28th April 1915 (Wednesday)

War!

Arms makers: in the US, the Bethlehem Steel Corporation issues its shipping note for “1,248 cases of three-inch calibre shrapnel shells, filled”, due to be carried across the Atlantic (from neutral USA) in the cargo hold of the passenger liner “Lusitania” to the (British) Royal Arsenal at Woolwich. The weapons do not appear in the ship’s final manifest.

http://www.lusitania.net/deadlycargo.htm

Peace makers: The International Congress of Women convenes at The Hague, Netherlands, with more than 1,200 delegates from 12 countries—including Britain, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Italy, Poland, Belgium and the United States—all dedicated to the cause of peace and a resolution of the war. “With mourning hearts we stand united here….We grieve for many brave young men who have lost their lives on the battlefield before attaining their full manhood; we mourn with the poor mothers bereft of their sons; with the thousands of young widows and fatherless children, and we feel that we can no longer endure in this twentieth century of civilization that government should tolerate brute force as the only solution of international disputes”.

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/international-congress-of-women-opens-at-the-hague

http://www.wilpf.org.uk/history/international-congress-of-women-1915/

News makers: The New York Times reports a recent explanation in Russia’s Duma [Parliament} explaining the presence of Russian troops in Persia:

“The presence of our troops in Persian territory by no means involves a violation of Persian neutrality. Our detachments were sent to that country some years ago for the definite purpose of establishing and maintaining order in districts contiguous to our possessions, of high economic importance to us, also to prevent the seizure of some of these districts by the Turks, who openly strove to create for themselves there, especially in the district of Urumiah, a convenient base for military operations against the Caucasus. The Persian Government, not having the actual power to maintain its neutrality, met the Turkish violation of the latter with protests, which, however, had no results.”

http://www.armenian-genocide.org/4-28-15-text.html

22nd April, 1915 (Thursday)

War – from above, from beneath, and from within…

 

BORN TODAY: in Brno, in Austria-Hungary (now part of the Czech Republic ) – Vilem Goth, Czechoslovakian exile who joined the RAF 310 squadron at Duxford, England, and died in action over Kent fighting for the Allies in 1940 .

http://www.bbm.org.uk/Goth.htm

The Western Front: At the Second Battle of Ypres, the Germans secure an initial advantage by releasing poison gas onto a favorable wind, which totally surprises French colonial troops – Algerian and Zouaves, with many collapsing and dying while trying to flee. [Burg & Purcell].

War at Sea: In Washington DC, the German Imperial Embassy issues the following public notice addressed to US citizens:

NOTICE!

Travellers intending to embark on the Atlantic voyage are reminded that a state of war exists between Germany and her allies and Great Britain and her allies; that the zone of war includes the waters adjacent to the British Isles; that, in accordance with formal notice given by the Imperial German Government, vessels flying the flag of Great Britain, or any of her allies, are liable to destruction in those waters and that travellers sailing in the war zone on the ships of Great Britain or her allies do so at their own risk.

http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania/final-crossing/

20th April 1915 (Tuesday)

BORN TODAY: In Rio de Janeiro – Aurora Miranda da Cunha Richaid, Brazilian entertainer, and sister of Carmen.

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=Aurora+Miranda+da+Cunha+Richaid&biw=992&bih=513&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=Q30yVaLBLsqxygP2kYDYCw&ved=0CAYQ_AUoAQ&dpr=2.5#imgrc=juLuhVPQfVVP4M%253A%3BST7ncRLcj40yHM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fupload.wikimedia.org%252Fwikipedia%252Fcommons%252F5%252F5c%252FAurora_Miranda_Tres_Caballeros.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fen.wikipedia.org%252Fwiki%252FAurora_Miranda%3B480%3B360

War!

Dardanelles: More than 200 ships are now assembled in the harbour at Mudros, Lemnos, in preparation for the British and French invasion of Turkey.

http://www.anzacsite.gov.au/5environment/timelines/100-events-gallipoli-campaign/april-may-1915.html

Turkish Armenia: In Van, in Eastern Turkey, during an incident between Armenian citizens and the Turkish authorities, two Armenians are shot dead, escalating to reprisals, and then to the “siege” of the City by Turkish troops and a corresponding insurgency by Armenian resistance forces.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defense_of_Van_%281915%29#City_under_siege.2C_20_April

The view from Cairo: T.E.Lawrence writes to a colleague about his frustrations and experiences as an Intelligence Officer in Egypt:

“It’s very dull: but of course I haven’t any training as a field officer, and I don’t know that I want to go fighting up to Constantinople. It would be bad form, I think. The only place worth visiting is A [Alexandretta – on the modern Syria/ Turkey border] and they are all afraid of going there, for fear of hurting the feelings of our allies. [ie the French, who have designs on Syria].

“The [Suez] Canal is still holding out, and we are forgetting all about it. Turkey, if she is wise, will raid it from time to time, and annoy the garrison there, which is huge, and lumbersome, and creaks so loudly in the joints that you hear them eight hours before they move…

… I bought you a seal the other day. It’s probably the only one you’ll get from us this year, which is almost its only virtue. One wouldn’t have bought it anywhere else, but in Cairo it was refreshing. For Leeds, I am sending a mediaeval dagger pommel – or piece of horse-trapping – bought in Jerusalem lately.

Poor old Turkey is only hanging together. People always talk of the splendid show she has made lately, but it really is too pitiful for words. Everything about her is very very sick, and almost I think it will be good to make an end of her, though it will be very inconvenient to ourselves. I only hope that Aleppo and Damascus will escape a little the fate that has come upon Cairo. Anything fouler than the town buildings, or its beastly people, can’t be”.

http://www.telstudies.org/writings/letters/1915-16/150420_hogarth.shtml

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.

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

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_M*A*S*H_characters#Sherman_T._Potter

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”.

http://www.hertspastpolicing.org.uk/page/the_birch_for_mischievous_boys

War!

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.

http://www.greatwar.co.uk/battles/second-ypres-1915/prelude/gas-trial.htm

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.

https://www.awm.gov.au/blog/2010/04/10/saturday-10th-april-1915-diary-of-hv-reynolds/

http://www.rupertbrookeonskyros.com/LastDays.htm

28th March 1915 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY: in McDonald, Pennsylvania – Jay Livingston.

Que Sera Sera.

http://www.nndb.com/people/515/000205897/

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].

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

~ 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].

http://blog.findmypast.co.uk/2015/the-tragic-death-of-captain-fryatt/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/britain-at-war/8068171/Forgotten-hero-of-the-First-World-War-to-be-remembered-in-exhibition.html

22nd March 1915 (Monday)

BORN TODAY: Ian Cameron Jackson – details available from the UK National Archives for 3.3 British Pounds “1 file, approximately 0Mb” or “view free at the National Archives.. see our opening times”

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/D8276721

War!

Eastern Front: After a 133 day siege, Russian troops finally capture Przemysl (then in the Austro-Hungarian empire, now in  Poland) taking 120,000 prisoners and 700 artillery pieces.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Przemy%C5%9Bl

Dardanelles: The Allied naval command decides to postpone any further naval attempt on the straits until land forces are brought into the attack from collection bases around the eastern Mediterranean [Burg & Purcell].

 

18th March, 1915 (Thursday)

War!

The Dardanelles: British and French naval forces make another huge push at the Straits, forcing the Turks to abandon the fort at Chanak, which is in ruins. This gain comes, however, at a heavy cost in terms of vessels lost (including three battleships) and sailors killed. The allies withdraw, and begin to amend their plans, focusing now on landing troops at Gallipoli instead of (or as well as) pressing on with a naval push through to Constantinople. [various sources].