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NOWHERE on the whole battle-front has the fighting been fiercer or more continuous than around the Flemish town of Ypres, long famed for its beautiful Cloth Hall and Cathedral, now, alas, a heap of ruins and a city of the dead. The stand stands on a tributary of the Yser, in the mids of low-lying meadows, with important roads radiating from it to Bethune, Messines, Lille, Menin, Roulers and Bruges.

The first battle of Ypres may be said to have commenced on 20th October, and lasted right on to 17th November. It forms one of the great events chronicled in the fourth dispatch of Sir John French, and in its earlier stages was part of the simultaneous attack of the Germans on the French, British and Belgian front, from Arras to the coast at Nieuport. It is estimated that the Germans brought into this particular engagement at least 500,000 men, whilst the Allies numbered more than 150,000.

When Sir Douglas Haig arrived at Ypres from the Aisne on 19th October with the First British Corps, he was instructed by Headquarters to advance to Thourout with the object in view of capturing Bruges and, if possible, of driving the enemy towards Ghent. It soon became apparent, however, that all idea of such an offensive as was proposed must be postponed, for the Germans where everywhere advancing in strong force and threatened the flanks of the British Corps. (continue reading)

  On This Day in The Great War

The Great War on this day is a daily listing of movements, actions, events and political involvements that took place this day between 1914–1918. (This information refreshes daily.)

On this day in history (19 July)


Events preceding British Declaration of War[edit]


  • WF - German attack near Les Eparges (Verdun), repulsed with heavy losses, also west and south-west of Souchez.
  • EF - Russians concentrating on Narev. Germans attacking north and south of Warsaw. Fiercest fighting on Lyublin-Kholm line.
  • SF - Italian success on Carso plateau after two days' fighting: capture of M. San Michele.
  • PO - Venizelist movement gains ground as opposed to Germanophil policy of Gournaris.
    •  Bulgaria again declares neutrality.


  • WF - German attacks on Longueval and Delville Wood continued; British regain some lost ground, repulse attack on Waterlot Farm.
  • AE - In Persia Russians are defeated and driven back north of Kermanshah by Turks. 3rd Turkish Division discovered at Bir el Abd (Sinai).


  • WF - Heavy German attacks south of Lombartzyde (Nieuport sector), south of St. Quentin, and north of the Aisne repulsed.
  • EF - German counter-offensive opens; Russian positions east of Zloczow (east Lemberg) pierced as a results of troops insubordination.
  • AE - Turkish cavalry force encountered west of Beersheba (Palestine) and driven back.
  • NO - Report on operations in East Africa published.[1]
    •  Main German positions in the region of Narongombe (East Africa) attacked; heavy casualties on both sides.
  • PO - German Imperial Chancellor speaks in the Reichstag on the "Majority Resolution".[2]
    •  Statement issued on Russian and German Socialists meeting at Stockholm.
    •  Attempted assassination of M. Kerenski.


  • WF - French and Americans advance on Soissons-Thierry line, taking Vierzy (north of Ourcq) and Neuilly St. Front (south of Ourcq).
    •  South of Marne, French retake Montvoison.
    •  British capture Meteren (west of Bailleul), taking 300 prisoners.
  • NO - British airmen, supported by detachment of Grand Fleet, bomb Zeppelin base near Tondern (Schleswig-Holstein).
    •  French liner Australien (Messageries Maritimes) torpedoed in Mediterranean, 20 lost.
    •  U.S. armoured cruiser "San Diego" sunk off Fire Island, off New York, 6 lost.
    •  Justicia (White Star liner) torpedoed off north coast of Ireland, 10 lost.
  • PO - Honduras declares War on Germany.
    •  British Ministerial changes. Admiral Sims made G.C.M.G.
    •  Statement of Lord R. Cecil re Allies Trade Policy.
    •  Denaturalisation Bill read third time in House of Commons.
    •  Sedition Committee Report (Rowlatt) published in India.


  • Peace celebrations in the United Kingdom.


Lord Edward Gleichen (1918–1920). Chronology of the War. Volumes I, II & III. Constable & Company, London.

  1. ^ Near the coast at Kilwa, British columns are closing in on one of the larger bodies of enemy troops. In the south, the enemy are being driven towards Mahenge.
  2. ^ The Centre, Radicals, and Majority Socialists passed a so-called "Majority Resolution," declaring that no desire for conquest actuated Germany; that "declining all thoughts of the forcible acquisition of territory, the Reichstag strives for a peace by agreement and a permanent reconciliation of the nations"; it also "rejects all plans which aim at economic exclusion and enmity between peoples after the war" — and aims only at an economic peace and freedom of the seas as preparatory for permanent friendly relations and the strengthening of international law. "So long as hostile Governments reject such a peace and threaten Germany and her Allies with schemes of conquest and oppression, the German people are determined unshakably to stand together," etc. Passed by 212 to 126. On this resolution Dr. Michaelis made a long speech, which appears to have pleased nobody — especially as, whilst nominally accepting the Resolution, he qualified his acceptance by talking of "your resolution, as I interpret it." He declared, fact, for a victor's peace and the inviolability of German territory, and stated that Germany would not again offer peace.
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Works in the public domain, for example, "creative works to which no exclusive intellectual property rights apply," and where "rights may have expired, been forfeited, expressly waived, or may be inapplicable"[1] have been selected for this reason to allow them to be transcribed and made available freely for all. The following list comprises works currently being transcribed in various formats. Some works are being transcribed using dedicated transcription software allowing for side by side comparisons of original text and it's transcribed counterpart, as seen in this example page from Great Britain at War by Jeffery Farnol, published in 1918. This way of transcribing means each page can be proofread and checked for errors and omissions then, when validated, can be "pieced" together to form a complete work. This is the complete version of Great Britain at War. Other works are being transcribed without this software on a page by page basis. Those with red links are waiting to be started.



  1. ^ "Public domain". Wikipedia: The free encyclopaedia. (accessed 15 July, 2018).
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