BORN TODAY: in Cobalt, Canada – Elizabeth Stern (later Elizabeth Stern Shankman), pathologist.
BORN TODAY: in Brantford, Ontario – James Hiller, co-developer of the electron microscope.
The (Russian) Home Front: The Tsar takes over supreme command of the army, and leaves St Petersburg in the dangerous hands of the Tsarina and her trusted advisor, Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin, a peasant and mystical faith healer.
The (French) Home Front: in the streets of Paris, young boys and girls play at being soldiers and nurses.
The (Scottish) Home Front: in Aberdeen, 26,000 pay sixpence each to attend the “Gala and Heather day” in Duthie Park, in support of the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.
The (Irish) Home Front: In Dublin, at a “Celebration of gaelic and athletic events”, Patrick Pearse addresses the crowd of several thousand on his subject: “The Resurrection of Erin”.
Midsummer on the home front…
On the English home front: at Maidstone barracks, in Kent, a concert raises funds for wounded servicemen.
On the Scottish home front: the SS Carisbrook, a British merchant steamer carrying wheat from Montreal, Canada, to Leith in Scotland, is captured and sunk by German submarine U-38 off the north east coast of Scotland.
On the Alsatian home front: the town of Metzeral in Alsace (formerly and more recently in France) is destroyed at the end of six days of intense fighting.
BORN TODAY: in Hamburg – SM UC-6, a German minelayer submarine. In just over two years she will sink over 50 ships before herself being destroyed in September 1917.
Eastern Front: At the Battle of Lemberg, German & Austro-Hungarian forces lauch an attack to re-take the city and the Austrian fortress lost to the Russians in 1914 (later Lwów in Poland, now Lviv in Ukraine).
Across Empires: in St John’s on the Island of St. Pierre et Miquelon ( a vestige of the colony of New France off the Atlantic coast of Canada) 242 Canadian recruits of “F” company embark on HM Troopship Calgarian, bound for Liverpool and the war in Europe, including Inuit and Métis volunteers from Labrador.
BORN TODAY: in Lachine, Quebec, Canada – Saul Bellow, Pulitzer and Nobel winner.
Africa: At the second battle of Garua, British and French troops defeat a defending force to take control of the German colony of Kamerun.
BORN TODAY: In Regina, Saskatchewan – James Norris Ormiston, Canadian farmer, insurance agent and politician.
On the (English) home front: The garden of the Nevill Arms public house in Hackney, London, becomes the first London recipient of a Zeppelin carried German bomb.
BORN TODAY: in London – Hilda Schwarz (later Bernstein), journalist, author, artist, activist, communist and exile.
The Dardanelles: Senior British Admiral Sir John Fisher resigns in protest at what he perceives to be Churchill’s misplaced obsession with forcing the Dardanelles, a strategy which has so far yielded nothing but many thousands of deaths [Burg & Purcell].
The Western Front: After a 60 hour bombardment by 433 artillery pieces firing about 100,000 shells, British General Sir Douglas Haig launches his British, Indian and Canadian army against the German defences on the first day of the Battle of Festubert. After 10 days and over 20,000 casualities the Allies will have gained approximately 3 kilometres. Overall losses for the Second Battle of Artois (of which this forms part) are in the order of 200,000 German, French, British, Indian and Canadian men, including over 100,000 Frenchmen [Wikipedia].
The Reuters News Agency files unconfirmed reports (from the Spanish government) of a revolutionary coup in Portugal, where all communications (railway, telegraph etc) have been cut and there are (unfounded) rumours that the ex-Premier, Afonso Costa, has been assassinated.
BORN TODAY: in Canada – Doris Edna Gray, BSc, MSc, PhD and research fellow at the University of Western Ontario, and later Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Hong Kong. Later still, a retiree in Dunblane, Scotland, where she bequeathed “a sum of money to the Women’s Engineering Society to encourage women in Scotland to become professional engineers. Part of this sum of money was allocated to provide £1,000 per year for women studying in Scotland” (the Doris Gray Scottish Scholarships).
BORN TODAY in battle: on the Bellewaerde Ridge, near Ypres in Belgium, nine months after conception in the first days of the war – Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry.
At the Battle of Frezenberg, one act of the month-long drama known as the Second Battle of Ypres, the Patricias are “holding up the whole damn line”.
BORN TODAY: In Leigh-On-Sea, Essex – Margaret Rose “Peggy” Mount, OBE, english actress best known for her “battleaxe” portrayals.
The Eastern Front: After a huge artillery bombardment along a 19 mile front, the German 11th Army retakes the city of Gorlice in the Austro-Hungarian province of Galicia from the Russians. The city (now in Poland) is largely in ruins [Burg & Purcell].
The Western Front: During the second week of fighting at the second Battle of Ypres the death of 22 year old Canadian Lieutenant Alexis Helmer inspires Doctor and Major John McCrae to set down the first draft of his poem ‘In Flanders Fields’
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
McCrae died of pneumonia in January 1918, “while still commanding No. 3 Canadian General Hospital (McGill) at Boulogne”. [Wikipedia]