WW1 TIMELINE

World War I, also known as the First World War, or the Great War, was a global war that began on 28 July 1914 and continued until 11 November 1918.

The 1914-1918 conflict was a thoroughly modern war and many of the men who died in it did so in thoroughly modern ways. That is not to say that the old fashioned methods of sacrificing one’s life were not in evidence; men were still impaled, sliced, slashed, shot and blown to pieces as had long been common practice and that old chestnut, disease, in all its myriad forms, accounted for a large percentage of the fatalities. But now there were ways of being killed that stretched the imagination almost to breaking point. The hard work and diligence of Herr Fritz Haber brought poisonous gas to the battlefield and a slow, excruciating and lingering death to many a soldier. Flame throwers turned men into blackened corpses in the blink of an eye. The massive artillery pieces, products of unfettered industrialisation and technical brilliance, reduced battlefields to a sea of liquid mud into which men, either exhausted or slightly wounded, fell, sank and were never seen again. These same guns gave lie to the belief that away from the battlefield you were safe. Some had a range of 70 miles and they were quite capable of bringing death and destruction to men and women who thought, that through rest and recuperation in the back areas, they had escaped the horrors of war.


The conquest of the air meant that men could now hurtle to their demise from great heights especially as the issue of parachutes was not common practice. In 1916 tanks made their first appearance and men were now crushed to death as they desperately tried, but all too often failed, to scramble from their paths. Within these same behemoths, tank crews were themselves vulnerable and the screams of men trapped inside a burning tank chilled the very soul of those who heard but could do nothing to help. At sea the new under-water weapon, the submarine wreaked havoc and destruction along the shipping lanes whilst the men who manned them faced death themselves in the claustrophobia of a hollow cylinder from which there was often no escape. So there seemed no limit to the variety of ways that the poor humble soldier, sailor or airman could meet his death, yet when we look at war memorials there is no hint of the circumstances under which those listed met their demise. Just rows and rows of names, each one with a story of their own, but a story that except in a few well documented cases can rarely be told. It is hoped that this website may bring some of these stories to light and a very important aspect of this website is that it is intended to be one that is continually evolving as new information, photographs, letters, diaries etc come to light. All of these will be added to the appropriate page of the website. We are also keen to hear of any errors that have been made so that these can be corrected. If you have anything to add to the stories of these men then we will be very pleased to hear from you via the e.mail address.


The 1st world war lasted for over four long years and was fought not only on the Western Front in France and Belgium but also in Gallipoli, Iraq, Palestine, Africa, Greece, Italy and of course at sea. In all these arenas men from London could be found and men from London died. The following time-line highlights some of the main events of the conlict.

WW1 TIMELINE

1914
4  August - Germany invaded Belgium. Britain & France declared war on Germany.
12 August - The British Army (BEF) began their move to northern France.
23 August - First British action at the Battle of Mons.  Start of the Great Retreat as the BEF and the French armies fell back to the River Marne.
26 August - BEF in action again at Le Cateau.
5-12 Sept - The Battle of the Marne halted the German advance.
18 October - First Battle of Ypres.
6 November - British forces landed in the Persian Gulf and began the advance northwards.


1915
10-13 March - Battle of Neuve Chapelle.
22 April - Second Battle of Ypres in which the Germans used gas for the first time.
25 April - British, ANZAC and French forces landed on the Gallipoli peninsula to attack the Turks.
9 May - Battle of Aubers Ridge.
15-25 May - Battle of Festubert.
25 September - Start of the Battle of Loos.
7 December - British forces besieged at Kut as they advanced towards Baghdad.


1916
9 January - The last British forces were withdrawn from Gallipoli.
29 April - British forces at Kut surrendered.
31 May - Battle of Jutland. The major sea battle of the war.
1 July - Start of the Battle of the Somme. British casualties for the first day numbered 60,000, 19,000 of whom were killed.
15 September - Tanks used for the first time during the Battle of the Somme.
18 November - End of the Battle of the Somme.


1917
8-11 March - British forces captured Baghdad.
6 April - USA declared war on Germany.
9 April - Start of the Battle of Arras.
31 July - Start of the Third Battle of Ypres, also known as Passchendaele.
November - British troops were sent to Italy.


1918
21 March - Start of a major German offensive on the Western Front which drove the BEF back to Amiens.
8 August - Start of the Allied offensive on the Western Front that would lead to the collapse of the German army.
11 November - The armistice brings to war to an end.


 

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