29th July 1915 (Thursday)

DIED TODAY: Major-General Henry Newport Charles Heath, son of Major-General Alfred Heath, (Royal Artillery): Heath Jr was born in 1860 and attended Clifton College and Sandhurst Royal Military College before fighting in the Anglo-Egyptian War (1882); taking part in the Anglo-Egyptian expedition to relieve General Gordon at Khartoum (1884-85); fighting in the Second Boer War in South Africa (1899-1902); and leading a command in the first world war before falling ill and dying today, aged 54.




21st April 1915 (Wednesday)

BORN TODAY: on the island of Sandøy in Norway – Oddmund Myklebust, Norwegian fisherman and politician.


Society and culture: Speaking at a reception in Madras in British India [now Chennai in India] Ghandi praises the Madrassis for their fortitude during the long civil disobedience campaign in South Africa:

“It was the Madrassis who of all the Indians were singled out by the great Divinity that rules over us for this great work. Do you know that in the great city of Johannesburg, the Madarasis look on a Madrasis as dishonored if he has not passed through the jails once or twice during this terrible crisis that your countrymen in South Africa went through during these eight long years?”


Western Front: the second Battle of Ypres commences in Belgium.


16th February 1915 (Shrove Tuesday)

BORN TODAY: in Klerksdorp in the Transvaal – Elisabeth Françoise Eybers, South African poet, awarded “The Order of Ikhamanga in Gold” for “breaking through the gender barriers and exceptionally contributing to the literature genre of poetry, especially reflecting on gender issues, and raising awareness about the evils of the apartheid system”.[South African government website].



Western Front: In the English Channel/ French La Manche, Squadron Commander Ivon Courtney is leading his squadron in the combined landplane and seaplane operations against German submarine bases in the Bruges – Ostend – Zeebrugge region.


Society and Culture:  Clementine Churchill, Baroness Spencer-Churchill, aged 30, wife of Sir Winston Churchill, poses for a photographic portrait.



2nd February 1915 (Tuesday)


~ In Cape Town, South Africa – Aubrey Solomon Meir Eban, migrant, polymath, intelligence officer, propagandist, politician, polyglot, amabassador, author and TV narrator; of whom Henry Kissinger once said: “I have never encountered anyone who matched his command of the English language. Sentences poured forth in mellifluous constructions complicated enough to test the listener’s intelligence and simultaneously leave him transfixed by the speaker’s virtuosity.” [Wikipedia].


~ in Hadali, in the Punjab region of British India (now Pakistan) – Khushwant Singh, “Indian novelist, lawyer, politician and journalist” and self proclaimed agnostic. [Wikipedia].


9th January 1915 (Saturday)

BORN TODAY: in Buenos Aires – Fernando Lamas, actor.



War from the air: The German Kaiser authorises Zeppelin bombing raids on Britain.



Society and culture: After a long sojourn in South Africa, Mahatma Ghandi returns to India, landing in Bombay (Mumbai) today.

7th December 1914 (Monday)

BORN TODAY: In Italy – The Cardè Bridge, the first reinforced concrete bridge built over the River Po. [Wikipedia].



Plea for a Christmas truce: an attempt by Pope Benedict XV to call a Christmas truce betwee the warring nations is rebuffed.


In South Africa, the rebel Boer General, Christian Frederick Beyers drowns in the Vaal River while trying to escape from military defeat by government troops under General Botha.


29th September 1914 (Tuesday)


~ in Woodridge, Manitoba, Canada – Joseph Patrice Ephreme (“Andy”) Desjarlais, Métis fiddler.


~ In Natal, South Africa – Diederik Johannes Opperman, Professor of Afrikaans Literature at
the University of Stellenbosch, 1960 – 1979, and “one of South Africa’s most important poets and literary men”.



In the Middle East: the British gunboat HMS ESpiegle arrives from Ceylon (Sti Lanka) and takes up a position at the head of the Arabian/Persian Gulf with the task of protecting the British interests in the Anglo-Persian oil company, including the refinery on the Persian  island of Abadan. [“Eden to Armageddon: World War 1 in the Middle East”].

On the (english) Home Front, the Worcestershire Hunt (the organisation for hunting foxes in the County of Worcestershire) debates whether the hunt should continue in wartime:

“Masters of Foxhounds all over the country had been ‘robbed of their brood’ and, in many cases, few horses had been left except old cobs. Mr Jones said the Hunt should really go in for killing more foxes than usual because it was reported that there was a scarcity of foreign eggs. Major Baldwin strongly supported the policy of continuing the Hunt. Some of the subscribers had lost friends and others of them were busy and could not hunt, but they wanted to see the sport kept alive.” [Quoted on the Worcestershire World War 1 web-site].