The Great War Bookshop Great War Diary, September 2015 – 1915

Monday, August 31st

The first air ace of the war, the French pilot Adolphe Pegoud, is killed on the Western Front. Total ships sunk by German submarines in August: 107.

Tuesday, September 1st

The superiority of German Fokkers over Allied aircraft persuades the French to suspend long-range bombing during daylight.

Wednesday, September 2nd

Politicians and generals wrangle in London about Gallipoli. The Army wants to concentrate on the Western Front; Churchill and Lloyd George want to fight on in the East.

Thursday, September 3rd

Two British ocean liners reach Mudros with reinforcements for Gallipoli. A zeppelin crashes in flames in Germany after being struck by lightning.

Friday, September 4th

The British and French send a mission to America to negotiate the first of a series of war loans.

Saturday, September 5th

Czar Nicholas, reeling from the rapid German and Austrian advances into Russia, takes over supreme military command.

Sunday, September 6th

Rumours circulate in Paris that Joffre’s delayed offensive is due to start on the 25th. Germany and Austria reach a deal with Bulgaria to finish off Serbia.

Monday, September 7th

British trades unions, at their annual conference, unite to oppose the idea of military conscription.

Tuesday, September 8th

Consecutive zeppelin night raids on East Anglia and London set buildings on fire: 44 killed; 133 wounded.

Wednesday, September 9th

Lloyd George rallies the trades unions to the war effort – ‘With you victory is assured, without you our cause is lost.’

Thursday, September 10th

Winston Churchill threatens Asquith with resignation. He says he’d rather fight on the Western Front than stay in the cabinet without a proper job.

Friday, September 11th

Unfavourable winds prevent zeppelins reaching London. Allied war leaders meet to hear Joffre’s plans for his offensive.

Saturday, September 12th

The French general, Ferdinand Foch, confers with General Haig who’ll have to fight the battle at Loos that will be the British contribution to Joffre’s big attack.

 Sunday, September 13th

A British plan to drop a secret agent behind enemy lines on the Western Front is foiled when the aircraft being used is located by the Germans and captured.

 Monday, September 14th

In temperatures reaching F.110 degrees, Townsend’s men in Mesopotamia advance up the Tigris towards the town of Kut.

 Tuesday, September 15th

Asquith goes to parliament to seek more finance for the war. The total voted so far amounts to £1,262,000,000. Current expenditure: £3,500,000 per day.

Wednesday, September 16th

The Turks shoot down a British plane scouting the defences of Kut. Lloyd George moves to limit the scope for profiteering in the munitions industry.

Thursday, September 17th

Parliament debates compulsory military service. MPs speaking for the trades unions remain strongly opposed.

Friday, September 18th

The German navy reins in submarine attacks, except in the Mediterranean, as Berlin seeks to assuage repeated protests from neutrals.

Saturday, September 19th

On the Eastern Front, the Germans start withdrawing troops to fight in elsewhere as Russian resistance crumbles.

Sunday, September 20th

British infantry and artillery move into position for their battle at Loos.

Monday, September 21st

French artillery open their bombardment for Joffre’s offensive in Champagne. Britain’s third Budget of the war raises income tax again, plus postal charges.

Tuesday, September 22nd

Czar Nicholas orders stern discipline in the Russian armies to counter desertions. Australian casualties at Gallipoli to date: 19,000, including 4,600 killed.

Wednesday, September 23rd

Order of the Day from Joffre his troops– ‘your spirit will prove irresistible.’

Thursday, September 24th

Intense artillery bombardments in Champagne and at Loos warn the Germans that an attack is imminent. The British plan to use chlorine gas.

Friday, September 25th

The Allied infantry attacks along the Western Front. At Loos the gas cloud proves ineffective and German machine guns reap the British infantry in swathes.

Saturday, September 26th

British troops held in reserve at Loos are sent in too late to effect a breakthrough and the Germans counter attack. The Socialist leader, Keir Hardie, dies aged 59.

Sunday, September 27th

The Guards are sent in at Loos to steady the British line. In Champagne, the French lose momentum against strong German defences.

Monday, September 28th

The British fight to hold their tactical gains at Loos. In Mesopotamia, General Townshend’s troops capture Kut after a night march.

Tuesday, September 29th

The Germans retake the trenches in Champagne reached by the French in their first wave of infantry attacks.

Wednesday, September 30th

Joffre shuts down his failed ‘Big Push’. Sir John French hails the capture at Loos of 3,000 prisoners and some 25 guns.

Thursday, October 1st

Bitter trench fighting at Loos as the British and Germans seek control of the Hohenzollern Redoubt.

Friday, October 2nd

Bulgaria agrees to enter the war on the side of Austria and Germany in return for territory from its neighbours; Serbia is the main target.

Saturday, October 3rd

The fight for the Hohenzollern Redoubt ends temporarily with the Germans and the British both in possession of different trenches.

Sunday, October 4th

In an effort to avoid the imposition of conscription, the British government appoints Lord Derby to run a recruitment scheme for men aged 18 – 41.


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