The Great War Bookshop Diary of the Great War, October 2014 – 1914

Wednesday,   October 1st

The British army in France marches north. People on the Fiji islands in the South Pacific raise £2,000 for Prince of Wales’ fund for soldiers’ comforts.

Thursday, October 2nd

Turkey closes the Dardanelles channel, cutting the winter sea route from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea which links Britain and France to their Russian ally.

Friday, October 3rd

German scouts in Flanders reach the Belgian city of Ypres. The British Red Cross appeals for more ambulances at £400 each.

Saturday, October 4th

At the instigation of Winston Churchill, a British force is sent to Antwerp, including the poet Rupert Brooke who’s serving with the Royal Naval Division.

Sunday, October 5th

The French President, Raymond Poincare, visits his troops for the first time since his government left Paris for Bordeaux.

Monday, October 6th

As Belgian civilians flee Antwerp, the government goes to Ostend. The Prince of Wales thanks contributors for raising £3,000,000 for his war fund – ‘a grand result’.

Tuesday, October 7th

Belgian and British troops join the refugee exodus from Antwerp. A German waiter, George Beck, is charged in a London court with keeping pigeons without a license.

Wednesday,   October 8th

Sir John French, composing his first despatch since the beginning of the campaign, concludes that conditions are ‘very favourable to success’.

Thursday, October 9th

Two thousand British troops cut off at Antwerp cross into neutral Holland rather than surrender to the Germans. They stay interned for the rest of the war.

Friday, October 10th

Belgian troops in Antwerp finally capitulate. In Britain, some 9,000 Germans of military age have been interned in camps for enemy aliens.

Saturday, October 11th

British troops in Belgium engage the German army. The Pastoralists Union of New South Wales sends Britain a gift of 2,000 sheep.

Sunday, October 12th

Fighting in Belgium between the British and the Germans near Ypres. The trial begins in Sarajevo of Gavrilo Princep, the Serb who assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

 Monday, October 13th

British troops in Belgium occupy Ypres. At home, Winston Churchill faces strong criticism over the botched expedition to Antwerp.

 Tuesday, October 14th

The first Canadian troops reach Britain. In Belgium, German troops occupy Bruges.

Wednesday,   October 15th

German troops occupy Ostend on the Belgian coast. Germany’s Western Front now stretches from the North Sea to Switzerland. Refugees from Antwerp arrive in Britain.

Thursday, October 16th

The Belgians and the Germans fight along the River Yser north of Ypres. A New Zealand Expeditionary Force leaves for Europe.

Friday, October 17th

In the United States, a rally of German immigrants at St Louis raises thousands of dollars for war relief. The first Australian military transports sail for Europe.

Saturday, October 18th

Royal Navy ships bombard German positions on shore to assist Belgian troops defending the corner of their country that remains unconquered.

Sunday, October 19th

A battle develops around Ypres as the Germans try to break through to the Channel ports. The British fight desperately to hang on.

Monday, October 20th

The first troops of the Indian Army reach the fighting line in Flanders. The Kaiser also arrives, expecting a victory at Ypres.

 Tuesday, October 21st

The Germans attacking Ypres get as far as the Paschendaele Ridge, about five miles from the city, where the British have dug in.

 Wednesday,   October 22nd

The British authorities in Egypt expel the foreign merchant ships that have taken refuge in the Suez canal thereby impeding essential war traffic.

 Thursday, October 23rd

French reinforcements arrive to support British units depleted by heavy casualties at Ypres.

 Friday, October 24th

Lord Kitchener appeals for a ‘no treating’ policy in pubs to prevent the recruits to his civilian armies getting legless on free drinks.

Saturday, October 25th

The Belgians open sluice gates on the Yser river to flood the Germans from in their positions north of Ypres.

Sunday, October 26th

A battle rages along the Yser as the Germans try to fight a way through the floods.

Monday, October 27th

German attacks in strength push the outnumbered British forces at Ypres into a salient around the city defended by rudimentary trenches.

Tuesday, October 28st

German efforts north of Ypres founder in the floods but their battle to drive the British from the city continues at full strength.

Wednesday,   October 29th

Prince Louis of Battenberg, facing public suspicion because of his German name, is replaced as First Sea Lord by Lord Fisher.

Thursday, October 30th

The British fight desperately to hold on to Ypres.

Friday, October 31st

Khudadad Khan becomes the first Indian to win the Victoria Cross in fighting at Hollebeke near Ypres. The British line breaks but is restored.

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