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To commemorate the Centenary of the First World War, each week we are publishing an excerpt from the ‘Diary of the War’, taken from Whitaker’s Almanack 1915 and 1916
Posted by Adam Phillips
The latest entry
1915, Apr. 13. British Government appointed a strong Munitions Committee, with Mr. Lloyd George as Chairman. Bread raised to 8½d. per quartern loaf. 14. Zeppelin raid on the North-East Coast, in the Tyne District; no lives lost. Rout of 15,000 Turks on the Euphrates; British casualties, 700. 15. Field-Marshal Sir John French’s dispatch, Feb 2-March 20, published. British losses in the battle of Neuve Chapelle, 190 officers, 2,337 men killed; 359 officers, 8,174 men wounded; 23 officers, 1,728 men missing. Allied airmen make a raid on military buildings at Ostend. Allies capture the south-eastern spur of Notre Dame de Lorette. 16. Zeppelin raid on the East Coast. Bombs dropped on Lowestoft, Halesworth, Maldon, and Southwold, but little damage done. 17. Admiralty announced the sinking of the British transport Manitou in the Ægean Sea by a Turkish destroyer; 51 of the troops were drowned. 18. While attempting a difficult reconnaissance of the Kephez mine-fields, in the Dardanelles, British submarine E15 ran ashore at Kephez Point; the officers and crew were made prisoners. British exploded a mine under Hill 60, on the Ypres-Comines railway, and captured on the hill. 19. In Alsace, the French advanced along both banks of the Fecht. Desperate, but unsuccessful, attempts of the Germans to retake Hill 60. Garros, the famous French airman, brought down in the German lines and taken prisoner.
On July 27 Sir E. Grey announced his proposals for a conference of Germany, France, Italy, and Great Britain, and their acceptance by France and Italy; but on the following day Austria–Hungary declared war on Serbia and commenced operations, and on July 30 there was a partial mobilisation of the Russian Army, followed on the next day by a general mobilisation. War was declared upon Russia by Germany on Aug. 1, and on the 2nd French territory was entered at Ciréy by German troops, while Russian forces crossed the German frontier. On Aug. 3 the British fleet was mobilised, and Germany sent an ultimatum to Belgium, which led to the British ultimatum to Germany on Aug. 4 1914, on which day, at 11 p.m., war was declared between Great Britain and Germany. On Aug. 10 France declared war upon Austria-Hungary, and Great Britain made a similar declaration two days later.
1914, Aug. 5. The German mine-layer Königin Luise was sunk by the cruiser Amphion; but while reconnoitring on the following day the cruiser struck a mine and foundered, with the loss of 131 lives. 6. Tremendous German assault on the Liège forts repulsed with enormous loss. German Dreadnought cruiser Goeben and light cruiser Breslau put to sea from Messina, where they had taken shelter. 9. Liège was invested. French troops entered Alsace and occupied Mulhaüsen. German colony of Togoland, West Africa, seized by British and French forces. A British cruiser squadron attacked by German submarines without success. The cruiser Birmingham sank German submarine U 15. 10. Liège city occupied by Germans, most of the forts holding out. The Goeben and Breslau escaped to the Dardanelles, where they were taken over by Turkey. 13. Germans repulsed by Belgians at Diest-Haelen. 14. Transportation of French troops into Belgium announced to be complete. Serious attention directed to German inhumanity and atrocities in Belgium. Raid by British by British on Dar-es-Salaam, German East Africa; ships in harbour dismantled or sunk. 15. Field-Marshal Sir John French arrived in Paris. Japanese ultimatum to Germany to deliver up leased territory of Kiao-Chau. Visé (Belgium) burned and destroyed by Germans. 16. Information published that British Expeditionary Force had been safely landed in France. The French continued their advance in Alsace-Lorraine. The French Fleet in the Adriatic sunk an Austrian cruiser. 19. The Belgian Government removed from Brussels to Antwerp. The news was confirmed that the Servians had routed the Austrians at Shabatz. The Belgian forces retired from Louvain, which was occupied by Germans. 20. The Germans arrived at Brussels, the Belgian retirement being dictated by strategical situation. The Russians took the offensive along the whole line, and occupied Gumbinnen, in West Prussia. 21. A war contribution of £8,000,000 was imposed by Germany upon the city of Brussels. It was announced that Britain proposed to lend Belgium £10,000,000. Battle of Charleroi began, and ended following day by withdrawal of French. 23. Japan declared war on Germany. Russian victory over Germans in East Prussia, and occupation of Insterburg announced. Germans destroyed three forts at Namur. The cruiser Bristol engaged German cruiser Karlsruhe south of Bermuda, but the latter escaped owing to superior speed. A great battle began in the Charleroi-Mons region between Germans and the Allied troops, the British holding their ground. In the Namur region the Allies fell back to the French frontier, and Namur was captured by the Germans. The French were checked in Alsace and fell back upon Nancy and Belfort, the Germans entering France and occupying Luneville. 24. The destroyer Kennet was fired at by the Tsingtau forts and lost a few men. The Liège forts were finally destroyed by the German siege artillery. 25. Mr. Asquith announced that the British casualties to date were approximately over 2,000. A Zeppelin passed over Antwerp and dropped bombs, killing 12 civilians and causing considerable damage. The Germans destroyed Louvain. 26. The Russians in East Prussia surrounded and defeated the Germans, and further south repulsed the Austrians. 27. British Marines were landed at Ostend. The German cruiser Magdeburg was blown up in the Gulf of Finland. The armed German liner Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse was sunk on the West African coast by the cruiser Highflyer. The Germans recaptured Malines and bombarded the Cathedral. 28. Destroyers and cruisers of the Grand Fleet in the Heligoland Bight intercepted and attacked German destroyers and cruisers, sinking four vessels, while another disappeared on fire and many destroyers were damaged; British vessels were scarcely damaged, the casualties numbering 69 killed and wounded. An Austrian destroyer was sunk off Corfu by a British destroyer. In the House of Commons, Mr. Asquith announced a great feat of arms by the British troops against a superior German force in the fighting near Cambrai and Le Cateau.Aug. 29. Particulars reached London of the sack of Louvain, the chief buildings being burned. Accounts of German barbarism and outrage in Belgium multiplied. 31. The War Secretary, describing the retirement from Mons, said the British troops offered a superb and most stubborn resistance against tremendous odds, and extricated themselves in good order, though with serious losses, the Germans making desperate but unsuccessful efforts to drive the British into Maubeuge. A bomb was dropped in Paris from a German aeroplane, but no damage done. Apia, in German Samoa, surrendered to a New Zealand force.
1914, Sept. 1. The Anglo-French troops had to give way in France, but nowhere were they broken through. The British casualties were officially given as 163 killed and 4,974 wounded and missing. 2. The German advance on Paris was steadily continued, the enemy’s cavalry reaching the forest of Compiègne. The Allies retired in good order, inflicting heavy losses. Details arrived of a heavy Austrian defeat at the hands of the Russians near Lemberg. 3. The French Government transferred the seat of the Central Administration to Bordeaux. A further British casualty list brought the number of killed to 233, and wounded and missing to 10,345. The torpedo vessel Speedy struck a mine in the North Sea and foundered. 4. Belgians opened the dykes near Antwerp, the Germans losing heavily. Seven German destroyers and torpedo-boats arrived at Kiel in a damaged condition, and it was believed that one squadron had mistaken another for enemy ships. Lemberg, the capital of Galicia, was captured by the Russians. Nearly half the Austro-Hungarian army had been rendered useless for offensive purposes by Russia and Servia. 5. The light cruiser Pathfinder struck a mine and was blown up, most of the crew being lost. Great Britain, France and Russia agreed not to treat for peace separately. The Germans were defeated in, and abandoned, the attempt to envelop the Allies’ left flank, and the Allies checked the German advance. 9. Sir John French’s first despatch was published, and, alluding to the retirement from Mons, spoke in terms of deep appreciation of General Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien in saving the left wing of the British Force on Aug. 26. The Germans fell back about 26 miles, and the British crossed the Marne. 10. A German defeat and retirement was admitted in Berlin, with a loss of 50 guns and thousands of prisoners. The British losses amounted to 346 killed and 18,383 wounded and missing. The “war contributions” demanded by Germany from various towns in Belgium and France amounted to over 28 millions sterling. 11. Further information proved that the Allies’ victories at the Marne and at Meaux had saved Paris. At Petrograd it was announced that the chief Austrian army, although reinforced by Germans, was fleeing in disorder. 13. General Joffre described the result of five days’ battle as “an incontestable victory.” The Russians gained a victory in which 30,000 Austrian and German prisoners were taken and several hundred guns. 14. The British troops crossed the Aisne in spite of strong opposition. The army of the Crown Prince was reported to have been driven back. 15. Sir John French paid a notable tribute to the work of the Royal Flying Corps, which had gained “something in the direction of the mastery of the air.” The Germans succeeded in checking their retreat, and occupied strong positions to the north of the Aisne. 16. A new battle developed over a front of 90 miles from Noyon to the Meuse, near Verdun, the main German army aiding the rear-guard. The German cruiser Hela was sunk by submarine E9 off Heligoland. 18. After six days’ furious fighting on the Aisne there was little change in the position, though the Germans lost heavily. 20. Great indignation was caused by the destruction by German bombardment of Rheims Cathedral. The British cruiser Pegasus was surprised at Zanzibar and disabled by the German cruiser Königsberg. The German cruiser Emden captured six British merchantmen in East Indian waters, and shelled the oil tanks at Madras. The British auxiliary cruiser Carmania sank the German armed merchant cruiser Cap Trafalgar. 21. The Austrians were beaten by the Servians on the Drina, and fled in a state of panic. The number of German merchantmen captured was 92, and 95 ships were detained in British ports, against 82 British ships in all.
1914, Sept. 22. German submarines torpedoed the cruisers Aboukir, Hogue, and Cressy, the loss of life amounting to about 1,400 officers and men, 900 being saved. It was thought that the Cressy sank one submarine. Jaroslav, east of Lemberg, was captured by the Russians. 23. The Allies’ left wing advanced despite fierce fighting. Flight-Lieutenant Collet flew to Düsseldorf and dropped three bombs upon the Zeppelin shed, returning safely. The Russian cruiser Bayan sank three German war vessels in the Baltic. 24. The Allies occupied Péronne. The Germans in Northern France were reported to have been strongly reinforced. A British force was landed to co-operate with Japanese in movements Kiao-Chau. 25. The seat of government of Kaiser Wilhelm’s Land, German New Guinea, was occupied by Australians, who annihilated Germans at Hebertshohe. 27. Lüderitzbucht, German South-West Africa, was occupied by South African troops. The Allies’ left wing was described as having made ‘marked progress’ on a very extended front in North France. 28. Germans bombarded Antwerp’s first line of defence. Servians re-captured Semlin. German cruiser Emden sank four more British steamships. German advance from East Prussian frontier on river Niemen was checked, and the main Russian armies in Galicia pushed on towards Cracow. 29. The British and Japanese forces attacked the advanced positions at Tsingtau, and, driving back the Germans, occupied the high ground overlooking the main line of defence. German casualties during August were stated to number 117,000.
1914, Oct. 2. In the final speech of his campaign Mr. Asquith, at Cardiff, disclosed the fact that two years before the war Germany asked Great Britain to pledge herself to absolute neutrality in the event of Germany being engaged in a war. The left wing of the Germans, operating near the Niemen, was thrown back. 3. The Russians captured Augustovo, the enemy retreating in disorder. 4. The Allies’ left wing in Northern France resumed the offensive, after repulsing German attacks. The Admiralty announced that the Government had authorised a mine-laying policy in a defined area in the North Sea. M. Poncaré left Bordeaux to visit the Allies’ troops in the field. After seeing the British forces the President and King George exchanged cordial messages. 5. The National Relief Fund reached £3,000,000.
1914, Oct. 6. The Allies’ left wing in France was declared to be extending more and more, and north of Soissons an advance was recorded. A British submarine, E9, sank a German torpedo-boat destroyer off the Ems River and returned safely. The Japanese landed a force at Jaluit, in the Marshall Islands, without resistance. The Belgian Government was transferred to Ostend, owing to the fierce bombardment of Antwerp. 7. It was announced that the barracks at Tsingtau had been destroyed by the Japanese. The Colonial Office intimated that attempts by the enemy to raid the East Africa Protectorate and cut the Uganda Railway had ben repulsed with slight British losses. 9. Simultaneously with the official statement that the Indian troops had arrived at Marseilles, the text was issued of messages sent by the King-Emperor to the Force. The Belgian troops, with a British marine brigade and two naval brigades sent to their assistance, having withdrawn from Antwerp, the Germans occupied the city. One British naval brigade, numbering 2,000, was cut off and entered Dutch territory, where they laid down their arms. 10. British airmen returned safely after a successful attack on the Düsseldorf airship, a Zeppelin being destroyed. 11. On the Allies’ left wing the German cavalry were forced to retire, and all along the front positions were held. Two German aeroplanes flew over Paris and, besides killing three and injuring fourteen persons with bombs, damaged the cathedral of Notre Dame. 12. The Germans occupied Ghent without opposition. The rebellion of Lieut.-Col. Maritz in the north-west of the Cape Province, assisted by Germans, was announced. Martial law was at once proclaimed throughout the Union, and a punitive force was despatched. The announcement was made of the loss of the Russian cruiser Pallada, with all hands, after an attack by a German submarine in the Baltic. Russians claimed to have sunk two German submarines.
1914, Oct. 13. The Belgian government left Ostend for Havre, and the civil population hurried away to France and England. Franco-British troops occupied Ypres, inside the Belgian frontier. Lille was captured by the Germans, but elsewhere in France ‘perceptible progress’ was reported by the Allies. It was reported from Constantinople that the Goeben was leading an attack on the Russian fleet in the Black Sea. 14. The Press Bureau announced that British troops had been engaged with the enemy towards the Allies’ left, the Germans being pressed back slightly. The Canadian troops arrived at Plymouth amid great enthusiasm. A Zeppelin was brought down by a Cossack patrol near Warsaw. 15. The Theseus and the Hawke were attacked by submarines in the North Sea, and the latter was sunk, there being about 70 survivors. The bombardment of Cattaro was resumed by the Allied Fleet. 17. The new light cruiser Undaunted, with four destroyers, engaged off the Dutch coast four German destroyers, all of which were sunk. The damage to our vessels was slight, and only one officer and four men were wounded. 18. The Press Bureau stated that during the previous few days the Allies had driven the enemy back more than thirty miles in the northern area. 19. Two vivid despatches from Sir John French were published dealing with the retreat and the victory on the Marne. With them was issued a long list of officers and men ‘mentioned in despatches’. The Allies advanced as far as Roulers, in Belgium, German attacks upon Nieuport and Dixmude being repulsed.
1914, Oct. 20. The German army which had advanced upon Warsaw was forced into a precipitate retreat, vigorously pursued by the Russians. 21. The sinking of five further British steamers by the Emden was announced. The Government ordered the removal from the Suez Canal of all enemy vessels. In the operations on the Belgian coast the Allies were assisted by the three British monitors firing on the enemy’s right flank and doing great execution among the trenches. 23. British vessels continued to bombard the German right, the enemy suffering severely. A few shells were fired at Ostend. 24. German forces succeeded in crossing the Yser between Nieuport and Dixmude. The destroyer Badger rammed and sank a German submarine. All hope was abandoned for the British submarine E3. 26. The Germans in Poland were driven back to Lowicz, Skierniewice and Rava, the Russian advance being continued. General Christian de Wet and General Beyers joined the South African rebels, and Heilbron was seized.
1914, Oct. 27. The German attacks in Belgium slackened, and the Allies made progress near Ypres. General Botha drove Beyers’ men headlong, capturing 80. Many of Maritz’s rebels were also taken prisoners. 28. The Russian Headquarters announced that they had broken the resistance of the last units of the enemy remaining on the north of the Pilitza. On the front beyond the Vistula all Austro-German army corps were in retreat. Russian cavalry had entered Radom. The German cruiser Emden entered Penang disguised, and sank a Russian cruiser and a French destroyer. It was stated that German-Turkish warships had bombarded Russian ports in the Black Sea. 29. The British vessels continued their splendid work off the Belgian coast, receiving only trifling structural damage from German guns. Beyers’ commandoes were scattered by the Union Force, Beyers himself escaping. 30. Ground was steadily gained in Belgium, the enemy falling back across the Yser. 31. The Turkish fleet bombarded Sebastopol, doing considerable damage. The Foreign Office issued a statement setting out Turkey’s infractions of treaties and international law, and giving evidence of Turkey’s intention to invade Egypt. The old British cruiser Hermes was sunk by a torpedo fired by a German submarine in the Straits of Dover. The British Ambassador left Constantinople. The London Scottish made a brilliant charge and drove the enemy from a village in Flanders. Nov. 1. After a gallant fight, the Good Hope, Monmouth, and Glasgow were defeated off the Chilean coast by four larger German vessels; the Good Hope foundered, and the Monmouth was apparently sunk. 2. The Admiralty announced that the whole of the North Sea was to be considered as a military area.
1914, Nov. 3. A German squadron appeared off Yarmouth, and, after firing on the Halcyon, made off, throwing out mines, by one of which the submarine D5 was sunk. A combined British and French squadron bombarded the Dardanelles. The Minerva shelled Akaba and destroyed the fort and barracks. Russian troops entered Asia Minor. 4. The German cruiser Yorck struck a chain of mines near Wilhelmshaven and foundered. 5. Official announcements were made that a state of war existed between Great Britain and France and Turkey. Cyprus was annexed by Great Britain. The Allies took the offensive in Belgium. Russian troops advanced in the Caucasus, defeating the Turks. 6. Jaroslav was recaptured by the Russians. German attacks in Belgium decreased in vigour, and the enemy was pressed back slowly but steadily. 7. Tsingtau surrendered to Anglo-Japanese force, with 2,300 prisoners. The German cruiser Geier was interned at Honolulu.
Diary of the War /cont. (as recorded in the 1916 edition):
1914, Nov. 9. The Germans made a vigorous, but unsuccessful, attempt to capture Ypres. At the Lord Mayor’s Banquet, at the Guildhall, Lord Kitchener, in a vigorous speech, called for “more men and still more men until the enemy is crushed.” The Prime Minister affirmed the decision of the Government to carry on the war to the last extremity. 10. The Admiralty announced the destruction by the Australian cruiser Sydney of the notorious German cruiser Emden (Capt. von Müller) at Keeling-Cocos Island. The Königsberg, another German cruiser, discovered by H.M.S. Chatham hiding at the mouth of a river on the coast of German East Africa, was imprisoned by the sinking of colliers blockading the river. The Russian General Staff announced that the right wing of the German Army in East Prussia had been defeated and a general advance had been made along the line. On the Western front the Germans captured Dixmude. 11. H.M.S Niger, a gunboat, submarined in the Downs. De Wet reported to have been routed by General Botha, but to have escaped.
1914, Nov. 12. Violent fighting on the Western front with varying success continued on the left wing of the Allies. Rear-Adm. Troubridge, C.B., honourably acquitted by a court-martial of neglect in permitting the German cruisers Goeben and Breslau to escape from the Straights of Messina. 14. The death of F.-M. Lord Roberts from pneumonia, the result of a chill, took place in France, where he had been making a brief visit to inspect the Indian troops, of whom he was Colonel-in-Chief. 15. The Russians continued their victorious march through East Prussia, levying war taxes proportioned to the German imposts in Belgium. 17. H.R.H the Prince of Wales appointed aide-de-camp to Sir John French. In the Persian Gulf the entrenched position of the Turkish forces on the Shatt-el-Arab river was stormed, and many prisoners taken. The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a War Loan of £350,000,000, issued at 95, yielding 3½ per cent., redeemable at par March 1, 1929. 18. Libau shelled by a German squadron. 19. Funeral of Lord Roberts at St. Paul’s Cathedral, at which the King was present. Failure of the German attempt to “hack a way through to Calais.” 20. The Germans made a slight advance near St. Mihiel and on the Meuse. The Admiralty announced further extension of mine defences with compulsory pilotage of the North Sea.
1914, Nov. 21. British forces from India occupy Basra, at the head of the Persian Gulf. Zeppelin factory at Friedrichshafen raided by British aeroplanes. 23. Zeebrugge bombarded by a British squadron, inflicting great damage to the harbour works and locks. German positions near Nieuport also bombarded, silencing the batteries. U 18 rammed by a British warship off the N. coast of Scotland. Ypres, Rheims, and Soissons bombarded by the Germans. 24. Gallant recapture of trenches at La Bassée by Indian troops; many German officers, men, and guns taken. German loses up to date stated to be 1,500,000. 25. N.E. of Ypres, ground gained by the Allies. 26. H.M.S. Bulwark, an old battleship, blown up in the Medway off Sheerness, with the loss of about 800 of the crew. 27. Rheims Cathedral again shelled. The First Lord of the Admiralty stated that by the end of 1915 Britain would have 15 new Dreadnoughts against 3 possible new ones from Germany. It was officially announced that the War Loan of £350,000, 000 had been over-subscribed. 28. The King left England to visit the General Headquarters of the Expeditionary Force.
1914, Dec. 1. The King visited the Indian troops and the wounded at the base hospitals. He invested General Joffre with the Order of the Grand Cross of the Bath. M. Poincaré and M. Viviani dined with the King. Capture and surrender of De Wet announced from Pretoria. 2. Appreciable progress of the Allies between Lens and Béthane. Belgrade taken by the Austrians. 3. The King invested Sir John French with the Order of Merit, and witnessed artillery in action. 4. A dispatch from Maj.-Gen. A. Paris stated that although the Expeditionary Force was not able to prevent the fall of Antwerp, it was successful in delaying the German forces for a considerable time, and enabled the Belgian Army to withdraw in safety. The King visited the headquarters of the Belgian Army and invested King Albert with the Order of the Garter. 5. The King inspected the Royal Flying Corps, and returned home from France. It was officially stated by the Russians that Lodz had been evacuated in perfect order for strategic reasons. 7. French airmen raided the German air-sheds at Freiburg. Gen. Beyers shot while attempting to cross the Vaal River. 8. Admiralty reported that a British squadron, under Vice-Adm. Sir Frederick Sturdee, off the Falkland Islands, sank the German cruisers Scharnhorst, the flagship of Adm. Graf von Spee, the Gneisenau, and the Leipsig. The Nürnberg sunk while in flight, and the Dresden was pursued by the British vessels. British casualties, 7 killed, 4 wounded. South African rebellion, begun October 9, finally collapsed. 9. Serbians regained Vallievo and vigorously pursued the Austrians. 10. Gen. Botha, announcing the end of the rebellion, declared, “Our next duty is now to make it impossible for S.W. Africa to be again used as a base from which to threaten the peace and liberties of the Union.”.
1914, Dec. 13. Violent assaults by the Germans on Ypres repulsed. Submarine B 11 (Lieut.-Comm. Norman D. Holbrook, R.N) entered the Dardanelles, dived under five rows of mines, and torpedoed the Turkish battleship Messudiyeh. The submarine returned in safety. 14. The Serbians, after a fierce contest, recaptured Belgrade. Montenegrins captured Vishgrad, defeating the Austrians. 16. West Hartlepool, Whitby, and Scarborough bombarded by German cruisers. Much damage was done; churches (including Whitby Abbey), hospitals, and hotels being struck. The raid resulted in the deaths of 127 civilians, and the wounding of 567, chiefly women and children. On the approach of British patrol vessels the German cruisers hastily fled, and escaped in the mist. 17. Turkish suzerainty over Egypt ended by the proclamation of a British Protectorate. Lt.-Col. Sir Arthur H. McMahon appointed High Commissioner. 18. Prince Hussein Kamel Pasha appointed Sultan of Egypt on the deposition of the Khedive Abbas Hilmi Pasha for his adherence to the King’s enemies. 19. Allied airmen dropped bombs on Zeppelin sheds at Brussels. 20. Capt. Fourie and his brother, Lt. Fourie, ringleaders in the S. African rebellion, found guilty of treason. Capt. Fourie was shot, his brother sentenced to 5 years’ imprisonment. 21. The retirement of the Russians towards Warsaw stated to be due to strategic reasons, to avoid the flanking movements of the Germans. The S. African Government announced reconnaissances in force by the Union Forces in the Aus and Ghabul regions of German S. W. Africa.
1914, Dec. 24. Failure of the Pope to obtain a Christmas truce between the belligerents reported. German aeroplane dropped a bomb over Dover. Squadron Commander R. R. Davies, R. N., dropped bombs on a Zeppelin shed at Brussels. In the Perthes region siege guns, quick-firing guns, and bomb-throwers captured in the German trenches. 25. An informal Christmas truce was held all along the line. Coming out of their trenches, the Allied troops fraternised with the enemy. On the stroke of midnight hostilities were resumed. Seven British seaplanes, aided by H.M.S Arethusa and Undaunted, accompanied by submarines, made an air raid on German war vessels off Cuxhaven. The British ships were attacked by two Zeppelins, seaplanes, and submarines; the latter were evaded, and the former driven off. German aeroplane appeared over Sheerness, but was driven off by aeroplanes. 26. In Galicia the Austrians in flight abandoned ten quick-firing guns, 43 officers, and 2,500 men, and, and, in full retreat in the Carpathians, left 10,000 men as prisoners. 29. The United States Government addressed a Note to the British Government on the subject of the treatment of American commerce by British war vessels, complaining of arbitrary and unnecessary search and delay. 30. German aeroplanes attacked Dunkirk: many civilians killed and injured. 31. Bougainville, the largest of the Solomon Islands, taken by the King’s Australian forces. A new decoration, the Military Cross, for distinguished service in the field, instituted by the King.
1915, Jan. 1. H.M.S. battleship Formidable torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine in the English Channel; 201 survivors. 2. H.M.S. Fox and H.M.S. Goliath bombarded Dar-es-Salaam. Turkish transport sunk by a mine in the Bosphorus. 3. Crushing defeat of the Turks by the Russians at Ardahan, in the Caucasus. Two army corps annihilated. The Allies made some progress in France, and gained ground at St. Laurent. Arrest of Cardinal Mercier, Archbishop of Malines, whose Pastoral Letter, condemning the conduct of the German Army in Belgium, had incurred the displeasure of the authorities. 6. Russians reached the frontier between the Bukowina and Hungary. Arrangements reported to be made through the United States Government for the exchange of British and German officers and men prisoners of war physically incapacitated for future military service. 7. President Poincaré signed the Decree making permanent the prohibition of the sale of absinthe.
1915, Jan. 9. Soissons Cathedral bombarded by the Germans. Turks reported to be advancing on the Suez Canal. Official proofs circulated on the neutrality of Belgium until its invasion. The King and Queen visited the wounded Indian troops in hospital at Brighton. Text of the British government reply to the American Note issued by Sir Edward Grey. 10. Sixteen German aircraft attempted to fly over the English Channel, but obliged by bad weather to return. 12. The use by the Germans of poisonous shells reported from Paris. 13. Persian invasion and the occupation of Tabriz by the Turks announced. Resignation of Count Berchtold, Austro-Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs. Baron Stephen Burian appointed his successor. Gen. Sir Douglas Haig and Gen. Sir H. Smith-Dorrien made Grand Officers of the Legion of Honour by President Poincaré. 14. Germans by a concentrated attack retook ground gained by the French before Soissons; in consequence of the furious fighting the Allies withdrew temporarily across the Aisne. Union Forces occupied Swakopmund, the chief port pf German S.-West Africa.
1915, Jan. 15. Russian success in the Caucasus; 5,000 prisoners and 10,000 head of cattle captured from the Turks. 16. Germans driven from the dunes by successful artillery fire of the French. Advance made in the Perthes district. 17. Communique from Petrograd stated that the battle of Kara Urga, fought in a ceaseless snowstorm, resulted in the complete overthrow of the Turks, who were closely pursued by the Russians. 19. Zeppelin raids on Yarmouth, King’s Lynn, Snettisham and other Norfolk towns and villages; four persons killed. 22. Zeebrugge bombarded by British airmen, who dropped twenty-seven bombs; one German submarine believed to be damaged. German aeroplanes raided Dunkirk, killing nine civilians; one aeroplane brought down by Allied airmen. M. Millerand, French Minister of War, inspected new armies at Aldershot, and on the following day was received by the King and conferred with Lord Kitchener.
1915, Jan. 24. Attempted raid on the book East Coast by three German battle-cruisers – the Derffinger, the Seydlitz, the Moltke, and an armoured cruiser, the Blücher. Sighted and intercepted by a British patrolling squadron. Seeking to escape, the German warships were pursued and forced to fight by Sir D. Beatty. After a running fight, the Blücher was sunk and two other German cruisers seriously damaged. British casualties, 11 wounded. 25. At Libau, the forts brought down a Zeppelin and captured the crew. German attack on Givenchy, near La Bassée, repulsed by the British. 26. German cruiser Gazelle damaged by a Russian submarine in the Baltic. The first Indian soldier to receive the VC decorated by the King. 27. Turks advanced to within thirty miles of the Suez Canal, and came into collision with a British patrol. Fierce attacks by the Germans all along the Western front vigorously repulsed by the Allies. Decision of the British Government to lend £5,000,000 to Rumania. 29. Russian advance in East Prussia on the line of the Memel towards Tilsit. 30. British again checked furious attack of the Germans near La Bassée.
1915, Jan. 31. In the Argonne, heavy fighting near Fontaine Madame. Russian advance on Tabriz. Feb. 1. German submarine attempted to torpedo the British hospital ship Asturias off Havre lightship. In the La Bassée district British troops captured German trenches. 2. The Turks attempted to bridge over and cross the Suez Canal, first at Tussum, near Ismailia, and afterwards at El Kantara. They were repelled by the British force, and retreated with the loss of all their material. German loan of £3,000,000 reported to have been granted to Bulgaria by Germany. 4. German Government announced a “blockade” of England, to come into operation 18 Feb. Merchant vessels belonging to the Allies liable to be destroyed by German vessels and submarines. Similar risks would be incurred by neutral ships, “owing to the use of neutral flags by British merchantmen.” 5. The Army Estimates provided for establishment of 3,000,000 men, exclusive of those serving in India. Strong protest by the neutral countries against the German “blockade.” Russians entered Tarnow. 6. Treasury announced that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, after conferences with the Finance Ministers of France and Russia, MM. Ribot and Bark, had agreed with them to unite their financial resources, equally with their military resources, to bring the war to a successful conclusion.
1915, Feb. 8. M. Delcassé, Foreign Minister for France, received by the King at Buckingham Palace. 9. M. Bark, Russian Minister of Finance, received by the King. 11. The United States Government issued two Notes –to Great Britain and to Germany. That to Germany intimated that an attack on a vessel flying the American flag would be regarded in a very grave light. The Note to Great Britain stated that the United States Government would “view with anxious solicitude any general use of the flag of the United States by British vessels traversing these waters” (the German “war zone”). The King sanctioned the formation of a battalion of Welsh Guards. 12. The Admiralty announced that combined aeroplane and seaplane operations had been carried out by the Naval Wing at Bruges, Zeebrugge, Blankenberghe, and Ostend to prevent the development of hostile submarine bases and establishments. Thirty-four aeroplanes and seaplanes took part in the attack, doing considerable damage, Ostend Railway Station suffering heavily. The Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath conferred on Sir John Jellicoe. On the Eastern front, the Russians retreated in East Prussia to avoid a flanking movement by the enemy. 13. East of Givenchy the line of the Allies was advanced. The French supported by British guns and infantry, pushed forward on the extreme right.
1915, Feb. 15. East Prussia reported to be entirely evacuated by the Russians. Continued and rapid advance of the Germans in East Prussia, and in Poland north of the Vistula. In the House of Commons, Mr. Churchill outlined the answer of the Government to the threatened German “blockade,” and said that its affect would be to apply the full force of naval pressure to the enemy. 16. Another great air raid against the Belgian towns held by the Germans in the Bruges, Ostend-Zeebrugge districts made by forty British aeroplanes and seaplanes belonging to the Naval Wing, assisted by eight French aeroplanes. Ostend, Middlekerke, Ghistelles, and Zeebrugge bombarded. The Bukowina abandoned by the Russians. 17. Two Zeppelins, L3 and L4, wrecked on the Danish coast. 18. Threatened “blockade” of Great Britain by Germany begun. 20. British fleet of battleships and battle-cruisers, accompanied by flotillas, and aided by a strong French squadron, the whole under the command of V.-Adm. Sackville H. Carden, attacked the forts at the entrance to the Dardanelles. Those on the European side were silenced. 21. German aeroplane raid on Essex. Bombs dropped on Colchester, Braintree and Coggeshall. No loss of life and trifling damage done.
1915, Feb. 23. Unsuccessful attempt by a German submarine to torpedo the cross-Channel Folkestone to Boulogne passenger boat. 24. Supposed loss of H.M.S. Clan McNaughton, an armed merchant cruiser, the ship having been missing since Feb. 3. 25. The first week of the “blockade” resulted in the torpedoing of seven vessels, the arrivals at and sailings from British ports during the same period being 1,381. Bombardment of the Dardanelles forts resumed, in which H.M.S. Queen Elizabeth takes part. Allied airmen in France raided the German lines of communication in Champagne, dropping sixty bombs on railway stations, trains, and other points of concentration. 27. It was officially announced that the Dacia had been seized by a French cruiser and brought to Brest to be taken before a French Prize Court. 28. Successful Russian counter-attacks in Poland and Galicia. The King returned from his visit to a portion of the Grand Fleet.
1915, Mar. 1. The Premier announced in the House of Commons the reply of Great Britain to the German “blockade” and campaign of piracy and pillage, and stated that the British and French Governments held themselves free to detain and take into port ships carrying goods of “presumed enemy destination, ownership, or origin.” Mr. Asquith asked the House to sanction votes of credit for £187,000,000. In the Champagne, the Germans made unsuccessful attacks, the result of the heavy fighting being favourable to the Allies, who during the preceding fortnight gained some two miles along a front of nearly 500 miles. 4. Fierce fighting in the Carpathians, the Austrians and Hungarians sustaining enormous losses in persistent but unsuccessful assaults. N. E. of Mesnil, the Prussian Guard, fighting with great ferocity, failed to retake some trenches. German submarine U8 sunk off Dover. Admiralty decided that the 29 officers and men could not be allowed “honourable treatment,” the submarine being presumably guilty of attacking unarmed merchantmen, and ships carrying non-combatants, neutrals and women. 5. Austrian retreat in the Bukowina reported. Zeppelin L8 wrecked near Tirlemont; 17 of the crew killed. At the Dardanelles, H. M. S. Queen Elizabeth, supported by H.M.S. Inflexible and H.M.S. Prince George, attacked the defences at the Narrows. 6. Political crisis in Greece, and resignation of M. Venizelos, the result of disagreement with the King on the subject of intervention in the war.
1915, Mar. 8. British airmen dropped bombs on the Kursaal at Ostend. 9. In the House of Commons, Mr Lloyd George introduced a Bill to extend the power to take over and control works producing or capable of producing war material, thus enabling the Government to mobilise the whole forces of the engineering trade for the prosecution of the war. New Greek Ministry formed by M. Gounaris, pledged to a policy of neutrality. 10. Capture of Neuve Chapelle by British troops. Counter-attacks by the Germans in the Champagne, which proved unsuccessful. H.M.S. Ariel rammed and sank German submarine U12. Germans, heavily reinforced, resumed the offensive in a fresh movement towards Warsaw. 12. Capture of L’Epinette, S.E. of Armentières, enabled the British to push their line forward a considerable distance in the neighbourhood. It was announced from Paris that an Expeditionary Force, under the command of Gen. D’Amade, was being concentrated in N. Africa for service in the Dardanelles. H.M.S. auxiliary cruiser Bayano, engaged on patrol duty, was torpedoed and sunk. 13. Junctions at Don and Douai destroyed, and a train blown up at Don Station by British airmen.
1915, Mar. 15. Admiralty announced the sinking of the Dresden by H.M.S. Glasgow, H.M.S. Kent, and H.M.S. auxiliary cruiser Orama, who caught her near Juan Fernandez Island. The Germans attacked the British troops at St. Eloi, and gained some advantage. 16. British troops recovered the ground lost at St. Eloi. Field-Marshal Sir John French reported that the prisoners taken since the 10th numbered 30 officers and 1,670 men, the total German losses during the fighting from the 10th to the 13th on the Neuve Chapelle front being 17,000 to 18,000 men. 18. Allied naval attack on Kalid Bahr. H.M.S. Ocean, and the Bouvet, of the French squadron, sunk. 19. Russians again invade East Prussia. Agreement arrived at between the Government and representatives of thirty-four Trade Unions to accelerate the output of munitions and other Government work. 20. Capture by Gen. Botha of 200 rebels and field guns at Swakopmund. Ineffectual air raid on Deal, the bombs dropped falling into the sea. 21. German attack on Paris with two Zeppelins, wounding eight persons.
1915, Mar. 22. Russians took Przemysl; 126,000 prisoners (including 9 generals, 93 officers of the General Staff, and 2,500 officers) and 700 big guns captured, together with a large quantity of war material. 23. Turkish raid on Egypt frustrated by British aeroplanes. Seizure of the Dacia declared valid by French tribunal. 24. British naval wing attacked Hoboken, near Antwerp, dropping bombs on submarines in course of construction. 25. Admiralty reported on the sinking of the German submarine U29. 26. Metz station and the air-sheds at Frescati bombarded by French airmen. 27. French captured the summit of Hartmannsweilerkopf, strongly fortified by the Germans.
1915, Mar. 28. The Falaba, a liner belonging to Elder, Dempster & Co., torpedoed by a German submarine off Milford, with the loss of 112 passengers and crew. German losses during the first five months of the war computed by French authorities to be 1,300,000 men. Apr. 1. Submarine bases at Zeebrugge and Hobokoen again raided by British airmen. 5. The King commanded that from April 6 no wines, spirits, or beer be consumed in any of the Royal Households. American Note to Germany suggesting the payment of £45,610, with interest, as compensation for the sinking of the William P. Frye.
1915, Apr. 6. Warmbad, in German South-West Africa, taken by the Union Forces. 7. In France, east of Verdun, Hills 219 and 221 taken by the French. 8. German armed merchantman Prince Eitel Friedrich interned. 9. Attempted assassination of the Sultan of Egypt. Russians stated by the General Staff to be holding the summits of the Carpathians on a front of 70 miles, from south of the Dukla Pass to slightly north of the Uzsok Pass. 10. French advance reported between the Meuse and the Moselle, and capture of Eparges. 12. German threat of reprisal for German prisoners from submarines carried out; 39 British officers placed under military arrest.