Nine battleships, seven cruisers, five battle cruisers and 49 destroyers surrender at Rosyth. 39 U-boats surrender at Harwich.
British capture Mons before dawn. Germany signs an armistice with the Allies at 5.10 am, agreeing to the punitive terms to end the War. The agreement comes into effect at 11am. The last British soldier to be killed in the War was Private George Edwin Ellison of the 5th Royal…
Revolution begins in Berlin.
The German peace delegation arrives at a railway siding in Compiegne Forest to negotiate the terms for an armistice. The Allies are in no mood to negotiate. Allied Supreme Commander, Ferdinand Foch, is there to dictate the terms to the Germans. The situation in Germany is desperate, the country faces…
Austro-Hungary signs an armistice with the Allies leaving Germany isolated in the War. German Navy mutinies at Kiel.
Turkey signs an armistice with the Allies after surrendering to the British in Mesopotamia.
Sailors in the German High Seas Fleet at Jade mutiny and refuse to obey a German Admiralty order to engage the British fleet.
Advancing six miles in two days after stiff resistance. The British are now 20 miles beyond the Hindenburg Line.
Allied troops advance across the River Selle. Allies also take Lille and Douai.
Allied territorial gains continue with an advance from St Quentin to Cambria, driving the Germans back 3 miles. Over 10,000 prisoners are taken.
Germany and Austria address pleas to American President, Woodrow Wilson requesting an armistice between their countries and the Allies. Wilson responds, on October 14 and 23, stating that the Allies would only deal with a democratic Germany and not an imperial state with what, in effect, is a military dictatorship.
Led by the Australian 3rdLight Horse Brigade, and capture 7,000 prisoners.
46th North Midland Division play a leading part in breaking the Hindenburg Line regarded as one of the most brilliant exploits of the war. Several towns and villages are taken, Canadian troops capture Bourlon Wood. French and American troops advance between Reims and Verdun, 23,000 prisoners are taken.
Battle of Samaria opens British offensive in Palestine. Turkish forces collapsed at Megiddo.
British Army sweeps back over the old Somme battlefield. August 26 – 3 September
The French and British armies advance on Amiens. Trench warfare is abandoned for mobile advances and use of tanks. The German forces are in disarray as communications break down and thousands of troops surrender. August 8 -12
During the night of July 16th / early morning hours of the 17th, the Tsar, his wife, children and servants are herded into the cellar of their prison house and executed by the Bolsheviks, bringing to an end 300 years of the Romanov dynasty.
The last German offensive of the First World War and the Second Battle of the Marne is a significant Allied victory. The German aim to win the War with the offensive fails and German forces in fact lose ground. Crown Prince Wilhelm, and other German commanders, believe that the War…
All lifeboats, except one, are rammed by the attacking submarine.
A massive offensive by the Austro-Hungarian army. Italian and British troops drive back the attack and both sides suffer terrible losses. The Allies inflict such losses on the Austro-Hungarian army that it is destroyed. The defeat is the beginning of the dismantling of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. June 15-23
The German 18th Army attacks in the direction of Paris. The assault is stopped as French and American troops successfully counter-attack and the offensive ceases after four days.
The first two battles were Allied attacks, mainly French, the Third Battle of Aisne, from 27 May-6 June, was the final large-scale German attempt to win the War before the American army arrived. French forces were driven back to Marne, but hold after American reinforcements arrive.
The Largest raid of the War, with 33 aircraft, the raid kills 49 civilians and wounds 177 more. Germans also bomb British hospitals at Etaples resulting in 300 casualties.
After earlier un-successful raids on Ostend and Zeebrugge, a second raid on Ostend scuttles HMS Vindictive at the harbour entrance making it unuseable for German cruisers.
Three British Divisions hold off an offensive by 13 German Divisions and inflict very heavy losses.
Second German offensive begins in Flanders with a four-and-a-half hour bombardment of British forces in Armentieres to begin the Battle of the Lys. Germans advance quickly, punching a hole 3.5 miles wide through the British line. They also take almost 6,000 prisoners from a Portuguese division. Germans use 2,000 tons…
Almost 40 miles of territory has been taken.
General Foch appointed Allied Commander on the Western Front.
The German advance is halted, but with high casualties. The Americans play a vital role in the Battle.
One of the largest air battles of the War takes place with 70 aircraft.
A huge German offensive known as Die Kaiserschlacht takes place south of Arras. Over five hours the Germans fire one million shells, more than 3,000 shells every minute. The bombardment is followed by an attack by elite storm troopers. At the end of the first day, around 20,000 British soldiers…
A peace treaty is signed between Russia and Germany; the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. This frees German troops to fight on the Western Front.
An early example of combined mechanised warfare; the Royal Flying Corps bomb German positions and anit-tank guns, clearing the way for tanks to break through.
Begun on July 31, over three months of fighting saw an advance of 5 miles with 500,000 casualties, including 140,000 dead.
British troops capture Gaza. Russia’s Bolshevik Revolution, forces led by Vladimir Ilyich Lenin overthrow the provisional government of Alexander Kerensky.
British troops capture 1,800 Turkish troops at the Battle of Beersheba, clearing the way for the advance on Jerusalem.
A second offensive on the town of Passchendaele begins. Reinforced by British troops the Allies take the town in torrential rain.
Rain had fallen on every day since 19 October. 20,000 Canadian troops begin the advance, but quickly get bogged down, eventually retreating to within 100 yards of their starting point. A second attack took place in later days with little gain at a cost of 12,000 Allied casualties.
Italian Army was heavily defeated by Austro-German attack.
Australian and New Zealand troops are bogged down in the mud and suffer terrible losses for no territorial gain.
British and French troops take the Poelcapelle, north of Ypres. 25mm of rain falls in two days onto already saturated ground and turns the battle field into a quagmire. Wounded men remain on the battlefield as conditions make it too difficult to remove them.
French troops recaptured both “Mort-Homme Hill” and the “Côte 304” and occupy the underground tunnels that connect the German front and rear lines.
Canadian troops take a small, but strategic hill and hold out against five German counter offensives. The Allies lose 9,200 men.
Start of the Third Battle at Ypres. Referred to more commonly as ‘Passchendaele’, the Third Battle of Ypres was the final great battle of attritional trench warfare of the War
After crossing the Nefu desert, the Arabs, with T.E. Lawrence, liberate Aqaba in Jordan, opening the route north for the Arab army and isolating the Turks in Mesopotamia.
The attack was a precursor to the much larger Third Battle of Ypres, known as Passchendaele. It was preceded by the detonation of 19 huge mines, totaling around 500 tons, under the German lines. The explosion was the loudest man made sound in history, apparently heard in Dublin and by…
After the first failed attack, a second is mounted against heavily protected Turkish positions, the second attack was a greater failure with 6,000 lost.
Second Battle of the Aisne. A disaster for the French Army, involving 1.2 million troops and 7,000 guns, it achieved little in the way of territorial gain. Mutinies begin in the French army.
First phase of Battle of Arras begins. British successfully employ new artillery tactics. Canadians take Vimy Ridge. April 9 -14
Troops are readied for war.
British troops attempt, but fail, to isolate Turkish forces from their homeland.
Moscow is controlled by Russian revolutionaries. Disarray in the Russian army allows Germany to concentrate more troops on the Western Front.
Provisional Government formed
The Great German Withdrawal , known as Operation Alberich, begins. German troops withdraw from Serre, Miraumont, Pys and Warlencourt, establishing the Hindenburg Line, a much stronger defensive position.
USA cuts diplomatic relations with Germany as German U-Boats continue to threaten American ships. An intercepted message also reveals that Germany is attempting to provoke Mexico into an attack on the USA.
The Battle of Verdun started on February 21st and ended on December 18th, 1916. It was the longest battle of the War and estimates put casualties at close to 1 million men over 10 months.
Germany issues a proposal to begin negotiations to end the War. On December 30, 1916, the Allies reject the proposal, which they deem unworthy of serious consideration.
The fourth phase of the Somme Offensive, the Battle of the Ancre. The village of Beamont Hamel is captured by British troops who take almost 4,000 prisoners.
Tanks again play a role in the Battle of Thiepval village. A Memorial to the Missing, who have no known grave, and who died in the Somme before the 20th of March 1918 is located at Thiepval.
British troops capture the strategically important village of Ginchy, commanding a full view of the Somme battlefield.
The second Somme Offensive on the village of Pozieres. Allies sustain 17,000 casualties, mostly Australian.
The British troops break the German line, but do not deploy the cavalry fast enough to take full advantage. 9,000 men are killed.
Start of the Battle of the Somme. Three quarters of a million Allied troops advance along a 25 mile front. In one day, 60,000 British troops are wounded or dead. Very little advance is made. It is the largest single day’s loss of life in British military history.
T. E. Lawrence, Lawrence of Arabia, helps the Arab revolt against the Turks in Hejaz. Lord Kitchener sets sail for Russia on HMS Hampshire. The ship hits a mine off the Orkney Islands and 643 men, including Kitchener, are lost.
Start of the Russian Brussilov Offensive on the Eastern Front which was meant to aid the Allies at the Somme by diverting German forces away from the Western Front.
Despite losing 14 ships and over 6,000 men, the British navy inflicts great damage on the German fleet which does not recover for the rest of the War.
First day of ‘Daylight Saving Time’ scheme, British Summer Time, introduced to give longer daylight working hours, particularly for farmers.
Besieged British forces surrendered to Turkish forces at Kut, Mesopotamia, after 143 days. 3,000 British and 6,000 Indian troops are taken prisoner, most die of starvation and disease in prison camps.
Irish Rebellion starts with Sinn Feiners seizing Dublin’s Post Office.
A third and last attempt to relieve the besieged forces at Kut, Meopotamia, sustaining 23,000 Allied casualties.
Start of the Battle of Verdun. The German plan is to ‘bleed the French dry of men and resources’. The battle lasts for 10 months and inflicts over 1 million casualties.
Military Service Act passed which imposes conscription on all single men aged 18 to 41, except those in essential wartime occupations, the medically unfit, religious ministers and conscientious objectors.
End of the Gallipoli campaign with the successful evacuation of Helles with only one casualty.
A first attempt is made to relieve the besieged British troops in Kut, Mesopotamia. The British force the Turkish to withdraw, but sustain 4,000 casualties.
The Allies complete the evacuations at Suvla Bay and Anzac Cove, Gallipoli without a single casualty and without Turkish troops being aware of the operation. 83,000 men are evacuated. Gallipoli was the first major military action by ANZAC, Australian and New Zealand forces. (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps)
Sir Douglas Hague replaces Sir John French as Commander in Chief of the British Expeditionary Force.
After inflicting heavy casualties on Turkish troops at the Battle of Ctesiphon, south of Baghdad, British troops are low on supplies and are forced to retire to the town of Kut. The Turkish give chase and besiege the town.
Steel helmets are adopted on the British front. The design is reputedly based upon the hat used by lead and tin miners and referred to in Derbyshire as the ‘bradder hat’.
British nurse Edith Cavell is executed by German firing squad after helping prisoners of war escape from Belgium to Holland. She becomes a martyr and is adopted as a heroine in Britain.
British and French troops land in Salonika in neutral Greece to enable the aid of Serbian forces in the Balkans
British and Canadian troops break the German line at Loos, but heavy loses mean limited advantage can be made. Canadians receive over 9,000 casualties.
Start of the Battle of Loos. Britain uses gas for the first time, but it is blown over their own troops. Seven are killed and 2,625 injured.
Lloyd George sworn in Minister of Munitions.
At first a temporary wooden structure, it is replaced in 1920 by the current version.
(Exactly 5 years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, at Sarajevo)
The British Legion was formed on 15 May 1921, bringing together four national organisations of ex-Servicemen that had established themselves after the First World War.
First Zeppelin raid on London kills seven and injures over 30 showing that Germany can attack the British mainland and capital, causing a crisis of moral on the home-front.
The ‘Shell Crisis’ causes discontent with the level of Government support for front line troops. The pressure forces the Liberal Government of Prime Minister Asquith to step down and a coalition government is formed.
The British liner ‘Lusitania’ is torpedoed off Ireland and sunk by a German U-boat. 1,198 men, women and children drowned including 124 American civilians, causing a diplomatic crisis between Germany and the USA.
First use of poison gas by Germany.
12,800 Allied men lost in the offensive at Neuve Chapelle. Blame attached to poor quality and lack of supply of British shells, starting the ‘Shell Crisis’. More shells fired in the single offensive than in the whole of the Boer War.
All shipping is vulnerable, including that of neutral countries.
A spontaneous truce breaks out along the trenches of the Western Front. Both sides leave their trenches, sing carols and songs and exchange cigarettes, chocolate, bread and other gifts. Football matches famously take place and even a hare hunt for Christmas dinner. The opportunity is also taken to bury dead…
German warships bombard the coastal towns of Hartlepool, Whitby and Scarborough, killing 137 civilians, bringing the War to mainland Britain.
The Royal Navy regains its superiority and takes revenge for the Battle of Coronel with the sinking of 3 German cruisers involved. Only one German ship escapes.
Trenchwarfare begins to dominate the Western Front and trenches are established along its entire length from Switzerland to the North Sea, 440 miles. This line changes very little during the four years of the War. Britain lost almost 1million men during the War, the majority along the Western Front.
Off coast of Chile. A major blow to the Royal Navy with the sinking of HMS Good Hope and HMS Monmouth and the loss of almost 1,600 men.
October 19 – November 17
Battle of the Marne checks the German advance. Over ½ million men are casualties; 250,000 French, 250,000 German and 13,000 British. September 6 -10
The British Expeditionary Force suffer 7,812 casualties at the Battle of Le Cateau and are forced to continue their retreat. Russian army defeated at Tannenburg and Masurian Lakes.
British Expeditionary Force starts its retreat.
Kaiser’s alleged order for destruction of British “contemptible little army”
First squadrons of Royal Flying Corps arrive in France.
The call for 100,000 men to join Kitchener’s New Army is made under the slogan ‘Your King and Country Need You’. The call is answered within two weeks.
Originally brought in to cover sensitive military information, as the War goes on its scope allows for the regulation of almost all aspects of the home front, including British Summer Time and pub opening hours.
First members of the British Expeditionary Force land in France.
150 men are lost when the Royal Navy cruiser HMS Amphion is sunk by German mines in the North Sea.
Lord Kitchener made War Secretary.
Britain declares war on Germany. United States announces neutrality.
Great Britain gives the order for troops to mobilise.
Germany declares war on Russia. Italy and Belgium announce neutrality.
Austrians bombard Belgrade, the Serbian capital. German patrols cross the French border.
Kaiser William II promises German support for Austria-Hungary against Serbia.
Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne assassinated at Sarajevo along with his wife, Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, by a Bosnian Serb, Gavrilo Princip