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 ...
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 ...
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.
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.
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 ...
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 ...
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 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 ...
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 ...
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.