Timeline 1914 - 1919
Defence of the Realm Act Passed
8 Aug 1914
The Act introduced British Summer Time as a way of increasing working hours on farms. Other changes included the prohibition of whistling for a taxi in London as it could be confused with the warning of an air raid. A 'No Treating Order' made it an offence to buy an alcholic drink in a public house for other people. And you could be fined for making white flour not wholewheat. ...
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 ...
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 ...
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. ...
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. ...
Derby Scheme Recruitment
15 Oct 1914
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.
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.
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 were embossed with various designs and contained numerous small gifts such as cards, cigarettes and chocolate.
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.
H.M.S. Monmouth and H.M.S. Good Hope sunk off Chile
1 Nov 1914
Germany had a naval force in the Pacific commanded by Admiral von Spee. The aim of the force was to raid merchant ships and disrupt trade. Admiral Cradock was ordered to confront the German force but was unsuccessful because the strength of the opposing naval forces was much greater than expected. The British cruisers H.M.S. Monmouth and H.M.S. Good Hope were lost in the action. ...
Capture of the town of Tsing-Tau in North China
7 Nov 1914
World War 1 was truly global. 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. Combined British and Japanese forces laid siege to the town until November 7th when the German forces surrendered and ...
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. ...
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 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 hours to transfer the hundred's of tons of coal a ship required so it was a while before the British force ...
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.
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 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. ...
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 ...
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.
Landing at Suvla Bay
6 Aug 1915
The 5th Battalion, Dorsetshire Regiment, took part in the landing at Suvla Bay. As early as August 8th, the operation was considered an 'opportunity…wasted'. The early successes were not built upon because the leadership was unclear about the situation on the ground. They were used to trench warfare and the slow advance of the war in France and appeared unable to recognise the advantage of quickly ...
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 ...
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.
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. Initially very successful, the German commanders in the field ...
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 ...
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 ...
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. ...
Battle of Passchendaele
22 Oct 1917
This battle has become inextricably linked with the horrendous conditions on the Western Front. No buildings or trees remained across the landscape of the battlefield. The few landmarks were abandonned tanks. No roads existed; only 'duckboards' and 'corduroy' tracks that to fall off meant, at the very least, to sink up to the knees in the mud, or worse. These routes also became targets for ...
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. The tanks made great gains but unfortunately ...
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, ...
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 ...
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. ...
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, ...
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, in North Russia, could be used as a naval base 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 because the sea ...
They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,
We shall remember them.