Timeline 1914 - 1919
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 at its base in Scapa Flow in the Orkneys. 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 West Africa, South Africa and ...
Germany invades Belgium
4 Aug 1914
The German Army invaded Belgium expecting to overrun the country quite quickly but the Belgians put up a stubborn resistance which delayed the advance on France. The reports of atrocities carried out against Belgian civilians fuelled anti-German public opinion. Britain had sworn to defend Belgium.
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 ...
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 only consisted of six divisions and Lord Kitchener advised that two divisions should be kept behind to protect Britain in case ...
Poole prepares for war
6 Aug 1914
Around 60 Poole Naval Reservists were given a civic farewell before they left by train for Portsmouth. The Poole Company of the Royal Garrison Artillery was ordered to go to Weymouth. Shipping in Poole Harbour was at standstill. Provision traders in the town were experiencing shortages and having to close early because people were buying in bulk. ...
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 ...
Defence of the Realm Act Passed
8 Aug 1914
Over a period of several years various regulations were brought into force. The Act introduced British Summer Time (Daylight Saving) 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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
The First Battle of Marne
6 Sep 1914
The German Army was worn out by the success of the Battle of Mons. 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 approaching Paris so as to protect the Second Army. The French rallied and the British found that a gap had opened up and attacked. The German Army had no option but to retreat to a ...
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. Scouts patroled along the coast and also kept watch over inland water installations and fountains. There were concerns over spies being landed or sending information to boats offshore. ...
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 by the U-boat while trying to rescue survivors. 1500 sailors lost their lives.
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. ...
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.
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. 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. ...
Capture of the town of Tsing-Tao in North China
7 Nov 1914
World War 1 was truly global. Tsing-Tao, 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 included the Canopus, the battlecruisers Invincible and 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 hours to transfer the thousand of ...
German ships bombard Northern coastal towns
16 Dec 1914
German ships bombarded the towns of Whitby, Scarborough and West Hartlepool. The East Dorset Herald carried a brief report. The aim was to draw out the nearest Royal Navy squadron into a battle that they were ill-equipped to fight. British forces sailed from the Forth in Scotland and from Harwich but the weather deteroriated and the German ships were able to escape. ...
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 ...
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. ...
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. ...
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. ...
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. ...
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. 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 ...
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. A performance of music, dancing, comedy, magic lantern slides, 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 ...
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. Initially very successful, the German commanders in the field ...
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.
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
Lord Kitchener was sailing on the cruiser HMS Hampshire to visit Russia to discuss military aid when the ship was sunk by a mine off the Orkneys on June 5th 1916. The Hampshire sank in about 15 minutes and only 12 men out of 655 survived. It is believed that as many as 200 sailors managed escape from the Hampshire but most died when the lifeboats were smashed against rocks in the heavy sea or died from exposure. Kitchener was ...
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 ...
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.
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.
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.
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 ...
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.
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, ...
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 ...
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 and egg-and-spoon races. There was also a Ladies football match ...
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. It opened with a 15 day artillery bombardment firing of four million shells over a 11 mile front.This battle has become inextricably linked with the horrendous conditions on the Western Front. One soldier was quoted as saying that ...
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', 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 and in six days the British lost 60 000 men dead or wounded and 90 000 taken as prisoners. The offensive ...
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. ...
The first landing on an aircraft carrier at sea
2 Aug 1918
Several Royal Navy vessels were capable of launching a seaplane but had no space for them to land. It could 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. The cruiser HMS Furious was converted in early 1917 and on August 2 1917 Squadron Commander ...
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. It was launched with great ceremony with the Poole Town Band playing. It was then towed to Southampton. A concrete tug was also being built that could tow the barges as they were intended to be unpowered. 'Burnt clay aggregate' was being developed by Kinson Pottery so as to make future vessels less ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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, ...
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 escorted by the Japanese destroyers, Kanran and Kashiwa, and U-107 had been open to visitors for 11 days. 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 ...
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.
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 ...
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 ...
Poole 'Victory' Football Competition
4 Apr 1919
The end of the war led to numerous events being held in celebration and as fund raising for local and national charities.The Poole 'Victory' Football Competition was to be held on the Easter weekend in 1919 at Eastlake, Parkstone. 12 teams entered the competition including St Peter's (Parkstone), Longfleet Rovers, Central Workshops Tanks (Bovington). Wareham Juniors, Rafmarines ...
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 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 RAF (16 200). It was noted that officers were being released at a much lower rate than other ranks.
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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. ...
Port of Poole Great (1919) Peace Regatta and Carnival
2 Aug 1919
In recognition of the work of the British merchant seamen during the war, the Great (1919) Peace Regatta and Carnival was held by the Port of Poole. Events included rowing, sailing and other sports. One feature was expected to be a 'procession of illuminated boats'.
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 ...
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 on to the Council after winning the ward election. She served until 1925. ...
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. 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 three-quarter pence a yard. Her case was dismissed. Someone else ...
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.
Remembrance is the only paradise out of which we cannot be driven away.- Richter