Timeline 1914 - 1919
British and German ships at Kiel Week
27 Jun 1914
Four British battleships and three cruisers attended the Elbe Regatta, Kiel Week in Germany. Part of the event was to celebrate the opening of the widened Kiel Canal to allow the German Fleet access between the Baltic Sea and the North Sea. The British vessels were moored alongside the German fleet and officers and men from both sides went aboard each other's ships. At the time, the German Kaiser was ...
Archduke Ferdinand assassinated
28 Jun 1914
Archduke Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, was assassinated at Sarajevo in Bosnia-Hercegovina. Over the next few months there was intense diplomatic activity. Austria declared war on Serbia on 28 July, Russia supported Serbia and Germany supported Austria. This was followed by a further series of declarations of war, or of neutrality, that involved many other nations and led to the conflict that ...
Anti-war demonstrations throughout Britain
2 Aug 1914
On August 2 1914, four processions marched across London to gather in Trafalgar Square to hear Keir Hardie, leader of the British Labour Party, speak against the rush to war. The 'War against War' rally was attended by 15,000 to 20,000 people and was one of the largest demonstrations the capital had ever seen. It was a rally for peace and British neutrality in a conflict the demonstrators believed the country ...
Royal Navy ordered to commence hostilities
4 Aug 1914
The Royal Navy was ordered to commence hostilities at 11pm. At the time, the Navy had 20 dreadnoughts, 5 battle cruisers, and 8 old 'capital' ships in Scapa Flow in Orkney; this became known as the British Grand Fleet. The English Channel Fleet had 27 old battleships and 21 cruisers. 3 Battle cruisers and 30 other warships were in the Mediterranean and cruisers were in the Atlantic, Pacific, off the coast of ...
Germany invades Belgium
4 Aug 1914
The six brigades of the German Army invaded Belgium at 4pm on August 4 expecting to overrun the country quite quickly but the Belgians put up a stubborn resistance which delayed the advance on France. While the city of Liege fell relatively quickly the surrounding fortresses were not overrun until August 16. On August 17, the main German Army advanced but 48hrs later than planned. While Brussels was occupied on ...
4 Aug 1914
War was declared at 11pm on August 4th 1914. Interestingly, this dramatic news was announced on page 5 of the East Dorset Herald newspaper with the front page dominated by sports and school reports. Britain had said that it would uphold the Treaty Of London and the neutrality of Begium. The German Kaiser refered to 'General French's contemptibly small Army'. Members of the British Expeditionary Force ...
Third Battalion Dorsetshire Regiment mobilised
5 Aug 1914
The 3rd Battalion (Dorset Militia) received an order to mobilise on August 5 1914. Reservists of the Battalion gradually assembled and by August 9 it was at full strength. The Battalion's main function was to train soldiers who would then join the active units. The History of Dorsetshire Regiment recorded that large groups of men arrived to be clothed and fed with 'large flares being used at night' so ...
British Cabinet debates the sending of troops
6 Aug 1914
The British Cabinet debated whether to send troops to France. The Regular Army, pre-1914, was only around 50 000 compared to the conscript armies of France (4 million) and Germany (4.5 million). The Foreign Secretary believed the army should remain in Britain. At the time, the British Army consisted of six divisions and Lord Kitchener advised that two divisions should be kept behind to protect Britain in case of an ...
The First World War Begins
6 Aug 1914
The local newspaper reported on the events that had taken place. Germany had declared war on Russia. It had then started a war with France by invading Luxembourg whose neutrality was covered by the 1867 Treaty of London - to which Britain was a signatory. Two British ships, the Castro and Saxon, were impounded while they were in the Kiel Canal. Shortly afterwards Germany asked Belgium to allow its troops to ...
Poole prepares for war
6 Aug 1914
The local newspaper reported that around 60 Naval Reservists from Poole were given a civic farewell at the Custom House. They then marched to the railway station supported by cheering crowds and the Poole Town Band before they left for Portsmouth on the 1343 train. The thirty-three men of the Poole Company of the Royal Garrison Artillery (Territorials) were ordered to go to Weymouth. Shipping ...
Sinking of HMS Amphion
6 Aug 1914
HMS Amphion was the first Royal Navy ship to be sunk during the First World War. She struck a mine on the 6th August 1914 when returning to the Thames Estuary and sunk shortly after. All 132 members of the crew were lost. HMS Amphion was assigned to the First Fleet and lead a flotilla of destroyers that sank the German minelayer SMS Königin Luise. The following day HMS Amphion ...
Germany attacks France
7 Aug 1914
The Schlieffen Plan was aimed at invading France by way of Belgium and Luxembourg and then to attack the French fortresses from behind. The attack was devastating. Charles de Gaulle, a French captain, said that ' it had become clear that not all the courage in the world could withstand this fire' as the German Army moved forward. The German commander Prince Ruppert ordered the German Army to go on the ...
Defence of the Realm Act Passed
8 Aug 1914
Over a period of several years various regulations were brought into force. In 1915 there were calls to follow the French, who had banned the sale of absinthe on January 7th 1915, by introducing controls on the sale of alcohol in Britain. Parliament decided not to introduce an Act of Parliament. Instead a Central Control Board was instituted to control the sale of alcohol in military areas. The Act introduced ...
German steamer 'Herbert Fischer' in Poole
13 Aug 1914
The German steamer 'Herbert Fischer' was mistakenly allowed to proceed to Poole after being stopped in the Channel by the Royal Navy. Realising its mistake, the Navy despatched the 'Velox' torpedo boat to look for the vessel which was carrying timber from Russia to J.T. Sydenhams of Poole. The 'Herbert Fischer' had meanwhile entered Poole Harbour to unload its cargo. The crew was ...
The effect of the war on everyday life
13 Aug 1914
The local newspaper reported on the effects of the first few weeks of war. A meeting at Parkstone House, Poole discussed the increase in cost of food and panic buying. Sugar had gone up 6d per pound while it was claimed that a man who usually ordered a sack of wheat every week had now ordered 50 sacks. The Mayor of Poole intended to send out letters to grocers asking them not supply beyond what was considered normal as doing ...
Poole Alderman has an unusual experience
13 Aug 1914
Alderman Herbert Carter had a rather unexpected experience when he took a group of Parkstone Sea Scouts camping by the Solent the previous week. Around 300 sea scouts were to camp around the Beaulieu River for a major event that included Royalty and a visit to Cowes Week. The Parkstone Sea Scouts took their cutter, 'Babe', on a very lively sea journey from Poole to Buckler's Hard. The declaration of war ...
Order of the White Feather was founded
14 Aug 1914
Admiral Charles Fitzgerald set up the 'Order of the White Feather' with the purpose of embarrassing young men into joining the armed forces. Women were asked to present a man not in uniform with a white feather which was a symbol of cowardice. It was not until 1915 did it become commonplace because of increasing casualties at the front. Men who were in reserved occupations had to wear an armband to avoid being ...
Japan declares war on Germany
23 Aug 1914
In contrast to World War 2, Japan declared war on Germany in World War 1. British, Australian and Japanese troops attacked German possessions in the Far East. The Japanese Navy also provided escort duty in areas such as the Mediterranean. In 1917 the Japanese destroyer, Matsu, rescued around 2500 men when the 'Transylvania', a British troopship, was sunk off the coast of Italy. ...
Battle of Mons
23 Aug 1914
The Battle of Mons was the first battle, since the Crimea, that the British Army had fought in Europe for nearly 100 years. The Dorsetshire Regiment took part in the battle and over half the men of the regiment were reservists who had not served for several years. They received typically just four days training before travelling to Mons. There was no time for anything more with the German ...
First major naval encounter between British and German fleets
28 Aug 1914
The first time the battlecruisers of the British fleet were in action was off Heligoland Island when the Royal Navy decided to intercept the German torpedo boats that carried out day patrols in the area.The battlecruisers HMS Invincible and HMS New Zealand were to support Commodore Tyrwhitt's Harwich force of light cruisers HMS Arethusa and HMS Fearless and 33 destroyers. Unfortunately, the ...
Poole a 'Prohibited Area'
29 Aug 1914
The declaration of war led to the passing of the 1914 Aliens Act which meant that Germans, Austrians, and Hungarians living in designated areas had to register with the police. Poole was a prohibited area. Those who did not register were liable to arrested. Typical was the arrest of two German waiters who worked at a Canford hotel who had failed to register. 300 Germans who had become naturalised British ...
First British warship sunk by a torpedo
3 Sep 1914
The cruiser HMS Pathfinder was the first British warship to be sunk by a torpedo when it was fired upon by German U-boat U 21. 259 sailors died. HMS Pathfinder was a member of a class of small cruisers that were designed to operate with a destroyer flotilla. The design brief required the ships to be fast and, as they were intended to target only destroyers, they did not have sizeable armament. HMS Pathfinder was ...
The First Battle of Marne
6 Sep 1914
The German Army was worn out by the success of the Battle of Mons. The German General von Moltke was quoted as saying 'we have hardly a horse in the army that can go out for a walk' and 'the victor has prisoners. Where are ours?' Supply lines had weakened with hundreds of miles of railway lines having been destroyed. General von Kluck ordered, for some reason, the German First Army to change direction on ...
6th Battalion Dorsetshire Regiment created
6 Sep 1914
The 6th Battalion of the Dorsetshire Regiment came into being when 1000 men, all Kitchener's volunteers, gathered in Wareham. It was noted that few of the officers in charge had any experience of being on active duty. After training, the battalion transferred to Romsey and then on 13 July 1915 set sail for France. The crossing was made on board the 'St Cecilia' with two destroyers as escort ...
The First Battle of Aisne
6 Sep 1914
The History of the 1st Battalion The Dorsetshire Regiment records that Sir John French ordered that his corps should be beyond the River Aisne by September 13. The bridge across the river had been destroyed and the 15th Brigade were transported on two rafts built by the Royal Engineers. The rafts could only carry 50 men each. The Dorsets started being taken across at midnight; it took four hours to move the entire ...
Poole Sea Scouts need bicycles
7 Sep 1914
The East Dorset Herald published a letter from the Scoutmasters of the 1st Poole Sea Scouts hoping that someone would lend the scouts three bicycles to help them patrol the coast at Sandbanks as there were concerns over spies being landed or information being passed to ships off-shore. Scouts patroled along the coast and also kept watch over inland water installations, such as Poole Waterworks in Corfe ...
HMS Aboukir, Hogue and Cressy sunk
22 Sep 1914
The cruisers HMS Aboukir, Hogue and Cressy were on escort duty for the British Expeditionary Force troopships near the Dutch coast. HMS Aboukir was sunk by the German U-boat U 9. HMS Hogue and then HMS Cressy were sunk while trying to rescue survivors. 1500 sailors lost their lives. The Rev G.H. Collier,of Babbacombe, was rescued from the disaster and described his experience in a newspaper ...
Poole nurses go to war
1 Oct 1914
The Poole local newspaper reported that Janet Lindsay, a nurse from Poole, was now serving abroad. A week later, the newspaper reported that Celia Congreve, Evelyn Broad and N. Rogers, nurses from Parkstone, had also gone abroad. Janet Lindsay became a member of the British Red Cross, Poole Voluntary Aid Detachment in 1914. She travelled to St Malo where she spent a month helping the wounded. On her ...
A Poole school helps hospital in France
8 Oct 1914
In a letter to the Poole local newspaper, Helen Foote, of Upper Parkstone (Heatherlands) School for Mothers reported on the aid that those associated with the school had sent to the St Malo Base Hospital in France. The list included assorted bandages, various hospital-style shirts, padded splints, pillows and pillow cases.
Possible promenade to Sandbanks to reduce unemployment
8 Oct 1914
Numerous schemes were put forward to reduce the unemployment that followed the economic crisis on declaration of war. Nationally, unemployed domestic servants were encouraged to emigrate to Canada and New Zealand. Locally, a scheme was suggested to build a promenade from Lilliput to Sandbanks. The area in 1914 looked nothing like today and consisted of wind-swept sand-dunes and isolated houses. ...
A Poole man's experience at La Bassee
13 Oct 1914
Private J. Baker, 1st Dorsets, of Waterloo, Poole told the Poole and East Dorset Herald newspaper of his experience of the fighting at La Bassee. On October 13 1914, he received 13 wounds throughout his body and lay 'dead' as German soldiers advanced. Under the cover of night, he 'crawled' many miles before being found at first light by a Devon Regiment officer. He was sent to a hospital in Brighton ...
Battle of Armentieres
13 Oct 1914
The rush to war is revealed in the method of travel used by the 1st Battalion, Dorsetshire Regiment to their billets near the front in Belgium. '1015am the bus column started. The buses still contained the advertisements with which they had been decorated when following their normal routine in London. The journey was pleasant enough. Later on the Dorsets found 'Hill 75 was distinctly ...
First Battle of Ypres
19 Oct 1914
The first Battle of Ypres was part of the 'Race to the Sea' as British and German armies attempted to outflank each other. While the German losses were heavy the British increasingly found the losses of 'regular' experienced troops was having an impact. In 1914 the British Army was around 250 000 strong - by 1918 it was several million. ...
Poole War Distress Relief Fund
22 Oct 1914
Poole, like many other places, wanted to raise funds to help those affected by the war. Individuals could donate money or organise fund-raising events. This newspaper report from October 22 1914 provides details of the monies received by Poole's War Distress Relief Fund in early September/October.
Temporary hospital at Upton House
22 Oct 1914
Many temporary hospitals were opened in large houses throughout the country in expectation of the major hospitals being unable to cope. Other temporary hospitals in Poole included The Lodge, The Mount, and Springfield Auxiliary Hospitals for Officers and the Sandacres Private Hospital for Officers in Parkstone. A request was made in March 1914 from the Military Authorities, Southern Command that 24 beds be ...
HMS Audacious sunk
27 Oct 1914
The dreadnought HMS Audacious was sunk by a mine on 27 October 1914. All the crew were rescued. It was decided to keep the sinking a secret because the troops at the front were 'very exhausted' and it would not help morale.. However, someone on the liner, Olympic, witnessed the sinking and took a photograph which was published in an American newspaper on 14 November 1914. The Audacious was a King George V ...
Princess Mary Gift Boxes
29 Oct 1914
Princess Mary launched a fund in October 1914 to give a present to all servicemen serving at the front or on the sea at Christmas 1914. The brass boxes contained numerous small gifts such as cards, cigarettes, spices and chocolate. Princess Mary, daughter of the King and Queen, sent out an appeal on 15 October 1914 to raise funds to provide a Christmas Gift tin for every man who was either at sea or at the ...
Lights out for Poole shopkeepers
29 Oct 1914
Poole responded to the concerns that lights in the town could be seen at sea by prohibiting shopkeepers from having lights on the outside of their shops. Anybody who lived in the town was expected to either turn off, or hide, any lights that made their dwelling visible to shipping. The darkness inspired discussions in the East Dorset Herald about the wearing of luminous collars or buttons and the wearing of ...
HMS Monmouth and HMS Good Hope sunk off Chile
1 Nov 1914
The German Admiral von Spee commanded a force of ships which raided merchant ships and disrupted trade in the Pacific. Admiral Cradock was ordered to find the German ships. Cradock's force consisted of the aging battleship Canopus, the cruisers Monmouth and Good Hope, the light cruiser Glasgow and the armed merchantman Otranto. The Canopus had problems with its engines and was not able to keep position. ...
X-ray machines on the Western Front
1 Nov 1914
The scientist, Marie Curie, realised the medical value that X-rays would have in finding shrapnel and bullets in wounded soldiers. At the time, the technique was finding only limited application in French hospitals and the French Army only had one mobile X-ray unit. Curie also understood that there had to be a means of getting an X-ray machine to the medical clearing stations. She went round well-off French ...
5 Nov 1914
A report in the East Dorset Herald noted that fireworks and bonfires were now prohibited in the Borough of Poole. However, only a year later the newspaper was commenting on the fact that children were being taken before the Poole Police Court having let off fireworks in contravention of the Defence of the Realm Act. The report believed that shopkeepers should be banned from selling fireworks. ...
Cornelia Hospital to be extended
5 Nov 1914
The Red Cross was to have an extension built to Cornelia Hospital so as to provide 60-70 beds for the expected wounded. It was to be built by the West of England Poultry Appliance Works, Poole for £600 but would cost around £30 a week to run and there was an appeal for donations. 'Canwick', a house on Longfleet Road was to be used to store blankets and sheets. ...
Loss of HMS Hermes
5 Nov 1914
It was reported that the cruiser, HMS Hermes, had been sunk by a torpedo. Albert Ralph, whose parents lived on Emerson Road, Poole sent a telegram, a few days after the sinking, to his parents that he was well. He had joined the Navy at 15, saw 24 years of service, and then 'retired' for eight years before rejoining. He described how he was below deck when the Hermes was struck by the first torpedo. He ...
Capture of the town of Tsing-Tao in North China
7 Nov 1914
World War 1 was truly global with conflict in Western and Eastern Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the Far East. Tsing-Tao [Tsing-Tau], in North China, was the HQ for German influence in the Far East and, more importantly, was the base for the German East-Asiatic Squadron of Vice-Admiral von Spee. This naval squadron attacked British shipping in the Pacific and was a major threat to trade. The fortress was ...
SMS Emden sunk
9 Nov 1914
The SMS Emden was a light German cruiser that 'disappeared' from the China Station until September 10 when over five days she captured six vessels.The Emden's role was to destroy or capture merchant shipping. The wife of the captain of one vessel, the Kabinga, described her experience. The Emden fired a warning shot late on September 12. The ship stopped and 30 armed German sailors were landed ...
Lady Jellicoe's request
19 Nov 1914
A remarkable letter appeared in the local newspaper from Lady Gwendoline Jellicoe, wife of the Admiral of the British Grand Fleet. A request had come from her husband for boots, oilskins and all manner of warm clothing and equipment because although the Admiralty supplied some it still wouldn't be enough. In her letter, she hoped that people would either send items or money to her home in London or locally to Mrs ...
Urgent need to keep soldiers warm
21 Nov 1914
A letter to the East Dorset Herald from Cornelia, Lady Wimborne and Feodorowna Alington shows the desperate need soldiers had for warm mittens, scarves and sleeping bags and records the thousands of items made by the East Dorset Guild of Workers. It notes that 'none of these are supplied by the Government' and, without sleeping bags, the soldiers in the training camps will be on bare wooden boards. ...
Loss of HMS Bulwark
26 Nov 1914
HMS Bulwark was launched in 1899. It was torn apart by an explosion while loading ammunition at Sheerness. 793 sailors lost their lives and only 12 survived. Two men with Poole connections lost their lives in the explosion; Assistant Paymaster L.A. Robinson whose father lived at 'Armadale' Parkstone and Able Seaman F. Underhay whose wife lived in Pile Court, Poole. ...
Battle of the Falkland Islands
8 Dec 1914
'The failure of the naval action on November 1st 1914 led to another British naval force being despatched to the South Atlantic. This force included the old dreadnought HMS Canopus, the battlecruisers HMS Invincible and HMS Inflexible and was led by Vice-Admiral Sturdee. The German vessels were sighted whilst the British fleet was taking coal on-board at Port Stanley. This was a lengthy operation taking many ...
German ships bombard Northern coastal towns
16 Dec 1914
'Part of the German High Seas Fleet under Admiral von Ingenhol approached the North coast with the intention of attacking the coastal towns. British destroyers made contact with his advance ships and, believing he was actually facing the far superior British Grand Fleet, he ordered the German fleet to sail for home leaving the First Cruiser Squadron of battlecruisers essentially trapped inside an extensive ...
Women's voluntary organisations
17 Dec 1914
The First World War led to the creation of numerous women's organisatiosn who provided varying types of support. The local newspaper reported on the Women's Emergency Corps who held a branch meeting at the Theatre Royal, Bournemouth. The aim of the Corps was to bring together those who had particular skills in voluntary work. Mrs Pertwee from London had been one of six who had created the Corps. She spoke to a ...
First air attack launched by Royal Navy
25 Dec 1914
At the beginning of the First World War the Royal Navy only had the converted cruiser HMS Hermes able to carry planes; in this instance, three seaplanes. HMS Hermes was sunk by a U-boat on October 30 1914. The Admiralty realised that it needed more vessels capable of carrying several seaplanes. In 1913, the Admiralty had bought a hull to which was to be added a 130ft flight deck. When it was completed, HMS Ark Royal as it ...
25 Dec 1914
The ‘History of the Dorsetshire Regiment 1914-1919’ recorded that the 1st Battalion experienced ‘nothing unusual’ ‘on the Dorset front’ near Wulverghem but there were no shots between the opposing sides. They understood that the sides south of them were ‘friendlier’. Interestingly, in the local newspaper of January 1915 there is correspondence ...
When will the war end?
31 Dec 1914
An editorial in the local newspaper raised the question of how long will the war last. It believed that the optimist considered that the war was nearly over and was unlikely to last three years. In contrast, Lord Kitchener disagreed and believed that the country should prepare for the conflict to last three years. The editorial commented that the officers and men returning from the front were confident that it will be ...
HMS Formidable sunk by U-boat
1 Jan 1915
HMS Formidable, a 15 000 ton battleship, was sunk in the English Channel by German submarine U-24. The Formidable had been on a gunnery exercise, along with other ships, near Portland Bill. It was hit by a torpedo around midnight. Heavy seas and darkness meant that saving the ship was becoming impossible and the Captain ordered the ship to be abandoned. It was then hit by a second torpedo. Only 233 men were rescued out of ...
4th Dorsets beat Germans at football
7 Jan 1915
Private S. Perry wrote to Mr W.H. Saunders, the secretary of Longfleet St Mary's Football Club, about a football match that had taken place between D Company 4th Dorsets and a team of German prisoners. What is unusual is that the match took place in Ahmednagar in India. The Dorset team was entirely made up of footballers from Poole ie from Longfleet St Marys, St Aldhelms, Carters, Adult School, Tramways, ...
Lights out along the coast
15 Jan 1915
An order was issued that any light on the coast, from Portland Bill to Littlehampton, that could be seen from the sea should either be turned off or covered up at night. The concern was that a light could be used as a target for enemy ships. Heavy fines could be issued against those who disobeyed the law. The East Dorset Herald regularly had reports of local people being fined for having their lights on. ...
Naval experiences off the German South West Africa coast
17 Jan 1915
John Matthews of Poole joined HMS Armadale Castle in August 1914. The vessel was involved in patrol work along the German South West coast of Africa. In a letter home he describes how he was injured but not by enemy action. Whilst the vessel was coaling he slipped and damaged his knee which meant he had to have a few days rest. He said he was fortunate not to break anything - before he joined up he played in goal for Longfleet ...
Battle of Dogger Bank
24 Jan 1915
A naval battle took place near the Dogger Bank, North Sea between Rear-Admiral Beatty's battle cruiser squadron of HMS Lion, HMS Tiger, HMS Princess Royal (1st Battlecruiser Squadron), HMS New Zealand and HMS Indomitable (2nd Battlecruiser Squadron) supported by 7 light cruisers and 35 destroyers of the Harwich Force, and the German Admiral von Ingenohl's fleet of Seydlitz, Derfflinger, Moltke, and ...
RSPCA creates a fund to look after wounded horses
28 Jan 1915
By the end of the War nearly 1 million horses had been on the Western Front. They were used by the cavalry, as well as to carry supplies, pull wagons and artillery, and many other roles. The RSPCA launched a fund in 1915 for the care of sick and wounded horses. The experience of one horse is dramatised in Michael Morpurgo's novel 'War Horse'. Another horse has a local connection. A ...
Recruitment in full flow
18 Feb 1915
Recruitment meetings were held throughout the country and this advert announces that one will be held on February 19th 1915 at the Drill Hall, Upper Parkstone. To encourage men to attend the meeting, local brass bands paraded along three different routes to the Hall. The photograph is of a recruiting van used by the Royal Navy which was in Poole for a military sports event. ...
Poole War-Time Allotments Committe formed
1 Mar 1915
'Dr H. W. Irvine, Inspector of Schools in Dorset, had suggested in 1915 that waste land could be used for the production of food. The Mayor of Poole, Mr G. Kentish, was keen on the idea and the Poole War-time Committee was formed in March 1915. Poole was possibly the first town to undertake food production using allotments because of the war. It started with around 60 plots in Ladies Walking Field, Longfleet and ...
Battle of Neuve Chapelle
10 Mar 1915
This battle highlighted the lack of shells with the German defences left untouched by an inadequate barrage. It was noted that the battle had used an equivalent amount of ammunition to that used in the entire Boer War. Lloyd George was appointed Minister of Munitions with the aim of increasing the supply of munitions. By September 1915 it was reported that there were 20 factories making shells and 18 ...
Canford man's part in the sinking of U 29
18 Mar 1915
The Poole and East Dorset Herald newspaper reported on how a local man's observation led to the sinking of the German submarine U 29. The submarine had sunk four ships and damaged two over four days in March 1915. On March 18, U 29 was in Pentland Firth when Lt Commander Piercy, who was watch officer on H.M.S. Dreadnought, spotted a periscope, close to the ship, zig-zagging and heading south. Captain Alderson of HMS ...
Should sports and entertainments continue?
1 Apr 1915
'As the First World war progressed there were calls for sports and entertainment to be stopped. The local newspaper reported on a letter from Mr J.H. Taylor, a golf professional, who argued that golf should continue because it 'was a valuable asset to the national health' and a way of achieving 'relief from worry'. Football was another sport that was questioned and led to an increased interest ...
Raising money for a motor lorry
8 Apr 1915
A letter appeared in the local newspaper asking if any women whose first name was Annette, Nita, Antoinette, Anne or Annie would be willing to raise funds for a lorry to carry supplies for the American Ambulance Corps who were with the Second French Army Corps. One of the signatures on the letter was Miss Annette La Touche of Parkstone, Poole.
Poole Motor Ambulance
15 Apr 1915
The desperate situation at the front in France led to requests being made throughout the country for towns and cities to raise money to purchase a motor ambulance in the name of the place. Poole responded to the call and successfuly raised £400 to buy an ambulance in the name of the 'Borough of Poole' for use by the Red Cross. ...
The Second Battle of Ypres
22 Apr 1915
This was the first time chlorine gas was used as a weapon by the Germans on April 22. The 1st Battalion The Dorsetshire Regiment experienced gas on May 1 - the trenches were only 40 yards apart and the impact was devastating. The wind did change and started to blow the gas back into the German trenches. The Dorsetshires had been told to wear 'respirators' which were essentially a wet cloth around their face. By ...
25 Apr 1915
British, French, Newfoundland, Indian, Australian and New Zealand troops landed at Gallipoli. By December 1915 there was a full-scale withdrawal. The campaign was condemned as being organised by politicians behaving as 'amateur soldiers' and led by incompetent generals. Find out more on our blog
Sinking of the R.M.S. Lusitania
7 May 1915
The Lusitania was torpedoed without warning by the German U-boat U-20 while the passenger ship was en-route from New York to Liverpool. It sank in under 20 minutes leading to a great loss of life. Several prominent Americans lost their lives and it stirred up a lot of ill-feeling in many countries. While Germany sought to defend its action it proved a major propaganda disaster. America was not in the war but it applied a ...
Destruction of an airship wins a VC
7 Jun 1915
Sub. Lieut. R.A.J. Warneford (R.N.) destroyed a Zeppelin airship between Ghent and Brussels. He had chased the Zeppelin and then managed to destroy it by dropping bombs on to it. His plane became damaged and he had to land in enemy territory. He eventually restarted the engine and was able to return home. He was awarded a Victoria Cross for his action. Sadly he was reported killed only 11 days later. ...
Soldier's weekend furlough in Poole
10 Jun 1915
The Poole Liberal Club opened its doors after the evening concert was over to provide sleeping accommodation for solders who in the town on leave. The hall was cleared and then swept clean. Beds made from straw-filled sacks were then laid in rows on the floor. Soldiers were then only admitted if they had a pass or an admission ticket to the concert. Once a man had a bed he removed his boots and puttees and then was handed a ...
Appeal to help Dorset Regiment Prisoners of War
24 Jun 1915
The local newspaper had an advert from the East Dorset Guild of Workers in which they asked people to 'Adopt a Prisoner of War' at 5s (25p) a fortnight. The money would be used to send parcels of food and other items to Dorset Regiment POWs. In the following year the Guild hoped to send to every Dorset Regiment Prisoner of War a pudding, preserved fruit, cigarettes and other gifts for Christmas 1916. They had ...
National Register Bill introduced in Parliament
29 Jun 1915
The Bill had a stormy passage through Parliament but was eventually passed in July 1915. Every adult between the ages of 15 and 65 had to fill in a Registration Form detailing their age, occupation, and if they would be prepared to join the army or work in a munition factory. The idea was that the information would be used in a new recruitment campaign to be launched by Lord Derby who had been appointed Director of ...
H.M.S. Audrey - a former tourist steamship
1 Jul 1915
Many boats used for the excursion and holiday traffic along the coast were requisitioned by the Royal Navy. Typical is the 'Audrey' which used to sail between Bournemouth, Poole and Studland Bay. The newspaper report describes some of the experiences of the five Poole crewmen.
Coalminers on strike
13 Jul 1915
200,000 miners went on strike in the Welsh coalfields. The dispute ended on 21st July when the Government agreed to most of their demands. In the year since the beginning of the conflict the price of food had gone up by 34% and there were significant increases in income tax which meant there was widespread hardship. It was reported in February that the cost of bread in Poole was to be increased by 8d for a 4lb loaf - in the ...
Landing at Suvla Bay
6 Aug 1915
The 5th Battalion, Dorsetshire Regiment, took part in the landing at Suvla Bay. They set sail in July from Liverpool on the Aquitania as part of a force of 7000 men and crew. As early as August 8th, the operation was considered an 'opportunity…wasted' especially by the men in the trenches. The early successes were not built upon because the leadership was unclear about the situation on the ground. ...
Torpedo launched from a seaplane
12 Aug 1915
Seaplanes were heavier than land-based planes because they had to be built much stronger to be able to withstand the stress of take off and landing at sea. They were also slow, had poor handling and the sea had to be calm for a launch to occur. If a seaplane carried a torpedo the fuel load had to be reduced because of the weight. On August 12 1915, during the Gallipoli campaign, a seaplane sank a Turkish supply ship using a ...
Poole girl on board a trawler
12 Aug 1915
The local newspaper reported in August 1915 that 'the latest case' of a woman taking on a man's job was that of 13 year old Alice Matthews who was helping her father on his trawler where she 'braves the howling wind' and starts work 'in the small hours of the morning.'
Women are delivering the post
2 Sep 1915
The East Dorset Herald reported on September 2nd 1915 that three women were now working in the Poole Postal Area. By December 1915, this unusual event became much more common as the need for men to fight at the front led to women filling the vacancies in many service and manufacturing industries. In February 1915, it was announced that, because of the conflict, the hours of the Poole Post Head ...
Russian Flag Day in Poole
25 Sep 1915
A Russian Flag Day was organised in Poole to raise funds for the Russian Red Cross. Purchasers could buy a flag from numerous sellers in the town. Some shops and streets were decorated with the Russian flag. A performance of music by the Amity Hall Orchestra, dancing, comedy, magic lantern slides of 'Scenes of Russia', and singing was held in the Amity Hall in Poole. Nearly £200 was raised on the day. ...
Battle of Artois-Loos
25 Sep 1915
The British and French armies made considerable gains on the first day of the Battle of Artois-Loos but the reserves were held too far back and were ordered forward much too late. Over the next few days, repeated Allied attacks left thousands of troops dead because the German defences were able to regroup. One German officer recorded that they stopped firing because all that lay in front of them were either dead or ...
Nurse Edith Cavell shot by firing squad
12 Oct 1915
Nurse Edith Cavell had aided British troops in escaping from Brussels. Convicted by the German authorities, she was shot by firing squad. British and worldwide opinion was horrified by the act and German officer POWs were reported as saying that they would have refused to carry out the order.
Derby Scheme Recruitment
15 Oct 1915
The Derby Scheme was introduced in October 1915. Men could register their commitment to serve and could even choose which regiment they joined. Single men were to be called up before married men. The scheme closed on December 15 1915 because insufficient numbers signed up. The scheme arose out of the National Registration Act of July 15 1915 which split work into 'starred' occupations, which were ...
Land plane flies from Navy vessel
3 Nov 1915
Flight Lt. H.F. Towler flew a Bristol Scout landplane from the deck of HMS Vindex, a seaplane carrier, and then landed ashore. It showed that a landplane could be launched from a ship, but there was no way of landing and the pilot would have to ditch near the ship.
Haig replaces French as Commander-in-Chief
19 Dec 1915
General Sir Douglas Haig replaced Field Marshal Sir John French as Commander-in-Chief of the British Expeditionary Force in France. Haig has been critcised for a lack of imagination however he was supportive of the 'new' tank. 'Wherever the tanks advanced, we took our objectives and where they did not advance, we failed to take our objectives. Go back and build as many more tanks as you can.' ...
Siege of Kut
1 Jan 1916
The Siege of Kut Al Amara (7 December 1915 – 29 April 1916), also known as the First Battle of Kut, was the besieging of an 8,000 strong British-Indian garrison in the town of Kut, 160 kilometres (100 mi) south of Baghdad, by the Ottoman Army. In 1915 its population was around 6,500. Following the surrender of the garrison on 29 April 1916, the survivors of the siege were marched to imprisonment at Aleppo, ...
Battle of Verdun
21 Feb 1916
The German General Falkenhayn was determined to destroy the French army before the British forces could be fully deployed. The target was Verdun. It was not only an important strategic point on the Western Front, it also had great symbolic importance for the French nation. His tactic was simple. Use a massed artillery attack followed up by the infantry. Nearly 1 400 German artillery guns fired 1 000 000 shells in jsut ...
2 Mar 1916
The Military Service Act introduced conscription into the armed forces for single men aged between 18 and 41. Men in 'reserved occupations' could be exempt because their job was critical to the War effort. On May 25 it was extended to married men. There was some dismay expressed that unmarried men could have relatively well-paid jobs in munitions factories while married men with families to support could ...
Fishing dispute leads to East Dorset Herald editor being prosecuted under DORA regulations
30 Mar 1916
An article in the East Dorset Herald reported on a fishing dispute between local fishermen and Royal Navy minesweeper men who patrolled the area. It was claimed the Admiralty boats were depriving local fishermen of their trade by allegedly fishing when they were on patrol. Further reports became more vociferous and led to the East Dorset Herald Editor being prosecuted under the Defence of the Realm Act for ...
Field kitchens presented by charity organisation
27 Apr 1916
Many charities raised funds and donated equipment which today it would be expected that the Government would provide.This picture is of a field kitchen which could give hot food and drink to soldiers. Local groups would often raise funds which were then passed on to the national organisationswho bought the equipment.
Poole postman dies at Vimy Rdige
21 May 1916
The local newspaper reported in its April 22 1920 issue that staff at the Post Office in Poole had erected a memorial tablet to Mr T.J. Rigler. He had joined the postal service as a messenger, was promoted and eventually came to work at the Poole Post Office. He had volunteered when war was declared as did, apart from five, all his colleagues. He was the only one who was killed. He served as a Rifleman in the Post Office ...
Battle Of Jutland
31 May 1916
The Battle of Jutland (German: Skagerrakschlacht, the Battle of Skagerrak) was a naval battle fought by the British Royal Navy's Grand Fleet under Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, against the Imperial German Navy's High Seas Fleet under Vice-Admiral Reinhard Scheer during the First World War. The battle unfolded in extensive maneuvering and three main engagements (the battlecruiser action, the fleet ...
Death of Lord Kitchener
5 Jun 1916
On June 4 1916 Lord Kitchener left London for Thurso by train. He then travelled on HMS Oak to Scapa Flow where HMS Hampshire was waiting to take Kitchener to Russia to discuss military aid. The Hampshire was a fast cruiser capable of 21 knots and had an experienced captain. The original plan was for the Hampshire to take an easterly route from Scapa Flow. She was to be escorted by two destroyers on part of the journey to ...
British artillery bombard the area around the River Somme
24 Jun 1916
June 24 saw the beginning of five days of continuous artillery bombardment by the British which was expected to destroy the enemy, both physically and mentally. The earth 'trembled like a jelly' and the noise was intense but in reality it was incredibly ineffective. The barbed wire defences were hardly touched and when it ceased the defenders emerged from their underground dugouts to take up ...
Battle of the Somme
1 Jul 1916
Comprising the main Allied attack on the Western Front during 1916, the Battle of the Somme is famous chiefly on account of the loss of 58,000 British troops (one third of them killed) on the first day of the battle, 1 July 1916, which to this day remains a one-day record. The attack was launched upon a 30 kilometre front, from north of the Somme river between Arras and Albert, and ran from 1 July until 18 November, at ...
Battle of Albert
1 Jul 1916
The History of the Dorsetshire Regiment describes what happened when the 1st Battalion of the Regiment took part in the Battle of Albert. So much rain fell that the start had to be delayed by 48 hours. This meant that the approaches to the front line were crowded with wagons, horses, and artillery guns. The artillery bombardment which was meant to destroy the barbed wire was so loud no-one could hear anything else. When ...
Bostock and Wombwell's Menagerie visits Poole
7 Jul 1916
In the early days of the War there was a concern about organising entertainments at such a serious time for the country. However, it was also realised that people needed entertaining and that diversions were also required for the many wounded soldiers. This advert is for Bostock and Wombwell's 'Gigantic Combined Shows' which was one of the major touring menageries in the country. The show was to be held ...
Aeroplane visits Poole for the first time
3 Aug 1916
World War 1 was a time of great social and technological change. The East Dorset Herald newspaper reported on the first visit of an aeroplane to Poole. It appeared over Poole as part of a fundraising event to support Cornelia Hospital and Poole Soldiers' Home which looked after many wounded or recuperating soldiers. The experience of seeing and hearing an aeroplane for the first time must have created a lasting ...
Royal Naval Cordite Factory makes first batch of gun cotton
16 Aug 1916
The Royal Navy needed cordite as a propellant for the naval guns. The war created a demand that could only be satisfied by the building of a new factory. Holton Heath was chosen because it was in a remote location, had access to Poole Harbour and the sea, was near the London & South Western railway mainline, and was relatively low-lying but with 'hills' that could be used for the gravity-led transfer of ...
Great opportunity for Poole girls at Holton Heath Munitions Factory
7 Sep 1916
A report in the East Dorset Herald of September 7th 1916 noted that currently 25 girls were being taken on every week at the Holton Heath Munitions Factory and it was hoped the number would increase to 100. A later report corrected the error that there were hostels at the works for the girls. Wages started at £1 per week and their rail fare between Poole and Holton Heath was paid for. Councillors were impressed by ...
First Use of Tanks in Battle
15 Sep 1916
Tanks were used on a battlefield for the first at the Battle of Flers-Courcelette. The British development of the tank was surrounded in great secrecy. Thirty-two Mark 1 tanks took part in the battle but many broke down trying to cope with the terrain. Their main impact was psychological as the German troops struggled to comprehend what was attacking them. Lt G.Head described his experience of being ...
Women's Land Army created
15 Sep 1916
The Women's Land Army took the place of male farm labourers who had gone off to fight. By December 1916, 72 000 certificates had been granted to women who were working on the land and 62 000 green baise armbands, with a scarlet Royal Crown, had been issued. By 1918 there were over 113 000 women in the Land Army. This advert for the Women's Land Army is interesting in that it mentions that after the ...
Advertising directed at the working woman
12 Oct 1916
Advertising began to target the working woman rather than the housewife. This advert from the East Dorset Herald depicts women working in an engineering factory and was part of a series of adverts which described the benefits of the product being advertised but also highlighted the different roles of women.
Battle of the Ancre
13 Nov 1916
Prior to this battle the 32nd Divsion, of which the 1st Dorsets were part, had transferred to the Ancre. Their journey began on the 10th October at La Perriere and ended on the 15th November at Mailly-Maillet by way of Floringhem, Averdoigt, Rebreuville, Beauval, Warloy,Contay Wood, Harponville, and Bouzincourt. The battle was short-lived. Beaumont-Hamel was quickly taken but the frost disappeared and the ...
Novel charity supplies Bovril to the troops
30 Nov 1916
An overlooked aspect of World War 1 is how much was provided through charitable organisations. Funds were raised to provide medical supplies, ambulances, field kitchens, warm clothing and even binoculars for officers. The East Dorset Herald reported briefly on an unusual charity that supplied hot Bovril to the troops. Remarkably, Miss Gladys Storey's charity was still supplying Bovril to soldiers nearly ...
11 Jan 1917
After being involved in the Battle of the Ancre the Dorsets rested at Berteaucourt until early January when they were transferred back to the Ancre. The History of the 1st Battalion Dorsetshire Regiment gives a vivid description of the conditions at Ancre where it had seemingly rained for months. Relief columns arrived at the front exhausted just by getting there. Artillery had turned the ground into a ...
Expansion in local allotments to provide food
11 Jan 1917
The need to grow more food inspired the expansion in the number of allotments and any uncultivated land was sought that could be better used. An East Dorset Herald report on January 25th 1917 noted that the Parkstone Gardener's Association was one of the first in the country to welcome lady gardeners and it was hoped that it would 'quicken the interest of our women in agricultural and horticultural ...
Zimmermann telegram sent
19 Jan 1917
Zimmermann, the German Foreign Minister, sent a telegram to the German Ambassador in Mexico on January 19 1917. He proposed offering the Mexican Government financial aid to help it 'reconquer' Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. On January 23, the German Ambassador in the USA was requesting funds to influence Congress to keep the USA neutral. On February 3, the German U-boat U-53 sank the American ship, ...
H.M.S. Laurentic sunk
25 Jan 1917
The East Dorset Herald reported that the auxiliary cruiser HMS Laurentic had been sunk. The Laurentic had originally belonged to the White Star Line for use on its Britain to Canada service. 121 Officers and men were saved but sadly Poole sailor, Francis Pym, was not one of them.
Women foster carers required for motherless children
5 Feb 1917
World War 1 was a time of great social change with the obvious devastating impacts on family life. This advert is for the less well-known social issue of the need for women foster carers to look after children whose mothers had died and their fathers were away fighting.
War Savings needed to help fund the war
15 Feb 1917
In February 15 1917 the local newspaper reported that 36 War Savings Associations had been created in Poole. They included political clubs (eg Poole Conservative Club and Branksome Liberal Club), churches (eg St Clement's Church, Parkstone and Parkstone Congregational Church), schools (eg St Aldhelm's Girls School and Poole Secondary School) and businesses (eg Pineland Laundry, Parkstone and ...
Dorset Regiment prisoners of war need our help
1 Mar 1917
The Dorset Guild of Workers had provided many items, such as mittens and blankets, for soldiers in training or at the front. As the war progressed, there was an increasing number of men from the Dorset Regiment in prisoner of war camps. An advert highlights the numbers of POWs in early 1917 and their need for food parcels. Often the parcels were the only way they could get sufficient food to survive. The second advert ...
Women's Army Auxiliary Corps formed
31 Mar 1917
The Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) was formed in December 1916 to release men from non-combat roles. They were enrolled as civilians and, therefore, not bound by military law. 14 WAAC's arrived on the Western Front on 31 March 1917. The WAAC later became known as the Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps. They were typically employed as waitresses, cooks, and clerks, ...
Survivors of sinking of hospital ships arrive in Poole
17 Apr 1917
The Admiralty reported that the hospital ships, S.S. Donegal and S.S. Lanfranc, had been sunk by German torpedoes on April 17. Both vessels were carrying wounded servicemen back to Britain from France. 41 were missing from the Donegal. 34 were missing from the Lanfranc; this ship was also carrying over 150 German wounded. A French vessel arrived in Poole with 80 British and 18 German wounded. The serious cases were ...
Poole man patents armour for soldiers
28 Jun 1917
World War 1 inspired many developments in science and technology, such as the tank which is an example of a British invention that changed warfare. Scientists also worked in Government laboratories on ways of providing protective equipment. And there were opportunities for the local inventor, such as Mr J. Pullman of Parkstone, who patented an invention of improved armour for soldiers. The East Dorset Herald ...
Kerenski Offensive launched on Eastern Front
1 Jul 1917
Alexander Kerenski, Minister of War in the Russian Interim Government following the abdication of the Tsar, ordered an offensive against the German and Austrian forces on the Eastern Front. Initially, it was very successful, but the Russian forces were slowly disintegrating through internal conflict and the desire of the soldiers to return home rather than take part in a conflict that had little meaning for ...
HMS Vanguard destroyed
9 Jul 1917
The St Vincent-class British battleship, HMS Vanguard, was destroyed when an explosion tore through the ship as it was moored in Scapa Flow in the Orkneys. It is believed that a fire led to cordite setting off the magazine. As the ship was in port, watertight doors, normally closed, were open which contributed to the disaster. 804 sailors were killed, including Claude Mauleverer, a midshipman from Parkstone, ...
Royal Navy Cordite Factory holds a charity Carnival
19 Jul 1917
The Holton Heath Cordite Factory held a charity carnival in Poole in aid of the local Red Cross hospitals. The newspaper describes an impressive procession at the Quay with ships and streets decorated with bunting. The event then moved to Poole Park where numerous sporting events took place. There were standard races as well as unusual ones such as sack race, a potato race and and egg-and-spoon race. There was also a ...
The first landing on an aircraft carrier at sea
2 Aug 1917
Several Royal Navy vessels were capable of launching a seaplane but had no space for them to land. A plane had to land by the side of the vessel and be winched aboard in a hazardous and time-consuming operation. Ideally a proper aircraft carrier was required but this would take time to build and it was decided to modify existing ships. HMS Furious was originally designed for operation off the coast of Flanders where it ...
Mutiny in the German Navy
2 Aug 1917
After the Battle of Jutland, the capital ships of the German High Seas remained in port apart from a few minor forays. The crews, with nothing much to do, became bored, fed-up and mutinous. Some men chose to volunteer for service in submarines and on small ships which meant that morale of those who remained fell further. On August 2 1917 the crew on the dreadnought Prinzregent Luitpold mutinied. In the aftermath, the ...
Poole War Memorial
2 Aug 1917
As the death toll continued to increase there were calls for a suitable memorial to those who had given their lives in the First World War. There was, however, a lot of discussion over what form it should take and not everyone was keen on some form of statue. One correspondent said it would be of little interest to future generations. Other suggestions for a suitable memorial included almshouses, a monument with a bell ...
Role of women when the war is over
23 Aug 1917
During World War 1 there was a great debate over the employment of women in roles normally associated with men. Many women found themselves in work simply because there were no men available. Some commentators were looking to the future when the war was over and men had returned from the front. This article, originally from a woman's magazine and written by a woman, expresses some interesting views about the role ...
Children collecting horse chestnuts and acorns
30 Aug 1917
Children were asked to collect horse chestnuts for use in munitions manufacture, freeing up grain for use in food production. Schools were encouraged to organise competitions to see which child could collect the most. The munitions factories were also interested in acorns and they were prepared to pay per sack. It was reported in November that Longfleet Schools had collected 3 1/2 tons of acorns. In December 1917, ...
Parliament considers Premium Bonds
30 Aug 1917
Paying for the War was proving financially costly and War Loans were issued. Parliament was also considering issuing Premium Bonds as a way of raising funds. In November 1919, the National Savings Committee 'condemned' the proposal for Premium Bonds saying they satisfied 'a desire to become rich without effort'.
Battle of Passchendaele
22 Oct 1917
This was also known as the Third Battle of Ypres, One of its aims was to divert German resources away from the French sectors which had become very demoralised and affected by mutinies. The success at Messines had convinced General Haig that the German Army was close to collapse and because of this he persisted with the attack. It opened with a 15 day artillery bombardment firing of four million shells over a 11 ...
Battle of Cambrai
20 Nov 1917
This was the first large-scale use of tanks in battle. The British had nearly 400 tanks in action and, unusually, they were led into battle by the General in command, Hugh Elles. Tanks were originally known as 'His Majesty's Landships' and Elles reasoned that as an Admiral went into battle with his fleet, so he should with his 'fleet' of tanks. He also created the colours of what was the ...
Parkstone Man Wins Military Medal
27 Dec 1917
Parkstone man, Corporal Walter Ellis Adcock, Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps. received the Military Medal for his gallantry and devotion to duty. From September 20th - 23rd at Langemark near Ypres in Belgium, he dressed wounded men and carried them to safety under heavy shell fire. Walter Ellis Adcock married Alice Louise Blagdon at St. Peters in Parkstone in 1905. They had one son, ...
The sale of sugar to be controlled
30 Dec 1917
Food supplies were under increasing pressure and especially vulnerable were those that had to imported by sea. In response, it became necessary to restrict the sale of sugar. Householders were to be issued with a card and sugar could only be bought on production of this card. Hotels could only provide sugar for those who were staying in the hotel. In the early part of 1917, one in four merchant ships were being ...
Communal Food Kitchens to be provided in Poole
24 Jan 1918
The serious shortages in food and the high prices were proving a great hardship and many places decided to set-up communal kitchens to provide food at cost. Poole was to provide two kitchens but the scheme never got going and was abandoned by April 1918.
Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
3 Mar 1918
The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk ended the war between the Central Powers and Communist Russia, although fighting had all but effectively ceased in February. This meant that the Germans could transfer nearly 1 000 00 men to the Western Front and encouraged General Ludendorff to launch an 'annihilating blow' against the Allied forces in France. ...
Final German offensive
21 Mar 1918
General Ludendorrf ordered a decisive attack, 'Kaisersclacht' or the Michael Offensive, against the Allies involving three armies spread over a 40 mile front. On the 21 March, an estimated 6 600 artillery guns and 3 500 trench mortars opened fire and it was said that the noise could be heard in London. The attack was devastating. German elite stormtroopers fought their way through the British lines with ...
Upton mooring-out airship station
1 Apr 1918
The Admiralty built a fleet of airships known as Submarine Scouts in an attempt to deal with the U-boat menace. The intention was that they would patrol the coast and hopefully detect the U-boats. The airships were large inflatables filled with hydrogen. Upton had an mooring-out station from around April 1918 to January 1919. It is believed that it was in the area on the edge of Upton Heath near the A35 and Upton Park. ...
Raid on Zeebrugge and Ostend
22 Apr 1918
German U-boats from their base in Bruges used the canal system to enter the North Sea via Zeebrugge and Ostend. A specially-trained force of over 1000 volunteers on a small flotilla of vessels, including blockships filled with concrete, set sail to block the canal entrances at both ports. The Zeebrugge force consisted of the cruiser Vindictive, blockships Iphigenia, Intrepid, and Thetis (each holding 1500 tons ...
Ration books to be issued
23 May 1918
It was announced in early 1918 that 63,00,000 ration books were to be printed. The pages were to be colour-coded. White for names of retailers, orange for sugar, blue for fats, red for meat and bacon, blue for emergency rationing and green for reference. The books were to be specially designed to stop forgeries.The onset of rationing inspired shops to offer alternatives, such as spaghetti, that were not ...
Tank Week in Poole
17 Jun 1918
The dramatic invention known as the tank was used as a fund raising vehicle and several appeared around the country in various towns and cities. Lieut Hill and four men of the Tank Corps brought a tank to Poole, from June 17 to 22, with the intention of raising money through War Bonds. The tank was stationed at different sites around Poole over the six days. On Monday, it was at the Quay where over £13 000 of bonds were ...
Poole's own aeroplane
20 Jun 1918
One feature of World War 1 is the amount of fund raising that went on to obtain money for equipment that today we would normally expect the Government to provide. This advert is from the East Dorset Herald encouraging people to buy National War Bonds and War Savings Certificates during Aeroplane Week. The intention was to raise enough money to have an aeroplane named 'Poole'. ...
HMHS Landovery Castle sunk by U-Boat
27 Jun 1918
HMHS Llandovery Castle, built in 1914 in Glasgow as RMS Llandovery Castle for the Union-Castle Line, was one of five Canadian hospital ships that served in the First World War. On a voyage from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Liverpool, England, the ship was torpedoed off southern Ireland on 27 June 1918. The sinking was the ...
Air Inventions Committee seeks ideas
18 Jul 1918
World War 1 led to many new inventions such as, for example, the tank. The Air Inventions Committee had received around 5000 suggestions over the period from late 1917 to the middle of 1918. Some were unusual. One proposal was that clouds could be frozen and guns placed on them, while another was to use a large balloon to 'cover' the moon. ...
First successful air attack launched from aircraft carrier
19 Jul 1918
On 19 July 1918, HMS Furious, supported by the 1st Light Cruiser Squadron, sailed from Rosyth. At 3am in the morning, and near the Danish coast, it launched its complement of seven Sopwith 2F.1 Camels. The planes shadowed the coast and then went inland into Germany. They then attacked the Zeppelin sheds at Tondern. Zeppelins L.54 and L.60 were destroyed. It was the first successful attack launched from an aircraft ...
Battle of Amiens
8 Aug 1918
British, Canadian and Australian infantry backed up by 400 tanks, 2 000 artillery guns and around 1 000 aircraft attacked the German forces around Amiens. They used surprise, mobility and technology to make significant advances during the battle. Unlike in many other battles, the fighting was stopped after four days to consolidate the gains and begin new offensives elsewhere. This wore down the German defences ...
Concrete barge launched from Hamworthy
24 Aug 1918
The first, of what was hoped was to be many, 1500 ton concrete barge was launched from the Hamworthy Lake shipyard. The first barge to be launched was PD 25 (known as Cretacre). It took about six months to build to a design of the Marine and General Concrete Construction Company. The barge had a double skin and its dimensions were 190ft long, 33ft beam and 15ft 6in deep. It was launched with great ceremony with the ...
The loss of submarine L10
3 Oct 1918
Hedley Alexander Grant, whose parents lived in Parkstone, died in October 1918 when the L10 submarine was sunk in the North Sea. The L10 was commissioned in June 1918 from the Dumbarton shipyard of William Denny and was used to stop German vessels mining the sea. It had a crew of 38 and was armed with four bow and two beam torpedo tubes, as well as a 4in deck gun. On October 3rd 1918, L10 came across a group of German ...
Mutiny in the German High Seas Fleet
30 Oct 1918
Thousands of sailors of the German High Seas Fleet refused to set sail when ordered by Admiral Hipper to fight a last ditch battle against the British Grand Fleet. 'We do not put to sea, for us the war is over' was their response. Rioting was also occuring in many German cities fuelled by a desire to see the war end, severe food shortages and an increasing Communist influence. Coffee was being made from ground ...
The death of Wilfred Owen, poet and soldier
4 Nov 1918
The First World War inspired the writing of poetry and many were written by serving soldiers. Wilfred Owen is one of the most famous of these poets. He died on November 4. - his parents received the notice on Armistice Day. Other First World War poets include: - Siegfried Sassoon (survived the war); Rupert Brooke (died in the Aegean in 1915 onboard a hospital ship); Richard Aldington (survived the war); Edward ...
4 Nov 1918
The last conflict that the 6th Battalion of the Dorsetshires was involved in was at Mormal Forest on the Belgian frontier. By the 5th November, the Dorsets were exhausted and attempted to get some rest at Locquignol. It was, however, clear that the war was coming to an end. The 6th Battalion was then transferred to Eclabes and on November 10 an order was given that 'soft caps', ie not helmets, could be worn by ...
7 Nov 1918
In November 1918, the East Dorset Herald reported on the closure of the schools in Poole in response to the flu pandemic. It is believed the pandemic started in March 1918 and continued through to 1919. Its impact was devastating. Thousands of soldiers who had survived bullets were now dying of influenza and whole communities were being torn apart. For example, an estimated 10, 000 people died in London alone - ...
What happened to the Dorsetshire Regiment on the declaration of peace?
11 Nov 1918
The 1st Battalion marched through France after November 11 and spent Christmas at Anhee. Demobilisation started on December 22 1918. At the beginning of 1919, those not demobbed went to Obercassel in Germany as part of the Army of Occupation. The Battalion sailed for home in April 1919. The 3rd Battalion demobilised completely in 1919. The 5th Battalion celebrated the afternoon of the November 11 with a ...
11 Nov 1918
The History of the Dorsetshire Regiment records one person's experience at the front when peace was declared. He noted it was the silence that 'was most notable'. And while there was singing and dancing in London, celebrations were muted as all he had to eat were tainted bully beef and stew with a mug of tea. It is estimated that the number of British ...
'The End of the War'
14 Nov 1918
The Poole local newspaper reported that the 'signing of the armistice is not the final peace, but imposes upon Germany'..'unconditional surrender'. The terms included that all submarines and thousands of guns, aeroplanes, railway locomotives, and lorries were to be surrendered. All German land west of the Rhine was to be occupied by the Allies. This meant that British troops, as well as ...
Unemployment in the wake of peace
21 Nov 1918
The end of World War 1 brought further social change to the country at a time when there was no welfare state. Large numbers of soldiers returned to the prospect of unemployment. Women workers lost their jobs as either there was no longer a need, such as in munitions, or quite simply they were expected to give up their jobs for the returning men. In consequence, there was a drastic change in incomes for many people. The ...
British troops enter Koln
4 Dec 1918
It is a strange feature of World War 1 that Germany was never invaded. It was only on December 4 1918 that British forces entered Koln and created a 'Zone of Occupation'. Many in Germany and Austria couldn't believe they had been defeated given that their armies were still in other countries. One writer commented that 'the simple man in the street cannot understand what has happened so suddenly and ...
14 Dec 1918
The 1918 General Election gave the right to vote to all men over the age of 21, women over the age of 30 and military personnel over the age of 19. The first list of Absent Voters was compiled and published in 1918 but contained many errors. Servicemen were given another chance to register and a second list was published April 1919. After this lists were published twice a year in Spring and Autumn. The lists give a name, ...
Crown prince of Romania launches concrete barge in Hamworthy
16 Jan 1919
On January 16 1919 a ferro-concrete oil-tanker, designed to carry a 1000 tons of oil, was launched from the Hamworthy Shipyard. HRH Prince Nicholas, Crown Prince of Romania performed the launch ceremony of OC 601 at 9.30 am with the traditional bottle of wine. The platform was decorated with British and Romanian flags; Romania had declared war on Austria, an ally of Germany, in 1916. The barge had Romanian ...
German U-boats in Poole Harbour
23 Jan 1919
The East Dorset Herald of January 23 1919 reported on two U-boats in Poole. U-143 (more correctly UB 143) was being sent to Japan with an escort of the Japanese destroyers, Kanran and Kashiwa. UB 143 became stranded on a sandbank in Poole Bay while it was being taken to Japan as part of war reparations. It was recovered with great difficulty and escorted into Poole Harbour for repairs. The ...
Commission on the Reparation of Damage created
25 Jan 1919
The Commission was to investigate the financial penalties against Germany and Austria. Lloyd George, the British Prime Minister, became increasingly concerned that the severity of conditions might placate post-War feelings but could create lasting damage. In particular, he was against the transfer of German land to other countries.
Help for the unemployed
30 Jan 1919
The local newspaper reported on 30 January that Poole Incorporated Chamber of Commerce had held a meeting in Poole Town Hall where Major H.F. Williams, Acting Director of Ministry of Labour (Appointments Department) spoke about the help available for men who joined the armed forces straight from public schools and colleges and now found themselves being demobilised without any experience of civilian life. The ...
The Poole girls who kept on making sweets
13 Feb 1919
The description below this photograph of workers from the Robson & Co confectionary factory at Lagland Street in Poole highlights many interesting aspects. Firstly the need to explain why there was still a young man working at the factory when many would have expected him to be in the armed forces, the mention of the lack of man in the workforce and that the forewoman, having married. no longer worked at the ...
Threat from mines at sea
27 Feb 1919
Although the War had ended, thousands of mines had been deployed at sea by both sides and posed a threat to shipping. It was announced that a man would be employed at every coastguard station to make safe any that came ashore. Mines could also threaten coastal towns. On 8 February a mine had come ashore at Ramsgate and damaged the Marine Pier when it exploded. ...
Poole War Memorial Committee resigns
27 Mar 1919
The desire for a War Memorial in Poole was not matched by any consensus as to what form it should take.The Committee had proposed a 30ft tower on Constitution Hill with tearooms and captured German guns, together with two convalescent homes in Seldown. The committee resigned when it was received with little enthusiasm. Other suggestions proposed by members of the public included a much-needed central Fire ...
Aeroplanes from Poole?
3 Apr 1919
he local council had received a request from John Dawson & Co and the Blackburn Aeroplane and Motor Co asking if the council would be agreeable to aeroplanes using Poole as part of a service along the coast. The council, although in principal in agreement, said that it would depend on what was expected from them.
Poole 'Victory' Football Competition
4 Apr 1919
The end of the war led to numerous events being held in celebration and the Poole 'Victory' Football Competition was organised as a fund raising event for local (Cornelia Hospital) and national charities (St Dunstan's Hostel for Blinded Heroes and the National Union of Journalist War Distress Fund).The competition was to be held on the Easter weekend in 1919 at Eastlake, Parkstone. 12 teams ...
Experiment at Royal Naval Cordite Factory not a success
10 Apr 1919
Large quantites of acetone were needed in the manufacture of cordite. Chaim Weizmann designed a process to produce acetone using bacterial fermentation of grain. He was encouraged by Lloyd George and Churchill to turn a laboratory experiment into large scale production. A production plant was built at Holton Heath at a cost of £133 00 for the buildings and £50 000 to equip it. Food shortages meant that ...
Demobilisation gathering pace
10 Apr 1919
On April 10 1919, there were 737,000 men still waiting to be demobilised out of an expected total of 3,250,000. The actual figures were Royal Navy (15,500), Army (705,500) and Royal Air Force (16,200). It was noted that officers were being released at a much lower rate than other ranks. At one point, men were being demobilised at around 80,000 per week the majority of whom had no job to go to and were uncertain of the ...
Right to vote?
10 Apr 1919
The local newspaper reported on the Voters List Revision Court that was held in Branksome. It dealt with topics such as removing names from the Absent Voters list because the men, formerly serving in the military, had returned home. The Rev C.A. Trew of Canfords Cliffs applied for his wife to have a vote which was accepted. His application for his daughter was unsuccesful because she occupied a furnished room but did ...
The war and women's fashions
24 Apr 1919
A report in the Poole local newspaper highlighted the impact of the First World War on women's fashions and the attitudes prevalent at the time. Women who had been involved in the Land Army in the war wanted to be allowed to continue to wear breeches, leggings, and a short coat if on 'country work'. At the time, a law prohibited the wearing of clothes of the opposite sex and it was deemed that the wearing of ...
Training ship for Poole Harbour?
24 Apr 1919
The local newspaper reported that at a meeting of the Wessex Branch of the Navy League on April 24th that the Wessex Training Ship was to be instituted with the aim of training boys from the Wessex area to work in the Navy or as merchant seamen. The idea was that the Admiralty would be asked for a ship to be based in Poole Harbour and that a public appeal to raise £10,000 was to be launched. Around 100 boys, with a minimum ...
Women workers at Munitions Tribunals
24 Apr 1919
Millions of men started to returned home in expectation of employment. One consequence was that women workers found their jobs disappearing or having their pay and hours reduced and often the dispute ended up at the Munitions Tribunal which was based in Bournemouth. Some disputes brought before the tribunal centred on whether the job was munitions work or not. A case was brought against the Parkstone Joinery ...
East Dorset Guild of Workers closes
1 May 1919
Since the early days of the war, the East Dorset Guild of Workers had provided many items, such as clothing and food parcels for the troops; 114 688 items were sent to soldiers; 53 328 to those in hospital. When the Guild closed the remaining funds were to be distributed to the Poole Hospital War Memorial Fund (£700) and the Isolation Hospital (£10). Some people commented that more could have been ...
Poole Volunteers disbanded
7 May 1919
The 1st (Poole) Company Dorset Volunteers Regiment was formed on October 16 1914, the first in Dorset, and disbanded May 7 1919. They undertook many duties in the area. For example, in 1914 they were on a ship protecting the entrance to Poole Harbour. From 1915 the Branksome and Poole detachment provided a patrol along the coast. The Volunteers were also on duty at the Hamworthy Magazine. ...
Russell-Cotes Nautical School foundation stone laid
8 May 1919
The Merchant Navy had been a significant, and often unsung, part of the First World War. The declaration of peace turned thoughts to the future and while shipbuilding had rapidly increased there was a need for personnel to man the ships. Sir Merton and Lady Russell-Cotes had given Dr Barnardo's 40 acres of land at Constitution Hill near Poole Harbour to set up a merchant navy training school. The scheme would cost ...
The Dorsetshires in North Russia
13 May 1919
While the guns had fallen silent on the Western Front, there was still conflict in other parts of the world. After the Russian Revolution, and the subsequent peace with Germany, there were concerns that Archangel and Murmansk, in North Russia, could be used as a naval bases by the Germans to attack shipping. An Allied force had taken control of the port in 1918 but could not be relieved when the Armistice was signed ...
Equal Pay for women?
15 May 1919
A local newspaper reported that a Government Committee had concluded there should be equal pay for women at work. However, this was only if the productivity of a woman was the same as a man; if not, then her pay should be reduced accordingly. Only a year earlier, August 1918, the local newspaper had debated the equal pay question and even then it had raised the problem of what would happen when the war ended; the ...
1 Jun 1919
Demobilising the huge army of millions of men and repatriation of thousands of prisoners of war was a major logistical problem. Not only had British soldiers to be brought home but troops from overseas, such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, America, India, West Indies, and South Africa, had to be returned to their respective countries.The time it was taking to demobilise led to disturbances in places such as ...
Poole postal services returning to normal
19 Jun 1919
The local newspaper reported that from Monday 23 June there would be three deliveries of post every day departing the post office at 0700, 1045 and 1615. The report noted that if a fourth delivery was introduced then the service would be back to pre-First World War. It also pointed out that there were plenty of unemployed available to enable this to happen. ...
German High Seas Fleet scuttled in Scapa Flow
21 Jun 1919
The German High Seas Fleet had been escorted into Scapa Flow on November 27 1918. Over the next few months, thousands of German sailors were sent home with 2 700 leaving on June 18 so that only a skeleton crew remained. The Armistice was close to being signed and Article 31 'expressly forbade the destruction of the ships'. Rear Admiral Ludwig von Reuter did not want the ships to become Royal Navy property and ...
Royal Engineers donate their football kit to a Poole church
26 Jun 1919
The local newspaper reported that prior to leaving the town, the Royal Engineers presented their football kit to the Poole Congregational Church. The Royal Engineers had previously held a 'Grand Victory Concert' at its base at West Wharf Camp on May 21. An evening of comedy, singing, dancing and music was enjoyed by all. Amity Hall supplied the scenery, Poole Corporation provided the flags, and the ...
Treaty of Versailles signed
28 Jun 1919
The Treaty of Versailles was signed with the German delegation. The treaty was a document of around two hundred pages with hundreds of articles. For example, Article 191 banned Germany from the construction or purchase of submarines. News of the signing reached Poole at 4pm. Crowds formed in the High Street, sirens were sounded, flags and bunting decorated everywhere, and fireworks were let off. The ...
Controversy over cost of Poole Peace Celebrations
10 Jul 1919
The local newspaper reported on a meeting held by Poole Burgesses over the decision by Poole Town Council to 'impose a penny rate to cover the expenses of the Peace Celebration' to be held on 18 and 19 July. The meeting was quite heated. Some felt that the event was a waste of money, others thought the money could be better spent and there were some who questioned whether it was appropriate to have a ...
National Peace Celebrations
19 Jul 1919
It was announced that Saturday 19 July was to be the official date for peace celebrations throughout the country. Sunday July 6 was to be recognised as a Thanksgiving Day. All ex-servicemen in Poole were invited to a ceremony in St James Church, Poole at 11am. The Mayor requested that everybody decorated their houses on Friday 18th and Saturday 19th. On the Friday a celebration for the children was held in Poole ...
Poole Great (1919) Peace Regatta and Carnival
2 Aug 1919
The Mayor of Poole felt that the town should show its appreciation for what the Merchant Navy had done during the war by holding some kind of event. As the British Motor Boat Club of Poole was planning to hold a regatta on August Bank Holiday it was agreed to expand their event into something much larger. The Great (1919) Peace Regatta and Carnival was held Saturday August 2 and Monday August 4 1919 in, and around, Salterns ...
RNCF Great Victory Sports and Carnival
16 Aug 1919
The Royal Naval Cordite Factory organised a Great Victory Sports and Carnival in Poole Park on August 16 1919. Numerous sports and entertainments took place. One event was the Ladies Tug-of-War in which the Cordite Section Ladies beat the Gun Cotton Ladies 2-0. It was reported that the Gun Cotton Ladies had been successful at Tug-of-War in 1917 and 1918. ...
The secrets of the Royal Naval Cordite Factory revealed
18 Sep 1919
The Defence of the Realm Act had meant that much about the Royal Naval Cordite factory at Holton Heath remained secret until after the end of the war. A newspaper report of September 18 1919 describes a visit made by the Chemistry Section of the British Association. The group was given an extensive tour of the site and visited all the departments, such as Acids, Cordite and Guncotton. In the latter it was noted that the ...
Dispute over railway sidings on West Quat, Poole
2 Oct 1919
During, the First World War, the War Office had taken over several buildings, demolished others and created railway sidings on West Quay, Poole. In June 1919, the War Office decided they had no further use for them and offered them to various local groups, such as the Council, who were not interested. In September, the War Office announced they would be offered to the Ministry of Transport, much to the annoyance of ...
Rail strike to lead to rationing
2 Oct 1919
The local newspaper reported on the prospect of a national rail strike and its impact on food distribution which had led to an announcement of changes to the rationing scheme in progress. A weeks ration, for example, for sugar was to be 6oz, bacon 6oz and beef and mutton 12oz. The Milk Order 1918 was to be brought back and the 'Food Hoarding Order' was to be 'strictly enforced'. ...
Women stand in Poole Council elections
30 Oct 1919
Two women candidates were standing in the Poole Town Council elections in 1919; Mrs E. Cloutman in the Branksome West ward and Miss A.E. Briggs in the Parkstone West ward. Mrs E. Cloutman (Labour) polled 303 votes while the victor, Mr Parnell, got 321 votes. Miss A.E. Briggs (Independent) was voted onto the Council after winning the ward election. She served until 1925. Only 50% of the electorate voted in the ...
Poole Profiteering Investigation Committee formed
8 Nov 1919
In response to the Profiteering Act of 1919, a Committee was formed in Poole to investigate claims of profiteering. Complaints had to be submitted within three days of having made the purchase to the Clerk of the Committee at the office in High Street, Poole. A woman from Poole complained that she had paid 1s 11d for a yard of flannelette when before the war higher quality material had only cost three and ...
Explosion at the Cordite Factory
15 Nov 1919
An explosion at the Royal Naval Cordite Factory at Holton Heath caused the death of Mr Jesse Orchard of Parkstone. He had been employed at the Factory since 1915 and was working in the Acetone Recovery Store No 1 Cordite Section when the explosion occurred. Parts of the plant were discovered nearly a quarter of mile from the building.
If I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England's, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.
And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.