5th September 1915 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY: in Colombo in British Ceylon  – Arthur Terence Sahanandan Paul, pioneering Sri Lankan cardiothoracic surgeon.



Protest: In Zimmerwald, Switzerland, delegates from international socialist parties in 11 countries hold a conference to advocate anti-militarist and pacifist policies and (for some) international socialist revolution, later making this small Swiss town a part of the foundation myth of the Soviet Union.


17th May 1915 (Monday)

BORN TODAY: in Zurich – Marcel Roland de Quervain, Swiss glaciologist, “known for his fundamental work on the metamorphism and physical properties of snow.”



Anatolia: In the Armenian city of Van, in eastern Turkey, the one month long siege of the city by Ottoman forces intent on suppressing Armenian activists is relieved by the arrival of Russian troops from the city of Malazgirt, temporarily under Russian control.


On the (British) Home Front: The Liberal Government (Asquith’s first ministry) is brought down by high levels of unpopularity, partly fuelled by the continuing failures at Gallipoli.


19th July 1914 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY: in Charleroi, Belgium – René Pedroli, Swiss professional road bicycle racer.


World Affairs: In Vienna, the Austro-Hungarian council of ministers approves the final draft of the ultimatum to Serbia, but delays sending it because the French President is currently on a state visit to its ally, Russia.


Migration: In Vancouver harbour, Indian migrants who have been detained on the SS Komataga and denied permission to disemabark for nearly two months take control of the engine room to prevent the vessel from leaving.  A battle ensues when armed police arrive on a tugboat and turn the hoses on the migrant ship.


Extreme Weather: Istanbul is hit by a freak tornado which causes loss of life, destruction of property and crops and is followed by lightning strikes with more casualties including the death of a group sheltering under a tree.

Click to access Onder_Kocaturk-The_Great_Storm_and_Tornado_Incident_in_Istanbul.pdf

13th July, 1914 (Monday)


~ In Leuk, Switzerland – Franz Xaver Baron von Werra, fighter pilot and flying ace shot down and captured over Britain. Incarcerated in a Canadian POW camp, and “generally regarded as the only Axis POW  to succeed in escaping from a Canadian prisoner of war camp and returning to Germany”.  He arrived back in Germany in 1941, via the US, Mexico, South America and Spain. [Wikipedia].


~ In Surrey, England – Squadron Leader Wilfrid Thomas Page, mentioned in despatches, June 1942, shot down and killed in the English Channel, November 1943.


World Affairs:  From Sarajevo, the Austrian investigators of the Archduke’s assassination report that “there is nothing to prove or even to suppose that the Serbian government is accessory to the inducement for the crime, its preparations, or the furnishing of weapons. On the contrary, there are reasons to believe that this is altogether out of the question” [Fromkin – “Europe’s Last Summer – Why the World went to War in 1914].


Crime: In the village of Camerata Cornello in Northern Italy,  56 year old Simone Pianetti shoots and kills seven people who have ruined his life and reputation, including the town clerk, the priest and the doctor. He escapes to the mountains, and is never brought to justice.


Society and culture: In London, at the Kensington Registrar’s office, Novelist D.H.Lawrence marries Frieda Weekley (nee von Richthofen), the former wife of his erstwhile modern languages professor at University College, Nottingham.


~ In Milwaukee, Senators are busy investigating the causes of prostitution in Wisconsin (“Prostitutes testimony”),  and “committee staff questioned several madams and prostitutes about how they got into ‘the sporting life’ and what caused men and women to engage in it”


18th March 1914 (Wednesday)

BORN TODAY: In Vienna, Austria  – Heinrich Herzog, son of Jacques Herzog, sole owner of the bank Herz & Strauss, and his wife Franziska Bamberger. In 2002 Mr Herzog junior (aged 88) was successful in his claim for an amount of 156,000 swiss francs from an [unnamed] Swiss Bank. According to Mr Herzog’s testimony

“his father’s bank had business relations with the Bank in Switzerland, as well as with another bank in Zurich, Switzerland, and a company in Zug, Switzerland. The Claimant also stated that his paternal uncle, Emil Herzog, made frequent trips to Basel, Switzerland, where he deposited assets. Emil Herzog committed suicide in Vienna in 1938. According to the information provided by the Claimant, his father, who was Jewish, was arrested with the Claimant’s mother by the Gestapo in March 1938 and put in jail in Vienna, and his bank was liquidated by the Nazis. The Claimant explained that his father managed to flee Austria to the United States later in 1938”.

Click to access Herz_and_Strauss.pdf

3rd December 1913 (Wednesday)


~ In Diest, Belgium – Omer  Rudolphe Jean burggraaf Vanoudenhoven, Flemish shoemaker and liberal politician.


~ In Oberhausen, Germany – Helmut Israel Marx, refugee from the Netherlands, in neutral Switzerland in 1942, seeking a visa for Santo Domingo.

Click to access NY_AR_DORSA_00012_00683.pdf