26th April 1915 (Monday)

BORN TODAY: in Furth, Bayern, Germany – Ludwig Schweickert, European wrestler killed in action during World War 2.


ACCIDENTS: In the English village of Brayton in Cumberland, a pit explosion injures 8 miners, seven of whom will subsequently die of their injuries.



World affairs: In London,  Italian diplomats agree to declare war on Germany and her allies within one month, in exchange for territory in the South Tyrol, and in the Adriatic, including Gorizia, Istria and most of Dalmatia – the homes of 230,000 German speaking Austrians and around 750,000 Slovenes and Croats, far outnumbering the 650,000 Italians also residing there. [The White War: Life and Death on the Italian Front, 1915-1919].

Dardanelles: British submarine E-14 successfully passes through the Dardanelles, reaching the sea of Marmara and sinking a Turkish gunboat. [Burg & Purcell].

9th December 1914 (Wednesday)

BORN TODAY: In Copenhagen –  Max Manus, Norwegian-Danish migrant, ship-broker, seaman, adventurer, soldier, resistance fighter, escapee, wanderer, saboteur, guard to a Royal Family, recipient of Norwegian, English, Polish, American and Italian medals, and office machinery entrepreneur.



The Middle East: After a six day skirmish (the “Battle of Qurna”) Anglo-Indian forces take the city of Qurna, at the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, from the Ottoman occupiers, thereby securing the British advance into Mesopotamia (now Southern Iraq).



Mining accidents: At the Scranton diamond mine in Pennsylvania, a lift carriage disintegrates and plunges several hundred feet into the shaft, killing 13 miners.



12th September 1914 (Saturday)

BORN TODAY: In Newport, Wales – “Q” in James Bond films from Goldfinger (1964 – aged 50) to “The World is Not Enough (1999 – aged 85) – aka Desmond Llewelyn.



At Newbury, in the South of England,where a number of regiments are encamped on the racecourse, around 2000 horses are involved in a serious stampede  which spills over into the town where  “some of the horses went through shop windows, and carts were overturned”. 



Mining accidents: At Ralph’s Mine in Huntly, Waikat, on New Zealand’s North Island an explosion kills 43 of the 60 miners who are working today.


10th September 1914 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY: in British Guiana, South America – Kenrick Reginald Hijmans (“snakehips”) Johnson, jazz band-leader and dancer, killed, aged 26, (along with over 30 others) by a direct bomb hit during the Blitz in March 1941, while performing at London’s Cafe de Paris night club.



Western Front: As the Battle of the Marne draws towards its conclusions, the German armies withdraw towards the border. “Over two million men fought in the First Battle of the Marne and although there are no exact official casualty counts for the battle, estimates for the actions of September along the Marne front for all armies are often given as c. 500,000 killed or wounded. French casualties totalled 250,000 men, of whom 80,000 were killed.” [Wikipedia].



On volcanic Whakaari/White Island in New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty, “a large portion of the main crater wall collapses onto the crater floor and consumes a mining camp [where] sulphur was mined for the manufacture of sulphuric acid and fertiliser. Ten sulphur miners perish.”

When rescuers reach the island, no sign of the miners can be found.


18th July 1914 (Saturday)

BORN TODAY: Gino Bartali, Italian champion road cyclist knighted in his home country and posthumously awarded the honorific “Righteous Among the Nations” for his efforts to aid jews during World War 2.


World Affairs: in Berlin, a Bavarian diplomat tells the Bavarian Prime Minister that Austria is only pretending to be “peacefully inclined” and that the utlimatum they are preparing to serve on Serbia is designed to generate a rejection, and thus provide an excuse for war: “ It is perfectly plain that Serbia cannot accept any such demands, which are incompatible with her dignity as a sovereign state” [Fromkin: “Europe’s Last Summer”].


Arms Race: Britain’s King George V reviews the fleet at Spithead, including 260 Royal Navy ships (59 battleships) and 17 seaplanes. It is seen by some as the first stage of the mobilisation for war.


Mining accidents: The Ironwood Times of Michigan reports the deaths of 7 men on Tuesday at the Alpha mine after a roof collapsed, releasing quicksand into the mine.




25th June 1914 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY: in Gelsenkirche, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany – Lorenz Marie Hackenholt, “gas chamber expert”.


World Affairs: Archduke Franz-Ferdinand, heir to the thrones of Austria-Hungary, arrives by train in the town of Ilidza, a suburb of Sarajevo, where he is joined by his wife,  Sophie. He will spend the weekend inspecting military manoeuvres while she visits (catholic) churches, schools, charities etc.


Fire: In Massachusetts, the Great Salem fire destroys  1376 buildings, making 20,000 homeless.


Postcard from Salem


Society and Culture:  At Number 8, Second Avenue, in Forest Town, in England’s industrial midlands, Elijah Mottishaw, miner, and his wife Sarah, get a “surprise” visit from George Frederick Ernest Albert Windsor and his wife, Victoria Mary Augusta Louise Olga Pauline Claudine Agnes, better known as King George V of the United Kingdom and Dominions (and Emperor of India), and his wife, Queen Mary.



19th June 1914 (Friday)

BORN TODAY: in Overton County, Tennessee – Lester Raymond Flatt, bluegrass guitarist and mandolinist, and one half of the Foggy Mountain Boys (“Flatt and Scruggs”), possibly best known for the “Ballad of Jed Clampett”, the theme music to the 1960s TV sitcom “The Beverly Hillbillies”.


Mining Accidents: The Hillcrest Mine in Alberta, Canada is destoyed by multiple explosions which kill 189 miners, leaving 130 widows and 400 fatherless children in a community of around 1000 souls. It is (still) the worse mining accident in Canadian history, and at the time the third worst in the world.