October 20. An Italian army, 13,000 strong, landed at
Tripoli and Benghazi with the aim of driving the Turkish occupiers
out of Libya.
Two far-reaching forces were at work. The first was the desire
of Italy to establish an empire for itself in competition with
those of France and Germany. North Africa seemed ripe for the
plucking. The second factor was the steady waning of Turkish power
which had held sway over this region and the Balkans for centuries.
The Turkish garrisons were outnumbered and outgunned by the
Italian expeditionary force and its gunships, but fought back
hard. Even when the odds were against him "Johnny Turk" was a
hard, brave enemy, as the British were to discover five years
later in the ill-fated Dardanelles campaign.
With Italy officially at war with Turkey, the desire to throw
off Turkish rule spread. Albanian rebels took up arms against
the Turks in April, 1910. But it was a bloody contest. Every uprising
was put down with appalling savagery; massacres and mutilation
were commonplace. In the Balkans, it was a legacy of blood which
endures to this day.
31. Wireless was used for the first time in a murder hunt
as the poisoner Dr Hawley Harvey Crippen was arrested at sea.
American-born Dr Crippen and his mistress Ethel le Neve fled
for Canada on board the SS Montrose after he poisoned his wife
Belle and buried parts of her in the cellar of their home in London.
The captain of the ship became suspicious of the mild-mannered
Dr Crippen and le Neve, who was disguised as a boy and posing
as his son, and radioed London. Dr Crippen was hanged on November
23 after being convicted at his trial in September.
January 18. The Prime Minister Herbert Asquith hung on
to power in the General Election as his Liberal Party won an equal
number of seats with the Tories. The support of 42 Labour and
82 Irish Nationalist MPs kept Asquith in power.
The debate over the 1909 budget remained unresolved and uncertainty
continued with a second General Election called in December. Again
the election was a dead heat with Liberals and Tories both winning
272 seats - Asquith continued as Prime Minister.
January 18. First sighting of Halley's Comet on its 1910
visit. All over Britain amateur photographers tried to snap the
comet as it passed over Britain. In older, more superstitious
times, comets were seen as omens of ill fortune. By 1910, comets
were well understood and superstition had been banished by science.
What no-one knew was that barely five years after this spectacular
appearance, the nations admiring it would be plunged into war.
May 21: The funeral of King Edward VII at Windsor followed two
weeks after the monarch's death from pneumonia. Edward VII's son
George V took his oath as king on May 7.
Aston Villa won division one championship.
Aviation Week opened in Dunstall Park, Wolverhampton with
prizes for the longest-duration flight. The new-fangled
flying machines were a huge crowd-puller. On the first day
20,000 spectators turned up. Strong winds prevented anyone
from making a long flight but the fliers amused the crowd
by competing for the shortest "get off".
Staffordshire Territorial Force Association complained that
it was finding it hard to maintain Territorial units. The
Army authorities were criticised for ignoring communications
and closing the Barrow Hill Ranges.
At Darlaston magistrates' court William James Foster of
Darlaston was summoned for driving a motor car without a
light. The case was dismissed after he explained that it
kept blowing out "owing to the boisterous wind".
At Staffordshire Quarter Sessions Lord Hatherton express
his disappointment at seeing more than 70 prisoners awaiting
trial. This was higher than in most years, he said, but,
thankfully, none of the cases involved attacks on women.
In the election for Wolverhampton West, the Express & Star
suggested that the living had been voting for registered
voters who have recently died, under the headline: "Have
dead men votes? A Tory dodge exposed."