On This Day

What Happened in May 1915

Historical Events

Historic Event

May 1 British liner Lusitania leaves NY for Liverpool

  • May 1 German submarine torpedoes US tanker Gulflight
  • May 2 Bronx, New York City; Old Fordham Road renamed Landing Road

Historic Event

May 3 John McCrae writes the poem "In Flanders Fields"

  • May 4 Italy drops Triple Alliance with Austria-Hungary & Germany
  • May 5 German U-20 captures and sinks Britsih schooner Earl of Lathom
  • May 6 German U-20 sinks Centurion SE of Ireland

Baseball Event

May 6 Future Baseball Hall of Fame slugger Babe Ruth hits his first MLB home run; pitches 12 frames in Boston Red Sox 4-3 extra innings loss to New York Yankees

  • May 6 The Allies on Cape Helles launch three attacks to enlarge their beachheads; after terrible losses, they advance about three miles

Hero Millionaire Saves Lusitania Children

May 7 RMS Lusitania sunk by German submarine off the southern coast of Ireland; 1198 lives lost

  • May 8 41st Kentucky Derby: Joe Notter aboard Regret wins in 2:05.4
  • May 9 German & French fight Battle of Artois
  • May 10 Zeppelin drops hundred of bombs on Southend-on-Sea, Essex, England

Historic Invention

May 10 Canadian physician Cluny MacPherson first presents his gas mask invention to the British War Office

  • May 12 Croatians plunder Armenia, killing 250
  • May 12 Franklin K. Mathiews first presents idea of "Book Week"
  • May 13 US Secretary of State Bryan sends a note to Germany demanding that Germany disavow the attacks on the Lusitania and make immediate reparations; however, the note is written only to 'pacify exited public opinion', according to Bryan
  • May 17 40th Preakness: Douglas Hoffman aboard Rhine Maiden wins in 1:58
  • May 17 Cubs George "Zip" Zabel relieves with 2 outs in 1st & winds up with 4-3 19-inning win over Brooklyn in longest relief job ever

Historic Event

May 17 Last liberal British government of H. H. Asquith falls

  • May 17 National Baptist Convention chartered
  • May 20 Bataafsche Petroleum Me begins oil extraction of Maracaibo
  • May 22 Local train collides with troop train killing 226 in Gretna, Scotland
  • May 22 Lassen Peak erupts with a powerful force, only mountain other than Mount St. Helens, to erupt in the continental US during the 20th century
  • May 23 Italy declares war on Austria-Hungary during WW I

Historic Invention

May 24 Thomas Edison invents telescribe to record telephone conversations

  • May 25 Second Battle of Ypres on the Western Front ends with 105,000 casualties
  • May 25 Chicago Whales' Claude Hendrix no-hits Pittsburgh Rebels (Federal League), 10-0
  • May 26 H. H. Asquith forms a coalition government in the United Kingdom
  • May 31 An LZ-38 Zeppelin makes an air raid on London
  • May 31 Indianapolis 500: Italian-born American driver Ralph DePalma accompanied by riding mechanic Louis Fontaine wins from Englishman Dario Resta

Famous Birthdays

  • May 1 Archie Williams, American athlete (Olympic gold 400m 1936), born in Oakland, California (d. 1993)
  • May 2 Jan Hanus, Czech composer, born in Prague (d. 2004)
  • May 2 Van Alexander [Alexander Van Vliet Feldman], American composer, arranger ("A-Tisket, A-Tasket"), and orchestra leader (Dean Martin Show), born in Harlem, New York City(d. 2015)
  • May 2 Doris Fisher, American singer and songwriter ("Tutti Frutti"; "You Always Hurt the One You Love": "Tampico"), born in NYC, New York (d. 2003)
  • May 2 Margaret "Peggy" Mount, British actress (Oliver!, Panic in the Parlor), born in Southend-On-Sea, Essex, England (d. 2001)
  • May 3 Evencio Castellanos, Venezuelan pianist, and composer, born in Cúa, Miranda state, Venezuela (d. 1984)
  • May 3 Stu Hart, Canadian professional wrestler and trainer, born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada (d. 2003)
  • May 4 Pedro Saenz, Argentine and Spanish composer, born in Buenos Aires (d. 1995)
  • May 5 Alice Faye [Leppert], American actress and singer (Hello, Frisco, Hello; Fallen Angel; Stowaway), born in NYC, New York (d. 1998)
  • May 5 Richard Rovere, American political journalist (Goldwater Caper), born in Jersey City, New Jersey (d. 1979)
  • May 6 George Perle, American composer (12 Tone Tonality; Pulitzer Prize, 1986), born in Bayonne, New Jersey (d. 2009)
  • May 6 John Arnold, British high court judge (d. 2004)
  • May 6 May Henriquez-Alvarez, Curacao Dutch sculptor, born in Curacao (d. 1999)

Orson Welles

May 6 Orson Welles [George], American actor (Citizen Kane, War of the Worlds), born in Kenosha, Wisconsin (d. 1985)

  • May 6 Theodore H. White, American journalist (Making of President, Pulitzer Prize 1962), born in Dorchester, Boston (d. 1986)
  • May 6 Freddie Cochrane, American boxer (World Welterweight champion 1941-1946), born in Elizabeth, New Jersey (d. 1993)
  • May 8 John Archer [Ralph Bowman], American actor (Destination: Moon, White Heat, Blue Hawaii), born in Osceola, Nebraska (d. 1999)
  • May 9 Richard Janvrin, British vice admiral
  • May 10 Bert van Dongen [Albert Cohen], Dutch singer, impressionist and actor (Het meisje met den blauwen hoed), born in Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands (d. 1982)
  • May 10 Denis Thatcher, husband of British PM Margaret (1979-90), born in London, England (d. 2003)
  • May 10 John Egerton, 6th Duke of Sutherland, British peer
  • May 10 Monica Dickens, British author and founder of the Samaritians in the US, born in London, England (d. 1992)
  • May 10 Salah Abou Seif [Salah Abu Saif], Egyptian film director (Bidaya wa Nihaya), born in Cairo, Egypt (d. 1996)
  • May 12 Mary Kay Ash, American businesswoman, founded Mary Kay Cosmetics (d. 2001)
  • May 13 John Habakkuk, British principal (Jesus College in Oxford)
  • May 15 Maurice B Latey, commentator (BBC World Service)
  • May 15 Paul A Samuelson, economist (1970 Nobel, 1947 John Bates Clark Medal)
  • May 15 Gus Viseur, French button accordionist (d. 1974)
  • May 17 Joseph D Craggs, electrical engineer
  • May 18 Leon Shenandoah, native American leader (Iroquois Confederacy) (d. 1996)

Moshe Dayan

May 20 Moshe Dayan, Israeli Military Leader and politician, born in Degania Alef, Ottoman Empire (d. 1981)

  • May 20 Peter Copley, British actor (Victim, Kingdom of Heaven, King & Country), born in Bushey, Hertfordshire, England (d. 2008)
  • May 23 Clyde Wiegand, physicist
  • May 25 Daniel Wolf, American journalist (d. 1996)
  • May 26 Sam Edwards, American actor (Captain Midnight, Twelve O'Clock High), born in Macon, Georgia (d. 2004)
  • May 26 Antonia Forest [Patricia Giulia Caulfield Kate Rubinstein], British children's author (The Marlows), born in Hampstead, London (d. 2003)
  • May 27 Herman Wouk, American novelist (The Caine Mutiny, Winds of War), born in NYC, New York (d. 2019)
  • May 27 Louise Annand-MacFarquhar, Lanarkshire, Scotland, painter and filmmaker (At the Museum), (d. 2012)
  • May 28 Scott McKay [Carl Chester Gose], American actor (Stage Door, Guest in House, 30 Seconds over Tokyo), born in Pleasantville, Iowa (d. 1987)
  • May 28 Wolfgang Schneiderhan, Austrian violinist, born in Vienna, Austria (d. 2002)
  • May 28 Joseph Greenberg, American linguist (d. 2001)
  • May 29 David Jenkins, Welsh librarian (National Library of Wales), born in Blaenclydach, Glamorgan (d. 2002)
  • May 29 Igor Buketoff, American conductor (Iceland Symphony Orchestra, 1964-65), born in Hartford, Connecticut (d. 2001)
  • May 29 Gerald Charles Arcedeckne Vanneck, 6th Baron Huntingfield, British agent to UN Secreteriat (d. 1994)
  • May 29 Karl Münchinger, German conductor (Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, 1945-87), born in Stuttgart, Germany (d. 1990)
  • May 30 Jerome Bert Weisner, military scientist/disarmer
  • May 30 Larry Kelley, American College Football Hall of Fame tight end (Heisman Trophy 1936; Unanimous All-American 1936; Yale), born in Hightstown, New Jersey (d. 2000)
  • May 31 Barbara Pepper [Marion], American actress (Foreign Correspondent, Green Acres, Rogue Tavern), born in NYC, New York (d. 1969)

Famous Deaths

  • May 2 Clara Immerwahr, German chemist, first woman to be awarded a doctorate in chemistry in Germany, dies at 44

Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt

May 7 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Sr., American businessman and sportsman (New York Central Railway), dies aboard the RMS Lusitania during World War I at 37

  • May 7 Alfred Scott Witherbee Jr., American 3 year old who drowned on Lusitania
  • May 7 Charles Frohman, American theatre producer (Peter Pan) dies aboard RMS Lusitania at 58
  • May 8 Henry McNeal Turner, 1 African American Methodist Bishop and 1st African American army chaplain, dies at 82
  • May 9 François Faber, Luxembourgian cyclist (Tour de France 1909), dies of gunshot wounds at 28
  • May 9 Anthony Wilding, New Zealand tennis player (Wimbledon 1910-13), dies on the Western Front at 31
  • May 10 Albert Weisgerber, German painter and graphic artist, dies in battle at 37
  • May 19 John Simpson Kirkpatrick stretcher bearer with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps at Gallipoli during World War I (b. 1892)
  • May 19 Bob Ferguson, Scottish golfer (British Open 1880-82), dies at 69
  • May 21 Leonid Gobyato, Russian general (designed the portable mortar), dies in combat at 40