7th April 1915 (Wednesday)

BORN TODAY: in Philadelphia, Pa – Eleanora Fagan, later better known to the world as Billie Holiday.



The Dardanelles: the first Australian and New Zealand units based in Egypt leave Alexandria, headed for the Dardanelles. [Burg & Purcell].

2nd April, 1915 (Good Friday)

BORN TODAY: Gică Petrescu, “prolific Romanian folk music composer and performer.” [Wikipedia].



Society and Culture: In common with service colleagues and many, many others today, Private George Potter Bagshaw and his colleagues in the Derbyshire Territorials, currently stationed in Northern France, attend an early morning Good Friday service.


The (Egyptian) Home Front: At what became known as the “Battle of Wazzir” in Cairo a large body of (over 2000) mainly Australian and New Zealand troops participate in a drunken riot  in an area known as “Haret el Wasser, an area of Cairo where there were a large number of brothels and drinking establishments”. The troops are reported “to have had an assortment of complaints, including recent price increases, poor quality drinks, and concerns about the spread of venereal disease.” [Wikipedia]



28th March 1915 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY: in McDonald, Pennsylvania – Jay Livingston.

Que Sera Sera.


War at sea

~ Off the coast of Wales, the British steamship, Falaba, en route from Liverpool to Sierra Leone, is torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U28.  One hundred and four people die as a result of the attack, and one of them is an American, Leon Chester Thrasher. The “Thrasher incident” increases public agitation for America to enter the war.

“After persistent requests by Secretary of State Bryan, documents detailing witness statements from the sinking of the Falaba offered proof that the captain of U-28 gave adequate warnings and time for the Falaba to offload passengers. Instead, the crew of the Falaba had used that time to radio the position of the submarine to nearby armed British patrol ships. As the warship approached, the submarine fired at the last minute — and detonated nearly thirteen tons of contraband high explosives in the Falaba’s cargo. This discovery allowed a diplomatic delay in the American response and the decision of whether to go to war.” [Wikipedia].


~ Elswhere today, the SS Brussels is ordered to stop by Uboat U33 but chooses instead to attempt to ram the submarine, thereby forcing it to dive, which prevents the attack. The German authorities are outraged that a merchant vessel should attack a submarine.

“Determined to exact revenge, they deliberately set out to capture [the Captain, Fryatt] and, in June 1916 sent destroyers to again intercept the SS Brussels. This time, he and the vessel were captured and taken to occupied Belgium. Capt Fryatt was found guilty at a court martial of being a “franc tireur” – a civilian who took up arms against the usual rules of war – and executed by firing squad. … His death prompted an international outcry, including in the United States … where there was outrage that a civilian had been killed for defending himself.” [Daily Telegraph].



26th March, 1915 (Friday)

BORN TODAY: in Brooklyn, NY – Joseph Edward Filipelli, better known as “Flip Phillips” American jazz tenor saxophone and clarinet player.



On the “North West Frontier” of the British Raj, the Indian army is defending Miranshah, on the Tochi River in North Waziristan (now part of Pakistan), from a large force of “insurgents” (Lashkars, from Southern Afghanistan).



12th March, 1915 (Friday)

BORN TODAY: in Pehuajó, Argentina – Aquiles Roggero, “un músico, violinista, director y compositor” [Wikipedia]  – Tango aficionado.


DIED TODAY: of tuberculosis, aged 46, Archduke Ferdinand Carl Ludwig Joseph Johann Maria of Austria, latterly known as Ferdinand Burg after rusticating himself from the Austrian court (to the Southern Tyrol) in disgrace for his elopement and unequal marriage to a common daughter of an Austrian mathematician.



Dardanelles: Britain forms the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force under General Sir Ian Hamilton to carry out military operations at the Dardanelles, with forces being gathered together on the temporarily occupied Greek Island of Lemnos, including men from Australia, Britain and New Zealand.



Society and culture: In New South Wales, the Shaftesbury Institution for Inebriate Males (later, and less exclusively, the Shaftesbury Institute for Inebriates) admits its first intake of “sixteen male inebriates of the non-criminal type” for “medical or other treatment necessary”. [NSW government – state records].


10th February 1915 (Wednesday)


~  at Khutghar, in the Indian region of Maharashtra – Shri Sonubhau Baswant, Indian Congress Party member.

~ In Romania – Gheorghe Rășinaru, international midfield football (soccer) player.

~ Carencro, nr. Lafayette, Louisiana (or maybe in a year from now?) – Aldus Roger, cajun accordion player and leader of the Lafayette Playboys.




Here comes the cavalry! In Richmond Park, London, officers of the 1st County of London Yeomanry (Middlesex, The Duke of Cambridge’s Hussars) are photographed in a cavalry charge during a training exercise.


Degrees of neutrality: US President Woodrow Wilson issues his “Strict Accountability” message to the German government, making it clear that the U.S. government will not tolerate any strategy by the German navy to sink neutral U.S. shipping at any time.


At the same time the US President sends a formal letter of protest to London stating that British ships flying neutral flags will place neutral nationals in danger without protecting British ships. The complaint has been prompted by reports that the Lusitania, a British passenger ship carrying (among others) US citizens, has used the stars and stripes to disguise its nationality.  An American journalist comments later that Britannia not only rules the waves but also “waives the rules.”