12th July 1915 (Monday)

BORN TODAY: in the Pavlovsk Palace, the 18th-century Russian Imperial residence built by Paul I in Saint Petersburg  – Princess Catherine Ivanovna of Russia, great-great-granddaughter of Tsar Nicolas I and niece of King Alexander I of Yugoslavia: the last member of the Russian Imperial Family to be born before the fall of the dynasty, and ultimately the last surviving uncontested dynast of the Imperial House of Russia. She died in Montevideo, Uruguay, in 2007, aged 92.



Gallipoli: Allied forces make a final attempt to take the hill of Achi Baba which overlooks the places where many allied soldiers have been pinned for weeks.

“As was the norm with operations from Helles casualties were inordinately high.  The Allies incurred 4,000 casualties and the Turkish force rather more, 10,000.  For all that the Turkish force suffered twice as heavily the encounter nevertheless ended with possession of Achi Baba remaining in Turkish hands.”


War at Sea: Off England’s east coast, the German submarine SM-UB6 has a productive day destroying four English fishing boats.


History, not fresh, but preserved and recycled: On the Western Front, Ulstermen from Northerl Ireland  and the Orangemen diaspora celebrate the Battle of the Boyne (1690)…

“We (the Canadians) all gathered together with a good many Ulstermen to celebrate the Battle of the Boyne. The procession started from “Shrapnel Square” and was headed by an old scout mounted on a white horse with its mane and tail plaited with Orange and Purple ribbon. Next came the fife and drums well decorated with Orange Lilies and “No Surrender” was painted on the flag we carried“.


18th April 1915 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY: at Miedzybrodzie, Cracow, Austria-Hungary (now in Poland) – Józef Karol Czulak: Cavalry Officer in Poland; prisoner of war in Romania; fugitive in Yugoslavia; resistance fighter in Italy and France; exile in England; Army Captain in Scotland; liberator in France; undergraduate and research bacteriologist in England; and migrant and cheese scientist in Australia, where he won the Australian Society of Dairy Technology’s gold medal in 1960.



War from the air: French Pilot “Roland Garros is forced down behind German lines and taken prisoner. His plane is recovered intact by the Germans, which results in a technological leap forward for aerial warfare.”


12th October 1914 (Monday)

BORN TODAY: in Pakoštane, in the Austro-Hungarian Empire (later the Kingdom of Serbs and Croats, then Yugoslavia, now Croatia) – Maksimilijan “Maks” Baće, revolutionary.



28th June 1914 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY: A century of strife…

World Affairs: In Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, 19 year old Gavrilo Princip, Serbian by descent, Bosnian by birth, and Austro-Hungarian by Habsburg diktat, steps into the sunlight from a crowd of onlookers and fires two shots from his Belgian John Browning pistol, killing both the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his morganatic wife, Sophia Maria Josephine Albina Countess Chotek of Chotkova and Wognin and Duchess of Hohenberg. This single act unleashes the accumulated political tensions of the last twenty years, triggering a hundred years of conflict, analysis, accusations and debate. The rest, as they say, is history.

At his trial Princip declared: “I am a Yugoslav nationalist, aiming for the unification of all Yugoslavs, and I do not care what form of state, but it must be freed from Austria”…



6th April 1914 (Monday)

BORN TODAY: in Lvov, Poland (now in Ukraine) – Michal Stefan Pienkowski: privileged Polish son; chemistry graduate; Polish Air Force conscript; internee in Romania; refugee in Yugoslavia, Italy and France; member of the Polish forces in exile (in  Britain); member of the Polish Air force under RAF command; interpreter and instructor; Derbyshire tailor and store-keeper; Duffield sub-postmaster; and Staffordshire smallholder. He died in 1985 from pneumonia originally contracted during World War 2.


Military matters: General  Sir Charles Whittingham Horsley Douglas, GCB (“Knight Grand Cross”), ADC (“aide de camp”), is appointed as the third (successive) Chief of the (British) Imperial General Staff (“CIGS”).  He has previously served as a British Officer in the second Anglo-Afghan War, The first Boer War, the Suakin Expedition (Sudan), and the second Boer War. He will die from strain and overwork later this year, less than three months after the outbreak of World War 1.


Accidents: Three passengers die when the Wabash passenger train plunges from a collapsing bridge near Attica, Indiana, USA.



Society and culture: In Dartford, South East London, Mr Samuel Bonmak, gravedigger, spends his day digging the first grave in the new Watling Cemetery, in preparation for the burial, tomorrow, of Mr James Duggan.





1st February 1914 (Sunday)


~ in Mostar, in the Herzegovina region (at that time) in the Austro-Hungarian Empire (now in Bosnia-Herzegovina) – Avdo Humo, Yugoslav and Bosnian communist politician; recipient of the “Order of the Peoples’ Hero”; campaigner for equality for muslims; co-founder of the famous Bosnian newspaper “Oslobođenje” (liberation); and second president of the executive council of the Peoples’ Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.


~ In Sialkot, Punjab, in British India (now part of Pakistan) – Avtar Kishan Hangal, Indian freedom fighter and (later) stage and film actor. Jailed for two years for being a communist in newly formed Pakistan (1947 to 1949), following which he settled in Mumbai, India.


25th June 1913 (Wednesday)

BORN TODAY: In Cetinje, Montenegro (later Yugoslavia, then Serbia-Montenegro, now Montenegro again) – Peko Dapcevic, Yugoslav communist who fought in the Spanish Civil War, then joined the Partisan resistance to German  occupation in Yugoslavia, helped liberate Belgrade in 1944 and was appointed Chief of Staff of the Yugoslav Peoples’ Army under Tito in 1953.

Accidents and disasters: Near Ottawa, Canada, a train is derailed and two of its nine carriages plunge into the Ottawa River. Eight people are killed, including Patrick Mulvenna from Country Antrim, Northern Ireland, who has just arrived and is crossing Canada in search of a new life.