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1st January 1917 - 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 1917

On this day:

  •    In 1917 the Royal Flying Corps School of Technical Training and the Boys Training Depot were established at Halton Park.

  • Breary Banks Camp becomes POW Camp   In 1917 the hutted camp at Breary Banks, Colsterdale, was put into use as a Prisoner of War Camp for German Officers.

  • Training and recreation   236th London Brigade Royal Field Artillery. formerly 6th County of London Brigade RFA. Territorial Force are at Winnezeele. Batteries, with exception of C236 Battery in action with Left Group 47th Divisional Artillery, continued training in Reserve Area. 2/Lt A Morton Cole posted to B236 Battery.

    War Diaries

  • Railway Activity   16th Btn. Royal Irish Rifles are engaged as pioneers in preparation for the Battle of Messines

    The British High Command had been wishing to launch an offensive towards the key German railhead at Roulers and so force a very significant withdrawal in the northern sector and from much of the Belgian Coast, but was restricted by lack of support from the French who maintained they were overstretched in their adjoining sector. Permission was finally given and planning for the necessary build up began.

    Once again the 36th Division was to lose the services of its Pioneer Battalion as, in similar circumstances to the Somme, an improvement in the movement of supplies was paramount. So it was back to the Railways for the 16th Battalion.

    Having established a reputation for railway construction, they were transferred to the X Corps area for just such work under the ADL RR, Second Army. (Assistant Director of Labour, Roads and Railways) While they were away the pioneering work in the trenches was to be taken on by a labour battalion made up with a company from each Brigade together with 3 officers and 110 men of the 16th Battalion to help oversee the work. They were still exposed to the poor weather and enemy activity. It did not really work well and fell short of the usual standard of the Pioneer’s work.

    The remainder of the Pioneers were assigned work on the 60cm railway lines from Ouderdom to Kemmel and south-east from Busseboom as well as works on the broadgauge railway lines at Ouderdom involving excavating, levelling and ditching, laying steel, packing and ballasting and making crossings and sidings. On the 19th January 1917 a survey was commenced for a new 60cm line from Busseboom to Dickebusch. Downshire Camp near Ouderdom was a tented area and the accommodation was much inferior to their last billets.

    January 1917 Casualties: Other ranks 2 killed and 1 wounded.

    The Terrors by SN White

  • 1st Jan 1917 New Year War Diary 20th DLI

  • Zeppelin Developments   Zeppelin Developments for 1917.

    The airship losses during 1916 caused the Germans to increase the ceiling of their airships. This was first achieved by lightening the existing craft, principally by removing one of the engines. These measures increased the ceiling to over 16,000 ft. In addition new types with a lightened hull framework were developed.

    John Doran

  • 1st January 1917 

  • 1st January 1917 33rd Battalion AIF Routine Order No. 154

  • 1st January 1917 33rd Battalion AIF Visited by L

  • 1st January 1917 Reinforcement, Training and Relocation

  • 1st January 1917 Reserve position

  • Events in 1917   Bavarian Ersatz Division part of 7th Army

    Aisne 1917.

    On the Aisne front, east of Craonne, the Bavarian Ersatz Division received the French offensive of April, and its conduct gained the order "Pour le Merite" for its general. Relieved at the end of April, it occupied a sector in the Apremont Wood from the middle of May to the end of August.

    Ypres 1917.

    On the 1st September it was in Belgium, where it was engaged on both sides of the Ypres-Henn road until September 25. The 3rd Battalion of the 4th Bavarian Reserve Regiment was almost destroyed on the 20th September 1917.

    Galicia 1917.

    At the beginning of October the division was transferred to the eastern front and sent into line southeast of Tarnopol in December. At the end of autumn 1917, the 28th Ersatz Regiment (Baden) was withdrawn from the division and replaced by the 18th Bavarian Reserve. The division was then entirely Bavarian.


    The Bavarian Ersatz Division is recruited from the 1st and 2nd Bavarian Corps districts.

    Allied Intelligence Value - 1917 Estimate.

    The Bavarian Ersatz Division is classed as a very mediocre division.

    historical records

  • 1917 Actions   1st Bavarian Division part of 1st Bavarian Corps and 2nd German Army.


    Plateau du Californie.

    Entrained about May 7th at Vigneulles, it proceeded to the Laon region, where it was in reserve (May 8-12th). The following day it took over the sector west of Hurtebise, where it participated in several attacks (May 20th - June 17th), losing heavily therein. The division was relieved June 21st and went to rest south of Mezieres (La Francheville, etc.), where it was reconstituted.


    On July 25th it went back into the line on the Champagne front. (sector south of Ste. Marie a Py). It did not take part in any important engagements there. The division was withdrawn on the 27th December 1917.

    Allied Intelligence Value Estimate

    The division was recruited in the southern part of Bavaria. The presence of contingents from the Bavarian Alps was responsible for the withdrawal of the Body Regiment to form the Alpine Corps. Despite the losses it suffered during May and June in the Hurtebise sector, the 1st Bavarian Division may still be considered a good division. It has had time to reconstitute itself during the long calm period spent in Champagne (July 25th to Dec. 27,1917).

    Historical Records

  • Actions in 1917 and 1918   1st Bavarian Reserve Division part of 1st Bavarian Reserve Corps and 6th German Army



    After sometime at rest, the division went back into line February 27 to the north of Arras (Roclincourt-Neuville-St. Vaast). On April 9th, it received the full shock of the British attack, lost the villages of Thelus and Bailleul together with 1,500 prisoners.

    Regrettably the pages for the remainder of 1917 and 1918 are missing from our main source.


    The 1st Bavarian Reserve Division (1. Bayerische Reserve-Division) was a unit of the Royal Bavarian Army, part of the German Army, in World War I. The division was formed on mobilization of the German Army in August 1914 as part of I Royal Bavarian Reserve Corps. The division was disbanded in 1919 during the demobilization of the German Army after World War I. The division was raised and recruited in Bavaria. As a reserve division, it included a large number of recalled reservists and war volunteers.

    The 1st Bavarian Reserve Division fought in the opening phases of the war in the Battle of the Frontiers. It then participated in the Race to the Sea, including the Battle of Arras in October 1914. It remained in the trench lines in Flanders until 1916, when it entered the Battle of the Somme in August 1916. In late 1917, it participated in the Battle of Passchendaele. In 1918, the division fought in the Battle of the Lys. The division ended the war still fighting in the Lys region.

    Allied intelligence rated the division as a good division in 1917, but third class in 1918.

    Historical Records

  • 1st January 1917 Actions during 1917

  • Ongoing Action   6th Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment

    This page from the war diaries covers the period from 1st January 1917 to the 21st January 1917 inclusive. The overall image is very faint and the right hand side of the page totally unreadable. So the extracts are based on a combination of visible fragment and some guesswork.

    1st Jan. 1917 - Battalion in Thievres.

    2nd Jan. - Battalion leaves billets and marches to trenches in front of Thiepval to relieve 6th Battalion Border Regiment. No casualties in either Battalion happened during relief.

    3rd Jan. - Artillery on both sides very active. First post captured 6 Germans -------- unreadable ---- who had taken 2 men of the Gloucesters --- prisoner.

    4th Jan. - Weather again bad. Artillery very quiet.

    5th Jan. - Weather still very bad. Situation normal. Great activity by enemy aircraft.

    6th Jan. - Great activity by our aircraft. 15 minute barrage at night by our artillery.

    7th Jan. - Our aircraft again very busy ---- unreadable.

    8th Jan. - ----- No 5 ---- one German stretcher bearer --- unreadable ---- Raining during the night.

    9th Jan. Very heavy shelling by enemy artillery continuing --- unreadable

    10th Jan. - Battalion relieved by the 6th Battalion Border Regiment ----- unreadable ---- 1 Officer seriously wounded. 1 Stretcher bearer killed.

    11th Jan. - In Billets. Fine sharp morning. Marched to ---- unreadable ---

    12th Jan. - In Billets. Heavy rain during the night. ---- unreadable ---

    13th Jan. - In Billets. ----- unreadable ------

    14th Jan. - In Billets. ----- unreadable ------

    15th Jan. - Thiepval ---- unreadable

    16th Jan. - In Billets. ----- unreadable ------

    17th Jan. - In Billets. Very heavy fall of snow during the night --- unreadable.

    18th Jan. - In Billets. ----- unreadable ------

    19th Jan. - In Billets. ----- unreadable ------

    war diaries

  • 1st January 1917 Actions during 1917

  • 1st January 1917 Actions during 1917

  • Actions during 1917   German 2nd Division part of 1st Army Corps and 8th Army

    Divisional Actions during 1917

    The reconstituted 2nd Division was engaged in the Mitau sector up to the end of January 1917. All its units were identified in the vicinity of Kalnzen. On February 8th it entrained at Mitau for the western front. (Itinerary: Chavli, Kovno, Insterburg, Konigsberg, Stettin, Hamburg, Munster, Aix-la-Chapelle, Liege, Louvain, Bruxelles, Audenarde.)


    Detrained on February 13th and remained at rest up to the end of March. It received reinforcements of various classes of men (wounded, convalescents and class 1917 reservists). The division occupied the Wytschaete sector from the 25th of March to the beginning of June. (On April 15th and May 10th and 15th it received the first reinforcements from the class of 1918, the last having had only three months instruction. In all, 4,460 men between 1st January 1 and 1st June). On the 7th June, it left 2,825 men in the hands of British troops. On June 10th the 2nd Division retired from the Belgian front. It was placed at rest in the district of Audenarde in June and then entrained for the eastern front(end of June).


    It arrived in Russia at the beginning of July and was put at rest in the district of Vilna. On July 14th it was identified in the Illukst District.


    It returned to France on the 25th of November. It entrained on this date at Kovno and was transported over the following itinerary: Insterburg, Thorn, Posen, Frankfort-sur-Oder, Berlin, Paderborn, Crefeld, Aix-la-Chapelle, Liege, Namur and Vouziers (Nov. 30).

    On December 27th it relieved the 1st Bavarian Division in the Souain-Somme-Py sector.

    Allied Intelligence 1917 Value Estimate.

    Except during the period March-June 1917, when the 2nd Division was fighting in Belgium, it continuously occupied the Russian front from the beginning of the war till December, 1917.

    Historical Records

  • Actions 1917 to 1918   2nd Bavarian Landwehr Division part of 8th Army. Later part of 66th Corps(zbV) and 19th Army (zbV = zur besonderen Vervendung) (for special use)

    Divisional Actions and review.

    The 2nd Bavarian Landwehr Division was formed in Lorraine at the end of December 1916 and the beginning of January 1917. Two of its regiments, the 5th Bavarian Landwehr and the 10th Bavarian Landwehr, were assigned respectively to the 1st Bavarian Landwehr Division and the 33rd Reserve Division at that time on the Lorraine front. The 2nd Bavarian Landwehr was ceded by the 6th Bavarian Landwehr Division, which held a Vosges sector.


    As soon as it was constituted the 2nd Bavarian Landwehr Division was transported to the Eastern front via Frankfort and Leipzig.


    Directed to Courlande and attached to the 8th Army it entered the line in the vicinity of Friedrichstadt (middle of January, 1917) and remained in this district up till February, 1918. In September it participated in the operations against Riga. In December a number of men were detached in order to reinforce the 10th Bavarian Division.

    1917 Allied Intelligence Value Estimate.

    It remained on the Russian front from the time of its formation (January, 1917). It held the calm sector of Courlande in 1917; it occupied Livonia in 1918 (May). Men under 35 years of age were withdrawn from the 5th Bavarian Landwehr in December 1917. It is rated as a 4th class division.

    The 2nd Bavarian Landwehr Division initially served on the Eastern Front, entering the line in the Baltic region near Riga. In September 1917, it participated in the Battle of Riga. The division then remained on the line on the Duna River until the armistice on the Eastern Front in December 1917. For most of 1918, it served in Livonia and Estonia as part of the German occupation forces. In October 1918, it was transferred to the Western Front, and occupied a portion of the trench line in Lorraine until the end of World War I. Allied intelligence rated the division as fourth class.

    Historical Records

  • 1st January 1917 Actions during 1917

  • 1st January 1917 Training and Pioneer Organisation

  • 1st Jan 1917 New Year Dinner

  • 1st Jan 1917 Sports

  • 1st Jan 1917 Sore Heads

  • 1st Jan 1917 Training

  • 1st Jan 1917 In Reserve

  • 1st Jan 1917 Training

  • 1st January 1917 Calais Arrival

  • 1st of January 1917 Training and Resting

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There are:30 articles tagged with this date available in our Library

  These include information on officers service records, letters, diaries, personal accounts and information about actions during the Great War.

Remembering those who died this day.

  • J. R. Goodrick. Durham Light Infantry 7th Btn.
  • Pte. Percy Henry Hill. Rifle Brigade (The Prince Consort's Own) 19th (Western) Battalion. Read their Story.
  • Pte. Harry L. Rule. Army Service Corps HQ 52nd Lowland Division Read their Story.

    Add a name to this list.

  • Items from the Home Front Archive

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