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


Saturday, November 1st

The Germans capture Messines south of Ypres. A British naval squadron is beaten by the Germans off the coast of Chile.


Sunday, November 2nd

British troops arrive offshore at Tanga to start a campaign against the Germans defending their East African colonies.


Monday, November 3rd

Swarms of bees attack German and British troops fighting at Tanga. Although outnumbered the Germans drive off the British, inflicting heavy casualties.


Tuesday, November 4th

The King and Queen inspect the Canadian Expeditionary Force. ‘The prompt resolve of Canada to give us such valuable assistance has touched us deeply.’


Wednesday,   November 5th

Britain and France declare war on Turkey. Britain annexes Cyprus. At Tanga, the British bury their dead and embark northwards for Mombasa to try again.


Thursday, November 6th

Troops from the British army in India start a campaign against the Turks in Mesopotamia. A German spy, Carl Lody, is executed at the Tower of London.


Friday, November 7th

The Germans at Tsingtao seek a ceasefire. In Flanders, the first men of the Territorial Army (the London Scottish) reach the Ypres battle zone.


Saturday, November 8th

At Zonnebeke, near Ypres, Captain Martin Leake wins a second Victoria Cross to add to the one he won in the Boer War. British forces advance in Mesopotamia.


Sunday, November 9th

The German army launches new attacks at Ypres in a determined effort to break through to the Channel ports.


Monday, November 10th

Fighting flares to greater than ever intensity at Ypres. At Tsingtao, the Germans formally surrender.


Tuesday, November 11th

British commanders send cooks and servants into the fighting line at Ypres as German troops attack in massive numbers.


Wednesday,   November 12th

The British at Ypres fight off the Prussian Guard. Pro-German rebels in South Africa are defeated at Mushroom Valley.


Thursday, November 13th

Field Marshal Lord Roberts VC, Britain’s most revered soldier, Kipling’s ‘Bobs Bahadur’, contracts pneumonia while on a morale-boosting visit to the Western Front.


Friday, November 14th

An American ship sails from New York with Christmas gifts to be distributed in war-torn Europe. Lord Roberts dies at British Headquarters.


Saturday, November 15th

French troops under General Foch start to relieve the shattered British regiments who have won what will become known at the First Battle of Ypres.


Sunday, November 16th

Turkey proclaims Holy War against France, Britain and Russia. The Prince of Wales, serving in the Grenadier Guards, reports for duty on the Western Front.


Monday, November 17th

Chancellor of the Exchequer, David Lloyd George, raises a loan of £325,000,000 in his first War Budget. Income tax is doubled. Duties are increased on beer and tea.


Tuesday, November 18th

The French government returns from Bordeaux to Paris.


Wednesday,   November 19th

Enemy aliens riot at the Knockaloe internment camp on the Isle of Man. Four of them die when guards open fire.


Thursday, November 20th

Sir Douglas Haig is promoted to full general for his defence of Ypres. Britain bans the sale of alcohol to women before 1130 a.m. Bulgaria declares neutrality.


Friday, November 21st

British aircraft bomb zeppelin sheds at Lake Constance inside Germany. British forces in Mesopotamia occupy Basra.


Saturday, November 22nd

With the British now holding 21 miles of the Western Front, the first cases of trench foot start to worry Medical Officers; whale oil is identified as a prophylactic.


Sunday, November 23rd

Denied victory at Ypres, the Germans set about its systematic destruction by artillery fire. The Portuguese parliament votes to join the Allies.

Monday, November 24th

A pay rise is approved for junior Army officers. Lieutenants will now get 7s/6d per day. Pay for the rank and file remains at one shilling.


Tuesday, November 25th

British naval vessels in Mesopotamia reconnoitre the River Tigris for an eventual advance on Baghdad.


Wednesday,   November 26th

An accidental explosion on HMS Bulwark at Sheerness in Kent kills nearly 800 people.


Thursday, November 27th

The American President, Woodrow Wilson, protests at the bombardment of civilians as German artillery resumes shelling Reims cathedral.

Friday, November 28th

Pressure grows on the English Football Association to suspend professional matches for the duration of the war.


Saturday, November 29th

Four months after the first Austrian attempt to seize Belgrade, it finally falls. King George leaves London to inspect his troops on the Western Front.


Sunday, November 30th

British fishermen in the North Sea haul up a chest in their nets containing the secret code books from a sunken German warship.


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