Return to home1911 Jan 17,
Francis Galton (b.1822), English scientist, died. He was one of the
first moderns to present a carefully considered eugenics program.
His work included the invention of weather maps and the description
of fingerprints. He also developed a system for classifying human
profiles using geometric diagrams. He was a cousin of Charles Darwin
and the founder of the science of statistics. The idea of
sterilizing human beings considered as physical or mental
undesirables stemmed from Galton’s ideas.
6/97, p.18)(SFC, 8/28/97, p.A12)
1911 Apr 12, Pierre Prier
completed the first non-stop London-Paris flight in three hours and
1911 May 8, England signed a
treaty with China making opium the main trading commodity with the
(SMTS, 10/1/86, p.4)
1911 Mar 9, The funding for
five new battleships was added to the British military defense
1911 May 16, Remains of a
Neanderthal man were found in Jersey, UK.
1911 May 29, William Schwenck
Gilbert (74), writer (Gilbert & Sullivan), died.
1911 Jun 22, King George V of
England crowned at Westminster Abbey.
(SFEM, 1/26/97, p.40)(HN, 6/22/98)
1911 Jul 14, Terry Thomas,
actor (It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World), was born in England.
1911 Jul 20, Generals Henry
Wilson and Auguste Dubail signed a plan for British Expeditionary
army in case of war with Germany.
1911 Aug 18, Britain’s
Parliament Act of 1911 was given Royal Assent. It asserted the
supremacy of the House of Commons by limiting the
legislation-blocking powers of the House of Lords (the suspensory
1911 Sep 9, An airmail route
opened between London and Windsor.
1911 Oct 4, The 1st public
elevator began service at London's Earl's Court Metro Station.
1911 Nov 21, Suffragettes
stormed Parliament in London. All were arrested and all chose prison
1911 Dec 10, Joseph Dalton
Hooker (b.1817), British botonist and explorer, died.
1911 Dec 12, In northern India
Britain’s King George V stood before some 562 princes as well as
maharajahs, soldiers and bureaucrats, and made a surprise
announcement that would change the fate of Delhi, an ancient fading
city with a population of 410,000. The king said Delhi would be the
new capital of India.
(AP, 12/11/11)(Econ, 12/17/11, p.68)
1911 Karl Pearson (1857-1936),
English mathematician and later regarded as the father of modern
statistics, founded the first statistics department at Univ. College
1911 King George V of Britain
visited India. He went hunting in Nepal and from the back of an
elephant bagged 21 tigers, 8 rhinos, and a bear.
(NG, 12/97, p.138)
1911 The first Michelin guide
to the British Isles was published to help travelers and included
information on how to change a tire.
1912 Jan 1, Kim Philby was born
in India. He became a ringleader of a group of upper crust
Englishmen who entered public service or, in many cases, the British
Secret Service, then spied for the Soviets. Philby got away and
spent his last years in Moscow.
1912 Jan 16, British explorer
Robert Falcon Scott wrote in his diary after reaching the South Pole
on January 16, 1912, "Great God this is an awful place and terrible
enough for us to have labored to it without the reward of priority."
Robert Scott, attempting to lead the first exploration party to the
South Pole, wrote the passage after finding the black flag of
Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen. Thoroughly demoralized, the five
members of the Scott party died during their 800-mile trek back to
their base camp. [see Jan 18]
1912 Jan 18, The expedition of
British Royal Navy Captain Robert Falcon Scott intended to be the
first to reach the South Pole, but when they arrived they found a
letter from Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, who had been there
over a month earlier. Scott and his group had set out from a camp in
Antarctica 81 days earlier, and on their way back, their supplies
ran out. Scott wrote in a diary during the trek, which a search
party discovered with the team's frozen bodies in November. Part of
Scott's March 29 entry reads, "We shall stick it out to the end, but
we are getting weaker, of course, and the end cannot be far." The
team had made it to within 11 miles of the camp. Scott's diary ended
with, "Last Entry: For God's sake look after our people." [see Jan
(AP, 1/18/98)(HNPD, 1/18/99)
1912 Jan 30, The British House
of Lords opposed the House of Commons by rejecting home rule for
1912 Feb 26, Coal miners struck
in England. They settled on 03/01.
1912 Mar 27, James Callaghan
(d.2005), British prime minister (1976-1979), was born in
(SSFC, 3/27/05, p.A21)
1912 Mar 29, Capt. Robert F.
Scott, British pole explorer, storm-bound in a tent near South Pole,
made a last entry in his diary: "the end cannot be far."
1912 Apr 2, Titanic underwent
sea trials under its own power.
1912 Apr 10, The 66,000 ton RMS
Titanic left port from Southampton, England, on its ill-fated maiden
voyage with 2,223 people.
(SFC, 7/5/96, PM, p.16)(SFEC, 12/8/96, BR
1912 Apr 13, Royal Flying Corps
formed (later RAF).
1912 Apr 15, At 2:20 a.m., two
hours and 40 minutes after impact, the luxury liner RMS Titanic sank
in the North Atlantic Ocean off Newfoundland with the loss of about
1,522 lives. About 1,500  people died. Because there were
lifeboats for only half those on board, only 705 passengers and crew
survived the disaster. Among the survivors was J. Bruce Ismay,
president of the White Star Line, who telegraphed his New York
office, "Deeply regret advise you Titanic sank this morning after
collision with iceberg, resulting in serious loss of life. Full
particulars later." Nearly a third of the passengers died. The
ship’s band played the waltz “Songe d’Automne" as it sank. The
accident killed 1,523  people and 705 survived. By 1996 only 8
were still alive. Nearly 60% of the first-class passengers survived.
There were 214 staff members of the 685 survivors. It was later
discovered that Harland & Wolff, the ship’s builder, had used a
lower quality rivet on the ship that likely contributed to the rapid
sinking. The last night on the ship was described by Rick Archbold
and Dana McCauley in their book: “Last Dinner on the Titanic." The
steamer Carpathia rescued 705 of the 2,358 people onboard. Prof.
Steven Biel of Brandeis Univ. wrote “A Cultural History of the
Titanic" in 1997.
(AP, 4/15/97)(SFC, 7/5/96, PM, p.16)(SFC,
9/22/96, Par p.25)(WSJ, 4/9/97, p.A1)(SFC, 4/14/97, p.E8)(SFC,
4/19/97, p.A3)(SFEC,12/797, DB p.37)(SFC, 4/15/08, p.A6)
1912 Apr 28, Odette Hallowes,
British secret agent in France, was born. She was later captured and
tortured by the Gestapo.
1912 May 13, The Royal
Flying Corps was established in England. It was the predecessor of
the Royal Air Force.
(SS, Internet, 5/13/97)(HN, 5/13/99)
1912 Jun 23, Alan M. Turing
(d.1954), English mathematician and pioneer of computer theory, was
born. He cracked the Enigma code in World War II that was used by
the Germans to communicate with their submarines. A play by Hugh
Whitemore titled "Breaking the Code," tells his story. It was shown
as a TV film on Masterpiece Theater in 1997.
(V.D.-H.K.p.349)(SFC, 1/31/97, p.D3)(HN, 6/23/01)
1912 Jul 15, British National
Health Insurance Act went into effect.
1912 Aug 10, Leonard Woolf
(1880-1969), English man of letters, married writer Virginia
Duckworth (b.1882). Virginia Woolf committed suicide in 1941.
1912 Aug 20, William Booth,
English minister, founder (Salvation Army), died.
1912 Sep 1, Samuel
Coleridge-Taylor (b.1875), Afro-British composer, died.
1912 Sep 3, World's 1st cannery
opened in England to supply food to the navy.
1912 Dec 18, In the famous
Piltdown Man Forgery amateur archaeologist Charles Dawson announced
the discovery of two skulls from the Piltdown Quarry in Sussex,
England. They appeared to belong to a primitive hominid and ancestor
of man. Also found was a canine tooth, a tool carved from an
elephant's tusk, and fossil teeth from a number of prehistoric
animals. Dawson enlisted the help of vertebrate paleontologist
Arthur Smith Woodward. They christened it Eoanthropus dawsoni and on
this day they announced their find to the Geological Society of
London. A 1996 book "Unraveling Piltdown" by John Evangelist Walsh
labeled Dawson as the perpetrator of the hoax. The missing link was
later determined to be only 600 years old. The fossils had been
doctored to look and test to be older. In 2012 Miles Russell
authored “The Piltdown Man Hoax: Case Closed." [see 1908, 1913,
1953, 1955 & 1983]
(PacDisc, Spring ‘96, p.15)(SFEC, 9/22/96, BR
p.9)(SSFC, 12/16/12, p.A23)
1912 The British Royal Navy
E-class submarine entered service.
(SSFC, 1/2/05, p.E3)
1912 Workmen in London, England
stumbled on the stock of a 17th century goldsmith when they broke
through the wooden floor of a building in Cheapside. The whole lot
was purchased by the London Museum. In 2013 the complete Cheapside
Hoard was put on display.
(Econ, 10/12/13, p.98)
1913 Jan 28, Pleasance Pendred,
an active member of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU),
was arrested for taking part in a window breaking campaign mainly
targeting government offices around Westminster. Her pamphlet “Why
Women Teachers Break Windows" was first published circa 1912 by the
Woman’s Press. The Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) had
recently declared all out war against public and private property in
the United Kingdom. An orgy of vandalism followed.
1913 Jan 31, The British House
of Lords rejected a bill tabled by the Liberal government and passed
by the House of Commons on January 16 proposing home rule for
Ireland. One peer said that home rule would make the Irish "a menace
in war and a disturbing influence in peace."
(HC, 2003, p.64)
1913 Apr 3, British suffragette
Emily Pankhurst was sentenced to 3 years in jail. She protested with
hunger strikes and was released and re-arrested 9 times over a
period of 18 months under the Temporary Discharge of Prisoners for
1913 Apr, The British
Parliament passed the Temporary Discharge of Prisoners for
Ill-Health Act. It made legal the hunger strikes that Suffragettes
were undertaking at the time and stated that they would be released
from prison as soon as they became ill.
1913 May 6, Stewart Granger,
[James Stewart], actor (Prisoner of Zenda, Scaramouche), was born in
1913 May 7, British House of
Commons rejected women's right to vote.
1913 Jun 2, Barbara Pym (Mary
Crampton), English novelist (Less Than Angels, Quartet in Autumn),
1913 Jun 8, Emily Wilding
Davison (b.1872), a member of the Women's Social and Political Union
(WSPU), died from injuries 4 days earlier when she tried to block
the path of a racehorse owned by King George V. See link for video
1913 Jul 7, British House of
Commons accepted Home-Rule Law.
1913 Jul 15, Hammond Innes,
English novelist, was born.
1913 Sep 1, George Bernard
Shaw’s "Androcles and the Lion," premiered in London.
1913 Oct 14, An explosion in a
coal mine in Cardiff, Wales, killed 439.
1913 Oct 17, Zeppelin LII
exploded over London, killing 28.
1913 Nov 22, Benjamin Britten
(d.1976), English composer, pianist and conductor, was born.
(WSJ, 7/26/99, p.A21)(HN, 11//00)
1913 The British Parliament
passed the Temporary Discharge of Prisoners for Ill-Health Act. It
made legal the hunger strikes that Suffragettes were undertaking at
the time and stated that they would be released from prison as soon
as they became ill.
1913 Arthur Bernstein, later
named Sir Arthur Gilbert, was born in Golders Green, North London.
His Gilbert Collection was donated to the Queen Mother in 2000 and
installed at Somerset House.
(WSJ, 6/15/00, p.A24)
1913 London stopped published
archives of the Old Bailey as newspapers began publishing details of
court cases. By 2008 the archives, going back to 1694, were
digitized and made available on line.
(Econ, 5/3/08, p.65)
1913 The British convoked a
conference at Simla, India, to discuss the issue of Tibet's status.
The conference was attended by representatives of the British
Empire, the newly founded Republic of China, and the Tibetan
government at Lhasa.
1913 London, England, had 65
electrical utilities using 49 different standards for their supply.
(Econ, 9/7/13, p.24)
1914 Feb 25, John Tenniel
(b.1820), English illustrator, died. He is best remembered for his
illustrations in Lewis Carroll's “Alice's Adventures in Wonderland"
and “Through the Looking-Glass."
1914 Mar 1, H. Colijn, Dutch
Minister of war, was named director of British Petroleum.
1914 Mar 10, Suffragettes in
London damaged painter Rokeby's Venus of Velasquez.
1914 Apr 7, British House of
Commons passed the Irish Home Rule Bill.
1914 Apr 9, The 1st full color
film: "World, Flesh & Devil" was shown in London.
1914 May 6, British House of
Lords rejected women suffrage.
1914 May 25, British House of
Commons passed Irish Home Rule.
1914 Jul 20, Armed resistance
against British rule began in Ulster.
1914 Jul 27, British troops
invaded the streets of Dublin, Ireland, and began to disarm Irish
1914 Aug 2, Great Britain
1914 Aug 4, Britain and Belgium
declared war after German troops entered Belgium. The United States
proclaimed its neutrality. Britain’s entry also committed its
dominions of Australia, Canada, Newfoundland, New Zealand and South
Africa. AS WWI started the financial press helped to cover up news
of a run on the Bank of England.
(HNQ, 7/24/98)(AP, 8/4/97)(Econ, 8/2/14,
p.45)(Econ, 9/27/14, p.70)
1914 Aug 5, The British
Expeditionary Force mobilized for World War I.
1914 Aug 13, The British
purchased 3 fast cross-channel packets: Empress, Riviera and
Engadine. The ships were converted into seaplane tenders for
1914 Aug 12, Great Britain
declared war on Austria-Hungary.
1914 Aug 19, The British
Expeditionary Force (BEF) landed in France.
1914 Aug 28, Three German
cruisers were sunk by ships of the Royal Navy in the Battle of
Heligoland Bight, the first major naval battle of World War I. The
Germans lost four ships and 1,000 sailors; British casualties were
(HN, 8/28/98)(RTH, 8/28/99)
1914 Aug, The British Flying
Corps (RFC) was sent to France to support the British Expeditionary
1914 Aug, Sir Ernest Shackleton
(40) left England on a voyage to Antarctica with a 27 man crew on
the HMS Endurance. He planned to lead the "Imperial
Trans-Continental Expedition," a dog-sled party across the
(WSJ, 4/2/98, p.B15)(ON, 5/00, p.9)
1914 Sep 3, The air defense of
Great Britain was assigned to Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS).
Winston Churchill, the new first lord of the Admiralty, and the RNAS
were assigned the task of stopping the Zeppelins.
1914 Sep 8, Pvt. Thomas
Highgate (18) was the first British soldier in the war to be shot
for desertion. He had become separated from his unit, but said he
was trying to rejoin it when he was detained. In 2006 the British
government prepared to pardon 305 men who were hauled before firing
squads in World War I for desertion or cowardice after summary
1914 Sep 18, The Irish Home
Rule Bill became law, but was delayed until after World War I. The
Government of Ireland Act became law. It was an act by the British
government to take effect at the end of World War I.
(WSJ,3/13/95, p.A-15)(HN, 9/18/98)
1914 Sep 20, Kenneth More,
English actor (39 Steps, Doctor in the House), was born.
1914 Sep 22, The RNAS attempted
their first air attack on the Zeppelins at Dusseldorf and Cologne.
There was little damage done.
1914 Sep 22, A German submarine
sank 3 British ironclads, 1,459 died. The Aboukir, the Hogue, and
the Cressy, were all sunk in just over one hour. This
loss alerted the British to the deadly effectiveness of the
submarine, which had been generally unrecognized up to that
1914 Oct 4, The first German
Zeppelin raided London.
1914 Oct 8, The RNAS attempted
another air attack on the Zeppelins at Dusseldorf and Cologne. The
dirigible shed at Dusseldorf was destroyed.
1914 Oct 27, Dylan Thomas,
British poet and author whose works included "Portrait of the Artist
as a Young Dog," was born in Swansea, Wales.
(AP, 10/27/97)(HN, 10/27/98)
1914 Oct 27, The British
battleship Audacious was sunk by a mine.
1914 Oct 29, Retired Admiral
John Arbuthnot Fisher (73) accepted re-appointment as First Sea
(ON, 3/02, p.10)
1914 Oct 31, Great Britain and
France declared war on Turkey. [see Nov 5]
1914 Nov 1, A German squadron
engaged the British fleet under Adm. Craddock near Coronel Bay,
Chile. The ships Good Hope and Monmouth were sunk and 1,600 men were
lost including Adm. Craddock.
(MC, 11/1/01)(ON, 3/02, p.11)
1914 Nov 2, Great Britain
1914 Nov 5, The French and
British declared war on Turkey. [see Oct 31]
1914 Nov 21, The RNAS attempted
an air attack on the Zeppelins at Friedrichshafen. They succeeded in
doing considerable damage.
1914 Nov 26, Battleship HMS
Bulwark exploded at Sheerness Harbor, England, 788 died.
1914 Dec 8, The German cruisers
Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, Nurnberg, and Leipzig were sunk by a British
force under Adm. Sturdee in the Battle of the Falkland Islands.
1,800 German sailors were killed including Adm. Von Spee and his 2
sons. Over 2,500 lives were lost in a single day.
3/02, p.11)(SSFC, 10/6/02, p.C12)
1914 Dec 25, The British Royal
Navy Air Force attempted to bomb the German Zeppelin shed at
Cuxhaven. Fog obscured the mission and the bombs were dropped on
other sites, i.e. a seaplane base on Langeoog Island, the light
cruisers Stralsund and Graudenz and the city of Wilhemshaven. An
audacious British air attack on a Zeppelin base in northern Germany
caught the Germans with their defenses down.
(AH, 1/97)(HN, 3/22/97)
1914 British retailer Harrods
opened its first overseas emporium in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
(Econ, 2/15/14, p.9)
1914 The British Royal Navy's
Grand Fleet moved to a new base in Scapa Flow, in Scotland’s Orkney
Islands. They needed a safe place to take on a German Fleet based in
1914 An 840km stretch of
frontier between China and India (Arunachal Pradesh state), in
effect independent at this time, was settled by the governments of
India and Tibet and named the McMahon Line after Sir Henry McMahon,
creator of the border line. The conference in Simla placed Tawang
inside the borders of India.
(Econ, 8/21/10, p.18)(Econ, 10/20/12, p.37)
1914-1916 Margot Asquith, the wife of British PM
Herbert Asquith, kept a war diary. In 2014 a version edited by
Michael and Eleanor Brock was published as “Margot Asquith’s Great
War Diary: 1914-1916: The View from Downing Street."
(Econ, 7/26/14, p.70)
1914-1918 The German campaign in East Africa was
directed by General Paul Emil von Lettow-Vorbeck. German looting and
raiding caused at least 300,000 civilian deaths. By attacking
Northern Rhodesia they invaded British territory. Of 1 million
porters recruited by the British, 95,000 died. In 2007 Edward Paice
authored “Tip and Run: The Untold Tragedy of the Great War in
Africa. In 2008 Edward Paice authored “World War I: The African
(Econ, 2/17/07, p.87)(WSJ, 8/9/08, p.W8)
1915 Jan 1, German
submarine U-24 sank the British battleship Formidable in the English
Channel whilst on patrol and exercise with the 5th Battle Squadron.
She sank rapidly with the loss of 547 crew. The 5BS had been
steaming slowly (10knots), not zigzagging and were without destroyer
escort. Admiral in charge Lewis Bayly was dismissed from his
position over the loss.
1915 Jan 19, The first German
air raids on Britain inflicted minor casualties. A Zeppelin attack
over Great Britain killed 4 people.
(HN, 1/19/99)(MC, 1/19/02)
1915 Jan 24, The German cruiser
Blücher was sunk by a British squadron in the Battle of Dogger Bank.
1915 Jan 31, German U-boats
sank two British steamers in the English Channel.
1915 Feb 4, Germans decreed
British waters part of war zone; all ships were to be sunk without
1915 Feb 18, Germany began a
blockade of England.
1915 Feb 19, British and French
warships began their attacks on the Turkish forts at the mouth of
the Dardenelles, in an abortive expedition to force the straits of
Gallipoli. Winston Churchill was the architect of the disastrous
campaign. Allied forces were evacuated at the end of the year after
both sides had suffered appalling hardships and losses. In 2011
Peter Hart authored “Gallipoli."
(HN, 2/19/99)(NW, 12/24/01, p.64)(Econ, 10/8/11,
1915 Feb 28, Peter Medawar,
zoologist, immunologist (Nobel 1953), was born in England.
1915 Mar 2, British Vice
Admiral Carden began bombing of Dardanelles forts.
1915 Mar 13, The Germans
repelled a British Expeditionary Force attack at the battle of Neuve
Chapelle in France.
1915 Mar 14, The British Navy
sank the German battleship Dresden off the Chilean coast.
1915 Mar 16, British battle
cruisers Inflexible and Irresistible hit mines in Dardanelle
1915 Apr 26, Second Lieutenant
Rhodes-Moorhouse became the first airman to win the Victoria Cross
after conducting a successful bombing raid.
1915 May 5, German U-20 sank
the Earl of Lathom.
1915 May 7, In the 2nd year of
WWI, the British Cunard ocean liner Lusitania, on a voyage from New
York to Liverpool, sank off the coast of Ireland in only 18-21
minutes after being struck by a torpedo fired by the German U-boat
U-20. Of 1,962 passengers and crew, 1,198 died. Of the fatalities,
128 were Americans. Even though the Germans maintained the liner was
carrying arms purchased in America to Britain, the sinking of a
passenger ship aroused intense anger against the German policy of
unrestricted submarine warfare and hastened America's entrance into
the war. In 2002 Diana Preston authored "Lusitania: An Epic Tragedy"
and David Ramsay authored "Lusitania: Saga and Myth."
5/7/97)(WSJ, 5/8/02, p.AD9)
1915 May 10, A Zeppelin dropped
hundreds of bombs on Southend-on-Sea.
1915 May 31, A German LZ-38
Zeppelin made an air raid on London. [see Jun 1]
1915 May, Adm. John Fisher
(d.1920) resigned his position as First Sea Lord.
(ON, 3/02, p.11)
1915 Jun 1, Germany conducted
the first zeppelin air raid over England. [see May 10, 31]
(DTnet, 6/1/97)(HN, 6/1/98)
1915 Jun 11, British troops
took Cameroon in Africa.
1915 Jul 26, James Murray, lead
compiler of the Oxford English Dictionary, died. The final entry to
the dictionary was completed in 1928. In 2003 Simon Winchester
authored “The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English
(ON, 11/05, p.7)
1915 Aug 14, British transport
Royal Edward was sunk a by German U boat and some 1000 people were
1915 Aug 19, The British ocean
liner Arabic was sunk by Germany. After the sinking Germany promised
that no more merchant ships would be torpedoed without warning. Two
Americans were aboard and Germany feared U.S. entry into World War
I. Earlier, in May 1915, a German U-boat sank the British liner
Lusitania, killing 60 percent of those on board-some 1,198-of whom
128 were Americans. The threat of American intervention receded
until the beleaguered Germans believed it was necessary to resume
unrestricted submarine warfare to break the British blockade. On
January 31, 1917, Berlin’s announcement that its submarines would
"sink on sight" brought the United States into the war.
1915 Sep 9, A German zeppelin
bombed London for the first time, causing little damage.
1915 Sep 21, Stonehenge was
sold by auction for 6,600 pounds sterling ($11,500) to a Mr. Chubb,
who bought it as a present for his wife. He presented it to the
British nation three years later.
1915 Sep 25, An allied
offensive was launched in France against the German Army.
1915 Sep 25, At the Battle at
Loos: 8,246 British and 0 German casualties.
1915 Sep 28, At the Battle of
Kut-el-Amara the British defeated the Turks in Mesopotamia.
1915 Oct 8, The WWI Battle of
Loos ended with virtually no gains for either side. There was loss
of over one hundred thousand French, British, and German lives in
this battle. It marked the first use of poisonous gas by the
British, which drifted back to the British trenches.
1915 Oct 12, British nurse
Edith Cavell (47), despite international protests, was shot as a spy
by a German firing squad in Brussels, Belgium. Cavell, the matron of
a Brussels training school for nurses, was known for her compassion
and sense of duty. As WWI broke out in Europe, Cavell helped 60
British student nurses return home but she remained in Belgium. Even
though she knew that helping soldiers escape from German-occupied
territory meant the death penalty, Cavell agreed when asked to
participate in an escape ring that helped more than 200 fugitive
Allied soldiers return home after the British Expeditionary Force's
retreat from Mons. Such a large conspiracy could not long remain a
secret and in August 1915, Cavell and 35 other members of her
organization were arrested. At her hasty trial, she was condemned to
death for "conducting soldiers to the enemy." Although their action
may have been justified under the rules of war, the Germans
seriously blundered when they shot Edith Cavell. Within days of her
death, the selfless nurse was elevated to martyr status and the
Germans were internationally condemned as "murdering monsters." A
statue in St. Martin's Place, just off London's Trafalgar Square, is
dedicated to Cavell. In 2010 Diana Souhami authored “Edith Cavell."
1915 Oct 16, Great Britain
declared war on Bulgaria.
1915 Nov 22, The Anglo-Indian
army, led by British General Sir Charles Townshend, attacked a
larger Turkish force under General Nur-ud-Din at Ctesiphon, Iraq,
but was repulsed.
1915 Dec 31, The Germans
torpedoed the British liner Persia without any warning; 335 are
1915 The British Women’s
Institute movement was formed with two clear aims: to revitalise
rural communities and to encourage women to become more involved in
producing food during the First World War. In 2013 Julie summers
authored “Jambusters: The Story of Women’s Institute in the Second
(Econ, 3/9/13, p.85)
1915 In London, a Bow Street
magistrate declared “The Rainbow", a novel by D.H. Lawrence, to be
(SFC, 7/14/06, p.A2)
1915 A.G. Richardson and Co.
Ltd. used Crown Ducal Ware as a trade name for its earthenware. The
name was later acquired by Enoch Wedgewood & Co.
(SFC, 3/5/96, z-1 p.2)
1916 Jan 14, British
authorities seized German attaché von Papen’s financial records
confirming espionage activities in the U.S.
1916 Jan 30, Sir Clements
Markham (b.1830), English explorer and geographer, died.
1916 Feb 9, Conscription began
in Great Britain as the Military Service Act becomes effective.
1916 Feb 28, Henry James (72),
US-British writer (Bostonians), died in London.
1916 Mar 10, James Herriot
(d.1995), Scottish writer and country veterinarian (All Creatures
Great and Small), was born as James Alfred Wight, in Sunderland,
England. [See Oct 3]
1916 Apr 20, German-British sea
battle off Belgian coast.
1916 Apr 24, Some 1,600 Irish
nationalists launched the Easter Rising by seizing several key sites
in Dublin, including the General Post Office. The rising was put
down by British forces several days later. It was provoked by
impatience with the lack of home rule. Michael Collins, a member of
Sinn Fein, led guerrilla warfare.
(WSJ, 10/11/96, p.A8)(SFEC, 12/22/96, zone1
1916 Apr 28, The British
declared martial law throughout Ireland.
1916 Apr 29, The Easter Rising
in Dublin collapsed as Irish nationalists surrendered to British
(AP, 4/29/98)(HN, 4/29/98)
1916 Apr 29, The British 6th
Indian Division under General Townshend surrendered to Ottoman
Forces at the Siege of Kut after a siege of 147 days. Around 13,000
Allied soldiers survived to be made prisoners.
1916 May 3, Irish nationalist
Padraic Pearse and two others were executed by the British for their
roles in the Easter Rising.
1916 May 9, The
Sykes-Picot Agreement, a secret understanding between the
governments of Britain and France, defined their respective spheres
of post-World War I influence and control in the Middle East. It was
signed on 16 May 1916. Italian claims were added in 1917. Britain
and France carved up the Levant into an assortment of monarchies,
mandates and emirates. The agreement enshrined Anglo-French
imperialist ambitions at the end of WW II. Syria and Lebanon were
put into the French orbit, while Britain claimed Jordan, Iraq, the
Gulf states and the Palestinian Mandate. Sir Mark Sykes (d.1919 at
age 39) and Francois Picot made the deal. As of 2016 the boundaries
of the agreement remained in much of the common border between Syria
2/27/00, p.A17)(Econ, 5/14/16, SR p.5)
1916 May 31, During World War
I, British and German fleets fought the Battle of Skagerrak at
Jutland off Denmark and 10,000 were left dead. there was no
clear-cut victor, although the British suffered heavier losses.
(HN, 5/31/98)(AP, 5/31/06)
1916 Jun 5, Lord Herbert
Horatio Kitchener, British war hero, died when a German mine sank
his battleship in the North Sea. In 2001 John Pollock authored
"Kitchener: Architect of Victory, Artisan of Peace."
(WSJ, 2/27/00, p.A24)
1916 Jun 29, Sir Roger David
Casement, the Irish-born diplomat knighted by King George V in 1911,
was convicted of treason for his role in Ireland's Easter Rebellion,
and sentenced to death. He had been caught on an Irish beach during
a foiled attempt to 20,000 German rifles.
1916 Jul 1, In France at
7:30AM, a 5 day, continuous, British artillery bombardment of German
lines stopped, and 11 British divisions (100,000 men) went "over the
top" toward the Germans. By 9AM 22,000 were dead & another
40,000 were wounded in what became known as the Battle of the Somme.
Some 57,500 British soldiers were killed or wounded on the first day
of the battle. These attacks continued for another five months,
costing the British over one million killed & wounded. Field
Marshal Douglas Haig commanded the British forces. 4 months of
stalemate cost 420,000 British casualties. In 2014 Joe Sacco
authored “The Great War: July 1, 1916 – The First Day of the Battle
of the Somme.
(AP, 7/15/09)(Econ, 6/4/11, p.93)(Econ, 1/4/14,
1916 Jul 1, British court
martial was held for the Dublin Easter uprising.
1916 Jul 9, Edward Heath
(d.2005), later PM of England (1970-1974), was born in Kent county.
(SFC, 7/18/05, p.B6)
1916 Jul 15, A series of
engagements in the Battle of the Somme began at Delville Wood and
continued to September 3 between the armies of the German Empire and
the British Empire. A brigade of South Africans held the wood until
19 July at a cost of four-fifths of its men injured or killed.
1916 Jul 19, In the WWI Battle
at Fromelles, France, German machine guns and artillery left over
5,500 Australians and over 1,500 British killed, wounded or missing
in less than 24 hours.
(SFC, 7/20/10, p.A2)
1916 Aug 3, Roger Casement,
knighted for his service in the Congo, was hanged at London’s
Pentonville Prison for his activities on behalf of Irish
1916 Aug 5, The British navy
defeated the Ottomans at the naval battle off Port Said, Egypt.
1916 Aug 7, Persia formed an
alliance with Britain and Russia.
1916 Sep 15, Armored tanks were
introduced by the British during the Battle of the Somme.
1916 Oct 3, James Herriot
(d.1995), Yorkshire veterinarian and author, was born in Sunderland,
England. His books include "All Creatures Great and Small." [see Mar
1916 Nov 18, Gen. Douglas Haig
finally called off 1st Battle of the Somme in Europe.
1916 Nov 21, The HMHS
Britannic, the sister ship of the Titanic, sank in the Kea Channel
off Greece after being hit by a mine or a torpedo. 30 people in
lifeboats died from the suction of the sinking ship. The Britannic,
launched in 1914 from the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast,
Ireland, included an additional expansion joint due to design update
following the sinking of the Titanic in 1912.
1916 Nov 28, The first (German)
air attack on London.
1916 Dec 5, David Lloyd George
replaced Herbert Asquith as the British Prime Minister.
1916 Henry Tonks, English
surgeon and artist, painted “The Birth of Plastic Surgery." It
depicted the operating theater of Harold Gillies, the pioneer of
facial reconstructive surgery.
(Econ, 11/1/14, p.80)
1916 Henry Tonks, artist, did
Studies of Facial Wounds. It was inspired by the shrapnel horrors of
(WSJ, 6/15/95, p.A-14)
1916 Cecil Chubb bought the
property that contained Stonehenge from a Wiltshire farmer.
(HT, 3/97, p.22)
1916 Britain appointed a Royal
Commission to investigate the calamitous attack on the Dardanelles.
(Econ, 11/4/06, p.67)
1916 British Summer Time was
introduced by the Parliament.
1916 Cameroon was a German
colony until this year, when British and French troops forced the
Germans out. The two countries divided it into separate spheres of
influence that were later formalized by the League of Nations, the
forerunner to the UN.
1916 The Hashemites of Jordan
with British help raised the flag of revolt against Turkish rule.
(Econ, 5/14/16, SR p.7)
1916-1922 David Lloyd George of Wales served as
the Prime Minister of Britain.
(SFEC, 5/10/98, p.T4)
1917 Feb 7, The British steamer
California was sunk off the coast of Ireland by a German U-boat.
1917 Feb 8, The British
steamship Mantola was torpedoed by a German submarine off the coast
of Ireland. All but seven crew members, who drowned when their
lifeboat overturned, were rescued by the HMS Laburnum. The ship sank
the next day. The British Ministry of War Transport paid a War Risk
Insurance Claim for £110,000 (in 1917 value) for silver that was on
board when the ship sank. In 2011 Odyssey Marine Exploration
discovered the ship.
1917 Feb 17, Edmund Bishop
(70), English secretary of Thomas Carlyle, died.
1917 Feb 21, The SS Mendi
steamship sank after being accidentally rammed in the British
Channel by the SS Darro, an empty meat ship bound for Argentina. 607
members of the South African Labour Corps, 9 officers and 33 crew
lost their lives. The crew of the Darro made no attempt to rescue
1917 Feb 24, The British
presented the decoded Zimmermann telegram, a German plot for Mexican
help, to Pres. Wilson and an enraged Wilson released the document to
the American public on March 1. On April 6, 1917, America formally
declared war on Germany and her Allies.
(HNPD, 2/24/99)(MC, 2/24/02)
1917 Mar 11, British troops
1917 Mar 12, The British
government shut down migration from India, after more than half a
million people had come as laborers to the Caribbean.
(Econ, 3/11/17, p.34)
1917 Mar 28, The Women’s Army
Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) was founded, these were Great Britain’s first
official service women.
1917 Apr 9, Battle of Arras
began as Canadian troops launched a massive assault on Vimy Ridge in
France. The assault brought four Canadian divisions fought together
for the first time and cost 10,600 lives.
1917 Apr 9, Edward Thomas
(b.1878), British writer and poet, was killed in action during the
Battle of Arras. His travel books included “The Icknield Way." In
2012 Matthew Hollis authored “Now All Roads Lead to France: The Last
Years of Edward Thomas."
1917 Apr 15, The British
defeated the Germans at the battle of Arras.
1917 May 15, British Lt. John
Harold Pritchard was killed in a nighttime battle at Bullecourt,
France. This was during the two week 2nd battle of Bullecourt on the
Hindenburg Line. Thousands of dead were scattered on both sides. In
2013 Pritchard’s body was found on a farm that covered the
(SFC, 4/24/13, p.A5)
1917 Jun 4, The Most Excellent
Order of the British Empire, a British order of chivalry, was
established by King George V. The Order included five classes in
civil and military divisions in decreasing order of seniority. These
included: Knight Grand Cross (GBE) or Dame Grand Cross (GBE), Knight
Commander (KBE) or Dame Commander (DBE), Commander (CBE),
Officer (OBE), and Member (MBE).
1917 Jun 7, British Field
Marshal Sir Douglas Haig launched his assault in Flanders to take
German pressure off his French allies. For months, troops of the
British Expeditionary Force fought a series of pointless battles in
a nightmarish landscape of knee-deep shell holes filled with mud and
blasted, skeletal trees. When the campaign finally ground to a halt
on November 10, 1917, the BEF had suffered losses of 300,000 men and
German losses were around 200,000--for a total gain of four miles.
1917 Jun 13, Germany bombed
1917 Jun 15, Great Britain
pledged the release of all Irish captured during the Easter
Rebellion of 1916.
1917 Jun 17, British king
George V took the name Windsor. [see Jun 19, Jul 17]
1917 Jun 19, King George V
ordered the British royal family to dispense with German titles and
surnames. The family took the name "Windsor." [see Jun 17, Jul
(DT, 6/19/97)(MC, 6/19/02)
1917 Jul 9, British warship
"Vanguard" exploded at Scapa Flow killing 804.
1917 Jul 15, Robert Conquest,
English author (Back to Life), was born.
1917 Jul 17, The British royal
family adopted the Windsor name. King George V changed the family
name to the House of Windsor from the German-sounding House of
Saxe-Coburg & Gotha. [see Jun 17,19]
(AP, 7/17/97)(SFEC, 1/19/97, Par p.2)(DTnet,
1917 Jul 22, British bombed
German lines at Ypres with 4,250,000 grenades.
1917 Jul 31, The third Battle
of Ypres commenced as the British attacked the German lines.
1917 Aug 2, Royal Naval Air
Service officer E.H. Dunning became the first pilot to land on the
deck of a moving ship. He performed the tricky maneuver by flying
his Sopwith Pup alongside the HMS Furious as it steamed at high
speed into the wind, then side-slipping inward to the deck. Furious
joined the British Royal Navy as an aircraft carrier after being
fitted with a primitive flight deck. While the converted ship solved
the problem of launching fighter aircraft, recovery was still
dangerous and costly, since planes launched from the flight deck
were forced to land at sea, where they were often lost. Five days
after his successful deck landing, Dunning drowned during another
attempt when his aircraft developed mechanical problems and plunged
1917 Sep 3, The 1st night
bombing of London by German fighter planes.
1917 Sep 4, The American
expeditionary force in France suffered its first fatalities in World
War I when a German plane attacked a British-run base hospital..
1917 Sep 20, The British
assaulted the Polygon Forest in France.
1917 Oct 8, Rodney Porter,
British biochemist and Nobel Prize winner, was born.
1917 Oct 17, The 1st British
bombing of Germany took place.
1917 Oct, The British Admiralty
ordered that all naval and merchant ships be painted in dazzle
camouflage, to help reduce their visibility to German submarines.
The painting style was the idea of Norman Wilkinson (1878-1971) and
came from his familiarity with the avant garde art styles of cubism
1917 Nov 2, British Foreign
Secretary Arthur Balfour, in what became known as the Balfour
Declaration, expressed support for a "national home" for the Jews of
Palestine. It encouraged Jewish immigration to Israel in the decade
after WW I.
(SFC, 10/18/96, C8)(AP, 11/2/97)
1917 Nov 7, British General Sir
Edmond Allenby broke the Turkish defensive line in the Third Battle
1917 Nov 10, The assault on
Flanders, begun July 11, finally ground to a halt. The British
Expeditionary Force (BEF) had suffered losses of 300,000 men and
German losses were around 200,000--for a total gain of four miles
and the occupation of Passchendaele. The battle was later described
by Edwin Campion Vaughan in “Some Desperate Glory" (1981).
(HN, 6/7/98)(HNQ, 11/2/98)(WSJ, 10/7/06, p.P12)
1917 Nov 16, British occupied
Tel Aviv and Jaffa.
1917 Nov 20, In the 1st tank
battle Britain broke through German lines.
1917 Dec 9, British forces
under General Allenby captured Jerusalem. He liberated the city from
(WSJ, 4/4/96, A-12)(SFC, 10/18/96, C8)(MC,
1917 Dec 16, Arthur C. Clark,
English science fiction writer, was born. "Any sufficiently advanced
technology is indistinguishable from magic." He is best remembered
for his book "The Sentinel," the source of Kubrick’s film "2001: A
1917 Two young girls in the
Yorkshire countryside took photographs that seemed to capture a
group of fairies, the Cottingley fairies. The photos were
challenged, mocked by the press and defended by Sir Arthur Conan
Doyle and derided by Harry Houdini. In 1997 the film "Fairytale: A
True Story" was directed by Charles Sturridge and written by Ernie
(SFC,10/24/97, p.D6)(WSJ, 10/24/97, p.A20)
1917 Edward Dene Morel, Congo
activist, was sentenced to 6 months of hard labor at Pentonville
Prison for his anti-war activities.
(SFEM, 8/16/98, p.12)
1918 Feb 6, Britain’s
Representation of the People Act, aka the Fourth Reform Act, granted
working class men in the armed forces the right to vote. Female
property owners over age 30 were also granted the right to vote.
1918 Apr 1, Britain's Royal Air
Force was created through the merger of the Royal Flying Corps and
the Royal Naval Air Service.
(AP, 4/1/98)(AP, 4/1/18)
1918 Apr 4, Battle of Somme
[France], an offensive by the British against the German Army ended.
1918 Apr 22, British naval
forces attempted to sink block-ships in the German U-boat bases at
the Battle of Zeeburgge.
1918 May 17, British
authorities arrested Irish leader Eamon de Valera and other Sinn
Fein leaders on suspicion of conspiring with the Germans.
(ON, 9/04, p.5)
1918 May 19, Florence Chadwick,
the 1st to swim English Channel both ways, was born.
1918 May 29, Isabel Dean,
actress (5 Days one Summer, Virgin Island, Ransom), was born in
1918 Jul 26, Britain's top war
ace, Edward Mannock, was shot down by ground fire on the Western
1918 Aug 2, A British force
landed in Archangel, Russia, to support White Russian opposition to
1918 Aug 11, The British
attacked with 450 tanks at the Battle of Amiens as the Allies pushed
(MC, 8/11/02)(PC, 1992, p.728)
1918 Aug 20, Britain opened its
offensive on the Western front during World War I.
1918 Aug 22, Britain’s battle
cruiser HMS Hood was launched. It was sunk in 1941 by the German
1918 Sep 6, The German Army
began a general retreat across the Aisne, with British troops in
1918 Sep 12, British troops
retook Havincourt, Moeuvres, and Trescault along the Western Front.
1918 Sep 22, General Allenby
led the British army against the Turks, taking Haifa and Nazareth,
1918 Oct 7, C. Hubert H. Parry,
English musicologist and composer (Jerusalem), died at 70.
1918 Oct 10, While President
Woodrow Wilson was attempting to establish "peace without victory"
with Germany, the German UB-123 torpedoed RMS Leinster, a civilian
mail and passenger ferry, off the coast of Ireland. Leinster was
usually escorted by a Royal Air Force airship as a precaution, but
on October 10, 1918, the ferry set out alone. Leinster was sunk; 564
passengers and crewmen perished, many of them American and Allied
troops. After Leinster, the Germans lost their chance for an easy
1918 Oct 26, Cecil H. Chubb
donated the property of Stonehenge to the English state.
1918 Dec 3, The Allied
Conference ended in London; Germany was required to pay to full
limits for the war.
1918 Duncan Grant painted a
portrait of his lifetime companion Vanessa Bell. They both figured
in the complex love affairs of the Bloomsbury Group. The painting is
now in the London National Gallery.
(SFEC, 2/1/98, p.T8)
1918 Arthur Ransome
(1884-1967), British agent and writer, wrote a propaganda pamphlet
titled: “On Behalf of Russia: An Open Letter to America." In 2009
Roland Chambers authored “The Last Englishman: The Double Life of
1918 Marie Stopes (1880-1958),
British academic, authored the groundbreaking "Married Love" in the
field of birth control and women's sexual rights. She was the first
female academic on the faculty of the University of Manchester.
1918 Lytton Strachey published
"Eminent Victorians," a scandalous collection of sketches that
revolutionized English biography.
(SFEC, 8/22/99, BR p.4)
1918 In Britain dancer Maud
Allan sued MP Noel Pemberton-Billing (1881-1948) for libel and lost.
Allan, a San Francisco-raised dancer, had achieved fame for her
“Visions of Salome" interpretive dance. Pemberton-Brilling wanted to
use the court as a soapbox for his int’l. homosexual conspiracy
theories. In 2012 Mark Jackson’s “Salomania," based on the trial,
debuted in San Francisco.
1918 British troops built the
Basra shipyard after their campaign to capture Baghdad from the
Ottoman Turks during WWI. In 2019 it was still operating with little
maintenance, relying on its vintage machinery and the skill of its
workers to keep going.
1919 Jan 2, There was an
anti-British uprising in Ireland.
1919 Jan 5, British ships
shelled the Bolshevik headquarters in Riga.
1919 Feb 16, Sir Mark Sykes
(b.1879), best known for the 1916 Sykes-Picot agreement dividing up
the Middle East in anticipation of the fall of the Ottoman Empire,
died of Spanish flu in Paris. In 2008 an Oxford team took tissue
samples before reburying his body in its grave in East Yorkshire.
They hoped to find clues that might help fight a future global
1919 Apr 4, Antony Tudor,
choreographer (Metropolitan Opera 1957), was born in England.
1919 Apr 13, In the Amritsar
Massacre British forces under the command of General Reginald Dyer
killed hundreds of Indian nationalists in the thickly crowded plaza
at Jallianwala Bagh.
(HN, 4/13/98)(EWH, 4th ed., p.1101)
1919 May 9, Arthur English,
comedian, actor (Malachi's Cove), was born.
1919 May 18, Margot Fonteyn
(d.1991), ballet dancer, was born in Surrey, England, as Peggy
1919 May 29, A solar eclipse
occurred that was photographed by two British expeditions, one in
Africa and the other in Sobral, Brazil. Arthur Eddington, British
astronomer, confirmed Einstein’s prediction of the deflection of
light from Principe, a Portuguese island off the Atlantic coast of
Africa. In 1980 Harry Colling and Trevor Pinch published "The
Golem," an account of the expedition. The play “Rose Tattoo" by
Tennessee (Thomas Lanier) Williams was originally titled “The
Eclipse of May 29, 1919."
1919 Jun 14, Pilot John William
Alcock (1892-1919) and navigator Arthur Witten Brown (1886-1948)
took off from St. John’s, Newfoundland, for Clifden, Ireland, on the
first nonstop transatlantic flight. The flight lasted 16 hours and
28 minutes and carried the first transatlantic airmail. They won a
10 thousand pound prize, first offered by the Daily Mail in 1913.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Whitten_Brown)(ON, 4/09, p.1)
1919 Jun 30, John William
Strutt (b.1842), 3rd Baron Rayleigh and British physicist and Nobel
Prize winner (1904), died in England. His work included the
discovery of the phenomenon now called Rayleigh scattering,
explaining why the sky is blue.
1919 Jul 15, Iris Murdoch
(d.1999), author of 28 novels (A Severed Head, The Black Prince),
was born in Dublin.
(SFC, 2/9/99, p.A20)(HN, 7/15/01)
1919 Jul 21, The British House
of Lords ratified the Versailles Treaty.
1919 Jul 26, James Lovelock,
British biologist and inventor, was born. He developed the Gaia
hypothesis. According to this idea the earth is influenced by life
to sustain life, and the planet is the core of a single, unified,
living system. "The earth is a living organism, and I’ll stick by
that," he says.
1919 Aug 19, Afghanistan
established independence from the UK with the signing of the Treaty
1919 Aug 25, The 1st scheduled
passenger service by airplane between Paris and London.
1919 Aug 28, Godfrey
Hounsfield, British inventor of the EMI-scanner, was born.
1919 Aug, The British regime
banned Ireland’s Sinn Fein.
1919 Sep 27, British troops
withdrew from Archangel.
1919 Sep, The British regime
banned the Irish Parliament (Dail Eireann).
1919 Oct 26, Elgar's Cello
Concerto premiered in Queen's Hall London.
1919 Nov 11, The first
2-minutes’ silence was observed in Britain to commemorate those who
died in the Great War.
1919 Nov 28, American-born Lady
Astor was elected the first female member of the British Parliament.
(DTnet 11/28/97)(HN, 11/28/98)
1919 Dec 1, AA Milne's "Mr. Pim
Passes By," premiered in Manchester.
1919 Dec 1, Lady Astor was
sworn in as the first female member of the British Parliament.
1919 Dec 10, Captain Ross Smith
became the first person to fly 11,500 miles from England to
1919 Dec 18, British pilot John
William Alcock (b.1892), enroute to a Paris air show, was killed
while making a forced landing in fog near Rouen. He and navigator
Arthur Witten Brown (1886-1948) had recently completed the world’s
first nonstop transatlantic flight [see June 14].
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Whitten_Brown)(ON, 4/09, p.1)
1919 Dec 23, Britain instituted
a new constitution for India.
1919 Britain’s export-credit
agency was established as part of an effort to improve the Britain’s
balance of payments and thus return to the gold standard.
(Econ, 7/5/14, p.63)
1919 Britain gave power over
libraries to its counties.
(Econ, 5/1/04, p.59)
1919 Britain and France divided
Cameroon between themselves having taken it from Germany.
(Econ, 3/11/17, p.48)
1919 The Emir of Afghanistan
declared jihad against Britain’s forces in the North-West Frontier
Province. In response Britain shipped a single Handley Page biplane
bomber to Karachi. It flew over Kabul and dropped four 20-pound
bombs. The emir sued for peace shortly thereafter.
(Econ, 8/26/06, p.20)
1919-1921 The 3rd Anglo-Afghan war began. The
British were defeated, and Afghanistan gained full control of her
(www.afghan, 5/25/98)(WSJ, 8/25/98, p.A14)
1920 Feb 4, The 1st flight from
London to South Africa took off and lasted 1 month.
1920 Mar 20, Britain and its
allies formally occupied Istanbul.
(Econ, 10/21/06, p.95)
1920 Mar 23, Britain denounced
the U.S. because of their delay in joining the League of Nations.
1920 Mar 28, Dirk Bogarde,
actor (Death in Venice, Servant), was born in London, England.
1920 Mar 31, British parliament
accepted Irish "Home Rule" law.
1920 Apr 20, Balfour
Declaration was recognized following a conference in San Remo,
Italy. It was agreed that a mandate to Britain should be formally
given by the League of Nations over an area, which in 2010 comprised
Israel, Jordan and the Golan Heights, to be called the "Mandate of
Palestine". The Balfour Declaration was to apply to the whole of the
mandated territory. The doctrine was named after British Foreign
Secretary Arthur James Balfour, who had first articulated it as a
policy on 2 November 1917.
1920 Apr 24, British Mandate
over Palestine went into effect and lasted for 28 years. The British
organized a police force with some 3,000 British, Arab and Jewish
(MC, 4/24/02)(WSJ, 2/2/04, p.A12)
1920 May 10, Richard Adams,
English novelist (Watership Down), was born.
1920 Jun 28, Clarissa Eden was
born to Major Jack Spencer-Churchill and Lady Gwendoline Bertie. In
1952 she married Anthony Eden (1897-1977) who later became Britain’s
PM (1955-1957). Her father was the younger brother of Winston
Churchill. In 2008 Cate Haste edited “Clarissa Eden, A Memoir: From
Churchill to Eden."
1920 Aug 3, P.D. James (Phyllis
Dorothy James), British mystery writer, was born.
1920 Aug 10, The Ottoman
sultanate at Constantinople signed the Treaty of Sevres with the
Allies and associated powers. It promised a homeland for the Kurds,
but the nationalist government in Ankara did not sign the treaty. It
set the borders of Turkey recognized Armenia as an independent
state. France and Britain backed the treaty and a Kurdish state, but
refused to allow Kurds in Iraq and Syria to join it.
p.A10)(www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/versa/sevres1.html) (EWH, 4th ed,
p.1086)(Econ, 7/13/13, SR p.5)
1920 Aug 13, George Shearing,
blind pianist, composer (Lullaby of Byrdland), was born in
1920 Sep 2, W. Somerset
Maugham's "East of Suez," premiered in London.
1920 Arthur Pigou (1877-1959),
English economist, authored “The Economics of Welfare."
1920 George Saintsbury
(1845-1933), English writer and wine connoisseur, authored “Notes on
a Cellar-Book," later considered one of the great pieces of wine
criticism in literature.
1920 England passed a Firearms
Bill to regulate private use.
(WSJ, 8/6/02, p.D6)
1920 Another Government of
Ireland Act was passed by the British government. This act had a
proviso that the reunification of Ireland was an ultimate goal.
1920 Britain introduced a tax
on motor vehicles and the first tax discs appeared a year later. In
2013 the discs were replaced by an electronic system for paying road
1920 Britain ferried 6 RAF
planes to East Africa and used them to bomb the fort of Abdullah
Hassan, the “Mad Mullah" of Somaliland. The mullah escaped with 700
(Econ, 8/26/06, p.20)
1920 Reginald Farrer (b.1880),
Edwardian rare-plant collector, died in Burma. In 2004 Nicola
Shulman authored the biography “Rock Gardening."
(WSJ, 10/29/04, p.W10)
1920 Adm. John Fisher, former
First Sea Lord, died. In 1969 Richard Hough authored "Admiral of the
Fleet: The Life of John Fisher."
(ON, 3/02, p.11)
1920-1944 Montagu Norman (1871-1950) served as
governor of the Bank of England.
1921 Feb 5, John M. Pritchard,
conductor, was born in London, England.
1921 Feb 12, Winston Churchill
of London was appointed colonial secretary.
1921 Feb 18, British troops
1921 Mar 1, The Allies
rejected a $7.5 billion reparations offer in London. German
delegations decided to quit all talks.
1921 Mar 1, Rwanda was ceded to
1921 Mar 12, The Cairo
Conference, called by Winston Churchill, convened to establish a
unified British policy in the Middle East. Britain and France carved
up Arabia and created Jordan under Emir Abdullah; his brother Faisal
became King of Iraq. France was given influence over Syria and
Jewish immigration was allowed into Palestine. Faisal I died
one year after independence and his son, Ghazi I succeeded him.
Colonial Sec. Winston Churchill wanted to keep an air corridor to
Iraq, where the Royal Air Force was dropping poison gas on
rebellious Arab tribes.
10/14/01, p.D3)(Econ, 7/13/13, SR p.5)
1921 Mar 16, Britain signed a
bilateral trade agreement with Russia.
1921 Mar 17, Dr Marie Stopes
opened Britain's 1st birth control clinic in London.
1921 Mar 28, Dirk Niven Van den
Bogaerde (d.1999) was born in London. He later achieved fame as an
actor with the title Sir Dirk Borgarde.
(SFEC, 5/9/99, p.C8)
1921 Mar 30, Countess of
Sutherland, English great land owner, multi-millionaire, was born.
1921 Mar 31, Great Britain
declared a state of emergency because of the thousands of coal
miners on strike.
1921 Apr 16, Peter Ustinov
(d.2004), actor (Death on Nile, Logan's Run, Billy Budd), was born
1921 May 27, Afghanistan
achieved sovereignty after 84 years of British control.
1921 Jun 10, Philip
Mountbatten, Duke of Edinburgh, Prince, Consort of Elizabeth II, was
born in Greece.
1921 Jun 28, A coal strike in
Great Britain was settled after three months.
1921 Jul 8, Great Britain and
Ireland agreed to end hostilities after centuries of strife.
Southern Ireland was granted independence and 6 counties in Northern
Ireland remained part of the UK.
(SFC, 10/14/99, p.C5)
1921 Jul 20, The Gramophone
Company opened the first dedicated HMV shop in Oxford Street,
London, in a former men's clothing shop; the composer Edward Elgar
participated in the opening ceremonies. In 2018 HMV collapsed close
to bankruptcy just before the new year after weak Christmas sales
and amid a declining market for CDs and DVDs.
1921 Oct 21, Malcolm Arnold,
composer (Bridge over River Kwai), was born in Northampton, England.
1921 Dec 5, The British Empire
reached an accord with Sinn Fein; Ireland was to become a free
1921 Dec 6, Ireland’s 26
southern counties became independent from Britain forming the Irish
1921 Sir Alfred Munnings
painted a portrait of Edward, Prince of Wales, astride his mare
Forest Witch. It sold for $2.3 million in 1998.
(SFC, 2/24/98, p.A2)
1921 James Biggs of Bristol,
England, lost his sight. He painted his own cane white to make it
easily visible and to alert others to his presence. In 1931, the
Lion's Club International began a national program promoting the use
of white canes for persons who are blind.
1921 The British M16
intelligence agency was formed.
(SFC, 9/21/00, p.A12)
1921 Frederick Soddy (b.1877),
English radiochemist, received the Nobel prize for chemistry.
1921 The British contrived the
election of Haj Amin al-Husseini (1895-1974) as the Mufti of
Jerusalem. In 2008 David G. Dalin and John F. Rothman authored “Icon
of Evil: Hitler’s Mufti and the Rise of Radical Islam."
(WSJ, 6/26/08, p.A13)
1921 Winston Churchill, T.E.
Lawrence and archeologist Gertrude Bell promoted "the sherifian
solution," under which the Hashemite family-- Hussein, the sherif of
Mecca, and his sons, would rule over the region under Britain's eye.
(Econ, 7/19/03, p.69)
c1921 The unknown soldier of
Great Britain was buried in Westminster Abbey.
(SFC, 5/27/96, p.B8)
1921 In India Mohandas Gandhi
began peaceful the noncooperation movement against British rule.
(SFEC, 8/3/97, p.A15)
1922 Jan 22, James Bryce
(b.1838), 1st Viscount Bryce, British jurist, historian and
politician, died. He had served as ambassador to the United States
from 1907 to 1913. His books included “The American Commonwealth," a
classic study of the US Constitution.
1922 Feb 2, James Joyce's novel
"Ulysses" was published in Paris with 1,000 copies.
(SFC, 10/15/99, p.C12)(MC, 2/2/02)
1922 Feb 6, The Washington
Disarmament Conference came to an end with signature of final treaty
forbidding fortification of the Aleutian Islands for 14 years. The
US, UK, France, Italy & Japan signed the Washington naval arms
(HN, 2/6/99)(MC, 2/6/02)
1922 Feb 15, Marconi began
regular broadcasting transmissions from Essex.
1922 Feb 28, Britain declared
Egypt a sovereign state, but British troops remained.
(HN, 2/28/98)(MC, 2/28/02)
1922 Mar 18, Mohandas K. Gandhi
was sentenced in India to six years' imprisonment for civil
disobedience. He was released after serving two years. [see Mar 22]
(AP, 3/18/97)(HN, 3/18/98)
1922 Mar 22, A British court
sentenced Mahatma Gandhi to 6 years in prison. [see Mar 18]
1922 Apr 13, John Gerard
Braine, British novelist (Room at the Top), was born.
1922 Apr 16, Kingsley Amis
(d.1995), novelist and poet, was born. He wrote more than 20 novels
and 6 volumes of verse. His work included "The King’s English: A
Guide to Modern Usage." In 1998 Eric Jacobs published the biography
(WSJ, 10/23/95, p.A-1)(SFEC, 7/19/98, BR p.3)(HN,
1922 Jun 30, Irish rebels in
London assassinated Sir Henry Wilson, the British deputy for
1922 Jul 17, Donald Davie,
English poet and literary critic, was born.
1922 Sep 7, Thomas
Cobden-Sanderson (b.1840), English printer and bookbinder, died. He
and Emery Walker had formed a printing partnership in 1900 and
created the Doves typeface. The partnership went sour and between
1913-1917 Cobden-Sanderson dropped a ton of the metal typeface into
the Thames to keep it out of the hands of Walker. In 2003 Marianne
Todcombe authored “The Doves Press."
1922 Sep 11, The British
mandate of Palestine began.
1922 Oct 23, Andrew Bonar Law
(1858-1923) began serving as British prime minister and continued to
May 22, 1923. Winston Churchill dubbed his coalition government the
“second eleven" because so many top players refused to serve in it.
1922 Nov 2, English
archeologist Charles Leonard Woolley began excavating the ancient
Mesopotamian city of Ur, located between Baghdad and the Persian
(ON, 8/20/11, p.7)
1922 Nov 6, King George V
proclaimed Irish Free state.
1922 Nov 14, The British
Broadcasting Corporation, BBC, began the first daily radio
broadcasts from Marconi House. The company was formed with a
commercial mission to sell radio sets. General manager John Reith
(33), Scottish engineer, envisaged an independent British
broadcaster able to educate, inform and entertain the whole nation,
free from political interference and commercial pressure.
1922 Harley Granville Barker,
English playwright, wrote "The Secret Life," a romantic melodrama
set in England’s countryside after WW I.
(WSJ, 8/29/97, p.A9)
1922 T.S. Eliot wrote his long
poem "The Waste Land."
(WSJ, 9/12/96, p.A14)
1922 Scotland joined the United
Kingdom of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
(WSJ, 4/16/97, p.A13)
1922 Britain decommissioned the
HMS Ascension and the island became a dependency of St. Helena.
Ascension Island issued its first postage stamps.
1922 Britain’s Daily Mail and
General Trust (DMGT) was established to manage the Daily Mail and
other newspaper interests of its founding family. The group can
trace its origins back to launch of the mid market national
newspaper the Daily Mail by Harold Harmsworth and his elder brother,
Alfred, in 1896.
1923 Jan 4, The Paris
Conference on war reparations hit a deadlock as the French insisted
on the hard line and the British insisted on Reconstruction.
1923 Apr 5, George Edward
Stanhope Molyneux Herbert (56), England’s 5th Earl of Lord
Carnarvon, died in Egypt from an infected mosquito bite. He financed
the excavation of the Egyptian New Kingdom Pharaoh Tutankhamen’s
tomb in Egypt's Valley of the Kings.
1923 Apr 21, John Mortimor,
British barrister and playwright, was born. He created Rumpole of
1923 Apr 23, Lady Elizabeth
(Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, 1900-2002) married Prince Albert, Duke of
York (d.1952) in Westminster Abbey. Albert was crowned King of
England in 1937. [see Apr 26]
(SFC, 8/5/00, p.A12)(WSJ, 8/10/00, p.A16)(SSFC,
1923 Apr 26, English prince
Albert (George VI) married lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon. [see Apr 23]
1923 May 25, Britain recognized
Transjordan with Abdullah as its leader.
1923 Aug 12, Enrico Tiraboschi
became the 1st to swim English Channel westward.
1923 Aug 29, Richard
Attenborough, actor, director (Gandhi, Young Winston), was born in
1923 Sep 26, Sir Aubrey Herbert
(b.1880), Englishman, died. He worked for Albania’s independence and
was twice offered the throne of Albania. He authored the WW 1
journal “Mons, Anzac & Kut."
1923 Nov 25, Transatlantic
broadcasting from England to America for the first time.
1923 Dec 21, Nepal changed from
British protectorate to independent nation.
1923 Dec 31, BBC began using
the Big Ben chime ID.
1923 Rudyard Kipling authored
“The Irish Guards in the Great War," a history of the unit that his
son fought and died for in WW I.
(WSJ, 10/7/06, p.P12)
1923 P.G. Wodehouse (1881-1975)
authored "Leave It to Psmith."
(NW, 8/20/01, p.56)
1923 Britain’s King George V
chose Stanley Baldwin (1867-1947) for the premiership instead of
6/11/03, p.D10)(ON, 11/05, p.2)
1923 French courtesan Maggie
Meller (aka Marguerite Alibert) was acquitted in a high profile
trial at London's Old Bailey despite the evidence stacked against
her. She had blackmailed the Prince of Wales, later Edward VIII, to
avoid the gallows after murdering Egyptian Prince Fahmy Bey, her
playboy husband. Six years before her trial, Meller had an affair
with the British prince. In 1991 Andrew Rose authored "Scandal at
the Savoy." In 2013 Rose authored his follow-up "The Prince, The
Princess, and The Perfect Murder."
1923 Francis Meynell, a British
book designer and publisher, founded Nonsuch Press with his wife
Vera, and friend David Garnett. The following year they brought out
“The Week-End Book," a handbook for the rural explorer. The last
edition was published in 1955.
(WSJ, 6/3/06, p.P8)
1924 Jan 3, Howard Carter
opened the doors to the last shrine in the hall, revealing the large
stone sarcophagus of the Pharaoh Tutankhamen. The next day Carter
was photographed with Arthur Callender and an Egyptian workman in
the Burial Chamber, looking through the open doors of the four
gilded shrines, towards the quartzite sarcophagus tomb of
1924 Jan 21, Benny Hill
(d.1992), British comedian who hosted his own comedy show, was born
in Southampton, England. [Some sources give 1925 as the birth year]
1924 Feb 1, Soviet Union was
formally recognized by Britain.
1924 Feb 14, Patricia Edwina
Victoria Mountbatten, the 2nd Countess Mountbatten of Burma, was
born in London.
1924 Mar 26, Premiere of
Bernard Shaw's "Saint Joan" in London.
Apr 1, Imperial Airways was formed in Britain.
1924 Apr 15, Neville Mariner,
conductor, was born in Lincoln, England. [see Apr 15,1922]
1924 Jun 8, George Mallory
(38), a British schoolteacher, and Andrew Irvine (28), a student at
Cambridge, attempted to reach the top of Mount Everest from their
camp at 26,800 feet. The body of Mallory was found May 1, 1999 on a
ledge at 27,000 feet. Irvine’s body was not found. Two books were
published in 1999 that used parallel narratives for the 2
expeditions: "The Lost Explorer" by Conrad Anker and David Roberts,
and "Ghosts of Everest" by Jochen Hemmleb, Larry A. Johnson and Eric
R. Simonson (as told to William E. Northdurft). In 2012 Wade Davis
won Britain’s leading nonfiction book prize for “Into the Silence:
The Great War, Mallory and the Conquest of Everest."
(SFC, 5/5/99, p.A10)(WSJ, 12/16/99, p.W10)(SFC,
1924 Jun 23, Cecil [James]
Sharp (64), English folk musician, died.
1924 Jul 13, Alfred Marshall
(b.1842), a founding father of modern economics, died in Cambridge,
England. His book, “Principles of Economics" (1890), was the
dominant economic textbook in England for many years. He described
economics as “the study of men as they live and move and think in
the ordinary business of life." He was the first to lay out the
wider costs of human behavior, called externalities and
(Econ, 10/27/12, SR
p.72)(Econ, 8/19/17, p.58)
1924 Aug 3, Joseph Conrad
(b.1857), Ukraine-born and Poland-raised novelist (Jozef Teodor
Konrad Korzeniowski), died in England. In 2008 Jim Stape authored
“The several Lives of Joseph Conrad."
1924 Aug 15, Robert Oxton Bolt,
English screenwriter and playwright, was born. He is best known for
"A Man for all Seasons."
(HN, 8/15/00)(MC, 8/15/02)
1924 Aug 16, Conference about
German recovery payments opened in London.
1924 Nov 2, Sunday Express
published the 1st British crossword puzzle.
1924 Nov 19, Sir Lee Stack, the
Sirdar and Governor-General of the Sudan, was assassinated. This and
subsequent British demands, which Egypt’s PM Zaghloul felt to be
unacceptable, led Zaghloul to resign and to play no further role in
1924 Nov 22, England ordered
the Egyptians out of Sudan.
1924 Nov, Stanley Baldwin
(1867-1947) returned for a 2nd time as Britain’s PM and held office
1924 Noel Coward (1899-1973)
wrote, directed and starred in “The Vortex," a play about drug abuse
among the English upper classes.
1924 Edward Dene Morel, Congo
activist, was elected to the British Parliament. He soon died of a
heart attack at age 51.
(SFEM, 8/16/98, p.12)
1924 In Britain Labor MP
Herbert Dunnico voted against Trident, a program to build fast,
(Econ, 3/17/07, p.62)
1924 Frances Hodgson Burnett
(b.1849), English author, died. In 2004 Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina
authored “Frances Hodgson Burnett: The Unexpected Life of the Author
of The Secret Garden."
(Econ, 5/15/04, p.82)
1925 Feb 15, The London Zoo
announced it would install lights to cheer up fogged in animals.
1925 Mar 21, Peter Brook,
director, was born in west London. In 2005 Michael Kustow authored
“Peter Brook: A Biography."
(Econ, 3/19/05, p.89)
1925 Apr 3, Tony Benn, British
minister of technology (1968), was born.
1925 Apr 23, The 1st London
performance of operetta "Fasquita" was staged.
1925 May 1, Cyprus became a
British Crown Colony.
1925 May 14, Henry Rider
Haggard, English writer (Dawn, She), died.
1925 Jun 15, Richard Baker,
English broadcaster, was born.
1925 Jul 31, An Unemployment
Insurance Act was passed in England.
1925 Aug, The first Fastnet
race, with seven entries, was won by the Jolie Brise. The race
starts off Cowes on the Isle of Wight in England, rounds the Fastnet
Rock off the southwest coast of Ireland and then finishes at
Plymouth in the South of England.
1925 Sep 8, Peter Sellers,
English comic actor, was born in Southsea, Hampshire, England. He
became famous for his role as Inspector Clouseau.
1925 Sep 28, William Schlich
b.1840), German-born forester, died in Oxford. He worked extensively
in India and for the British administration. His 5-volume “Manual of
Forestry" (1889-1996) became the standard and enduring textbook for
1925 Oct 13, Margaret Thatcher,
Great Britain’s first female Prime Minister (1979-90), was born in
(HN, 10/13/98)(MC, 10/13/01)
1925 Oct 16, Angela Lansbury,
actress (Jessica-Murder She Wrote), was born in London, England.
1925 Dec 1, After a seven year
occupation, 7,000 British troops evacuated Cologne, Germany.
1925 John Maynard Keynes
(1883-1946), British economist, authored a pamphlet titled: “The
Economic Consqeuences of Mr. Churchill.“ The American edition was
titled “The economic consequences of sterling parity." It was a
devastating critique of Winston Churchill’s defense of the gold
(Econ, 7/10/10, p.81)(http://tinyurl.com/2c7cfbn)
1925 Britain set a deposit
limit for parliamentary candidates at £150, and it remained fixed to
1985. As of 2017 it was £500.
(Econ 7/1/17, p.35)
1925 The British coal-mining
industry suffered an economic crisis.
1925 The sale of British titles
was prohibited by the Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act.
1925 Britain set its retirement
age at 65.
(Econ, 11/26/05, p.16)
1925 The Locarno Treaty was
signed between Britain, Belgium, Germany, Italy and France. It was a
treaty of non-aggression by Germany, France and Belgium and a mutual
guarantee and promise of assistance by Britain, France, Belgium,
Germany and Italy to maintain the demilitarization of the Rhineland.
It was not a true guarantee against a German invasion, only a
promise by Britain to send troops after an invasion.
(WSJ, 10/28/97, p.A22)
1925 Winston Churchill returned
the British pound to a gold standard.
(Econ, 12/1/07, p.31)
1925 Tomkins Corp. (TKS-NYSE)
was originally founded as F. H. Tomkins Buckle Company, a small
British manufacturer of buckles and fasteners. By 2006 the Company
had grown to become an international engineering business with sales
of £3 billion and some 40,000 employees throughout the world.
1925 Lord George Curzon
(b.1859), British former Viceroy over India, died. In 2003 David
Gilmour authored the biography "Curzon: Imperial Statesman."
(WUD, 1994, p.357)(WSJ, 6/11/03, p.D10)(SSFC,
1926 Jan 31, Jean Simmons,
actress (Thorn Birds, Guys and Dolls), was born in London, England.
1926 Mar 7, The first
successful trans-Atlantic radio-telephone conversation took place,
between New York City and London.
1926 Mar 31, John Fowles
(d.2005), English novelist, was born. His work included “The
Collector" (1963) and “The French Lieutenant's Woman" (1969).
(HN, 3/31/01)(SFC, 11/8/05, p.B5)
1926 Apr 21, Elizabeth
Alexandra Mary Windsor II, later queen of England, was born.
(HN, 4/21/98)(WSJ, 8/10/00, p.A16)
1926 May 3, There was a British
general strike and 3 million workers supported the miners. The
strike lasted 9 days.
1926 May 9, Joseph Malaby Dent
(b.1849), British bookbinder turned publisher, died. He began
Everyman’s Library in 1906, a collection of low cost classic books.
Random House and Knopf debuted a revived line in 1991.
1926 Jun 5, David Wagoner, poet
and novelist (The Escape Artist), was born.
1926 Jul 12, Gertrude Bell
(b.1868), British archeologist and intelligence officer, died in
Baghdad. From 1900 to 1913 she journeyed some 20,000 miles from
Istanbul to the Syrian desert and on to Iraq. In 2006 Georgina
Howell authored "Daughter of the Desert: The Remarkable Life of
Gertrude Bell." In 2017 the movie “Queen of the Desert" starred
Nicole Kidman as Bell. A documentary on Bell titled “Letters From
Baghdad" featured film footage and photos from the early 1900s.
p.79)(http://tinyurl.com/p59fy)(SFC, 6/16/17, p.E6)
1926 Aug 6, Gertrude "Trudy"
Ederle (1905-2003), American Olympic gold medalist, became the first
woman to swim the English Channel. Before setting out from Cap
Griz-Nez, France, at 7:09 a.m., Ederle coated her body with layers
of lard and petroleum jelly to insulate her from the cold waters. On
that day, the sea was so rough that steamship crossings had been
cancelled, but Ederle swam on in spite of being buffeted by waves
and plagued by seasickness. She reached Dover at 9:40 p.m., after
swimming the Channel in 14 hours and 39 minutes. This time broke the
existing world record of 21 hours and 45 minutes set by British Navy
Captain Matthew Webb in 1875. Ederle died Nov 30, 2003. [see Sep
(AP, 8/6/97)(HNQ, 7/31/98)(HNPD, 8/30/98)(SFC,
1926 Oct 14, The book
"Winnie-the-Pooh" by Alan Alexander Milne (d.1956) was
released. Milne wrote this and other stories, centering the tales
around his little son, Christopher Robin, and Christopher's stuffed
animals, like the honey-loving Pooh Bear, Eeyore (the donkey),
Piglet and Tigger. The geography was based on real places in 14,000
acres of Ashdown Forest, in the northwest corner of East Sussex,
(Hem., 8/96, p.107)(MC, 10/14/01)
1926 English artist and book
illustrator E.H. Shepard (1879-1976) sketched a map of the Hundred
Acre Wood, home to Winnie-the Pooh. His illustrations helped cement
the popularity of A.A. Milne's "bear of very little brain" and his
woodland friends. In 1970 the map sold at auction for 1,700 pounds.
1926 Samuel Ryder of Lancashire
(d.1935), England, came up with the idea of biannual golf matches
between the English and Americans. He made a lot of money selling
penny-a-pack seeds. The Ryder Cup of golf is named after him.
(SFC, 9/26/98, p.E4)
1926 Sir Montagu Norman,
governor of the Bank of England, got Britain back on the gold
standard with help by a loan organized by Benjamin Strong, head of
the US Federal Reserve of New York.
(Econ, 1/10/09, p.73)
1926 A general strike was
crushed by British authorities under PM Stanley Baldwin.
(SFC, 11/29/99, p.A26)
1926 Agatha Christie (d.1976),
mystery writer, disappeared from her native Devon. Scotland Yard
undertook a massive search and found her registered at the Old Swan
Hotel in Harrogate. She had checked in as Nancy Neel, the name of
her husband’s mistress, and was thought to be suffering from
1926 Britain’s Imperial
Chemical Industries (ICI) was formed by the merger of four chemical
companies and was a pioneer in the plastics industry.
(Hem., 1/97, p.27)(http://tinyurl.com/3w5euy)
1926 In England Emma Alice
Smith disappeared as she cycled between her home and a nearby
railway station 83 years ago. She had worked as a servant in a large
house near her home in the village of Waldron, about 60 miles (100
kilometers) south of London. Her disappearance remained unsolved,
and her body missing, until 2007, when David Wright, the teenager's
great-nephew, came forward to tell police about a confession, a
long-held family secret. A confession by Emma Alice's sister, Lily,
(d.1995) said a gentleman, on his deathbed sometime in 1952 to 1953,
had confessed to killing her sister.
1927 Jan 7, Commercial
transatlantic telephone service was inaugurated between New York and
1927 Jan 19, British government
decided to send troops to China.
1927 Jan 24, British
expeditionary force of 12,000 was sent to China to protect
concessions at Shanghai.
1927 Mar 21, Kuomintang Army
conquered Shanghai as British marines fled.
1927 Mar 26, Gaumont-British
Film Corporation formed.
1927 Apr 12, The British
Cabinet came out in favor of women voting rights.
1927 Apr 19, Rudolf Friml's
"Vagabond King" opened in London.
1927 May 20, Saudi Arabia
became independent of Great Britain with the Treaty of Jedda.
1927 Jul 7, Christopher Stone
became the first British ‘disc jockey’ when he played records for
1927 Aug 9, Robert Shaw, actor
and writer, was born in England.
(HN, 8/9/00)(MC, 8/9/02)
1927 Aug 11, Raymond Leppard,
conductor (St Louis Symphony Orch), was born in London, England.
1927 Oct 14, Roger Moore, actor
(Alaskans, Maverick, Saint, 007), was born in London, England.
1927 Oct 28, Cleo Laine,
actress and singer (Flesh to a Tiger), was born in Middlesex,
1927 Dec 14, Iraq gained
independence from Britain, but British troops remained.
1927 William Hodge & Co.
published “The Trial of Herbert Rowse Armstrong" as part of its
Notable British Trial series. Armstrong was hanged in 1922, the only
solicitor ever executed in Britain, for murdering his wife with
(WSJ, 6/9/07, p.P8)
1927 Havergal Brian
(1876-1972), British composer, completed “The Gothic," a symphony in
D minor. The work was begun in 1919.
1927 Britain passed laws
supporting British film making and forced cinemas to show a minimum
quota of British films.
(Econ, 2/9/08, p.62)
1927 Elsie Wagg thought of
getting private gardeners to open up their gardens to visitors for a
small contribution to a nursing charity. By 2003 Britain's National
Garden Scheme had over 3,500 gardens open to visitors at least 1 day
(Econ, 12/20/03, p.119)
1928 Jan 11, Thomas Hardy (87),
English novelist, died near Dorchester. His books included “Far from
Maddening Crowd" (1874) and “Jude the Obscure" (1895). In 2006
Claire Tomalin authored “Thomas Hardy: The Time-Torn Man."
1928 Jan 17, Vidal Sassoon,
hair stylist/CEO (Vidal Sassoon), was born in London.
1928 Feb 3, Frankie Vaughn
(d.1999), later singer, was born as Frank Abelson in Liverpool. His
songs included "Kisses Sweeter Than Wine."
(SFC, 9/18/99, p.A21)
1928 Feb 7, Australian Bert
Hinkler took off from London in a two-seat Avro 581E Avian biplane
on the first leg of his solo flight from England to Australia. The
unassuming Hinkler's grueling flight was little noted by the press
until he reached India, then the world press got caught up in the
drama of another "Lone Eagle" performance so soon after Charles A.
Lindbergh's transatlantic flight. As he plotted a course across Asia
and the Timor Sea using a London Times atlas as his navigational
chart, a newspaper editor dubbed him "Hustling Hinkler," a nickname
later immortalized by the American Tin Pan Alley hit song, "Hustling
Hinkler Up in the Sky." On February 22, after flying 128 hours in
less than 16 days, Hinkler's 11,250-mile adventure ended in Darwin,
1928 Feb 15, H.H. Asquith
(b.1852), former British prime minister (1908-1916), died.
1928 Mar 22, Noel Coward's
musical "This Year of Grace," premiered in London.
1928 Apr 26, Madame Tussaud's
waxwork exhibition opened in London.
1928 Jul 2, Britain enacted
another Representation of the People Act granting women over 21 the
same rights as men. British women over age 30 had voted since 1918.
1928 Jul 21, Dame Ellen Terry
(b.1847), British actress, died in England. In 2008 Michael Holroyd
authored “A Strange Eventful History: The Dramatic Lives of Ellen
Terry, Henry Irving and Their Remarkable Families." Her relationship
with actor Henry Irving (d.1905) lasted over 2 decades.
(Econ, 8/30/08, p.79)(WSJ, 3/6/09,
1928 Nov 22, British King
George was confined to bed with congested lung; the queen was to
take over duties.
1928 Radclyffe Hall
(b.1880-1943) published "The Well of Loneliness," a novel intended
as a cry about the plight of "congenital inverts," her term for
lesbians. A Bow Street magistrate declared the novel to be obscene.
It caused a big stir in England and a trial for obscenity. In 1999
Diana Souhami published "The Trials of Radclyffe Hall."
(SFEC, 8/8/99, BR p.1)(SFC, 7/14/06,
1928 The Oxford English
Dictionary (O.E.D.) was first published with over 414,000 entries.
It was begun in 1879 and edited by Prof. James Murray (d.1915) with
assistance from William Minor, an American ex-army surgeon. In 1998
Simon Winchester authored "The Professor and the Madman," the story
behind the creation of the dictionary.
(WSJ, 9/14/98, p.A30)(SFEC, 10/18/98, BR
p.7)(WSJ, 10/12/05, p.D13)
1928 Norman Angell (1872-1967),
English journalist, made one venture into economics, when he
invented a card game, described in “the Money Game" (1928). This was
an attempt to explain matters such as deflation and inflation in
visual terms which the ordinary person could understand.
1928 John Spedan Lewis, son of
the John Lewis, formed a partnership with the employees of the
department store founded by his father. The business was founded in
1864 when John Lewis set up a draper's shop in Oxford Street,
1928 British Home Stores (BHS)
was founded by a group of US entrepreneurs. In 2000 it was bought by
Sir Philip Green and taken private. On 12 March 2015, BHS was sold
to the consortium Retail Acquisitions Ltd for a nominal price of £1.
All the BHS stores closed by 28 August 2016, bringing a close to
trading after 88 years. At closure the BHS pension fund in surplus
in 2000 was £571 million in deficit.
1929 Feb 18, Leonard Cyril
Deighton, English spy author (Ipcress File, Fighter), was born.
(AP, 2/18/01)(MC, 2/18/02)
1929 Mar 23, Roger Bannister
England, 1st to run a 4 minute mile (May 6, 1954), was born.
1929 Apr 4, Sigmund Romberg's
"New Moon" musical opened in London.
1929 Apr 26, First non-stop
flight from England to India was completed.
1929 May 17, Edsel Ford cut the
first sod of Ford's new British manufacturing plant in the Dagenham
marshes. The first cars at Dagenham were produced in October, 1931.
This was Ford’s first expansion outside the US.
1929 Jun 7, John Turner, (L)
17th Canadian PM (1984), was born in Richmond, England.
1929 Aug 5, Millicent Fawcett
(b.1847), British feminist leader, died in London. She had started
campaigning for votes for women in 1866. In 2018 a statue of her was
unveiled in London's Parliament Square, a public space previously
occupied by 11 statues of men.
1929 Sep 11, The San Francisco
Bohemian Club honored Winston Churchill, former Chancellor of the
Exchequer in Britain’s recently ousted Conservative government, at a
(SFC, 9/10/04, p.F2)
1929 Sep, The London Stock
Exchange crashed when Clarence Hatry, a fraudulent financier, was
arrested. Stock sell-offs followed leading to the crash of 1929.
(Econ, 4/12/14, p.54)
1929 October 7, British PM J.
Ramsay MacDonald delivered a speech to the US Congress. He first
spoke briefly to the House of Representatives and then gave a longer
speech to the Senate. MacDonald was the first British PM to address
the US Congress.
(NY Times, 10/8/1929, p.3)
1929 Oct 11, Sean O'Casey's
"Silver Tassle," premiered in London.
1929 Henry Green (1905-1973),
English writer, authored “Living," a novel of working class factory
1929 British artist and surgeon
Henry Tonks (1862-1937) authored a memoir describing artists who had
studied under him at the Slade School of Art.
(Econ, 6/22/13, p.86)
1929 The labor party emerged
from the general election as the largest party in Parliament. It had
been founded 3 decades earlier.
(WSJ, 1/11/99, p.R25)
1929 Egypt and Great Britain
made an agreement on behalf of Britain's African colonies which gave
Egypt the right to most of the more than 100 billion cubic meters of
Nile water that reaches the downstream countries annually.
1930 Jan 21, An international
arms meeting opened in London. The London Naval Conference, hosted
by Britain, sought to establish naval disarmament and review the
Washington Treaty of 1922, which limited tonnage of new battleships.
After three months of meetings, representatives from Britain, the
United States and Japan signed a treaty limiting battleship tonnage
based on ratios between the nations. Italy and France declined to
sign. A second naval conference in December 1935 did little to
promote further disarmament and, by the beginning of World War II,
Germany, Japan and the United States had all begun building
battleships well over the limit of 35,000 tons stipulated by the
original Washington Treaty. [see Apr 22]
(HN, 1/21/99)(HNQ, 1/1/01)
1930 Mar 7, Lord Snowdon,
[Anthony Armstrong-Jones], photographer, was born in London.
1930 Mar 12, Indian political
and spiritual leader Mohandas K. Gandhi began a 200-mile march to
the sea to protest a British tax on salt. The march symbolized his
defiance of British Rule over India.
(HN, 3/12/98)(AP, 3/12/98)
1930 Mar 19, Arthur J. Balfour
(81), British theologist, premier (1902-05), died.
1930 Mar 30, David Staple,
joint president of the Council of Churches for Britain and Ireland,
1930 Apr 5, Mahatma Ghandi
defied British law by making salt in India.
1930 Apr 21, Margaret Rose,
Princess of York, was born in London, England.
1930 Apr 22, The United States,
Britain and Japan signed the London Naval Treaty, which regulated
submarine warfare and limited shipbuilding.
1930 Apr 29, Telephone
connection England-Australia went into service.
1930 Apr 30, The Soviet Union
proposed military alliance with France and Great Britain.
1930 Apr, In India Gandhi
called for peaceful civil disobedience and the Indian National
Congress issued a declaration of grievances against Britain.
(SFEC, 8/3/97, p.A15)
1930 May 4, Mahatma Gandhi was
arrested by the British.
1930 May 24, Amy Johnson became
the first woman to fly from England to Australia.
1930 Jul 7, Arthur Conan Doyle
(b.1859), British novelist, died. His work included 4 Sherlock
Holmes mystery novels and 56 short stories about Holmes. Doyle was
an eye doctor. In 1999 Daniel Stashower published "Teller of Tales:
The Life of Arthur Conan Doyle." In 2007 Andrew Lycett authored
“Conan Doyle: The Man who Created Sherlock Holmes."
(SFEC, 6/13/99, Par
p.12)(www.sherlockian.net/acd/)(ON, 3/06, p.12)(Econ, 10/6/07, p.98)
1930 Jul 27, David Hughes,
English novelist (The Horsehair Sofa, The Man Who Invented
Tomorrow), was born.
1930 Aug 16, Ted Hughes,
English poet, was born.
1930 Aug 21, Princess Margaret
Rose (d.2002) was born to King George VI and Queen Elizabeth at
Glamis Castle, Scotland.
(WSJ, 8/10/00, p.A16)(SSFC, 2/10/02, p.A12)
1930 Sep 24, Noel Coward's
comedy "Private Lives" opened in London starring Gertrude Lawrence
and Coward himself.
1930 Oct 10, Harold Pinter,
British playwright (Homecoming, Servant), was born.
(HN, 10/10/98)(MC, 10/10/01)
1930 Oct 20, A British White
Paper restricted Jews from buying Arab land.
1930 Oct 22, The 1st concert of
BBC Symphony Orchestra was led by Adrian Boult.
1930 Nov 22, Peter Hall,
British stage, film and opera director (Pedestrian), was born.
1930 Winston Churchill authored
his autobiography "My Early Life."
(WSJ, 12/29/99, p.A12)
1930 English economist John
Maynard Keynes authored “Economic Possibilities for our
Grandchildren." He predicted that growing wealth would bring ever
(Econ, 8/3/13, p.48)
1930 J.B. Priestley
(1894-1984), English novelist and playwright, authored his novel
(Econ, 6/30/12, p.85)
1930 Evelyn Waugh (1903-1966),
English writer, authored his novel “Vile Bodies.
(WSJ, 1/10/09, p.W8)
1930 Pioneer aviator Errol Boyd
flew to London, becoming the first pilot to cross the North Atlantic
outside the summer season. Erroll Boyd, born in Toronto in 1891,
flew for the first time in 1912 as a passenger with American
barnstormer Lincoln Beachey. Boyd enjoyed the experience so much
that he decided on a career in aviation. Taught by aviator John
Alcock during World War I, Boyd went on to a variety of jobs after
the war including songwriting and managing a car rental business.
However, Charles Lindbergh’s successful solo flight across the
Atlantic in May 1927 inspired Boyd to return to flying as a career.
1930 British detergent maker
Lever Bros. merged with Margarine Unie of the Netherlands to form
Unilever. William Hulme Lever (1888-1949), 2nd Viscount Leverhulme,
co-founded Unilever. Lever brothers had operated from the Belgian
Congo from 1911.
1930s During the 1930s, the
Handley Page H.P.42 was the mainstay of government-subsidized
Imperial Airways, linking commercial air routes throughout the
British Empire. The prototype H.P.42, dubbed Hannibal, took off on
its maiden flight on November 17, 1930 and soon had several
variations to reach British possessions in Africa, the Middle East
and India. Even when the sturdy, four-engine biplane was easily
surpassed in speed by the 1930s, its luxuriousness rivaled ocean
liners of the day. Despite its safety record and public affection,
the H.P. 42 became more obsolete with the approach of World War II.
1931 Jan 29, Winston Churchill
resigned as Stanley Baldwin's aide.
1931 Feb 11, Charles Algernon
Parsons (76), British inventor (steam turbine), died.
1931 Feb 15, [Patricia] Claire
Bloom, actress (Charly, Look Back in Anger), was born in London.
1931 Mar 5, Gandhi and British
viceroy Lord Irwin signed a pact.
1931 Mar 10, British Labour
party removed fascist Sir Oswald Mosley.
1931 Apr 20, British House of
Commons agreed to sports play on Sunday.
1931 May 8, Franz Lehar's
operetta, "Land of Smiles," premiered in London.
1931 Jun 9, Britain’s HMS
Poseidon submarine sank during exercises of the coast of China. It
was raised by the Chinese in 1972. In 2012 Steven Schwankert
authored “The Real Poseidon Adventure: China’s Secret Salvage of
Britain’s Lost Submarine."
(SFC, 8/4/12, p.A2)
1931 Jun 17, British
authorities in China arrested Indochinese Communist leader Ho Chi
1931 Jun 26, Colin Henry
Wilson, British author (The Outsider) , was born.
1931 Jul 4, James Joyce (22)
married Nora Barnacle (20) in London. They legalized their 26-year
common-law marriage at the Kensington Registry Office in London.
(SFEM, 1/25/98, p.69)
1931 Aug 28, John
Shirley-Quirk, baritone (Death in Venice), was born in Liverpool,
1931 Sep 12, Ian Holm, actor
(Henry V), was born in Ilford, Essex, England.
1931 Sep 15, The British naval
fleet mutinied at Invergordon over pay cuts.
1931 Sep 21, Britain went off
the gold standard. The pound devalued 20%.
(AP, 9/21/97)(WSJ, 1/10/09, p.W8)
1931 Sep 24, Anthony Newley,
actor (Dr Doolittle, Garbage Pail Kids, Stop the World) and
composer, was born in England.
1931 Oct 10, William Walton's
"Belshazzar's Feast," premiered in Leeds.
1931 Oct 13, Noel Coward's
"Cavalcade," premiered in London.
1931 Oct 19, John Le Carré,
British novelist who wrote The Spy Who Came in from the Cold.
1931 Nov 12, The
Sibelius-Ashton ballet "Lady of Shalott," premiered in London.
1931 Dec 11, The Statute of
Westminster recast the British Empire as a Commonwealth of Nations.
1931 In London the Abbey Road
recording studio was established at the former residence of an
(Sky, 9/97, p.53)
1931 British chancellor Philip
Snowden (864-1937) put forth an emergency austerity budget with tax
rises and spending cuts.
(Econ, 12/10/11, p.77)
1931 Montagu Norman
(1871-1950), governor of the Bank of England (1920-1944), proposed
the creation of an international lender empowered to lend to
governments and banks in need of capital. The idea was rejected by
France and America.
(Econ, 12/10/11, p.78)
1931 There was a mass trespass
in England’s northern Peak District.
(SFC, 6/21/99, p.A7)
1931 Francis Ingall (d.1998 at
89) led his Lancers in a charge on horseback at the Battle of
Karawal near the Khyber Pass against Afridi tribesmen. It was the
final such attack by a regiment of the British Army. He later
authored "The Last of the Bengal Lancers."
(SFC, 9/25/98, p.D4)
1931-1933 In 2007 it was reported that British
scientists began conducting experiments in the early 1930s to
determine whether mustard gas damaged Indians' skin more than
British soldiers'. They went on for more than 10 years at a military
site in Rawalpindi (later a part of Pakistan).
1932 Jan 21, Lytton Strachey
(b.1880), author and part of the Bloomsbury group, died. He wrote
"Eminent Victorians," a scandalous collection of sketches that
revolutionized English biography in 1918. Michael Holdroyd later
authored his biography. In 2005 Paul Levy edited “The Letters of
(SFEC, 8/22/99, BR p.4)(WUD, 1994, p.1403)(SFEC,
3/5/00, DB p.4)(WSJ, 12/17/05, p.P13)
1932 Jan 22, British Anglicans
merged with the Old-Catholic church.
1932 Apr 23, The Royal
Shakespeare Theatre opened at Stratford-on-Avon. It replaced one
built in 1879 that burned down in 1926.
1932 Apr 25, William Roache,
actor (Ken Barlow-Coronation Street), was born in England.
1932 May 7, Jenny Joseph,
English poet and novelist (The Thinking Heart, The Inland Sea), was
1932 May 9, Piccadilly Circus
was lit by electricity.
1932 Mar 23, Britain warned
Ireland that the loyalty oath was mandatory.
1932 Aug 22, BBS began
experimental regular TV broadcasts.
1932 Aug 27-28, In England
200,000 textile workers went on strike.
1932 Oct 1, Oswald Mosley
formed the British Union of Fascists.
1932 Dec 8, Gertrude Jekyll
(b.1843), English gardener and writer, died.
1932 Dec 19, The British
Broadcasting Corp. began transmitting overseas with its "Empire
Service" to Australia.
1932 Sir Oswald Mosley founded
the British fascist party. In 1936 he married Diana, one of the 5
Mitford daughters. In 2000 Jan Dalley authored "Diana Mosley."
(WSJ, 5/16/00, p.A24)
1932 A British team at
Cambridge Univ. split the atom. Mark Oliphant (d.2000 at 98) was a
member of the team at Cavendish Laboratory.
(SFC, 7/18/00, p.A22)
1933 Feb 9, The Oxford Union,
Oxford University's debating society, endorsed, 275-153, a motion
stating "that this House will in no circumstances fight for its King
and Country," a pacifist stand widely denounced by Britons. [see Feb
1933 Feb 26, Sir James
Goldsmith (d.7/18/97), later financier and corporate raider
(Referendum Party), was born in Paris to a Catholic French mother
and a German Jewish father who later moved to Britain and served as
a Conservative member of parliament.
(SFEC, 7/20/97, p.B6)(SC, 2/26/02)
1933 Mar 14, Michael Caine,
[Maurice J. Micklewhite Jr.], actor (Alfie), was born in London.
(MC, 3/14/02)(SSFC, 2/9/03, Par p.4)
1933 Mar 14, Winston Churchill
wanted to boost air defense.
1933 Apr 8, Manchester Guardian
warned of unknown Nazi terror.
1933 Jun 12, The World Monetary
and Economic Conference in London opened and had as its object the
checking of the world depression by means of currency stabilization
and economic agreements. Unbridgeable disagreements among the
delegates from 64 nations and the attitude of the United States made
the meeting a total failure.
1933 Jul 13, David Storey,
English novelist (The Sporting Life), was born.
1933 Aug 21, Dame Janet Baker,
mezzo-soprano (Owen Wingrave), was born in York, England.
1933 Aug 28, For the first
time, a BBC-broadcasted appeal was used by the police in tracking
down a wanted man.
1933 Oct 9, Bill Tidy, English
cartoonist (Fosdyke Saga), was born.
1933 Dec 8, Patrick Leigh
Fermor (b.1915), London-born student, set off to walk the length of
Europe, from the Hook of Holland to Constantinople. He later
recounted his adventures in “A Time of Gifts" (1977) and “Between
the Woods and the Water" (1986). He was later widely regarded as
Britain’s greatest travel writer.
1933 Sir Norman Angell
(1872-1967), English journalist, won the Nobel Peace Prize. He was
knighted in 1931. From 1928-1931 he had served on the Council of the
Royal Institute of International Affairs, was an executive for the
World Committee against War and Fascism, a member of the executive
committee of the League of Nations Union, and the president of the
1933 Writer Eric Blair changed
his name to George Orwell.
(SFEC, 10/1/00, BR p.5)
1933 Malcolm Muggeridge
(1903-1990), English writer and reporter, broke the story on the
famine in the Ukraine.
1933 Britain was still
operating under the Ten Year Rule which imposed the assumption that
the country would not be engaged in any great war for the next ten
years and that no Expeditionary Force was required.
(WSJ, 10/28/97, p.A22)
1933 British intelligence
agents discovered that the Nazis were defying a ban on weapons
imposed at Versailles.
(ON, 11/05, p.1)
1933 The first unmanned aerial
vehicle (UAV) was the radio-controlled “Fairey Queen" biplane. It
was catapulted into the air and survived 2 hours of live fire from a
British warship. In 1934 Britain’s Air Ministry ordered 420 such
aircraft, known as the Queen Bee, which gave rise to the word drone
to describe such aircraft.
(Econ, 12/8/07, TQ p.23)
1933 Harold Peto (b.1854),
English architect and gardener, died. In 2007 Robin Halley authored
“The Great Edwardian Gardens of Harold Peto."
(WSJ, 3/1/08, p.W16)
1933-1937 In London, England, the huge Battersea
Power Station was built on the Thames. Sir Giles Gilbert Scott
designed the Battersea power station. [He also designed traditional
red telephone boxes of London.] The station was decommissioned in
1982. In 1997 it was scheduled for a $2.2 billion redevelopment by
(WSJ, 6/25/97, p.B12)(WSJ, 5/11/00, p.A24)(SSFC,
1934 Feb 10, A Jewish immigrant
ship 1st broke the English blockade in Palestine.
1934 Feb 11, Mary Quant,
fashion designer (Chelsea Look, Mod Look), was born in Kent,
1934 Feb 23, Edward William
Elgar (76), English composer (Coronation Ode), died.
1934 Mar 26, Driving tests were
introduced in Britain.
1934 Apr 3, Jane van
Lawick-Goodall, ethologist (studied African chimps, 1974 Walker
Prize), was born in London, England. She was a British
anthropologist, known for her work with African chimpanzees. In 2000
her autobiography "Africa in My Blood: An Autobiography in Letters,
The Early Years, 1934-1966," was edited by Dale Peterson.
(HN, 3/4/99)(SFEC, 6/18/00, BR p.6)(SC,
1934 May 9, Alan Bennett,
playwright, actor (Secret Policeman's Other Ball, Beyond the
Fringe), was born in England.
1934 May 25, David J. Burke,
writer, was born in Liverpool, England.
1934 May 25, Gustav Theodore
Holst (59), English composer (Ode to Death), died.
1934 Jun 3, Dr. Frederick
Banting, co-discoverer of insulin, was knighted.
1834 Aug 1, England ended
slavery in the West Indies slaves and all its Caribbean holdings
effective on this date. Slavery was abolished throughout the British
Empire with compensation to the owners. Some 35,000 salves were
freed in the Cape Colony. [see 1833]
(NH, 7/98, p.29)(HN, 8/1/98)(EWH, 4th ed, p.885)
1934 Sep 8, Peter Maxwell
Davies, composer (Prolation, Taverner), was born in Manchester,
1934 Sep 19, Brian Epstein,
rock manager (Beatles), was born.
1934 Sep 26, The British liner
Queen Mary was launched. [see May 27, 1936]
1934 Oct 27, Frederick Barclay,
British hotel magnate and multi-millionaire, was born.
1934 Nov 23, U.S. and Britain
agreed on a 5-5-3 naval ratio with both countries allowed to build
five million tons of naval ships while Japan can only build three;
Japan denounced the treaty.
1934 Nov 28, Churchill made a
speech in Parliament and warned of German aircraft bombing London.
(ON, 11/05, p.2)
1934 Dec 9, Judi Dench, actress
(Henry V, Wetherby), was born in York, England.
1934 Constant Lambert
(1905-1951), British composer and conductor, authored “Music Ho: A
Study of Music in Decline."
1934 Sir Lawrence van der Post
(1906-1996) wrote his first book "In a Province."
(SFC, 12/17/96, p.B4)
1934 Evelyn Waugh (1903-1966),
English writer, authored “Ninety-Two Days." It was based on his 1932
travels in Brazil and British Guiana.
(WSJ, 11/24/07, p.W8)
1934 Britain’s former foreign
secretary Arthur Henderson (1863-1935) won the Nobel Peace Prize for
his work on international disarmament.
1934 Britain’s Flying Scotsman
became the first locomotive to be officially clocked at 100 miles
(160 km) per hour. It was built in 1923 in the northern town of
Doncaster for the London and North Eastern Railway.
1935 Feb 16, Brian Bedford,
actor (Anthony-Coronet Blue), was born in England.
1935 Mar 13, Driving tests were
introduced in Great Britain.
1935 Mar 23, France, Italy and
Britain agreed to present a unified front in response to Germany.
1935 Mar 30, Britain and Russia
agreed on treaties intended to curb the power of the Reich.
1935 Apr 19, Dudley Moore
(d.2002), film actor, comedian and musician, was born in Dagenham,
(SFC, 3/28/02, p.A15)
1935 May 6, British King George
& Queen Mary celebrated their silver jubilee.
1935 May 19, Colonel Thomas E.
Lawrence (b.1888), better known as Lawrence of Arabia, died 6 days
after sustaining head injuries in a motorcycle accident on a Dorset,
England, country road. Lawrence served the British Foreign Office as
liaison officer during the Arab revolt against the Turks in World
War I. His leadership and sympathetic understanding of the Arabs
were instrumental in Allied General Edmund Allenby's conquest of
Palestine in 1917. Bitterly disappointed by the 1919 Paris Peace
Conference's refusal to mandate Arab independence, Lawrence resigned
from the Foreign Office in 1922 to write books about his Middle East
experiences. In 2011 Michael Korda authored “Hero: The Life and
Legend of Lawrence of Arabia." In 20154 Anthony Sattin authored “The
Young T.E. Lawrence."
(HNPD, 5/19/99)(AP, 5/19/08)(Econ, 4/30/11,
p.90)(Econ., 2/14/15, p.75)
1935 May 22, Stanley Baldwin,
Britain’s former PM, admitted that his estimation of Germany’s
Luftwaffe strength was wrong.
(ON, 11/05, p.2)
1935 Jun 1, Driving test and
license plates were introduced in England.
1935 Jun 7, In Britain after
the resignation of PM MacDonald, King George V appointed Stanley
Baldwin Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury.
1935 Jul 30, The 1st Penguin
book was published in England and started the paperback revolution.
The sixpenny books made a 1st blow to the library system.
(SFC, 12/29/99, p.E1)(MC, 7/30/02)(Econ, 5/1/04,
1935 Nov 1, T.S. Eliot's
"Murder in the Cathedral," premiered in London.
1935 Nov 3, Jeremy Brett, actor
(Adventures of Sherlock Holmes), was born in Berkswell, England.
1935 Nov 13, Anti-British riots
took place in Egypt.
1935 Nov 14, The United Kingdom
general election resulted in a large, albeit reduced, majority for
the National Government led by Stanley Baldwin of the Conservative
1935 George Dangerfield
(1904-1986), Anglo-American journalist and literary editor of Vanity
Fair (1933 to 1935), authored “The Strange Death of Liberal
England," in which he discusses the causes of the decline in the
influence of the British Liberal Party in the years 1910 to 1914.
1935 British novelist C.S.
Forester wrote his novel "The African Queen", later adapted by
Hollywood in the 1951 movie of the same name starring Humphrey
Bogart and Katherine Hepburn.
1935 Sir Michael Tippett,
British composer, composed his initial work "First String Quartet."
(SFC, 1/10/98, p.A19)
1935 James Chadwick
(1891-1974), British physicist, won the Nobel Prize in Physics.
1935 The Ramblers Association
began and campaigned for access to roam on privately held lands.
(SFC, 6/21/99, p.A7)
1935 Melita Norwood (23) a
clerk at the British Non-Ferrous Metals Research Association was
recommended to the NKVD by Andrew Rothstein, one of the founders of
the British Communist Party. Norwood served as a Russian spy,
"Hola," until she retired in 1972 and her role was not made public
until KGB files, brought to London in 1992 by Vasili Mitrokhin, were
made public in 1999 in "The Mitrokhin Archive."
(SFEC, 9/12/99, p.A16)(SFC, 12/21/99, p.C8)
1935 Henry Grunfeld (d.1999), a
German Jewish refugee, teamed with fellow refugee Siegmund Warburg
(d.1982) to establish the New Trading Co., an investment banking
house that became known as S.G. Warburg in 1946. Swiss Bank acquired
the firm in 1995.
(SFC, 6/16/99, p.B4)
1935 Penguin introduced the
first paperback books in England.
(SFC, 12/29/99, p.E1)
1935-1936 The Chinese Imperial art collection was
exhibited at Burlington House, the Royal Academy of Art.
(SFEC, 10/6/96, DB p.37)
1935-1994 Dennis Potter, BBC writer. In 1999
W. Stephen Gilbert published "The Life and Work of Dennis Potter."
Also published was "Dennis Potter: Seeing the Blossom: Two
Interviews and a Lecture.
(SFEC, 1/24/99, BR p.1)
1936 Jan 15, In London, Japan
quit all naval talks after being denied equality.
1936 Jan 18, Author Rudyard
Kipling (70) died in Burwash, England. His work included "Plain
Tales from the Hills," "Barrack-Room Ballads," and the novel "Kim."
In 2000 Harry Ricketts authored the biography "Rudyard Kipling: A
Life." In 2009 Charles Allen authored “Kipling Sahib: India
and the Making of Rudyard Kipling 1865-1900."
(AP, 1/18/00)(WSJ, 3/30/00, p.A28)(WSJ, 3/14/09,
1936 Jan 20, Britain's King
George V, served from 1910-1936, died at age 70; he was succeeded by
Edward VIII. He is remembered for saying: "Any man who is not a
socialist before he is 30 has no heart, and any man who is a
socialist after he is 30 has no head."
(AP, 1/20/98)(MC, 1/20/02)(WSJ, 7/16/02, p.D6)
1936 Mar 5, A prototype Type
300 Spitfire made it's 1st flight at the Eastleigh Aerodrome in
(ON, 3/07, p.2)
1936 Mar 25, Britain, the U.S.
and France signed a naval accord in London.
1936 Mar 29, Richard Rodney
Bennett, composer, was born in Broadstairs, Kent, England.
1936 May 9, Glenda Jackson,
actress (Women in Love), was born in Cheshire, England.
1936 Mar 30, Britain announced
a naval construction program of 38 warships. This was the largest
construction program in 15 years.
1936 May 9, Albert Finney,
actor, was born in Salford, UK. He starred in "Murder on the Orient
Express" and "Tom Jones."
(HN, 5/9/99)(MC, 5/9/02)
1936 May 27, The Cunard liner
Queen Mary left Southampton, England, for NY on its maiden voyage.
In 1968 it became a 365-room hotel moored at Long Beach, Ca.
(AP, 5/27/97)(MC, 5/27/02)(SSFC, 9/14/03, p.C1)
1936 Jun 3, Britain’s Air
Ministry placed a £1.25 million order for 310 Spitfire fighters.
(ON, 3/07, p.2)
1936 Jun 14, G.K. Chesterton
(b.1874), English poet-essayist, died at his home in Beaconsfield,
England. His poems included “The Secret People" (1915). As president
of the Distributist League, he promoted the idea that private
property should be divided into smallest possible freeholds and then
distributed throughout society.
1936 Aug 26, The Anglo-Egyptian
Treaty, calling for most British troops to leave Egypt, except those
guarding the Suez Canal, was signed in Montreux, Switzerland. It was
abrogated by Egypt in 1951.
1936 Sep 25-1936 Oct 13, The
Tripartite Agreement between the US, the UK, and France established
that the subscribing nations agree to buy and sell gold freely with
each other in exchange for their own currency.
1936 Sep 30, Pinewood Studios
opened in Buckinghamshire England.
1936 Nov 2, The first
high-definition public television transmissions began from Alexandra
Palace in north London by the BBC.
(HN, 11/2/98)(MC, 11/2/01)
1936 Nov 27, Great Britain’s
Anthony Eden warned Hitler that Britain would fight to protect
1936 Nov 30, London's famed
Crystal Palace, constructed for the International Exhibition of
1851, was destroyed in a fire.
1936 Dec 10, Edward VIII
abdicated to marry Wallis Warfield Simpson, an American born
divorcee. [see Dec 11]
1936 Dec 11, Britain's King
Edward VIII abdicated the throne in order to marry American divorcee
Wallis Warfield Simpson. Edward VIII had been king of Great Britain
and Ireland for less than a year when he abdicated the throne to
marry "the woman I love,"--the twice-divorced American Wallis
Warfield Spencer Simpson. The eldest child of King George V and
Queen Mary, Edward met the Baltimore-born Mrs. Simpson in 1931 while
she was still married to her second husband. Their relationship
caused much consternation among British traditionalists since the
Church of England forbade divorced persons to remarry and would not
recognize a marriage between Edward and Mrs. Simpson. After his
ascension to the throne on January 20, 1936, Edward VIII expressed
his desire to marry Mrs. Simpson and, if he could not do so and
remain king, he said he was "prepared to go." After his abdication,
Edward was awarded the title Duke of Windsor by his brother, King
George VI. Edward and Mrs. Simpson were married in June 1937.
(HFA, ‘96, p.44)(WUD, 1994, p. 454)(AP,
1936 John Maynard Keynes,
English economist, published "The General Theory of Employment,
Interest and Money." It taught that the classic model of Adam Smith
was a special case and only applied in times of full employment. At
other times he asserted that the economy needed a large and activist
government to steer it on the road of full employment. He advised
governments to increase money supply to overcome Depression. His
theories played a part in Roosevelt's New Deal which helped revive
the US economy.
(WSJ, 10/9/97, p.A18)(WSJ, 1/11/99, p.R20)(WSJ,
1936 Agatha Christie authored
her novel “Murder in Mesopotamia." During the 1930s she accompanied
her husband Max Mallowan, British archeologist, on excavations in
southern Iraq and later wrote an account of their work titled “Come
Tell Me How You Live" (1946).
(MT, summer 2003, p.12)
1936 Terence Rattigan
(1911-1977) wrote his play "French Without Tears."
(SFC, 6/23/97, p.E3)
1936 London’s Gatwick Airport
opened. It featured direct rail to London, a round terminal on a
circular island in the airfield, and could service 6 planes
(SFEC, 5/26/97, p.B1)
1936 England tried out
automatic teller machines (ATMs) but they could only be used for
(SFC, 7/13/96, p. E3)
1936 James Lees-Milne
(1908-1997), British architectural historian, was appointed the
National Trust’s first Country Houses secretary. He began publishing
his diaries in the 1970s.
(WSJ, 7/1/06, p.P6)
1936 Attendance to greyhound
racing peaked in Britain at about 38 million.
(Econ, 3/29/08, p.74)
1936 British forces destroyed
the kasbah of Jaffa in Operation Anchor, a security measure to
improve their strategic control of the settlement. Some 100
residents of Tel Aviv were killed and over 1,000 injured from
gunfire emanating from Jaffa.
(Econ., 2/21/15, p.18)
1937 Feb 22, Samuel Whitbread,
English brewer, multi-millionaire, was born.
1937 Feb 26, C. Isherwood and
W.H. Auden's "Ascent of F6" premiered in London.
Apr 1, Aden became a British colony.
1937 Apr 13, Edward Fox, actor
(M-Never Say Never Again, The Day of the Jackal), was born in
1937 May 12, The Duke of York
was crowned Britain's King George VI at Westminster Abbey.
(SFEM, 1/26/97, p.40)(AP, 5/12/97)
1937 May 28, Neville
Chamberlain became prime minister of Britain. Stanley Baldwin had
nominated Neville Chamberlain as his successor and tendered his
1937 Jun 3, The Duke of
Windsor, who had abdicated the British throne, married Wallis
Warfield Simpson in Monts, France. In 2003 secret police records
revealed that Simpson was also having an affair with Guy Marcus
Trundle, a used car salesman.
(AP, 6/3/97)(SFC, 1/30/03, p.A10)
1937 Jun 8, In Britain Stanley
Baldwin accepted an earldom and retired from politics.
1937 Jun 11, Reginald Joseph
Mitchell (b.1895), British aeronautical engineer and chief designer
of the Spitfire fighter, died of cancer.
(ON, 3/07, p.2)
1937 Jun 21, Wimbledon was
televised for the first time.
1937 Jul 3, Tom Stoppard,
British author and dramatist, was born in Czechoslovakia as Tomas
Strassler. His plays include "Rosencrantz and Gilderstern are Dead"
and "The Real Thing." His family soon fled the Nazis to Singapore.
In 2002 Ira Nadel authored the biography "Tom Stoppard: A Life."
(HN, 7/3/99)(MC, 7/3/02)(SSFC, 9/1/02, p.M5)
1937 Jul 9, David Hockney,
painter, was born in Bradford, England. He moved to LA in 1978.
(HN, 7/9/01)(SFC, 8/18/01, p.B3)
1937 Jul 20, Don Budge (22),
American tennis player, defeated Baron Gottfried von Cram (28) of
Germany at Wimbledon in a semi-final round to see who would face
England. James Thurber later described the Budge-Cramm five-set
marathon as “the greatest match in the history of the world."
(WSJ, 4/25/09, p.W8)
1937 Sep 15, Prime Minister of
England Neville Chamberlain flew to Germany to discuss the future of
Czechoslovakia with Adolf Hitler.
1937 Oct 9, Brian Blessed,
English actor (King Arthur, High Road to China, Hamlet, Henry V),
1937 Nov 17, Peter Edward Cook,
actor, comedian (Beyond the Fringe, Bedazzled), was born in Torquay,
1937 Nov 17, Britain's Lord
Halifax visited Germany and marked the beginning of appeasement.
1937 Dec 3, Stephen Rubin,
English attorney and shoe manufacturer (Reebok, Adidas), was born.
1937 Dec 23, London warned Rome
to stop the anti-British propaganda in Palestine.
1937 Ronald Coase (b.1910),
British economist, authored “The Nature of the Firm." It was based
on a lecture he gave at Dundee in 1932. Here he pointed out that the
standard model of economics did not fit with what goes on within
9/7/13, p.13)(Econ 7/29/17, p.59)
1937 George Orwell (1903-1950)
authored "The Road to Wigan Pier." The first half of this work
documents his sociological investigations of Lancashire and
Yorkshire in the industrial north of England before World War II.
The second half is a long essay of his upbringing, and the
development of his political conscience. It marked his 1st
disagreement with mainstream Socialists.
1937 J.B. Priestley
(1894-1984), English novelist and playwright, authored his play
“Time and the Conways." It illustrated J. W. Dunne's Theory Of Time
through the experience of a moneyed Yorkshire family, the Conways,
over a period of roughly 20 years from 1919 to 1937.
1937 Olaf Stapledon
(1886-1950), British philosopher and science fiction writer,
authored “Star Maker."
1937 The film "Fire Over
England" starred Flora Robson, Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh. It
was about events surrounding the defeat of the Spanish Armada.
(SFEC, 3/21/99, DB p.45)
1937 England’s King Edward
VIII, Duke of Windsor, abdicated to marry Wallis Warfield Simpson.
[Chronicle says 1936]
(Hem., 8/96, p.21)(SFC, 12/4/96, p.C3)
1937 An English cricket team
toured Germany. In 2014 Dan Waddell authored “Field of Shadows: The
Remarkable True Story of the English Cricket Tour of Nazi Germany,
(Econ, 5/10/14, p.82)
1937 Burma was made a crown
colony of Britain. It had been administered as a province of India.
(SFC, 5/7/02, p.A9)(SFC, 3/20/18, p.19)
1938 Feb 13, Oliver Reed, actor
(Big Sleep), was born in London, England.
1938 Feb 17, The first Baird
color TV was demonstrated at the Dominion Theatre in London. [see
(HN, 2/17/01)(MC, 2/17/02)
1938 Feb 20, Anthony Eden
(1897-1977) resigned as British foreign secretary in a dispute with
PM Neville Chamberlain. He said Chamberlain was appeasing Germany.
1938 Feb 27, Britain and France
recognized the Franco government in Spain.
1938 Jul 20, Diana Rigg,
actress (Emma Peel-Avengers, Hospital), was born in Doncaster,
1938 Jul 21, Paul Hindemith
& Leonide Massines ballet premiered in London.
1938 Aug 3, Terry "5 Wigs"
Wogan, British talk show host (Irish Days), was born.
1938 Sep 10, Charles Cruft,
(.b1852), English founder of the Crufts dog show (1886), died. He
was the general manager of James Spratt dog biscuits and founded the
show as a vehicle to market.
1938 Sep 17, British premier
Neville Chamberlain left Munich.
1938 Sep 20, Emlyn Williams’
"Corn is Green," premiered in London.
1938 Sep 21, Winston Churchill
condemned Hitler's annexation of Czechoslovakia.
1938 Sep 23, British premier
Neville Chamberlain flew to Munich.
1938 Sep 29, British, French,
German and Italian leaders signed the Munich Agreement, which was
aimed at appeasing Adolf Hitler by allowing Nazi annexation of
Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland, inhabited by a German-speaking
minority. The treaty ceded three areas of Czechoslovakia to other
powers: the Sudetenland was annexed into Germany, the Teschen
district was given to Poland, and parts of Slovakia went to Hungary.
British PM Neville Chamberlain gained a brief peace agreement from
Hitler at Munich and without consulting the Czechs agreed that Nazi
forces could occupy Sudetenland. Some mark this "appeasement policy"
as the decisive event of the century. Chamberlain predicted "peace
in our time." French PM Edouard Daladier was very depressed from the
meeting. In 1980 Telford Taylor published "Munich: The Price of
Peace." It is a detailed political & diplomatic history of the
1930's in Europe, culminating in the Munich conference. Taylor later
helped write the rules for Nuremberg Trials. In 2008 David Vaughan
authored “Battle for the Airwaves: Radio and the 1938 Munich
6/9/96, Z1 p.5)(SFC, 6/16/96, Z1 p.6)(WSJ, 6/8/98, p.A21)(AP,
9/29/06)(SFC, 5/26/98, p.B2)(Econ, 10/11/08, p.115)
1938 Sep 30, A day after
co-signing the Munich Agreement allowing Nazi annexation of
Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland, British Prime Minister Neville
Chamberlain praised the accord on his return home, saying, "I
believe it is peace for our time."
1938 Sep, The first workable
British radar system, called the Chain Home, started operation. By
December Great Britain had five radar stations along its coasts to
warn of enemy aircraft and over a dozen more were under
construction. Fearing future wars where aircraft, especially
bombers, could threaten Britain, the government pressed engineers to
pursue radar research, beginning in 1935. Many other nations,
including the United States, the Soviet Union and Japan, were busy
with their own experiments with radar.
1938 Oct 22, Derek Jacobi,
actor (Lanner-Strauss Family, Dead Again), was born in London.
1938 Nov, Britain began a
program called Kindertransport to admit unaccompanied Jewish
children from Austria and Germany up to age 17 if they had a host
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kindertransport)(SFC, 7/2/15, p.A6)
1938 The BBC began its first
foreign language service, an Arabic radio service.
(WSJ, 1/13/00, p.A19)(WSJ, 1/19/02, p.B1)(Econ,
1938 British expatriates in
Kuala Lumpur converted a hunting tradition to a drinking and running
event called Hashing, named in reference to the bad food at the
Selangar Club, where they hung out.
(SFC, 8/11/00, WBb p.7)
1838-1923 John, Viscount Morley of Blackburn,
English journalist: "The great business of life is to be, to do, to
do without, and to depart."
1939 Feb 28, Great Britain
recognized the Franco regime in Spain. [see Feb 27, 1938]
1939 Mar 2, Howard Carter,
archeologist, died in London at age 62. He led the discovery of the
Tomb of Tutankhamen in 1922.
(ON, 5/00, p.8)
1939 Mar 14, In Czechoslovakia
the first 20 Jewish children bound for London left Prague on a train
as part of a program organized by Nicholas Winton (1909-2015), a
London stockbroker. By September he managed to get out seven of
eight train loads carrying 669 children. The 8th train, carrying 250
children, disappeared on September 1 as Hitler invaded Poland and
all borders were closed.
(SFC, 7/2/15, p.A6)
1939 Mar 31, Britain and France
agreed to support Poland if Germany threatened to invade. Seven
French islands were annexed by Japan.
1939 Apr 6, Great Britain and
Poland signed a military pact.
1939 Apr 12, Alan Ayckbourn,
playwright, was born in London.
1939 May 17, Britain's King
George VI and Queen Elizabeth arrived in Quebec on the first visit
to Canada by reigning British sovereigns.
1939 May 23, British parliament
planned to make Palestine independent by 1949.
1939 May 25, Ian McKellen,
actor (Keep, Plenty, Scarlet Pimpernel), was born in England.
1939 Jun 1, Submarine Thetis:
sank in Liverpool Bay, England; 99 perished.
1939 Jun 5, Margaret Drabble,
English novelist (The Millstone, The Realms of Gold), was born.
1939 Jun 11, King & Queen
of England tasted their 1st "hot dogs" at FDR's party.
1939 Jun 28, Richard
Meinertzhagen (1877-1967, a British army colonel, met with Adolf
Hitler to plead on behalf of the Jews in Germany. He later claimed
to have smuggled a pistol into the chancellery but lost his nerve
and failed to shoot Hitler. In 2007 Brian Garfield authored “The
(WSJ, 2/10/07, p.P9)
1939 Jun, In Britain 50 letter
bombs exploded in postboxes and post offices in London, Birmingham
and Manchester. The IRA claimed responsibility as part of their
(Econ, 11/6/10, p.74)
1939 Jul 8, Henry Havelock
Ellis (80), English sexologist (Man & Woman), died.
1939 Jul 26, The London Times
reported the discovery of a buried ship and other artifacts at
Sutton Hoo. Archeologist later suspected that it was an empty grave
and memorial for a 7th century Anglo-Saxon chief.
(ON, 4/03, p.10)
1939 Aug 25, Britain and France
signed a treaty with Poland promising military assistance should the
(ON, 11/05, p.3)
1939 Sep 3, British envoy Sir
Neville Henderson delivered Britain’s final ultimatum to the Reich’s
(DrEE, 10/26/96, p.4)
1939 Sep 3, Britain and France
declared war on Germany, two days after the Nazi invasion of Poland.
After Germany ignored Great Britain's ultimatum to stop the invasion
of Poland, Great Britain declares war on Germany, marking the
beginning of World War II in Europe. France follows 6 hours later
quickly joined by Australia, NZ, South Africa & Canada.
(AP, 9/3/97)(HN, 9/3/98)(MC, 9/3/01)
1939 Sep 3, The British
passenger ship Athenia was sunk by a German submarine in the
Atlantic, with 30 Americans among those killed. American Secretary
of State Cordell Hull warns Americans to avoid travel to Europe
unless absolutely necessary.
1939 Sep 6, The 1st WW II
German air attack on Great Britain took place.
1939 Sep 11, British submarine
Triton torpedoed British submarine Oxley.
1939 Sep 14, British fleet sank
the German U-39 U-boat.
1939 Sep 17, The German U-29
sank the British aircraft carrier Courageous, 519 died.
1939 Sep 19, The British
Expeditionary Force reached France.
1939 Sep 20, After sinking
trawlers off the northern Hebrides, German U-27 was located and sunk
by destroyers "Fortune" and "Forester."
1939 Sep 23, Sigmund Freud
(b.1856), founder of psychoanalysis, died in London. He had escaped
from Vienna in 1938. His work “Moses and Monotheism" was published
this year. Freud was nominated for the Nobel Medicine Prize for the
first time in 1915 by US neurologist William Alanson White, and went
on to be nominated for a Nobel a total of 13 times until 1938. In
1986 Frederick Crews, a skeptic on Freud's work, published
"Skeptical Engagements." Crews also published "The memory wars:
Freud's Legacy in dispute" and "Unauthorized Freud: Doubters
Confront a Legend." Freud's last days were dramatized in 1999 by
Terry Johnson in the play "Hysteria."
(SFEM, 1/10/99, p.4)(AP, 9/23/99)(WSJ, 12/23/99,
1939 Oct 1, Churchill called
the Soviets a "riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma."
1939 Oct 4, Pamela Churchill
Harriman married Randolph Churchill, son of Winston. She was later
appointed by Pres. Clinton as ambassador to France. In 1996 Sally
Bedell Smith wrote her biography: "Reflected Glory: The Life of
Pamela Churchill Harriman."
(SFC, 10/23/96, p.E6)(SFC, 2/6/97, p.A14)
1939 Oct 14, The German U-47,
commanded by Kapitan Gunther Prien, sank the British battleship HMS
Royal Oak at Scapa Flow, Scotland, and 833 people were killed. This
prompted Churchill to order the creation of concrete barriers at the
eastern entrance of Scapa Flow.
1939 Oct 21, As war heated up
with Germany, the British war cabinet held its first meeting in the
underground war room in London.
1939 Oct 28, A Spitfire shot
down a German Heinkel-111 over Scotland.
1939 Oct 30, German U boat
failed in an attack of English battleship Nelson with Winston
Churchill, Dudley Pound and Charles Forbes aboard.
1939 Nov 9, In the
Venlo-incident, German Abwehr killed 2 English agents.
1939 Nov 18, The Irish
Republican Army exploded three bombs in Picadilly Circus.
1939 Nov 25, Nazis reported
four British ships sunk in the North Sea, but London denied the
1939 Nov, In Birmingham John
Randall invented the cavity magnetron. It was a microwave
transmitter 1000 times more powerful than any other at the time.
(Wired, 2/98, p.134)
1939 Dec 2, British Imperial
Airways and British Airways merged to form BOAC.
1939 Dec 6, Britain agreed to
send arms to Finland.
1939 Dec 13, In the Battle at
La Plata 3 British cruisers fought the German "pocket battleship,"
Graf Spee, which took refuge in Montevideo, Uruguay. The following
day, the badly damaged ship left port, deliberately ran aground in
the bay, where the officers led the crew in scuttling and exploding
the Graf Spee. Two days later, the commander of the German warship
committed suicide in his Buenos Aires hotel room. Today, at low
tide, water commuters between Buenos Aires and Montevideo can see
part of the superstructure breaking the surface. [see Dec 17,18]
1939 Dec 17, In the Battle of
River Plate near Montevideo, Uruguay, the British trapped the German
pocket battleship Graf Spee. German Captain Langsdorf sank his ship
believing that resistance was hopeless. [see Dec 13,18]
(AP, 12/17/97)(HN, 12/17/98)
1939 Dec 18, The Graf Spee was
scuttled. A ferocious sea battle off the coast of South America
between the German battleship Admiral Graf Spee and the British
ships Exeter, Ajax, and Achilles, preceded the scuttling. The German
captain Hans Langsdorf, later killed himself. On the 13th, heavily
the armed German ship held off the three vessels for three hours,
sustaining some damage, and then fled into the harbor of Montevideo,
Uruguay. Over the next few days the British tricked the Germans into
believing that a large British fleet had them trapped.
1939 Dec 23, The first Canadian
troops arrived in Britain.
1939 E.H. Carr, British
scholar, authored “The Twenty Years’ Crises: 1919-1939." It became a
seminal work on the realism that instructed US and British Cold War
(WSJ, 12/29/07, p.W8)
1939 Britain’s Ministry of
Information crafted a poster with the injunction “Keep Calm and
Carry On" to raise the morale of the British public in the case of
1939 Nicholas Winton (b.1909),
English stockbroker, saved 669 Jewish children by organizing train
transport from Prague to London at the outbreak of World War II. In
2007 the Czech Rep. awarded Sir Nicholas Winton (98) the Cross of
Merit of the 1st class for saving the children. In 2001 the
biography, “Nicholas Winton and the Rescued Generation," by Muriel
Emmanuel and Vera Gissing was published. The documentary film
“Nicholas J Winton - the Power of Good," was shown in September 2001
in Prague, where Sir Nicholas met 250 of those he saved.
1939-1941 This period is covered in Lynne Olson’s
2013 book: “Those Angry Days: Roosevelt, Lindbergh, and America’s
Fight Over World War II." Hundreds of British agents flooded neutral
America with Roosevelt’s tacit approval.
(Econ, 4/27/13, p.78)
1939-1945 Winston Churchill authorized bribes of
some $100 million to Spanish military leaders to keep Spain out of
(SFC, 8/5/97, p.A10)
1939-1945 Johnnie Johnson (d.2001 at 85), fighter
pilot and leading Allied air ace, shot down 38 German planes. In
1956 he authored the autobiography "Wing Leader."
(SFC, 2/2/01, p.D7)
1939-1945 Field Marshal Lord Alanbrooke served as
Britain’s military chief of staff for much of WW II. In 2001 Alex
Danchev and Daniel Todman edited his "War Diaries 1939-1945."
(SSFC, 8/12/01, DB p.62)
1939-1945 Much of what happened at Bletchley Park
remains as mysterious today as when the 581-acre Buckinghamshire
estate became the center for an unprecedented technological
offensive against Hitler’s encrypted military communications. Under
the code name Ultra, cryptologists at Bletchley intercepted and
decoded confidential German radio signals, including the supposedly
unbreakable Enigma code, the primary method the German armed forces
use to encrypt radio dispatches.
1939-1945 Improvised from a bomber, the twin
engine Bristol Beaufighter was the most heavily armed Allied fighter
of World War II, the Beaufighter was one of the finest multi-role
combat aircraft to see service during that conflict.
1939-1962 A drinking club called "The Inklings"
gathered every Tuesday at "The Eagle and Child" public house in
Oxford, England. Members included CS Lewis, Charles Williams, JRR
Tolkien and others.
(SSFC, 1/26/03, p.B12)
1940 Jan 8, Britain began
rationing sugar, meat and butter.
1940 Jan 10, German planes
attacked 12 ships off the British coast; three sank and 35 were
1940 Feb 8, Ted Koppel,
American television journalist, was born in Lancashire, England, as
Edward James Koppel. His family came to the United States in 1953,
and he was naturalized as a US citizen in 1963.
1940 Feb 12, The USSR signed a
trade treaty with Germany to aid against the British blockade.
1940 Feb 14, Britain announced
that all merchant ships would be armed.
1940 Feb 16, The British
destroyer HMS Cossack rescue British seamen from a German prison
ship, the Altmark, in a Norwegian fjord.
1940 Feb 28, The Superliner
Queen Elizabeth was launched in Britain. It was retired in 1968 and
destroyed by a fire in Hong Kong harbor.
(HN, 2/28/98)(SSFC, 9/14/03, p.C1)
1940 Mar 3, A Nazi air raid
killed 108 on a British liner in the English Channel.
1940 Mar 5, The British
surprised Mussolini by taking seven Italian coal ships.
1940 Mar 14, Rita Tushingham,
actress (Green Eyes, Dr Zhivago), was born in Liverpool, England.
1940 Mar 16, Germany launched
an air raid on British fleet base at Scapa Flow.
1940 Mar 20, The British RAF
conducted an all-night air raid on the Nazi airbase at Sylt,
1940 May 21, Nazis surrounded
the British Army at Dunkirk.
1940 May 21, British tank
forces attacked General Erwin Rommel’s 7th Panzer Division at Arras,
slowing his blitzkrieg of France.
1940 Mar 25, The US agreed to
give Britain and France access to all American warplanes.
1940 Apr 8, German battle
cruisers sank British aircraft carrier Glorious.
1940 Apr 8, British troops
landed at Narwik to mine Norway’s territorial waters.
(ON, 11/05, p.3)
1940 Apr 10, The HMS Hunter, a
British destroyer, went down with 110 men in the fist Battle of
Narvik as the Royal Navy tried to keep German forces from
overrunning a strategic Norwegian port. Germany lost 4 destroyers in
the battle. In 2008 a Norwegian minehunter found the wreck
1940 Apr 15, French and British
troops landed at Narvik, Norway.
1940 Apr 29, Norwegian King
Haakon and government fled to England.
1940 May 4, Commander Rupert
Lonsdale (d.1999 at 93) took his submarine, the Seal, into the
Kattegat Strait between Denmark and Sweden, to place mines in the
German shipping lanes. One mine exploded and sent the vessel to the
bottom. They managed to refloat after 23 hours and Lonsdale (35)
surrendered the ship and 59 weary crewmen to a German seaplane.
Aside from a few coastal craft and abandoned ships, the Seal was the
only British warship to fall into enemy hands during WW II.
(SFC, 5/31/99, p.A17)
1940 May 5, Norwegian
government in exile formed in London.
1940 May 7-1940 May 8, The
British House of Commons debated the disastrous Norwegian campaign.
1940 May 8, British PM Neville
1940 May 10, Winston Churchill
took office as PM. Churchill formed a new government and served as
the Conservative head of a coalition government with the opposition
Labor Party. The debate over the Norway campaign led directly to
Churchill replacing Chamberlain.
(WSJ, 9/3/98, p.A6)(PCh, 1992, p.864)(Econ,
1940 May 10, British Local
Defense Volunteers, the Home Guard, formed.
1940 May 13, In his first
speech as prime minister of Britain, Winston Churchill told the
House of Commons, "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears
1940 May 13, British bombed a
factory at Breda, Netherlands.
1940 May 13, Dutch Queen
Wilhelmina fled to England.
1940 May 14, British and French forces
began a general retreat from Belgium, heading southwest toward
(ON, 12/12, p.1)
1940 May 20, British Admiral
Bertram H. Ramsay met with his staff beneath Dover Castle to draw up
a formal plan for the evacuation of British and French forces from
Dunkirk. The plan was called “Operation Dynamo."
(ON, 8/12, p.2)
1940 May 21, Nazis surrounded
the British Army at Dunkirk. British and French forces staged a
counterattack near Arras, but failed to clear a path to Le Havre.
(HN, 5/21/98)(ON, 8/12, p.2)
1940 May 24, Hitler ordered a
halt to his forces converging on Dunkirk and the British, who were
backed to the sea. This event and the next 4 days were described in
the 1999 book: "Five Days in London, May 1940" by John Lukacs.
(WSJ, 11/8/99, p.A48)
1940 May 20, Gen. Guderian's
British expeditionary army tanks reached The Channel.
1940 May 22, Premier Winston
Churchill flew to Paris.
1940 May 26, Operation Dynamo
was launched for the evacuation of British, French and Belgian
soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk in northern France. The German
Luftwaffe launched a bombing campaign on the harbor of Dunkirk. The
new British Spitfire fighters helped provide air cover. The
operation continued to June 4.
(ON, 3/07, p.2)(AP, 5/26/97)(ON, 8/12, p.2)
1940 May 28, During the
evacuation at Dunkirk a Germany torpedo boat sank the HMS Wakeful
sending over 700 men to their deaths. A Germany submarine hit the
destroyer HMS Grafton killing 35 army officers. Other British
destroyers mistook the British drifter Comfort for an enemy torpedo
boat and killed all but 5 men aboard. The Queen of the Channel was
hit by Germany bombs. Most of the 950 soldiers on board were
transferred to a rescue ship before the ferry went down.
(ON, 8/12, p.3)
1940 May 29, The German air
force launched massive attacks on the harbor at Dunkirk. A British
destroyer and 6 of the biggest merchant ships in the harbor were
(ON, 8/12, p.4)
1940 May 31, British General
Bernard Montgomery left Dunkirk. The French government allowed
French soldiers to be picked up at Dunkirk.
(MC, 5/31/02)(ON, 8/12, p.4)
1940 May 31, Winston Churchill
flew to Paris.
1940 May, Winston Churchill
faced down the apostles of appeasement in his War Cabinet. In 2000
John Lukacs authored "Five Days in London, May 1940," which told of
struggle in the English cabinet.
(SFEC, 2/27/00, BR p.8)
1940 Jun 1, German air attacks
at Dunkirk sank 31 vessels and damaged 11. The HMS Worcester limped
back to Dover with 340 dead and 400 wounded. By midnight 64,429 men
were landed safely in England.
(ON, 8/12, p.4)
1940 Jun 2, Britain’s Operation
Dynamo save 26,256 men from Dunkirk.
(ON, 8/12, p.4)
1940 Jun 4, The Allied military
evacuation of 300,000 troops from Dunkirk, France, ended. Operation
Dynamo counted 235 vessels lost as well as 177 aircraft in combat at
Dunkirk and the English Channel. French defenders surrendered. Some
30-40,000 French troops became prisoners of war.
(AP, 6/4/97)(HN, 6/4/98)(ON, 8/12, p.4)
1940 Jun 10, Italy declared war
on France and Britain; Canada declared war on Italy.
1940 Jun 18, During World War
Two, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill urged his countrymen
to conduct themselves in a manner that would prompt future
generations to say, "This was their finest hour."
1940 Jul 3, British Royal Navy
sank a French fleet in North Africa, ten days after France had
signed an armistice with Nazi Germany.
1940 Jul 4, British destroyed
French battle fleet at Oran, Algeria, 1267 died.
1940 Jul 5, During World War
II, Britain and Marshal Henri Petain's Vichy government in France
broke diplomatic relations.
(AP, 7/5/97)(HN, 7/5/98)
1940 Jul 7, Ringo Starr,
drummer for the Beatles, was born. He went on to a solo career and
1940 Jul 10, During World War
II, the 114-day Battle of Britain began as Nazi forces began
attacking southern England by air. By October 31, Britain managed to
repel the Luftwaffe, which suffered heavy losses. Reginald Mitchell
(1895-1937), the designer of the Spitfire, and Sydney Camm, the
designer of the Hurricane, were both saviors. Both fighters were
necessary to win the battle. The R.A.F.’s Fighter Command began the
Battle of Britain with about 650 Hurricanes and Spitfires, and lost
over 900 of same during the course of the battle; enormous
production of replacements made good the losses to such an extent
that at times during the battle, Fighter Command had over 900
operational Hurricanes and Spitfires. In his book "The Air War
1939-1945," Richard J. Overy wrote, ". . . the Spitfire took two and
a half times the man hours that it took to produce a Hurricane
fighter." In overall performance the Spitfire was slightly better
than the Hurricane, but the above production figures give some clue
to the Hurricane’s importance. Re the Luftwaffe heavy bomber: The
Luftwaffe had a couple of four-engine bombers, the Heinkel He-177
and the Focke Wulf FW-200, but neither were produced in large
numbers, and neither were in the same league as the American B-17,
B-24, or B-29, or the British Lancaster. Hitler was fascinated by
high-tech "super weapons" and attempted to produce them at the
expense of more worthwhile, conventional ones. This was a guy who,
when nearly everyone else knew Germany was finished, wanted to build
a 1,500-ton tank and a long-range rocket to attack the United
(AP, 7/10/97)(ON, 3/07, p.2)(ExH, 3/23/98)
1940 Jul 10-1940 Oct 31, The
Battle of Britain in July-October of 1940 was an earth-shakingly
decisive campaign (not just a battle). Hermann Goering’s Luftwaffe
gathered over 2,500 combat planes for a bombing campaign that would
be a prelude to "Operation Sea Lion" (an invasion of Britain).
British Air Marshall Hugh C. Dowding’s Royal Air Force’s Fighter
Command could muster about 650 decent fighters (Hurricanes and
Spitfires). The Luftwaffe came perilously close to wearing down the
R.A.F., but at about that time, a German bomber accidentally dropped
bombs on London, Churchill bombed Berlin, and Hitler switched the
Luftwaffe’s attack from the R.A.F. to London, giving the R.A.F. a
breather. The Luftwaffe’s bombers carried too small a bomb load for
a strategic bombing campaign and were inadequately armed to defend
themselves against R.A.F. fighters. The Luftwaffe’s Me-109 fighter
lacked the range to provide sufficient escort for the bombers, which
were massacred by Hurricanes and Spitfires. The Germans knew that
the British radar installations existed, and did launch some attacks
upon them, but never realized how vital radar truly was in directing
R.A.F. fighters to intercept raiding aircraft. In 1969 the film
“Battle of Britain" starred Laurence Olivier as Hugh C. Dowding. In
2010 James Holland authored “The Battle of Britain: Five Months That
(ExC, JWL, 3/20/98)(WSJ, 1/9/09, p.W10)(Econ,
1940 Jul 13, Patrick Stewart,
actor (Picard-Star Trek Next Generation), was born in England.
1940 Jul 19, Hitler ordered
Great Britain to surrender.
1940 Jul 23, German bombers
began the "Blitz," the all-night air raids on London.
1940 Jul 30, A bombing lull
ended the first phase of the Battle of Britain.
1940 Aug 7, Churchill
recognized the De Gaulle government in exile.
1940 Aug 8, The German
Luftwaffe attacked Great Britain for the first time, beginning the
Battle of Britain.
1940 Aug 11, 38 German
aircrafts were shot down over England.
1940 Aug 11, Italian forces
attacked Observation Hill in British Somaliland. Capt. Wilson and
Somali gunners under his command beat off the attack and opened fire
on the enemy troops attacking Mill Hill, another post within his
range. The enemy finally overran the post at 5 p.m. on the 15th
August when Capt. Wilson, fighting to the last, was reportedly
killed. 2 months later he was awarded a Victoria Cross. In April
1941, however, Wilson was found alive in a prisoner of war camp in
Eritrea. Wilson died at age 96 on Dec 23, 2008.
1940 Aug 12, Luftwaffe bombed
British radar stations and lost 31 aircraft.
1940 Aug 13, Der Adler Tag
(Eagle Day) was the name given to the day the German Luftwaffe
launched an all-out offensive against the Royal Air Force and the
British aircraft industry in southern England. With this action,
Adolf Hitler hoped to knock out any aerial resistance to his planned
invasion of the British Isles. RAF fighter pilots successfully held
off the numerically superior Luftwaffe, in spite of the loss of 415
pilots out of a force of 1,500.
1940 Aug 15, In the
largest–scale raids in the history of aerial warfare, hundreds of
Germany planes struck against London and its suburbs. Hitler’s
planned Operation Sea Lion was to have commenced on this day.
However it was cancelled on Aug 17 following heavy German air raid
losses. In 2008 Michael Korda authored “With Wings Like Eagles: A
History of the Battle of Britain."
(WSJ, 1/9/09, p.W10)
1940 Aug 16, 45 German
aircrafts were shot down over England.
1940 Aug 18, The Duke of
Windsor (1894-1972), was installed as Governor of the Bahamas. He
had served as Britain’s King Edward VIII in 1936. Edward continued
as governor of the Bahamas to 1945.
1940 Aug 18, 71 German aircraft
were shot down above England.
1940 Aug 20, Radar is used for
the first time, by the British during the Battle of Britain.
1940 Aug 20, British Prime
Minister Winston Churchill paid tribute to the Royal Air Force,
saying, "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so
many to so few."
1940 Aug 23, German Luftwaffe
began night bombing on London.
1940 Aug 24, Luftwaffe bombed
1940 Aug 25, The 1st (British)
night bombing of Germany was over Berlin.
1940 Sep 3, US gave Britain 50
destroyers in exchange for Newfoundland base lease.
1940 Sep 7, Nazi Germany began
its initial blitz on London during the World War II Battle of
Britain. The German Luftwaffe blitzed London for the 1st of 57
consecutive nights. Nazi Germany launched the aerial bombing of
London that Adolf Hitler believed would soften Britain for an
invasion. The invasion, "Operation Sea Lion," never materialized.
The Luftwaffe lost 41 bombers over England. The blitz only
strengthened Britain's resistance. The defense of London was for the
Royal Air Force what Churchill called "their finest hour."
(AP, 9/7/97)(HN, 9/7/98)
1940 Sep 9, 28 German aircraft
were shot down above England.
1940 Sep 11, Brian DePalma,
Newark NJ, film director (Body Double, Dressed to Kill), was born.
1940 Sep 13, Buckingham Palace
was hit by German bombs causing superficial damage.
1940 Sep 15, The tide turned in
Battle of Britain in WW II. A reported 185 German planes were shot
down by Royal Air Force (RAF) pilots, forcing Nazi leader Adolf
Hitler to abandon his invasion plans.
1940 Sep 15, Sergeant Ray
Holmes (1915-2005) slammed his Hurricane into a German Dornier
bomber to prevent it attacking Buckingham Palace. The date of 15
September has come to be known as Battle of Britain Day and has been
commemorated every year since.
1940 Sep 16, The Luftwaffe
bombed the Bristol Aeroplane Company.
1940 Sep 18, 19 German aircraft
were shot down above England.
1940 Sep 24, Luftwaffe bombed
the Spitfire factory in Southampton.
1940 Sep 26, During the London
Blitz, the underground Cabinet War Room suffered a hit when a bomb
exploded on the Clive Steps.
1940 Sep 27, 55 German
aircrafts were shot down above England.
1940 Sep 30, 47 German
aircrafts were shot down above England.
1940 Oct 2, 17 German aircrafts
were shot down above England.
1940 Oct 2, The British liner
Empress, loaded with refugees for Canada, sank.
1940 Oct 4, 12 German aircrafts
were shot down above England.
1940 Oct 9, John Winston Lennon
(d.1980) was born in Liverpool, England. Composer; musician; one
fourth of the idolized rock group, The Beatles; 2nd wife was Yoko
Ono he had two children Julian (from his first wife who he mostly
abandoned emotionally and financially) and Sean. On December 8,
1980, John Lennon was shot to death outside his New York City
apartment building. "The unknown is what it is. And to be frightened
of it is what sends everybody scurrying around chasing dreams,
illusions, wars, peace, love, hate, all that. Unknown is what it is.
Accept that it's unknown and it's plain sailing."
(HN, 10/9/98)(AP, 12/8/98)(MC, 10/9/01)
1940 Oct 15-1940 Oct 16,
London's Waterloo Station was bombed by Germans. The bombing
continued on London for 2 days and killed 400 people.
1940 Oct 18, Britain reopened
the Burma Road linking Myanmar with China, three months after
1940 Oct 31, In the Battle of
Britain, the German and British duel for control of English Channel,
1940 Nov 10, Arthur Neville
Chamberlain (71), British premier (1937-40), died.
1940 Nov 11, Britain’s Royal
Navy attacked the Italian fleet at Taranto.
1940 Nov 14, Coventry, England,
was devastated by German bombers in the worst air raid of World War
II, killing 1,000.
(AP, 11/14/97)(HN, 11/14/98)
1940 Nov 19, A German air raid
on Birmingham failed.
1940 Dec 8, During the Battle
of Britain, the German Luftwaffe launched a massive attack on London
as night fell. For nearly 24 hours, the Luftwaffe rained tons of
bombs over the city, causing the first serious damage to the House
of Commons and Tower of London.
1940 Dec 9, British troops
opened their first major offensive in North Africa during World War
II and seized 1,000 Italians in a sudden thrust in Egypt.
(AP, 12/9/97)(HN, 12/9/98)
1940 Dec 16, British carried
out an air raid on Italian Somalia.
1940 Dec 29, During World War
II, Germany began dropping incendiary bombs on London, setting off
what came to be known as "The Second Great Fire of London." In 2006
Margaret Gaskin authored “Blitz: The Story of December 29, 1940."
(AP, 12/29/97)(SSFC, 12/17/06, p.M3)
1940 Singer Dusty Springfield
was born as Mary Isabel Catherine Bernadette O'Brien in London.
(SFC, 3/4/99, p.D2)
1940 P.A. Wodehouse (d.1975),
British writer, was put into an internment camp after Germany
defeated France, where he and his wife, Edith, were living. He was
released the following year and made five lighthearted radio
broadcasts to England and America from Berlin.
1940 Britain’s PM Churchill set
up the Special Operations Executive (SOE) to organize agents abroad.
In 1942 the SOE began recruiting women. In 2005 Sarah Helm authored
“A Life in Secrets: The Story of Vera Atkins and the Lost Agents of
(Econ, 8/6/05, p.69)(AFP, 4/21/15)
1940 Britain’s PM Winston
Churchill sent a handful of young British officers to Washington,
DC, to ingratiate themselves on the social scene and advance the
British cause through good manners. They included Roald Dahl, Ian
Fleming and David Ogilvy. In 2008 Jennet Conant authored “The
Irregulars: Roald Dahl and the British Spy Ring in Wartime
(WSJ, 9/11/08, p.A13)
1940 Following the fall of
France Claude Peri commandeered the merchant ship Le Rhin and placed
it at the disposal of British naval intelligence. Peri got his
mistress, Madeleine Bayard, the job of cipher officer on the ship.
It was renamed the HMS Fidelity and got torpedoed in 1942. In 2005
Edward Marriot authored “Claude and Madeleine: A True Story of Love
War and Espionage."
(Econ, 8/6/05, p.69)
1940-1944 Britain’s Special Operations Executive,
an agency set up by Winston Churchill, carried out operations in
Albania to support anti-German partisans. In 2008 Roderick Bailey
authored "The Wildest Province: SOE in the Land of the Eagle."
(Econ, 3/22/08, p.97)
1941 Jan 21, British communist
newspaper "Daily Worker" was banned.
1941 Jan 21, Australia &
Britain attacked Tobruk, Libya.
1941 Jan 22, British and
Australian troops captured Tobruk from Italians.
1941 Jan 24, Josslyn Victor
Hay, the 22nd Earl of Erroll, was shot to death in Kenya. He was
having an affair with Diana Delves Broughton. The story was covered
in a 1982 book “White Mischief" by James Fox, which was made into a
1988 movie. The BBC television drama The Happy Valley, first
transmitted on 6 September 1987, told the story of Erroll's murder,
as seen through the eyes of 15 year-old the Hon. Juanita Carbery,
daughter of Lord Carbery, to whom John Delves Broughton confessed
his guilt even before he was arrested. Alice de Janze committed
suicide not long after the acquittal Broughton. In 2010 Paul Spicer
authored “The Temptress: The Scandalous Life of Alice de Janze and
the Mysterious Death of Lord Erroll.
1941 Jan 27, The United States
and Great Britain began high-level military talks in Washington.
1941 Feb 6, The RAF cleared the
way as British took Benghazi, Libya, trapping thousands of Italians.
1941 Feb 9, British troops
conquered El Agheila.
1941 Feb 10, London severed
diplomatic relations with Romania. Romania's indigenous fighter, the
IAR 80, saw service in defense of its homeland and against the
1941 Feb 17, The SS Gairsoppa
was torpedoed by a German U-boat. The British ship was carrying some
219 tons of silver when it sank in the North Atlantic some 300 miles
(490 km) off the Irish coast. Of the 85 people on board, only one
survived. In 2011 Florida-based Odyssey Marine Exploration confirmed
the identity and location of the ship. In 2012 Odyssey Marine
Exploration said it had succeeded in removing about 43% of the
9/27/11)(SFC, 7/18/12, p.A2)
1941 Feb 19, George Orwell
published his essay “The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the
English Genius," expressing his opinions on the situation in wartime
(Econ, 2/2/13, SR
1941 Feb 22, Arthur T "Bomber"
Harris became British Air Marshal.
1941 Feb 26, British took the
Somali capital in East Africa.
1941 Mar 5, Britain severed all
relation with Bulgaria and prepared for an air attack on Bulgaria.
1941 Mar 7, British troops
invaded Abyssinia (Ethiopia).
1941 Mar 7, 50,000 British
soldiers landed in Greece.
1941 Mar 10, Vichy France
threatened to use its navy if Britain would not allow food to reach
1941 Mar 21, The last Italian
post in East Libya fell to the British.
1941 Mar 26, Clinton Richard
Dawkins, British ethologist, evolutionary biologist and popular
science author, was born. He came to prominence with his 1976 book
“The Selfish Gene," which popularized the gene-centered view of
evolution and introduced the term meme.
1941 Mar 27, Britain leased
defense bases in Trinidad to the U.S. for a period of 99 years.
1941 Mar 28, The Italian fleet
was routed by the British at the Battle of Matapan off the coast of
Greece. More than 2,000 Italian sailors died and five Italian ships
were destroyed. Mavis Batey (1921-2013) of British intelligence had
decoded a message that signaled the attack three days earlier.
(HN, 3/28/99)(SFC, 11/29/13, p.C4)
1941 Mar 28, Novelist and
critic Virginia Woolf (1882-1941), born as Virginia Stephen, died in
Lewes, England. She feared a mental breakdown and threw herself into
the River Ouse near her home in Sussex. Her body was never found.
She was an English novelist, essayist and critic and wrote standing
up. In 1997 "Art and Affection, A Life of Virginia Woolf" was
published. In 1997 a biography by Hermione Lee was published.
(WUD, 1994, p.1643)(SFC, 6/23/96, zone 1
p.2)(SFEM, 1/12/97, BR p.7)(AP, 3/28/97)(SFEC, 6/22/97, BR p.8)(HN,
1941 Mar 29, The British sank
five Italian warships off the Peloponnesus coast in the
1941 Mar 30, Graeme Edge, rock
drummer (Moody Blues-Your Wildest Dreams), was born in England.
1941 Mar 30, The German Afrika
Korps under General Erwin Rommel began its first offensive against
British forces in Libya.
1941 Apr 3, Churchill warned
Stalin of German invasion.
1941 Apr 6, Italian-held Addis
Ababa surrendered to British and Ethiopian forces.
1941 Apr 17, British troop
landed in Iraq.
1941 Apr 23, Greece Army
surrendered to Nazis; RAF flew Greek king George II to Egypt.
1941 Apr 24, British army began
the evacuation of Greece.
1941 Apr 28, Last British
troops in Greece surrendered.
1941 April 30, Iraqi pro-German
junta leader Rashid Ali ordered 9,000 troops to surround Habaniyah
and prepare to take it. The British troops, supported by Assyrian
and local infantry, defeated three Iraqi brigades with a few hundred
troops and 96 aircraft. By the end of the battle, British
bombers flying from Habaniyah destroyed the entire Iraqi air force.
The ground troops, aided by reinforcements, launched a
counterattack, took control of Baghdad and reinstalled a friendly
1941 May 2, Hostilities broke
out between British forces in Iraq and that country’s pro-German
faction under PM Rashid Ali. Quickly overthrown by British troops, a
pro-British regime under PM Nuri al-Said was installed, declaring
war on the Axis powers in 1943.
(HN, 5/2/99)(HNQ, 6/20/99)(SFC, 9/24/02, p.A10)
1941 May 3, There was a German
air raid on Liverpool.
1941 May 7, British House of
Commons voted for Churchill (477-3).
1941 May 11, London’s
Bridgewater House was bombed. A major work by French painter Paul
Delaroche, "Charles I Insulted by Cromwell's Soldiers" (1837)
depicting the British monarch shortly before his execution in 1649,
was thought to have been virtually destroyed. In 2009 it was
unrolled and found to be in good condition.
1941 May 11, The 1st
Messerschmidt 109F was shot down above England.
1941 May 15, 1st British
1941 May 16, The last great
German air attack on Great Britain was at Birmingham.
1941 May 18, Italian army under
General Aosta surrendered to Britain in Ethiopia.
1941 May 22, British troops
1941 May 24, The German
battleship Bismarck sank the British dreadnought HMS Hood in the
North Atlantic. 1416 died with only three survivors.
(AP, 5/24/97)(HN, 5/24/99)(ON, 10/09, p.2)
1941 May 27, The German
battleship Bismarck was sunk off France by British naval and air
forces with a loss of more than 2,100 lives. British ships rescued 4
officers and 106 of the crew. A German fishing vessel was reported
to have rescued another 100 men.
5/27/07)(ON, 10/09, p.5)
1941 May 29, Roy Crewsdon,
rocker (Freddie & The Dreamers), was born in Manchester.
1941 May 31, An armistice was
arranged between the British and the Iraqis. The British were to
remain in the country and the Iraqis were to do nothing to help the
1941 Jun 1, British troops
occupied Baghdad, Iraq.
1941 Jul 6, German planes
attacked the SS Devon off the east coast of England. Reginald
Earnshaw (14) died in the attack after serving for several months.
In 2010 he was hailed as the youngest known British service casualty
in World War II.
1941 Jun 15, Evelyn Underhill,
English poet and mystic, died.
1941 Jul 13, Britain and the
Soviet Union signed a mutual aid pact, providing the means for
Britain to send war materiel to the Soviet Union.
1941 Jul 19, British Prime
Minister Winston Churchill launched his "V for Victory" campaign in
Europe. The BBC World Service began regular broadcasting
throughout Europe with the opening four notes of Beethoven's
Fifth Symphony, which in Morse Code spell V for "Victory."
(AP, 7/19/97)(MC, 7/19/02)
1941 Jul 23, Douglas Bader
(1910-1982), legless British RAF pilot, was shot down over France
and captured by the Germans. He was liberated when the US First Army
arrived on April 16, 1945. The 1956 film “Reach for the Sky" was
based on the 1954 book by Paul Brickhill: “Reach for the Sky: The
Story of Douglas Bader, Hero of the Battle of Britain."
(ON, 9/05, p.9)
1941 Aug 9, US President
Franklin Roosevelt and PM Winston Churchill met at Placentia Bay,
Newfoundland. Their meeting produced the August 14 Atlantic Charter,
an agreement between the two countries on war aims, even though the
US was still a neutral country.
1941 Aug 10, Great Britain and
the Soviet Union promised aid to Turkey if it was attacked by the
1941 Aug 13, A prototype of the
GEE or AMES Type 7000 British radio navigation system was lost on a
raid over Hanover, Germany. GEE was devised by Robert Dippy and
developed at the Telecommunications Research Establishment (TRE) at
Swanage. Dippy later went to the United States where he worked on
the development of the LORAN system. Loran, long-range navigation,
later fell out of favor with the development of satellite-based
1941 Aug 14, The Atlantic
Charter was created in 1941. It was a joint declaration of peace
aims and a statement of principles that renounced aggression by US
Pres. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Churchill.
(HFA, '96, p.36)(WUD, 1944, p.1683)(AP, 8/14/97)
1941 Aug 14, Josef Jakobs,
German spy, was executed in Tower of London.
1941 Aug 25, British and Soviet
forces entered Iran, opening up a route to supply the Soviet Union.
1941 Aug 27, The Shah of Iran
abdicated the throne to his son Reza Pahlavi. Britain forced Reza
Shah to abdicate and installed his son Mohammed.
1941 Aug 28, The German U-boat
U-570 was captured by the British and renamed Graph.
1941 Aug 29, Robin Leach
(d.2018), host for the American TV series "Lifestyles of the Rich
and Famous," was born in London.
1941 Oct 4, Jackie Collins,
actress, author, was born in London, England. Her books included
"The world Is Full of Married Men (1968), "Stud" (1969), "Bitch"
(1979) and "Deadly Embrace" (2002).
(MC, 10/4/01)(SSFC, 8/4/02, Par p.14)
1941 Nov 7,
British air attacks hit Berlin, Mannheim and Ruhrgebied.
1941 Nov 10, Churchill promised
to join the U.S. "within the hour" in the event of war with Japan.
1941 Nov 13, A German U-boat,
the U-81 torpedoed Great Britain's premier aircraft carrier, the HMS
Ark Royal. The ship sank the next day.
1941 Nov 18, British troops
opened an attack on Tobruk, North Africa.
1941 Nov 21, Juliet Mills,
actress (Nanny & the Professor, QB VII), was born in London
1941 Nov 22, British cruiser
Devonshire sank the German sub Atlantis.
1941 Nov 27, British 13th Army
corp. reached Tobruk.
1941 Nov, The first British SAS
operation, planned to see troops parachute deep behind enemy lines
and destroy German and Italian aircraft at two airfields in Libya,
took place. Strong winds and driving rain caused chaotic conditions,
with several soldiers becoming injured as they attempted to
parachute and one plane shot down, killing 15 troops and the crew.
In 2011 a 600-page book, called "The SAS War Diary," detailed the
regiment's role in the invasions of Sicily and Italy and famed D-Day
landings in France.
1941 Dec 1, British declared a
state of emergency in Malaya following reports of Japanese attacks.
1941 Dec 1, British cruiser
Devonshire sank the German sub Python.
1941 Dec 8, The Japanese
armoured cruiser Izumo shelled Chinese positions from the middle of
the Huangpu River in Shanghai, assisted in sinking the HMS Peterel,
the last British gunboat, and captured the USS Wake, the last
American gunboat. The Izumo and sister ship Iwate sank during the
American aerial attack on Kure in July 1945.
1941 Dec 10, British battleship
Prince of Wales sank off Singapore.
1941 Dec 13, British forces
launched an offensive in Libya.
1941 Dec 13, U-81 torpedoed the
British aircraft carrier Ark Royal.
1941 Dec 19, Japanese landed on
Hong Kong and clashed with British troops.
1941 Dec 22, British Prime
Minister Winston Churchill arrived in Washington for a wartime
conference with President Roosevelt.
1941 Dec 25, Japan announced
the surrender of the British-Canadian garrison at Hong Kong. Major
John Crawford (d.1997) and some 1,975 Canadian soldiers were
captured and incarcerated at the Sham Shui Po prison camp at Kowloon
for 44 months.
(G&M, 7/30/97, p.A24)(HN, 12/25/02)(AP,
1941 Dec 26, Winston Churchill
became the first British prime minister to address a joint meeting
of the U.S. Congress.
1941 Vera Brittain authored
"England’s Hour," an account of life under the Blitzkrieg.
(WSJ, 1/21/02, p.A1)
1941 The British seized Eritrea
from the Italians.
(WSJ, 5/26/00, p.A22)
1941 Britain created its
Special Air Service (SAS) to create havoc behind German lines.
(Econ, 10/22/05, p.60)
1941 Pelham Graham (PG)
Wodehouse (1881-1975), English-US writer, made 5 radio broadcasts
from Nazi Germany. This kept him out of England for the last 34
years of his life.
(Econ, 11/20/04, p.87)