27th May, 1915 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY: in New York, New York: Herman Wouk – Pulitzer Prize winner.

Happy Centenary, Mr Wouk!

War!

On the (industrial) front:Commercial Motor Magazine”, introducing a review for its readers of the very latest model of Dennis Ambulance,  as delivered to the Wimbledon Fire Brigade, reflects (by way of preamble) on the heavy demand for ambulances to serve on the Western Front:

“There have been hundreds of first-class ambulances sent out to the Front, but there have additionally been many more despatched which were very ill suited for the strenuous work, for which they were intended. This has been a golden opportunity for many people to dispose of second-hand chassis of pleasure-car types of doubtful age and record. The casualties amongst ambulances have been very serious indeed. Then again, there has been a good deal of seeking after publicity by individuals who have been anxious to identify themselves with the sending out of the Zebediah or the Mord-D.11’1y ambulances. We have had very little to say of all this activity, preferring rather not to throw cold water on all this endeavour which, in spite of its shortcomings, has included much well-meant kindness.”

http://archive.commercialmotor.com/article/27th-may-1915/15/the-latest-dennis-ambulance

29th March 1915 (Monday)

BORN TODAY: in Barnes, West London – Seton Robert Tristram (“Bobby”) Headley,  consultant anaesthetist

http://www.wimbledonmuseum.org.uk/index.php/oral-history-library/dr-bobby-headley

Natural and man-made disasters: in Palestine, Ihsan Hasan Al-Turjman records in his diary the seventh day of a plague of locusts overwhelming the region:

“The locust invasion started seven days ago and covered the sky. Today it took the locusts clouds two hours to pass over the city. God protect us from three plagues: war, locusts and disease, for they are spreading through the country. Pity the poor.”

http://www.academia.edu/7073749/The_1915_Locust_Plague_in_Palestine

War!

 The Home Front: In  England’s west country, the “Exeter and Plymouth Gazette” reports on some “excellent” cultural support being provided to the local troops, where Mrs. J. Skeete, of Heavitree, is teaching French to soldiers billeted in Exeter.

“The classes are held at the United Services Institute, Castle-street, Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday in each week. In three months no less than 450 soldiers have been given a good knowledge of the language, and the Army Council has written Mrs. Braithwaite Skeete in appreciative terms concerning the admirable work she is doing”.

http://www.exetermemories.co.uk/em/_events/1915-this-week.php

28th October 1914 (Wednesday)

BORN TODAY: in New York City – Dr Jonas Edward Salk, who brought the world an effective vaccine against polio:

“In the five years before 1955, when mass inoculations with the vaccine began, cases of paralytic polio averaged about 25,000 a year in the United States. A few years after polio vaccination became routine, the annual number of cases dropped to a dozen or so, sometimes fewer.” [NY TImes obituary].

http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/bday/1028.html

War!

Eastern Front: Russian troops recapture Lodz and Radon from German forces. [Burg & Purcell]

War at Sea: The German cruiser “Emden” makes a surprise attack on Penang in Malaya (now Malaysia), sinking the Russian Cruiser “Zemtchug” and the French destroyer “Mousquet”.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Penang

Society and Culture: At the Bank of England (the UK’s central bank) – one of the City’s most traditional bastions –  the Treasury Committee minutes provide a brief glimpse of the impact of war on the labour market, as now recorded on the contemporary bank’s web-site:

The impact of the war on the Bank is illustrated by a change in the workforce between 1914 and 1918. In August 1914, women clerks at the Bank numbered just 66 and their work was predominantly typing and counting notes. As a result of the enlistment of many of the  Bank’s junior male clerks, the number of temporary and permanent women clerks increased to a peak of 2,463 in June 1919. The responsibilities of the women clerks was (sic) also changing. An extract from the Committee of Treasury minutes on 28 October 1914 discusses that as it was now, ‘desirable to employ women clerks permanently on the coupon work of the Securities Office, the Committee agreed to recommend to the Court of Directors that the staff of the Women Clerks Department be increased by eight clerks.’ ”  [Bank of England archives].

http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/archive/Pages/digitalcontent/archivedocs/ww1servicerecords.aspx