An update from Cairo: Intelligence officer T.E. Lawrence writes home to his family: he has heard that the weather in Britain has been terrible; he sends a request for a book search for him at Blackwell’s bookshop; and, today being his mother’s birthday, he speculates that “For the next one there will probably be peace”.
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.
Adriatic skullduggery: The Triple Alliance (Britain, France and Russia) reneges on its secret commitment to Italy (that control of parts of the Adriatic coast should only be decided after the war) by sending an official note to Serbia confirming the post-war territorial claims of Serbia and Montenegro. [Wikipedia].
On the Italian Front: After 91,000 casualties the Second Battle of Isonzo on the Italian/ Austrian border (now the Soca valley in north west Slovenia) draws to a close because both sides have run out of ammunition, both for small arms and for artillery. [Wikipedia].
On the (Belgian) Home Front: British nurse Edith Cavell, who has been based in Brussels for many years, is arrested by the German authorities on suspicion of helping British, French and Belgian soldiers and citizens to escape from German occupied Belgium.
Socialism in Italy: a “rising star” of the Italian socialist party, one Benito Mussolini, expresses the view that “Italian workers should give ‘not a penny’ to the cause of war, nor spill ‘one drop of blood’ for a cause that had ‘nothing to do with it’. If the government failed to declare neutrality, the proletatriat would force it to do so”. [Mark Thompson: “The White War: Life and Death on the Italian Front, 1915-1919”].
Fire in Constantinople: A great fire in Istanbul, later attributed to Russian areoplane bombing, destroys over 3000 buildings.
BORN TODAY: to Robert Francis Le Bailly and Ida Gaskell Le Bailly (née Holland) – Vice Admiral Sir Louis Edward Stewart Holland Le Bailly, KBE, CB. “In retirement he was appointed Director-General of Intelligence at the Ministry of Defence… Later he became vice chairman of the Institute for Study of Conflict, and chairman of the Civil Service Selection Board”. [Wikipedia]
World Affairs: US President Woodrow Wilson sends US forces to Haiti in an attempt to prevent Germany or France from taking it over. Haiti controls the Windward Passage to the Panama Canal and is seen as strategically critical. The Haitian government is near insolvency at this time and is significantly in debt to foreign corporations. German companies control almost 80 percent of Haitian trade. US forces will occupy the country until 1934.
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.
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.
~ In Hervey Bay, across the water from Fraser Island, on the coast of Queensland in Australia – Isaac Garry “Ike” Owens, “one of the last full-blooded Butchulla” . In 1975 he made a statement for the Fraser Island Environmental Inquiry:
“I do not like to see the Island as it is now, being knocked about, the way they’re doing. All of my old friends have gone and the Island is not like it used to be. The beach is different — dirty, with bottles, cans of beer, and bottled beer and rubbish… It’s going to be like Queen Street in Brisbane, I think, before long. Even though there were two or three thousand aboriginal people before the white man came, they weren’t knocking it about like the people are now. They didn’t throw everything about like they do now on the beach. There are cars running up and down the beach. All we left was a few footprints.”
Western Front: The second Battle of Artois is brought to an end when the French generals acknowledge that the German defences are too strong… after 40 days, 2 million shells, and 102,500 French casualties. The French have advanced approximately 3 kilometres.