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Battle of Antwerp 1914 in the Great War - The Wartime Memories Project -

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Battle of Antwerp 1914



7th Oct 1914 Fierce Bombardment at Antwerp  Advancing German Forces bombard the City of Antwerp, the Belgian troops and a small number of their British allies, including the Royal Naval Division Collingwood Battalion, struggled to hold the city against the fierce shelling. The Belgian government which had relocated to the city when Brussels fell, was forced to retreat again, this time to Ostend.

8th Oct 1914 Antwerp Evacuated  The City of Antwerp is evacuated as British and Belgian Forces struggle to hold back the besieging German forces as they closed in on the port:

“Private (sic) William Foster, of Old Fallow, Cannock, who has a remarkable record of assisting at the siege of Antwerp six weeks after enlistment, has a good story to tell of the gallant attempt of the Naval Brigade to check the advance of the Germans, after Antwerp had fallen. Foster, who belongs to the 2nd Naval Brigade, was a member of the Howe division (sic), and his trench was situated in the middle of a churchyard. They were in the trenches for two days and two nights, from Tuesday to Thursday. In the course of the fighting Foster says the bombardment was so terrific that some of the Britishers were driven out of their minds by it. The German artillery was very accurate, and deadly for the most part. When the Naval Brigade first took to the trenches, the German shells did not touch them, but soon one of the enemy aeroplanes appeared overhead, and within ten minutes the trenches were raked with a terrible fire. A great deal of difficulty was experiences because the Germans drove the Belgian refugees before them, and the Naval Brigade had to avoid shooting them, although the Germans continued to fire at the men in the trenches. Foster says that lack of artillery was responsible for the retirement of the British force. It was simply a case of rifles against hundreds of German guns. If they had killed two Germans to every one Englishman, there would have been plenty of the enemy left to march to Antwerp, so at last they had to retire. The retreat from Antwerp was full of peril and incident. The Naval Brigade had to pass between blazing tanks of petrol, over a river on a pontoon bridge. Foster says it was certainly not an orderly retreat, because they had to get out as fast as they could.”

K.X/152 Ordinary Seaman William Foster - 6th (Howe) Battalion, Royal Naval Division published in The Lichfield Mercury on 23rd of October 1914

"On the 7th the Marine Brigade was withdrawn to the line of inner forts. The Marines defended this position until the conditions on which we could remain were no longer being fulfilled. A final decision was made on the 8th of October by Mr Winston Churchill (the First Lord) to retreat to the coast." Charles James Black, RMLI.

10th Oct 1914 Antwerp Falls  The City of Antwerp is formally surrendered to the German Forced by the military governor Gen. Deguise.

"Antwerp did not fall, thanks to British interventions, till October 10th. By that time, Sir Henry Rawlinson was in Ghent with a substantial force, the Belgian Field Army had retreated and rested and the left wing of the British forces was at Bailleul. The result was that the three forces could stand on the line of the Yser, and bar the road to Calais, Boulogne and Dunkirk. For this decisive success had been sacrificed the lives of 7 officers and 58 men and 3 officers and 185 men wounded. It is impossible to speak lightly of such losses, but the sacrifice … was certainly not in vain”. Charles James Black, (R.M.L.I., PO 17226) aged 16 years and 11 months.

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Those known to have served in

Battle of Antwerp 1914

during the Great War 1914-1918.

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Want to know more about Battle of Antwerp 1914?


There are:4 articles tagged Battle of Antwerp 1914 available in our Library





Recomended Reading.

Available at discounted prices.



Women in the War Zone: Hospital Service in the First World War

Anne Powell


In our collective memory, the First World War is dominated by men. The sailors, soldiers, airmen and politicians about whom histories are written were male, and the first half of the twentieth century was still a time when a woman's place was thought to be in the home. It was not until the Second World War that women would start to play a major role both in the armed forces and in the factories and the fields. Yet there were some women who were able to contribute to the war effort between 1914 and 1918, mostly as doctors and nurses. In "Women in the War Zone", Anne Powell has selected extracts from first-hand accounts of the experiences of those female medical personnel who served abroad during the First World War. Covering both the Western and the Eastern Fronts, from Petrograd to Basra and from Antwerp to the Dardanelles, they include nursing casualties from the Battle of Ypres, a young doctor put in charge of a remote hospital in Serbia and a nurse who survived a torpedo attack, alb




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