Thursday, May 28, 2015

Today -100: May 28, 1915: This is, perhaps, the very time when I would not care to arouse the sentiment of patriotism

Headline of the Day -100: 

A ship, not the actual royal person. A mine-layer, it blows up while docked in Sheerness, England, killing 352 crew and dockyard workers. Pieces of the ship, severed heads and whatnot land up to 9 miles away. A boot, a collar and tie, and a pound of butter fall into the garden of a woman in Rainham, four miles away. A court of inquiry will suggest that maybe in the future the Royal Navy train people a little better before letting them prime mines.

Also hit by an explosion: the US steamer Nebraskan, off the coast of Ireland. It’s still not clear if it was an accident or a torpedo, but it was in fact a torpedo. A German one. The Nebraska is only damaged. It will be sunk for good by another U-boat in two years.

The Germans are now using poison gas on the Eastern front as well as the Western.

Speaking of poison gas, 18 French airplanes drop bombs on the BASF factories in Ludwigshafen, where explosives and poison gas are produced. This is the first ever strategic aerial bombardment. 12 are killed. The French say their planes all returned unharmed, the Germans say they captured 2 of them (later they’ll also claim to have shot down 4 more), and anyway their bombs did little damage.

King Alfonso of Spain offers the use of a palace to the pope if he has to flee Italy.

Woodrow Wilson has stopped giving any speeches, blaming the press for focusing unduly on the “There is such a thing as a man being too proud to fight” line in his speech in Philadelphia two weeks ago. Why, he says, he didn’t attach any particular importance to that line at all, himself, and is surprised everyone else does. When asked whether he could just give a speech about patriotism (for Independence Day), he replies, “This is, perhaps, the very time when I would not care to arouse the sentiment of patriotism.”

Theodore Roosevelt falls off a horse and breaks a rib.

Maurice Benjamin Medbury, a rich antique jewelry dealer who died on the Lusitania, leaves behind two wives, one in California and one in London.

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