The Great War Bookshop Diary, January 2015 – 1915


Monday, January 5th

The London Stock Exchange trades again after its five-month shutdown. Roman Catholics around the world protest at the arrest of Cardinal Mercier.

Tuesday, January 6th

Lord Kitchener speaks on the war in parliament: German strength is diminishing while the resources of the Allies can only increase.

 Wednesday, January 7th

Italy, preparing to abandon neutrality, establishes its first air force. The French government cracks down on liquor sales and bans public consumption of absinthe.

Thursday, January 8th

Lord Kitchener backs Churchill’s idea for a strategic strike against Turkey at Gallipoli. The French storm German positions around Soissons.

Friday, January 9th

Inside Germany, the top brass test poison gas as a weapon. King George visits wounded Indians in Brighton where the Royal Pavilion is in use as a hospital.

 Saturday, January 10th

Turkish troops in Palestine prepare for an advance across the Sinai desert to attack the Suez canal.

Sunday, January 11th

The Royal Navy in the eastern Mediterranean begins planning for an attack against Turkish land defences inside the Dardanelles channel.

Monday, January 12th

The Germans counter attack at Soissons; the city’s cathedral is damaged by shellfire.

Tuesday, January 13th

The British war cabinet decides definitely to invade Gallipoli with French support. The King bestows the first VCs of the war at Buckingham Palace.

Wednesday, January 14th

The Kaiser awards medals as the battle at Soissons ends in a German victory. Turkish troops launch their desert advance towards Suez.

Thursday, January 15th

On the Eastern Front, the Russians assemble a new army of 800,000 men for an invasion of Prussia.

Friday, January 16th

The Turks cross Sinai under cover of night using 10,000 camels as transport.

Saturday, January 17th

A French submarine on patrol in the Dardanelles is sunk after hitting a Turkish mine.

Sunday, January 18th

Argentina impounds three German merchant ships for violating its neutrality.

Monday, January 19th

The first night-time air raid on Britain by zeppelins sees bombs dropped on Yarmouth, Cromer and Kings Lynn: 4 civilians killed; 15 injured.

Tuesday, January 20th

A ship carrying Ernest Shackleton and his team to explore the Antarctic becomes icebound. It will be more than two years before they get home.

 Wednesday, January 21st

In the North Sea, one German submarine accidentally sinks another after a mix up over signals.

Thursday, January 22nd

British aircraft attack Zeebrugge on the Belgian coast where the Germans are developing a submarine base.

Friday, January 23rd

British aircraft locate the Turks advancing on the Suez canal. The inventor Stanley Mills designs Britain’s first effective hand grenade.

 Saturday, January 24th

British and German Dreadnoughts clash at the Dogger Bank in the North Sea. 800 Germans drown when the Blucher is sunk. Royal Navy casualties: under 100.

Sunday, January 25th

The German government imposes controls on grain and flour as food imports run short.

 Monday, January 26th

The Turks reach the Suez canal and launch a feint attack. The French and the British confirm plans for joint operations at the Dardanelles.

Tuesday, January 27th

As British diplomacy targets neutral powers in the Balkans, ahead of the Dardanelles- Gallipoli campaign, Rumania receives a ‘loan’ of £5,000,000.

Wednesday, January 28th

The British war cabinet hears Lloyd George’s arguments for a military campaign to rally support in the Balkans for Serbia against Austria and Germany.

Thursday, January 29th

The Cumbrian shipbuilding town of Barrow-in-Furness, where British submarines are under construction, is shelled by a German submarine.

Friday, January 30th

In the English channel, German submarines attack merchant ships without first giving warning signals: two British vessels sunk.

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