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1st January 1916 - The Great War, Day by Day - The Wartime Memories Project

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The Wartime Memories Project - The Great War - Day by Day

1st January 1916

On this day:

  • Six inch quick fire gun added at Adeer   A Quick Fire 6-inch gun was added at Ardeer early in 1916 and around the same time the two Anti-Aircraft guns were removed. It was apparently intended that a 9.2-inch gun would be installed, which would have been capable of engaging the largest German surface ships.

  • 27th Northumberlands proceed to France   27th Northumberlands proceed to France with 103rd Brigade, 34th Division in January 1916.

  • HMEF St. Helens opens   H.M. Explosive Factory St. Helenís, Sutton Oak started up in January 1916 for the production of Synthetic Phenol. It was under Direct Control of the Ministry of Munitions

  • TWFF Denaby opens   Trench Warfare Filling Factory Denaby, nr Rotherham, Yorkshire started up in January 1916. Filling 3-in. Stokes bombs and in 1917 was engaged in disassembling 3.7-in. bombs. The factory was under the direct control of the British Westfailite Co.

  • TWFF Slade Green opens   Trench Warfare Filling Factory Slade Green, Erith, Crayfordness, Kent in January 1916, filling 2-in. and 6-in. trench mortar bombs. It was under Direct control of the Ministry of Munitions.

  • Blyth Battery Constructed   Blyth Battery was built in 1916 to defend the port of Blyth and the submarine base.

  • 16th Northumberland Fusilers play football against 2nd Inniskillins    16th Northumberlands played the 2nd Battalio Royal Inniskillin Fusiliers in the intercopmany football matches. New Year's Day was a holiday and a special dinner took place.

    records of the 16th (service) battalion northumberland fusiliers captain ch cooke mc, newcastle upon tyne 1923

  • Firing in the New Year Year   6th County of London Brigade RFA at Annequin:- At 0001, one minute after the incoming of the New Year, all batteries of Lowe Group fired five rounds on their right lines. There was constant shelling during the day, to which we retaliated. The 15th London Battery caused the enemy to cease fire in each case. The 16th London Battery set on fire a small German Engineering store at A.30.b.1.2 and dispersed a working party. The 15th, 16th and 17th London Batteries fired by request of Infantry during the night. Capt P.A. Love, 6th London Ammunition Column, proceeded to England on seven days leave of absence. The following officers were promoted to Temp Lieutenant: 2nd Lt M.G. Whitten. 2nd Lt H.P. Barrow. The following were mentioned in the General Officer Commanding-in Chief the British Army's Field Despatches, published today: Major H. Bayley DSO 15th London Battery. Major A.C. Gordon DSO 16th London Battery. Gunner J.A. Whiting 15th London Battery (since killed in action).

    War Diaries

  • Railway Activity   

    Only Photograph of train crash Candas-Acheux Railway.

    16th Btn. Royal Irish Rifles - Pioneers.

    Candas to Acheux Railway 28th December 1915 to 31st May 1916.

    On the 28th December the 16th Rifles were placed under the direct command of the Chief Engineer, Third Army and tasked with building a broad gauge railway joining the main railway line at Candas to Acheux via Beauval, Punchevillers and Raincheval giving rise to a popular couplet by some Battalion wag:

    "The 16th Rifles had nothing much to do So they had them build a railway from Candas to Acheux."

    This was to accommodate a new railhead at Acheux to facilitate the supply of equipment to the Front. Although the decisions on the Somme offensive were not made until March, this early work had in mind an awaited British offensive being demanded by the French to relieve pressure on their positions. Because of the contours of the terrain and to minimise gradients for heavily loaded trains, what could have been 13 miles of track in a direct line became almost 17 miles. The railway line supplying this railhead was to be connected to the main Amiens Ė Doullens line at Candas. Because of the heavy loads to be carried the line was to follow the natural contours in the area rather than crossing them to limit steep gradients. The ground over which it was to be built was mainly rain sodden chalk which greatly added to the difficulty of construction.

    The Battalion was deployed as follows: HQ and No.2 Company to Beauval; No.3 Company to Fienvillers (just west of Candas); Half of No.4 Company to Candas; No.1 Company left to finish off work in Flechelles; Two platoons of No.4 Company to continue quarrying (ballast for railway).

    The manpower requirements were enormous and working parties of unskilled labour were supplied by many units. Everyone working on the railways had to be ready at a momentís notice to offload trains bringing up materials for the work.

    On the 1st January it was stated in the war diary that track was being laid at the rate of 1100 yards per day. The Chief Engineer reported that on the 11th January the track had advanced 3 miles beyond Candas. This was at odds with the reported daily rate of progress but presumably he was referring to completed and fully ballasted sections. Things were progressing well with a reported 5000 feet laid in a single day, but on the 21st January there was a train crash. The work train was returning when one of the trucks behind the engine jumped the rail at a bad part of the track and two other wagons were smashed. This was a result of having to run heavy trains over un-ballasted sections of track. 2 men were killed and 17 wounded, mostly from other units with only 7 wounded from the 16th Battalion.

    A cache of Roman Coins were unearthed between 16th and 22nd January. On the 22nd January work had progressed so well, despite the crash, that Battalion HQ and Nos.2 and 4 Companies were able to move back to Raincheval. They were to continue laying track whilst No.3 Company carried on with packing and ballast and finishing the Terminal at Candas, add any necessary sidings and build a large cement tank able to hold 100,000 gallons of water for engines.

    No.1 Company moved from Flesselles to Acheux where it was to build the Terminus there, a number of sidings and a second 100,000 gallon water tank. There was concern regarding the water supply as the railway needed about 80,000 gallons per day , but only 12,000 was available, but this was solved when a well was found in which the level didnít fall even when 3,000 gallons per hour were pumped for 32 hours.

    In the latter part of January heavy snow fell and no work was possible on the 26th January.

    The Terrors by SN White

  • Lifeboat drill on SS Andania   13th Btn Yorks and Lancs take part in a full scale Lifeboat drill aboard the SS Andania, enroute Egypt.

  • P Class Zeppelin   Zeppelin LZ60 (LZ90)

    • Production Ref: LZ60
    • Class type : P
    • Tactical ref: LZ90
    • Usage: Military
    • First Flight: 1st January 1916


    Carried out 4 attacks on Bar-le-Duc, Norwich, London and Etaples, dropping a total of 8,860 kilograms (19,530 lb) of bombs. On the 7th November 1916 it broke loose in a storm, was blown out to sea and never seen again.

    John Doran

  • Gas and Grenade School at Farnley   Farnley Camp was situated at Farnely Hall near Otley, West Yorkshire. It was the home of the Northern Command Gas and Grenade school from 1916 to 1918

  • 1st January 1916 9th Lancers in Billets

  • Zeppelin Developments   Zeppelin news for 1916

    In December 1915 additional P-class Zeppelins and the first of the new Q-class airships were delivered. The Q-class was an enlargement of the P-class, lengthened to 178 m (585 ft), adding two gasbags, and improving both ceiling and bomb-load. Improved defensive measures made raids more hazardous, and several airships were destroyed. By mid-1916, there were 271 anti-aircraft guns and 258 searchlights across England, and the introduction of an effective combination of explosive and incendiary bullets gave the defending aircraft their first successes.

    New types of Zeppelin with improved ceilings restored the advantage, but led to further flying and navigation problems. Oxygen was needed to fly at high altitude, the extreme cold led to crew fatigue and technical problems, and the meteorologists of the time did not appreciate the differing wind conditions likely to be met at altitude. Nevertheless, in 1916 23 raids dropped 125 tons of bombs, killing 293 and injuring 691 people.

    Aerial defences against Zeppelins were haphazard, and divided between the RNAS and the Royal Flying Corps (RFC), with the Navy engaging enemy airships approaching the coast while the RFC took responsibility once the enemy had crossed the coastline. Initially the War Office believed that the Zeppelins used a layer of inert gas to protect themselves from incendiary bullets, and discouraged the use of such ammunition in favour of bombs. The initial trials of incendiary bullets in mid-1915 were unimpressive. Incendiary ammunition also underwent several separate development tracks. The first bullet was designed by John Pomery, but by mid-1916, the RFC also had Brock, Buckingham and "Sparklet" incendiary ammunition.

    Ten home defence squadrons were organised from February 1916, with London's defences assigned to No. 19 RAS at Sutton's Farm and Hainault Farm (renamed No. 39 (Home Defence) Squadron in April 1916, who were also allocated North Weald Bassett airfield in August 1916). The number of aircraft varied. In February there were only eight squadrons and less than half the number of aircraft expected, and by June the number of squadrons had been cut to six and only No. 39 Squadron was at full strength and equipped with newer aircraft Ė BE12s with interrupter gear and Lewis guns firing a mix of explosive, incendiary and tracer rounds.

    John Doran

  • Australian Troop Transports   

    HMAT A2 Geelong

    Pictured at Hobart, 20 October 1914 From: West Coast Recorder, 19 November 1914, p. 23.

    HMAT A2 Geelong weighed 7,851 tons with an average cruise speed of 12 knots or 22.22 kmph. It was owned by the P&O SN Co, London, and leased by the Commonwealth until it collided with SS Bonvilston in the Mediterranean and sunk on the 1st January 1916.

    John Doran

  • Sectional Relief   E Battery 3rd Brigade RHA

    Rue des Chavaties. The right section came out of action in the evening being relieved by a section of C Battery 63rd Brigade 12th Division (Captain Walsh).

    war diaries

  • 1st January 1916 reorganisation and relocation

  • 1916 Actions   1st Bavarian Division part of 1st Bavarian Corps and 2nd German Army.



    About May 1916, the division was relieved to the west of Vimy and sent to the Verdun front, where it took part in the battles near Douaumont (May 23) and in those of June 1st and 8th. Re-formed in the Romagne sous les Cotes area, it re-entered line about June 22nd for new attacks. During this offensive the division suffered severely. It was relieved at the beginning of July. After a short rest behind the Verdun front the division reoccupied the Apremout - St. Mihiel sector, remaining there until October 11th, when it was reconstituted, receiving large reinforcements (recuperates and men of the 1916 class).


    Taken to the Caudry sector (near Cambrai), it was engaged on the Somme (Sailly-Saillisel, Morval) from October 13th to the end of November, where its losses were once again exceedingly heavy. The division reappeared in the region of St. Mihiel (Bois d'Ailly - Foret d'Apremont sector) at the beginning of December, and remained there until the early days of May, 1917.

    Historical Records

  • Actions in 1916   1st Bavarian Reserve Division part of 1st Bavarian Reserve Corps and 6th German Army


    The division remained in line east of Arras, straddling the Scarpe until August 1916. From May to August, it comprised the 12th Bavarian Reserve Regiment, instead of the 3rd Bavarian Reserve Regiment, loaned temporarily by the 5th Bavarian Reserve Division.


    Withdrawn on August 8th, it went to the Somme. It was engaged on the 12th in the Clery sector, and was relieved as early as the 15th by the 1st Guard Division after having suffered heavily. The second fortnight in August the division was at rest near Cambrai. The end of that month and early in September, some elements of the division were engaged near Clery and Martinpuich in order to facilitate reliefs.


    About the middle of September the 1st Bavarian Reserve Corps was withdrawn from the region of the Somme and sent to the Aisne, where the 1st Bavarian Reserve Division occupied a sector to the west of Craonne until the beginning of December. Brought back north of the Somme, it sent some elements into line in the Beaumont-Hamel sector (north of the Ancre, December 1916 - January 1917).

    Historical Records

  • 1st January 1916 Actions during 1916

  • 1st Jan 1916 Seeing in the New Year

  • 1st Jan 1916 Stormy Day

  • 1st Jan 1916 Second Spell in the Trenches

  • 1st Jan 1916 6th Bty MMGC in Action

  • 1st Jan 1916 Bad Cases

  • 1st Jan 1916 At Rest

  • 1st Jan 1916 In Reserve

  • 1st Jan 1916 At Rest

  • 1st Jan 1916 Reinforcements

  • 1st Jan 1916 Relief

  • 1st January 1916 Routine training

  • 1st Jan 1916 On the Move

  • 1st January 1916 New Years day 2016

  • 4th January 1916 Move to Domart

  • Wearside Pals to Aldershot   20th Battalion DLI, move to Aldershot to join 123rd Brigade, 41st Division. They were the only North-country battalion in the 41st Division and with a high proportion of miners, it became well known for its digging abilities.

    Northern Echo

  • 21st West Yorks in Training   The 21st Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment trained at Skipton's Raikeswood Camp from February 1916 having undertaken initial training in Halifax. The camp had previously been set up for the training of the Bradford Pals in 1915. A photo can be found of a group from the 21 WYR in the Rowley Photograph Collection. More info.

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Killed, Wounded, Missing and Prisoner Reports published this day.

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