30th August 1915 (Monday)

BORN TODAY: In Swansea, Wales – Lillian May Davies, fashion model, and later Princess Lilian, Duchess of Halland, after her marriage into the Swedish Royal Family in 1976.



~ On the Thames Estuary in Purfleet, Essex – 16 cadets and their training officer on His Majesty’s Training Ship “Cornwall” when it is struck by a government tug.


~ in Mardin, near (what is now) the Turkish/ Syrian border, Ignatius Abded Mshiho II, the 61 year old Patriarch of Antioch, Head of the Syriac Orthodox Church.


~ At Gallipoli – Brigadier General P.A.Kenna VC DSO, 21st Lancers, 3rd Mounted Brigade and Lewis Leonard Grant, a labourer from Allansford, Victoria, Australia… and many others.



24th July 1915 (Saturday)

BORN TODAY: In Uelzen, Germany – Günther Schwägermann – nazi Hauptsturmführer and adjutant to doctor Joseph Goebells.


Accidents and disasters: at the dockside on the Chicago River, the steamship “Eastland”, which is boarding passengers for a Western Electric works outing across Lake Michigan, rolls over and capsizes. 844 passengers and crew are drowned, over 200 of them Czech immigrants.



In the Middle East: In Turkish Mesopotamia (now Iraq)  British forces take the town of Nasiriya from the Turks, and begin to prepare plans for an advance  northward to Baghdad. [Roger Ford: “Eden to Armageddon; World War 1 in the Middle East”]

13th January 1915 (Wednesday)

BORN TODAY: in Johnstown, Cambria County, Pennsylvania – Dominec Petrore, son of Italian immigrants: Peter Petroro, born 1884 in Abruzzo, and Antonia Saia Petroro, born in Italy in 1886. 


Earthquake: In central Italy, near the city of Aquila, a major earthquake sends tremors as far as Rome. Near the epicentre, especially at the town of Avezzano, around 30,000 people perish.


Extreme Weather: In Naples harbour, the cargo ship “Amalia Scotto” is driven against the quayside and sunk by a gale.


25th December 1914 (Friday)

War continues, unabated…

At sea:

Two cargo ships in different parts of the North Sea strike mines and sink. Some are rescued, and some are not so lucky…


in the air:

At Cuxhaven, at the mouth of the river Elbe in Germany, the British make a ship based air raid on German naval forces (“the Cuxhaven raid”).

“Fog, low cloud and anti-aircraft fire prevented the raid from being a complete success, although several sites were attacked. Nevertheless, the raid demonstrated the feasibility of attack by ship-borne aircraft and showed the strategic importance of this new weapon”. [Wikpedia].


And on the land:

On the Western Front, in the district of La Boiselle, there is “sporadic french machine gun fire and two french artillery rounds fired… from Bouillon Wood…[in the evening the 12/180 brigade] fired at a French patrol and a severely wounded prisoner was brought in. Before he died he told his captors that his mission was to determine if the Germans were celebrating and were drunk”

[Ralph Whitehead: “The Other side of the Wire: With the German XIV Reserve Corps on the Somme, September 1914 to June 1916”]. 

11th December 1914 (Friday)

BORN TODAY: in Michigan, USA – Robert Ayres, actor.



War from the air: After some “friendly fire” incidents caused by mis-identification of aircraft, the British RFC (Royal Flying Corp) abandons it practice of marking its planes with the union flag (sometimes mistaken at a distance for an Iron Cross) and adopts instead a distinctive “roundel” symbol.[Museum of Army Flying].


War at Sea: Eight trawler-men from Grimsby on England’s east coast are missing, after their trawler the “Earl Howard” is lost, “presumed to have struck a mine in the North Sea”.


Lest we forget (the horses): In Ormskirk, Lancashire (yet) more horses are being loaded into trains, destined ultimately, for the Western Front.



In the New Zealand general election, 84% of eligible Maori voters exercise their democratic right.


26th November 1914 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY: in Ludvika, Sweden – Birgit Ridderstedt, immigrant to America and Swedish-American folk singer of the 1950s and 1960s.



Shipping Accidents: Off the coast of Sheerness, in England’s Thames estuary, an internal explosion destroys HMS Bulwark, claiming the lives of 738 men.


Society & Culture: In London’s Holloway district, a local resident visits the police station to file a complaint that “while watching a film at the “Rink” [cinema] a couple of nights before, he ‘saw several acts of indecency between males and females occupying seats near where he and his wife were sitting’ ” [“Khaki Fever Moral Panic: Female spectators and women police at the Finsbury Park Rink cinema, London, 1913-1919”, by Alex Rock]

4th November 1914 (Wednesday)

BORN TODAY: in Kerala, India – Kambanthodath Kunhan Vishwanatham, Gujarat State Governor from 1973 to 1978.


War at sea!

In one of the entrances to Portland Harbour, on England’s south coast, the Royal Navy sink their own (obsolete, decommissioned) vessel “HMS Hood” as a blockship to prevent submarine attacks.

At Govan, on the Clyde (now part of Glasgow) in Scotland, the Royal Navy launches “HMS Valiant”.

In the Atlantic, SMS Karlsruhe explodes (internally) and sinks en route to Barbados.

In the North Sea, the German armored cruiser SMS Yorck strikes a German mine after making a navigational error, and sinks quickly with heavy losses.





30th October 1914 (Friday)

BORN TODAY: in Lanchester, County Durham, England – John Wilson, inside-right (soccer player) for West Bromwich Albion, Port Vale, Wigan Athletic and Shrewsbury Town.



War at Sea: His Majesty’s Hospital Ship (HMHS) Rohilla stikes a reef off the Yorkshire coast, and sinks with the loss of 86 lives.


Espionage: In London, the court martial of the German spy Carl Hans Lody begins. Lody is “charged with two offences of war treason concerning the two letters he had sent from Edinburgh on 27 September and Dublin on 30 September. In both letters, the charge sheet stated that Lody had sought “to convey to a belligerent enemy of Great Britain, namely Germany” information relating to the UK’s defences and preparations for war.” [Wikipedia].




20th September 1914 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY: Vilhjálmur Hjálmarsson – Icelandic politician.



Western Front: An anonymous nursing sister spends her day helping to care for 1175 wounded British soldiers on hospital trains…

“When  I think of the Red Cross practices on boy scouts, and the grim reality, it makes one wonder. And the biggest wonder of all is the grit there is in them [the wounded soldiers], and the price they are individually and unquestioningly paying for doing their bit in this war”.

[Diary of A Nursing sister on the Western Front, 1914-1915]

In East Africa: The German cruiser Konisberg sails into Zanzibar harbour and disables HMS Pegasus with the loss of thirty one crew members.


On the Home Front: in the East of England, on Hartham Common just outside Hertford, the local rector (priest)  holds an outdoor service for troops and local civilians, telling them that “the country has entered this war for the sake of honour. The very existence of our country depends on our entering into this undertaking and we  have to go on until victory is assured”. 



In the uncharted waters off the Aleutian Islands, the US Revenue Cutter USRC Tahoma, which is enforcing summer fisheries regulations and assisting with search and rescue missions, strikes a reef and sinks. Fortunately, no lives are lost.



17th September 1914 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY: in Stockholm – William Grut, Swedish pentathlete and Olympic champion at the 1948 Olympics in London.



Western Front: as the Allies (France and Britain) and the Germans try to outflank each other’s armies by moving north after the Battle of the Frontiers, they progressively push the conflict towards the sea: the so called “Race to the Sea” which will end in stalemate on 19th October.


Accidents: HMS Fisgard II founders near Portland,  off England’s south coast, with the loss of 17 men.



Transportation:  In the USA, “Automobile” magazine previews the “Eight-Cylinder Motor for 1915 …  [as] Cadillac Introduces French Motor Design”.