23rd April, 1915 (Friday)

BORN TODAY: in Augsburg, Bavaria – Fritz Pröll, metal worker, resistance fighter, concentration camp victim. Died 1944, aged 29.




DIED TODAY: Of blood poisoning, on board a French hospital ship at Skyros in the Aegean – Sub-Lieutenant Rupert Brooke, war poet.

 If I should die think only this of me;
That there’s a corner of some foreign field
That is forever England.

Dardanelles: A final “intelligence” report circulates at the British invasion HQ on the Greek island of Lemnos: “It is the general opinion that the Turks will offer an energetic resistance to our landing, but when once we are firmly established on the Peninsula it is thought possible that this opposition may crumble away …”


10th April 1915 (Saturday)

BORN  TODAY: in Detroit, Michigan – Harry Bratsburg, better known as Harry Morgan, and better still as Colonel Sherman Tecumseh Potter, M.D.



Crime and Punishment: In England, the “Hertfordshire Mercury” reports on four boys aged 9 to 12 who have been apprehended for burglary, who are sentenced at Cheshunt Petty Sessions to “receive six strokes each with the birch rod”.



Western Front: Major-General Ilse, Chief of Staff of German 4th Army, is summoned to Supreme Headquarters at Charleville-Mézières for a meeting with General von Falkenhayn, where he is informed that the trial of the gas cloud is now urgent and should be carried out as quickly as possible.


In the Aegean: The harbour at Moudros, on the Greek Island of Lemnos, temporarily commandeered by the British, is becoming congested with warships bringing troops to the impending land attack on the  Dardanelles.



9th March 1915 (Tuesday)

BORN TODAY: in Pietramelara, in Italy’s Campania region – Felice Leonardo, 100 years old today, but still only third in the ranking of the oldest currently surviving catholic bishops.




War at Sea: In the seas around Britain, Germany is carrying out fully its threat to merchant shipping, sinking 4 cargo vessels today in separate locations from St Abbs Head in Scotland to Liverpool Bay in the west and the English channel in the south. Most crews are rescued, but 52 merchant seamen lose their lives.


Gunboat diplomacy: The British end their bombardment of Smyrna (then a significant Greek city on the western shore of Asia Minor in the Ottoman Empire, now the wholly Turkish city of Izmir). In Greece, a new premier is appointed after his predecessor resigned in response to the Greek King’s pro-german sympathies. Meanwhile the British Government is attempting to justify its recent occupation of the Greek Island of Lemnos as a “military necessity”.



5th March, 1915 (Friday)

BORN TODAY: in Paris – Laurent-Moïse Schwartz, French mathematician.



Undecided: In Greece, Prime Minister Elefthrios Venizelos resigns after the King, whose wife is German, refuses to join the alliance with  the Triple Entente nations, and instead open treaty negotiations with Germany.


4th March, 1915 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY: The Australian 4th Light Horse Brigade: “Shipped to Egypt without horses where it was broken up 26 August 1915″. [http://www.diggerhistory.info/].



Counting chickens: The Allied “Triple Entente” nations – Russia, France and Britain – begin secret talks on how to divide up the lands of the Ottoman Empire (The “Constantinople Agreement”, agreed two weeks from today on 18th March 1915). In the event, the agreement is never implemented because: firstly, the British and French campaign in the Dardanelles fails; and secondly, the Russian empire collapses (temporarily at least) with the Bolshevik revolution in 1917, which takes Russia out the war (and the subsequent peace) completely.


In the Dardanelles: HMS Agamemnon spends the day with its 9.2 inch Mk XI guns trained relentlessly on the Turkish forts at Sedd el Bahr (“Walls of the Sea”).

Across Turkey’s north west frontier, in Bulgaria (its recent foe in the second Balkan War): The Bulgarian Armenian Committee telegraphs to London confirming a force of 20.000 Armenian Volunteers who want to fight against the Turks and await British assistance to assist them to Iskenderun province (the ancient greek city of Alexandretta on the borders of Turkey and what is now Syria).



Life on the land: In Connecticut, USA – farmer Frank Seger records his day in his diary:

“8 Above” [that is,  8 Fahreneit – well below freezing]

“Clear & cold as Hell and Damnation. Began to warm up after noon. Heman took the milk. Lewis dug load of dirt down in the little meadow for box stall was 8 inches of frost. Cleaned out barn to load of munare [sic] up to Comestocks. Boys cut some stalks. I went up and helped Rubin Wolf saw down trees.”


23rd February 1915 (Tuesday)

BORN TODAY* in Glen Cove, Nassau County, New York – Walter Shorenstein “San Francisco real estate mogul” [nndb.com]



* or perhaps, on Feb 15th?

The perils of modern transport: In Exeter, in England’s west country, the Western Times reports the sad death yesterday of Mr George Creedy, retired policeman, aged 82. Earlier in the month Mr Creedy, who was deaf, had stepped into the path of an oncoming tram in Exeter’s main street.



In the Dardanelles: British troops occupy the Greek Island of Lemnos as part of the attempt to capture the Dardanelles and the sea route to Constantinople.


Colonial tensions: British instructions for the “colonial contingents” (including Australians and New Zealanders) in Egypt include stern advice on dealing with “natives”

“The ill-treatment of natives is a very serious offence, and all cases are to be fully investigated and  reported to Divisional Headquarters before disposal….

“Men should be warned against striking natives, altercations with them should be carefully avoided. They should be particularly warned against donkey boys and dragomen [ie guides and interpreters] as most of these know the english language and are apt to become familiar… They should have as little dealings with natives as possible, whose one idea is to make money out of them.”


11th February, 1915 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY: in London – Sir Patrick Michael Leigh Fermor, once described  by a BBC journalist as “a cross between Indiana Jones, James Bond and Graham Greene.” [Wikipedia].   Expelled from school; walked across Europe; fought with the Cretan resistance; smoked heavily; and wrote surely some of the best ever english language travelogues. You couldn’t make it up.



8th February 1915 (Monday)


~ In Schonbrunn, the 1,441-room Baroque palace and home of the Habsburg monarchy in Vienna – Robert, Archduke of Austria-Este, Prince Imperial of Austria, Prince Royal of Hungary, Bohemia and Croatia, son of the last Austro-Hungarian Emperor and his wife, Zita of Bourbon-Parma (Zita Maria delle Grazie Adelgonda Micaela Raffaela Gabriella Giuseppina Antonia Luisa Agnese).

~ In Alexandria, Egypt – Lambros Worloou, son of a Greek textile executive. Better known as Georges Guétary, French singer, dancer, cabaret performer and film actor, best known for his role in the 1951 musical “An American In Paris”.




16th July 1914 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY: Henoch Raberaba – Australian landscape artist.



World Affairs: from her chosen retirement retreat, a cottage overlooking the Marne Valley, east of Paris, American Mildred Aldrich writes “ It is all the fault of that nasty affair in (sic) Servia… It is  nasty outlook. We are simply holding our breaths here.” [Mildred Aldrich: “A Hilltop on the Marne”]


Migration and displacements:  Harry Lamb, the British delegate on the International Control Commission (overseeing the administration of the new Albanian state, on behalf of the Great Powers) writes to Sir Edward Grey, the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, highlighting the plight of displaced Chams (Greek muslims from the region known to Albanians as Chameria, but considered by Greeks to be a part of Epirus, recently taken (or reclaimed) by Greece. The Cham refugees are in the southern Albanian seaport of Vlora.




3rd July 1914 (Friday)

BORN TODAY: in London – Leueen MacGrath, London and Broadway actress.


~ Also Marmaduke Pattle, South African and Royal (British) Air Force fighter pilot shot down and killed in action near Athens, Greece, in April 1941, aged 26.


World Affairs: At the Simla conference in India, where the British are attempting to separate China and Tibet, the Chinese representative refuses to sign the final accord, which is signed only by Britain and Tibet.


Women’s suffrage: In Edinburgh’s Sheriff Court there are “stormy scenes” as suffragette Maude Edwards is charged with slashing a portrait of the King in the Royal Scottish Academy. Later in the day she is admitted to Perth Prison.