The First World War, The Great War, or World War 1
Great Britain declared war on Germany on the 4th August 1914, after not having received assurances that Belgium would remain neutral.
For the next 4 years the conflict would claim millions of lives, engulf countries all over the world, and generate many acts of courage and bravery.
The largest battle of the First World War was the Somme offensive, or Battle of the Somme, which commenced on the 1st July 1916 and continued in three phases until the 18th November 1916.
The offensive had been planned during December 1915, as an attack against the Central Powers (Germany and Austria-Hungary), to try and push back their advance on the Western Front. Unfortunately, the earlier plans did not come to fruition as many of the French forces had been redirected to fight in the Battle of Verdun. This left the bulk of the attacking force being drawn from the British Expeditionary Force, composed of the remaining regular army, and volunteers from the Territorial Force and the Kitchener Army; the latter two being inexperienced in warfare.
The result was that on the first day of the offensive over 50,000 brave British soldiers were either killed or wounded - the worst loss in British military history.
Orders & Proclamations
Here we will be re-producing orders and accounts of the conflict as well as providing lists of awards, with citations where available.
- Declaration of War, 4th August 1914
- Order restricting movement of Enemy Merchant vessels
- Proclamation stating the articles to be treated as Contraband of War
- Proclamation relating to Trading with the Enemy
- Proclamation prohibiting the carrying of contraband
- Proclamation prohibiting the exportation of certain warlike stores, etc.
- Proclamation prohibiting British subjects contributing to loans on behalf of the German Emperor
- Proclamation prohibiting the exportation from the United Kingdom of warlike stores
- An Order requisitioning Indian Marine service vessels into Naval service
- An order authorizing General or Field officers to issue requisitions of emergency
- An order authorizing General or Field officers to issue billeting requisitions
- Despatch from J. D. P. FRENCH, Field-Marshal, 7th Sept. 1914
- Despatch from J. D. P. FRENCH, Field-Marshal, 17th Sept. 1914
- Despatch from J. D. P. FRENCH, Field-Marshal, 8th Oct. 1914
- Royal Navy despatches from 1st September to 17th October, 1914 - Heligoland
- Despatch from J. D. P. FRENCH, Field-Marshal, 20th Nov. 1914
- Despatch from J. D. P. FRENCH, Field-Marshal, 12th Feb. 1915
- Memorandum regarding Mine-sweeping operations off Scarborough, December 1914
- Memorandum on the combined operations by H.M. Ships and Naval Seaplanes, 25th Dec., 1914
Awards and Recognition
We have a new database containing medals and awards for gallantry and service. This is a work in progress and currently contains medals and awards, with citations where available, listed in the London Gazette, from the commencement of operations, in August 1914, up to October 1915. It includes the awards of VC, DSO, DSM, DSC, DCM, MC, CGM, and Royal Red Cross.