Monday, May 18, 2015

Today -100: May 18, 1915: Of sea lords, captured wigs, and derbies

Riots in Trieste (part of Austria, wants to be part of Italy). Troops allegedly shoot dead 47 women attacking the governor’s palace.

There are rumors about conflicts between the civilian head of the British navy, Winston Churchill, and the Sea Lords (Aquaman’s nemeses, probably)(which isn’t to say that Churchill is secretly Aquaman, although it is true that you never see them in the same ocean at the same time). The rumors are very true, and due to the failure to swarm over Turkish defenses in Gallipoli as predicted (“Where are the gentle slopes?” a soldier says in the Australian mini-series Galliopoli), some heads are about to roll, or float I guess.

Headline of the Day -100: 

That of Corp. Frederick Jagger of the King’s Royal Rifles, a recently exchanged POW. The Germans who captured him kept his wig as a souvenir. He originally lost his hair in the Boer War, and I’ll spare you the explanation of how that happened. Anyway, this war he’s lost a leg, and King George saw him in hospital. After a conversation about his baldness, the king ordered him a new wig.

Portugal’s prime minister João Chagas is dead after being shot four times by a senator! Actually, And every bit of that story is true, except the parts about Chagas being prime minister (he didn’t accept the post) and being dead.

Austrian and Hungarian newspapers are claiming that the Lusitania provoked the attack on itself by showing its guns. The Lusi in fact had no guns, but the Germans have made a big deal about the fact that the ship was an “auxiliary cruiser” in the Royal Navy – the Navy subsidized the ship and had some say in its design and in return could have activated the ship during war as a troop carrier (but when the war started, they decided it was too much of a coal hog).

Bernhard Dernberg, Germany’s former minister of colonies who’s been the sort of unofficial official voice of the German government in the US since the war began, has been finding the atmosphere in New York distinctly unfriendly since he justified the sinking of the Lusitania, saying passengers who ignored German warnings had “committed suicide,” so he’s thinking about going home (or anywhere, really, but Cuba has already said he’s not welcome). Ironically, if he sailed back to Europe he’d face a very real chance of being seized by the British Navy.

King George removes two of his horses from the Derby, out of respect for the war. Or possibly he’s hiding that he cut off their manes to make a wig.

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