The news in September continues to focus on the War in Europe, although we have a few other notable events there and elsewhere to talk about.
Battle of Loos: British forces begin an attack on the French city of Loos, September 25. New Army units are put into the battle, and the British use poison gas for the first time in this attack. Although it ultimately succeeds in October, the cost is high and the British are unable to press the attack. Losses on this first day of attack come because of failure to cut barbed wire prior to the advance and failure to bombard machine gun emplacements with clear views of the open fields across which British units advanced.
Air war: A Zeppelin raid destroys a London building on September 8, demonstrating the ability of Germany to bring the war home, even across the English Channel.
Serbian Army Private Radoje Lutovac shoots down an enemy plane on September 30, being the first in history to destroy an aircraft with surface-to-air fire
War Machines: The first prototype military tank is tested by the British on September 6.
Politics: Dissident socialists gather in Switzerland to hold the Zimmerwald Conference, from September 5 to 8. Among the participants and authors of the “Zimmerwald Manifesto” is V.I Lenin, future leader of the USSR. The conferees affirmed the continuation of class struggle and the repudiation of the “civil peace” of reformist social democrats, with War itself declared to be an outgrowth of imperialism and colonialism in the interests of the ruling classes.
Toys: The first Raggedy Ann doll is patented on September 7. The doll will later become the star of a popular series of children’s books by Johnny Gruelle, an opponent of vaccination, and later become a symbol of the anti-vaccination movement.
Transportation: The Pennsylvania Railroad begins electrified commuter rail service on September 11 between Paoli and Philadelphia, using overhead AC trolley wires for power.
Film: A nitrate fire on September 11 at Famous Players in New York destroys several completed but unreleased silent films which are later remade. When film stock was made of nitrate, such fires were common and extremely difficult to handle – nitrate continues to burn when fully immersed in water. The use of nitrate has resulted in the loss of many films from the silent era.
Born: Jack Buetel, Sept 5, actor whose films would include “The Outlaw” and “Best of the Badmen;” Edmond O’Brien, Sept 10, actor appearing in “Seven Days in May” and “DOA;” and Douglas Kennedy, Sept 14, actor who was in “Invaders from Mars” and the “Steve Donovan, Western Marshall” TV series.