poland (now in Ukraine) – Michal Stefan Pienkowski: privileged Polish son; chemistry graduate; Polish Air Force conscript; internee in Romania; refugee in Yugoslavia, Italy and France; member of the Polish forces in exile (in  Britain); member of the Polish Air force under RAF command; interpreter and instructor; Derbyshire tailor and store-keeper; Duffield sub-postmaster; and Staffordshire smallholder. He died in 1985 from pneumonia originally contracted during World War 2.


Military matters: General  Sir Charles Whittingham Horsley Douglas, GCB (“Knight Grand Cross”), ADC (“aide de camp”), is appointed as the third (successive) Chief of the (British) Imperial General Staff (“CIGS”).  He has previously served as a British Officer in the second Anglo-Afghan War, The first Boer War, the Suakin Expedition (Sudan), and the second Boer War. He will die from strain and overwork later this year, less than three months after the outbreak of World War 1.


Accidents: Three passengers die when the Wabash passenger train plunges from a collapsing bridge near Attica, Indiana, USA.



Society and culture: In Dartford, South East London, Mr Samuel Bonmak, gravedigger, spends his day digging the first grave in the new Watling Cemetery, in preparation for the burial, tomorrow, of Mr James Duggan.





1st February 1914 (Sunday)


~ in Mostar, in the Herzegovina region (at that time) in the Austro-Hungarian Empire (now in Bosnia-Herzegovina) – Avdo Humo, Yugoslav and Bosnian communist politician; recipient of the “Order of the Peoples’ Hero”; campaigner for equality for muslims; co-founder of the famous Bosnian newspaper “Oslobođenje” (liberation); and second president of the executive council of the Peoples’ Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.


~ In Sialkot, Punjab, in British India (now part of Pakistan) – Avtar Kishan Hangal, Indian freedom fighter and (later) stage and film actor. Jailed for two years for being a communist in newly formed Pakistan (1947 to 1949), following which he settled in Mumbai, India.


16th July 1913 (Wednesday)

BORN TODAY: in the Achhati district of Basti in Uttar Predesh, India – Swami Guru Shantanand Sarawait Ji Maharaj, swami (ascetic, yogi).

Also – In Livno (then in Austria-Hungary, soon in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, later in Yugoslavia and now in Bosnia-Herzegovina) – Hasan Brkić, Bosnian Muslim and Yugoslav partisan who served as President of the Executive Council of the Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (part of Yugoslavia) from 1963 to 1965.

Labour Relations: in England’s “Black country” (industrial Midland region) a strike of over 30.000 men is called off after employers to agree to a raise in pay which will meet the strikers demands in full subject to 6 months satisfactory working.

3rd July 1913 (Thursday)


~ in Chicago, Illinois – Dorothy Mae Kilgallen, crime reporter, round the world contestant, gossip columnist, author (“girl around the world”), celebrity panellist (what’s my line?), suspected CIA stooge, and part time sartorial assassin. Apparently her deal for publishing favorable material for publicity agents was “Bring me three detrimental stories concerning other stars and I will include a good piece about your client.” Died 1965, reportedly from a drug and alcohol overdose, and now resting at the Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Hawthorne, New York.

~ Also, Sir Frederick William Dampier Deakin, British historian, World War 2 veteran,  and literary adviser to Winston Churchill. Parachuted into Montenegro in May 1943 to join the Josip Broz (Tito’s) partisans in the Yugoslav resistance to German occupation.

Empire: “The Imperial Delhi Gymkhana Club [is] established at Coronation Grounds, Delhi for use of the ruling elite comprising of officers of the Indian Civil Service, Armed Forces and Civil Residents in Delhi”.  (from its own facebook page)   https://www.facebook.com/delhigymkhanaclub/info

Women’s suffrage: the UK’s “Great 1913 Suffrage Pilgrimage” (Lands End to Hyde Park) passes through Teignmouth in Devon.

Labour Relations: The South African mining industry is  beset by an outbreak of trade unionism brought in to the country with its British mining workforce. 19,000 white workers from gold mines and power stations are on strike. “The Worker”, the official organ of the South African Labour Party, declares that “War having been declared in the shape of a general strike…victory means bringing the South African public, and in particular the Union  Parliament, to its senses and its knees, and extorting substantial legislation in the worker’s interest”.

Early flight: in Fairbanks, Alaska the most Northern US state witnesses its first air flight, a development which will eventually make a radical difference to this massive and remote region.

26th June 1913 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY – in Ljubljana, Austria-Hungary (later Yugoslavia, eventually Slovenia) – Vida Tomsic, lawyer, women’s rights activist and prominent Yugoslav politician. A member of the banned communist party in the late 1930s,  she was arrested – along with her husband – by the occupying force’s secret police in the early 1940s, tortured and sentenced to 25 years imprisonment. Her husband was shot. After the war, in the new socialist state, she rose to prominence in both domestic and international political circles and played a key role in the improvement of Yugoslav women’s rights and circumstances in the 1970s.

Also,in Brossen (Meuselwitz) in Germany – Rudolf Brazda, the gay son of Czech immigrants who partnered Werner from the age of 20 (1933) and was arrested by the nazis for “debauchery between men” and later (1942) deported to the Buchenwald concentration camp. He survived the horrors of Buchenwald and was liberated in April 1945, following which he settled in East Germany. He died in August 2011, aged 98, in Bantzenheim (Alsace, France – very near the Rhine).

Disasters and accidents: In Batavia, in Genesee County, New York State, a fire destroys the canning factory of the Batavia Preserving Company. Half a million cans of beans, spinach, salmon, mackeral, potted ham, chicken, brown bread and plum pudding are destroyed but fortunately no-one was killed.

Society and Culture: the City of Avalon (on Catalina Island) is incorporated – now part of Los Angeles County. Population in 1920 – 586. Population in 1960 – 1,536. Population in 2010 – 3,728.