You are not logged in.
1st May 1915 - The Great War, Day by Day - The Wartime Memories Project

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site you agree to accept cookies.


If you enjoy this site please consider making a donation.



    Site Home

    Great War

    Search

    Add Stories & Photos

 Features

    Allied Army

    Day by Day

    War in the Air

    Prisoners of War

    The War at Sea

    Training for War

    The Battles

    Those Who Served

    Hospitals

    Civilian Service

    Women at War

    Life on Home Front

    Central Powers Army

    Central Powers' Navy

    Library

    World War Two

 Submissions

    Add Stories & Photos

    Time Capsule

 Information

    Help & FAQ's

    Our Facebook Page

    Volunteering

    News

    Events

    Contact us

    Great War Books

    About


Advertisements













World War 1 One ww1 wwII greatwar great

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



1st May 1915

On this day:


  • May 1915 9th Rifle Brigae proceed to France

  • 8th Yorks & Lancs to Borden Camp   8th Yorks and Lancs depart from Hythe in May for Bordon Camp. Bordon had expensive ranges and was used for final weaponry preparation for active service using live ammunition using rifles, machine and Lewis Guns, Mortars, bombs and explosives.

  • HMEF Queens Ferry opens.   HMEF Queen's Ferry, near Chester, began in May 1915. The first output of guncotton, TNT and tetryl was in December 1915. It was under direct control of the Ministry of Munitions

  • HMEF Bideford opens   HMEF Bideford in Devonshire opened in May 1915 to produce acetate of lime by wood distillation. It was under direct control of the Ministry of Munitions.

  • HMEF opens in Graham Street, Dundee   HMEF Graham Street, Dundee, Angus, started in May 1915 to produce acetate of lime by wood distillation, which was then used in the manufacture of cordite. It was under direct control of the Ministry of Munitions.

  • National Shell Factory opens in Armley Road, Leeds   Leeds Forge Company, in Armly Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire opened a National Shell Factory, in May 1915. It was under control of the Board of Management of the Leeds Munitions Committee.

  • Keighley No 1 National Shell Factory opens.   Keighley No 1 National Shell Factory was situated in Dalton Lane, Keighley, West Yorkshire and opened in May of 1915 with first output in the autumn of 1915. It produced 18-pdr, 3.7-in. and 6-pdr. shells. It was under control of the Board of Management of the Leeds Munitions Committee.

  • NPF Armley Road, Leeds opens   National Projectile Factory Armly Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire started production in May 1915 of 4.5-in. and 6-in. shells. In 1917-18 it repaired and inspected guns. It was under control of the Board of Management. There was also a a National Shell Factory, a National Ordnance Factory and a National Filing Factory in Armley Road.

  • NOF Armley Road, Leeds opens   National Ordnance Factory Armly Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire started production in May 1915 of 4.5-in. and 6-in. shells. In 1917-18 it repaired and inspected guns. It was under control of the Board of Management. There was also a a National Shell Factory, a National Projectile Factory and a National Filing Factory in Armley Road.

  • NOF Armley Road, Leeds opens   National Ordnance Factory Armly Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire started production in May 1915 of 4.5-in. and 6-in. shells. In 1917-18 it repaired and inspected guns. It was under control of the Board of Management. There was also a a National Shell Factory, a National Projectile Factory and a National Filing Factory in Armley Road.

  • Abbotts VAD Hospital moves   The Abbotts VAD hospital, Cheltenham, moved from Moorend Park, Charlton Kings to The Abbotts, 49 All Saints Road with 50 beds available.

  • 3rd Monmouths withdraw   To avoid the danger of being cut off at the neck of the zone and shorten the Line, the order was given to withdraw and the The 3rd Monmouth Battalion began to move back. The Line now ran just east of Hooge Chateau and Frezenberg, south of St Julien and converged onto the Yser Canal near Boesinghe and the trenches of the GHQ line crossed the main road just east of the Potizje Chateau. The front Line was now shortened by 5,000 yards and the Wood evacuated. The movement was started on the night of 1 May evacuating dumps and bringing back the guns. All ammunition and trench stores were removed as well. The whole operation was under the control of Welsh Officers, posted at the north west corner of the Wood and in telephone communication with the Brigade Headquarters.

  • 3rd Welsh Fusilers move to Litherland   In May 1915 the 3rd Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers moved from Wrexham to Litherland Camp to join the the Mersey Defence Force supplying troops to guard the docks.

  • Daily Battery Activity 6th London Brigade RFA    At 0630 a heavy bombardment was heard in a northerly direction. No batteries of the 6th London Brigade fired, except in a test as follows - A test was held to see how soon after the receipt of a message from the infantry, the batteries could open fire. The 15th battery took two minutes, 16th Battery one minute. They appear to be quicker than the time taken by the Regular Batteries.

    War Diaries


  • Recruitment and Training   

    Belfast Parade 36th Ulster Division - 8th May 1915

    16th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles (Pioneers)

    Recruitment figures not published and Training continued to improve both infantry and trade efficiency.

    150 men took part in preparation of the ground for the Grand Parade by the Ulster Division in Belfast on the 8th May 1915.

    The 36th (Ulster) Division was drawn up at noon on the 8th May in review order at Belfast, between the Lagan and Malone, for inspection by Major General Sir Hugh McCalmont and then marched into Belfast where the salute was taken again by Sir Hugh, The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress, Sir Edward and Lady Carson, Sir George and Lady Richardson and the City High Sheriff with his wife at the City Hall. The 16th (Service) Battalion Royal Irish Rifles (Pioneers) brought up at the rear of the column. They travelled to and from Belfast by special train from Lurgan.

    Doran Family


  • May 1915 18th DLI join 31st Division

  • 1st May 1915 9th Lancers ready

  • Gas mask instructions   The 19th Field Ambulance continues to work the line of the 19th Infantry Brigade in the trenches between Rue du Bois and Touquet. Certain orders received as to the making of masks to combat poisonous gases received from ADMS 6th Division, to consist of 10 to 12 layers of gauze.

    War diary RAMC 19th Field Ambulance, Erquinghem-Lys


  • Battle off Noorhinder Bank   The Battle off Noordhinder Bank on 1 May 1915 was a naval action between a squadron of four British naval trawlers supported by a flotilla of four British destroyers and two German torpedo boats from the Flanders Flotilla. The battle began when the two torpedo boats were sent on a search and rescue mission and ran into a British patrol. The Germans fought with the patrolling trawlers until a heavier force of British destroyers from Harwich Force arrived and sank the German vessels. The battle greatly demoralized the German flotilla at Flanders as the boats that were sunk had just been launched shortly before the battle. The action off Noordhinder Bank highlighted that the Flanders Flotilla was too inadequately armed to protect the coast it was assigned to defend let alone harass British shipping in the channel. Eventually, after other similar defeats, the small torpedo boats such as those used off Noordhinder Bank were relegated to coastal patrol. Heavier units were finally transferred to even the balance of power in the English Channel.

    After the 7th Torpedo Boat Half Flotilla was lost during the Battle off Texel, German naval authorities were reluctant to commit any further forces for offensive operations off the coast of Flanders. Despite this, the commander of Marine Corps Flanders – Admiral Ludwig von Schroeder – continued to press for a transfer of a force of submarines and torpedo boats to his command. After several months of resisting Schroeder's demands, the Kaiserliche Marine finally relented and sent him a force of light torpedo boats and submarines. Although these forces were greatly inferior in armament and displacement to those he had requested, Admiral Schroeder put his newly acquired forces to use immediately. He formed the Flanders Torpedo Boat Flotilla made up of 15 "A"-class torpedo boats under the command of Korvettenkapitän Hermann Schoemann. Three days later, on 1 May 1915, two German seaplanes reported a squadron of four trawlers off Noordhinder Bank. One of these seaplanes was forced to make an emergency landing and Schoeman was dispatched with boats SMS A2 and A6 to rescue the seaplane's crew and destroy the trawlers. Meanwhile, while patrolling off the Galloper lightship near Goodwin Sands, HMS Recruit was sunk by the German submarine UB-6. Recruit's consort – Brazen – as well as the four trawlers the German seaplanes had spotted began searching for Recruit's attacker. A2 and A6 caught the trawlers off the Noordhinder Bank at 1500. The trawlers Columbia, Barbados, Chirsit, and Miura were under the command of Lieutenant Sir James Domville onboard Barbados. Armed with a single 3-pounder gun each, the trawlers were outgunned by the German torpedo boats, which were both armed with two torpedo tubes as well as a four-pound gun.

    Battle

    As soon as the trawlers were spotted by Schoeman's boats they were engaged. Rather than attempt to flee, the commander of the squadron of trawlers – Lieutenant Domville – decided to try to fight his way out. A2 and A6 both made torpedo runs against the trawlers, but of the four torpedoes launched, only one hit its target, sinking Columbia and killing the British commander. Outgunned, the trawler Barbados resorted to ramming A6, damaging it enough that the Germans decided to withdraw from the action. Before withdrawing, the Germans managed to rescue a lieutenant and two deckhands from Columbia making them prisoners of war. Upon being attacked, the trawlers had alerted Harwich Force of the situation and as a result a squadron of four "L"-class destroyers were dispatched to rescue the trawlers. The dispatched squadron – consisting of HMS Laforey, Lawford, Leonidas, and Lark from Harwich Force – managed to gain sight of the German boats soon after arriving on the scene. Heavily outgunned, the German boats attempted to make for the safety of the Flanders coast, but were pursued by the British destroyers. Once the British managed to catch up with the torpedo boats, they were engaged in a running fight that lasted nearly an hour. By the end of the action, both torpedo boats were destroyed with many of the Germans, including the new commander of the Flanders Flotilla, going down with their ships. The British destroyers suffered no casualties.

    Aftermath

    When the battle ended, British losses included Columbia sunk and Barbados damaged. Columbia suffered 16 dead with only one surviving deckhand being recovered after the action. The Germans suffered much worse losing both A2 and A6 along with 13 killed and 46 captured. Among the German dead was the commander of the German forces, Hermann Schoemann. Controversy erupted after it was discovered from the captured Germans that the three men taken from the sinking Columbia had been locked away below decks on one of the torpedoboats. They were left to die when the German vessel started to sink. The Germans reported that they did not have enough time to get to the British prisoners and were barely able to escape the sinking hulk themselves. The battle showed Admiral Schroeder the severe limitations of the "A"-class torpedo boats. Too poorly armed for raiding, the boats were delegated to coastal patro duties. Defeat at Noordhinder allowed Schroeder's pleas for reinforcements to be finally heard by the German Admiralty. He was sent heavier vessels to complement the forces he already possessed. The next engagement involving an "A"-class torpedo boat would also reinforce the perception that the class was too weak for service. Several of the newly constructed boats were put in reserve as soon as larger and more capable boats were transferred to the Flanders Flotilla.

    John Doran


  • 1st Bn Herts back at Le Quesnoy   The Bn was relieved by the 2nd Bn Coldstream Guards and went into billets at Le Quesnoy.

    War Diary of the 1st Battalion Hertfordshire Regiment


  • Otranto Barrage   The Otranto Barrage was an Allied naval blockade of the Otranto Straits between Brindisi in Italy and Corfu on the Greek side of the Adriatic Sea in the First World War. The blockade was intended to prevent the Austro-Hungarian Navy from escaping into the Mediterranean and threatening Allied operations there. The blockade, or rather the fleet capital ships in support of it, was effective in preventing surface ships from escaping the Adriatic, but it had little or no effect on the submarines based at Cattaro.

    Blockade attempt

    The Adriatic is 72 km wide at the Otranto Straits. The blockade consisted mainly of a fleet of drifters, most of them British and usually armed with a 6-pounder gun and depth charges. In 1915 when the blockade was begun, two divisions of 20 would be on patrol at a time, equipped with steel indicator nets intended to trap submarines or at least alert the surface vessels to their presence. A third division would be at Brindisi. The drifters were supported by destroyers and aircraft. However, the demands of the Gallipoli Campaign and other naval operations left the Otranto Barrage with insufficient resources to deter the U-boats, and only the Austro-Hungarian U-6was caught by the indicator nets during the course of the war. It was later considered that the straits had simply been too wide to be netted, mined or patrolled effectively. The ease with which German and Austrian submarines continued out of the Austro-Hungarian ports in spite of the barrage (and the success they had in disrupting shipping in the whole of the Mediterranean) strongly embarrassed the Allies, the system being called "a large sieve through which U-boats could pass with impunity". In 1917–1918, reinforcements from the Australian and American navies brought the blockading force up to 35 destroyers, 52 drifters and more than 100 other vessels. But submarines continued to slip through until the end of the war, while only the introduction of the convoy system and better coordination amongst the Allies helped to cut the losses they were causing.

    Raids and battles

    The Austrians mounted a number of nighttime raids against the barrage, five in 1915, nine in 1916 and ten in 1917. After a raid by four Huszar-class destroyers in December 1916, a conference in London concluded that the drifters were insufficiently defended. The barrage was placed under the command of a single British officer, Commodore Algernon Heneage, who was able to call upon all Allied ships not in use elsewhere. The largest raid was on the night of 14/15 May 1917 when the cruisers SMS Novara, Helgoland, and Saida supported by the destroyers SMS Csepel and Balaton and Austro-Hungarian U-boats U-4 and U-27, along with German U-boat UC-25 (operating as Austro-Hungarian U-boat U-89). The fleet, commanded by Commodore Miklós Horthy, sank 14 drifters out of 47 on duty, and damaged a further three seriously. Skipper Joseph Watt was later awarded the Victoria Cross for defending his drifter Gowanlea under heavy attack from Novara. The British light cruisers HMS Dartmouth and Bristol—together with Italian and French destroyers, under command of Italian Rear Admiral Alfredo Acton—steamed from Brindisi to engage the Austrians, resulting in the Battle of the Otranto Straits. The British damaged Saida and disabled Novara, severely injuring Horthy. However, the British cruisers broke off the engagement when the Italian flag officer had notice of heavy Austrian forces coming out of Cattaro and Saida towed Novara back to port. Dartmouth was damaged by UC-25 as it returned to Brindisi. The night before, the same U-boat had laid a minefield at the mouth of Brindisi harbour; the French destroyer Boutefeu struck one of these mines exiting the harbour the very same day and exploded, sinking with all hands. In June 1918, Horthy—by now commander-in-chief of the Austro-Hungarian Navy—determined to launch an attack on the barrage employing the four Tegetthoff-class battleships based at Pola, the most modern in the fleet. While en route down the Adriatic, the battleship SMS Szent István was torpedoed and sunk by an Italian torpedo boat at dawn on 10 June, resulting in the attack being cancelled.

    John Doran


  • Gulflight Incident 1915   The American 5,189 ton tanker Gulflight, was built by the New York Shipbuilding Co. of Camden, New Jersey for the Gulf Refining Company (a predecessor of Gulf Oil). It was launched on 8 August 1914. The ship became famous when it was torpedoed early in World War I and became the center of a diplomatic incident which moved the United States closer to war with Germany. The ship survived the attack but was eventually sunk in 1942 by torpedo attack in World War II.

    World War I controversy

    The ship was torpedoed by the German U-boat U-30 commanded by Captain von Rosenberg-Gruszczynski on 1 May 1915 despite America being a neutral party in the war at that time. The ship left Port Arthur on 10 April carrying a cargo of gasoline in the ship's tanks and barrels of lubricating oil to Rouen, France. During the latter half of the voyage the ships radio operator had heard messages from a British cruiser which judging from the transmission strength had been keeping station with Gulflight. At a point 22 miles west of the Bishop Rock lighthouse, Scilly Isles, at 1100 am on 1 May, Gulflight was challenged by two British patrol vessels, Iago and Filey which queried her destination. The patrol ships had been searching for a submarine which had been sinking ships in the area over the last couple of days. The patrol vessels were not satisfied with Gulflight's papers and suspected her of refuelling the U-boat, so ordered the tanker to accompany them into port. The patrol ships took up station one either side of Gulflight, Iago close on the starboard side and Filey further ahead on the port. While under escort, Gulflight's second officer Paul Bowers reported sighting a submarine ahead some 28 minutes before the ship was hit. He reported this to the captain who decided that the submarine must be British as the escorts had not reacted to its presence. The submarine was visible for 5 minutes and then disappeared. Shortly before 1300 a submarine surfaced ahead of the ships and ordered them to stop. Filey attempted to ram the submarine which submerged but fired a torpedo at the tanker. Von Rosenberg reported that he had seen a tanker under escort by ships flying the white ensign and had seen no flag on the escorted ship. After firing the torpedo he spotted a US flag on the tanker, so broke off the attack. At 1250 an explosion took place sending a column of water into the air alongside Gulflight's starboard bow. The ship immediately started to sink and shortly the forward deck was awash. The crew abandoned ship and were taken onboard by the patrol ship Iago which turned towards St Mary island. At about 0230 Captain Gunter from the Gulflight was taken ill and died around 0340 from a heart attack. The remainder of the crew arrived at St. Mary by 1000 on Sunday 2 May. The Gulflight did not sink but instead was towed to Crow Bay by the patrol vessels. Ralph Smith previously first officer was now invited to inspect the ship which was examined by divers and had a large hole in the starboard bow. Smith and the first engineer remained with Gulflight while the remainder of the crew were evacuated to Penzance. Of the 38 crew there were three fatalities. The captain had suffered a heart attack and two crew members were reported lost when they jumped overboard after the torpedo hit. She was the first American ship to be torpedoed during World War I although another ship, the Cushing, had been bombed shortly before again by mistake because no American markings could be seen from what was then a somewhat novel air attack. The German government apologized for attacking Gulflight but refused to change its strategy of unrestricted submarine warfare. A report by the British admiralty into the attack concluded that the German commander had behaved properly according to "Cruiser rules" defined in international law. A merchant ship under escort by military vessels forfeited any right to be warned before being attacked so the patrol ships had made Gulflight a legitimate target by taking her under escort. As an American ship, the submarine would not have attacked had he seen her nationality, but apart from an ordinary flag Gulflight was not carrying any additional markings painted on the hull to make clear her nationality, which other ships were then doing. The report also suggested that the tanker being stopped and then slowed down by the accompanying patrol had made her an accessible target. The admiralty report was not published at the time and official comment did not explain the circumstances. The three deaths were the only Americans killed as a result of attacks on American ships by German submarine until 16 March 1917, when diplomatic relations had irreparably broken down just before the declaration of war. American official reaction to the incident was determined by President Woodrow Wilson under the advice of United States Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan and Counselor to the State Department Robert Lansing. Bryan favoured reconciliation with Germany and avoidance of war, but this policy was becoming increasingly unpopular and was opposed by his subordinate Lansing. Lansing submitted a memorandum proposing immediate and vigorous protest and coupled with the Cushing incident and the sinking of RMS Lusitania on 7 May, a British ship but carrying American passengers who drowned, president Wilson made a forceful response to Germany. In June Bryan resigned and was replaced by Lansing. Despite his belligerent formal advice, Lansing's private papers suggest that he considered the rights and wrongs of the situation much more finely balanced and the logical outcome ought to have been impartial military trade sanctions against both belligerents. However, the US economy was already heavily committed to producing military supplies for the British, while American support for one side or the other was likely to prove decisive in choosing the eventual victor. The incident, along with the sinking of RMS Lusitania, caused the American government to increase spending on the US Navy.

    Later career and sinking in World War II

    In 1937 the vessel was sold to the Nantucket Chief SS Co Inc of Port Arthur, Texas and renamed the SS Nantucket Chief. In 1938 it was sold again, this time to Harris & Dixon Ltd, London and was renamed the SS Refast. On 26 January 1942 the Refast was torpedoed and sunk by the German U-boat U-582 south of St Johns, Newfoundland.

  • Withdrawn from French Support   E Battery 3rd Brigade RHA

    With 5th Cavalry Brigade at St. Jans-Ter-Biesen As French Artillery up, battery withdrawn at 12 noon, two men wounded during morning as battery again under a good deal of shell fire. Moved to bivouac near St Jans Ter Biesen, 2 1/2 miles west of Poperinghe. In bivouac at 1800.

    war diaries


  • British in retreat   The general situation was worse than anyone knew. The gas attack had broken the line in the north of the Salient and the German guns were brought up to Pilckem Ridge. Polygon Wood was the most easterly position of the area and now it was developing into a bottle shaped zone, untenable for the 3rd Mons. To avoid the danger of being cut off at the neck of the zone and shorten the Line, the order was given to withdraw. The Line now ran just east of Hooge Chateau and Frezenberg, south of St Julien and converged onto the Yser Canal near Boesinghe and the trenches of the GHQ line crossed the main road just east of the Potizje Chateau. The front Line was now shortened by 5,000 yards and the Wood evacuated. The movement was started on the night of 1 May evacuating dumps and bringing back the guns. All ammunition and trench stores were removed as well. The whole operation was under the control of Welsh Officers, posted at the north west corner of the Wood and in telephone communication with the Brigade Headquarters.

  • 3rd Tyneside Scottish at Alnwick   The 3rd Tyneside Scottish Battalion moved to Alnwick Camp in May 1915.

  • Formation and history   Alpine Corps (Alpenkorps)

    The Alpine Corps was formed in May, 1915.

    Italy 1915.

    At the end of May 1915, it was sent by way of Innsbruck to the Trentino area, where it remained until the 16th October in the vicinity of Campitello. It took part in several smaller actions particularly on the 24th September.

    historical records


  • 1st May 1915 Trench actions

  •    By May, it was decided the time had come to bring all four battalions of the Tyneside Irish together It was now the Brigade was renumbered 103 brigade of the 34th Division. Command was given to Major-General E.C. Ingouville-Williams. A new location was found for the brigade at Woolsington Hall, three mile outside of Newcastle. The men were housed in tents.

    research


  • 1st May 1915 SS Aragon arrives Alexandria

  • 1st May 1915 Working Parties

  • 1st May 1915 5th Lincs Relieve 4th Leics

  • 1st May 1915 Infantry Attack

  • 1st May 1915 Sniping

  • 1st May 1915 In the Trenches

  • 1st May 1915 In Trenches

  • 1st May 1915 Bombardment

  • 1st May 1915 Enemy Advance

  • 1st of May 1915 Stand To

  • 1st of May 1915 GOC Visit

  • Actions during 1915   1st Bavarian Reserve Division part of 1st Bavarian Reserve Corps and 6th German Army

    1915.

    Neuville - St. Vaast.

    In May, 1915, the 1st Bavarian Reserve Division was engaged at Neuville-St. Vaast, when it was reinforced by two battalions of the 99th Reserve Infantry Regiment. The 2nd Bavarian Reserve Regiment suffered casualties of 14 officers and 1,413 men.

    Le Labyrinthe.

    In June the division fought at the Labyrinth. It continued to hold the sector north of the Scarpe, but moved toward the south in December, the front of the 1st Bavarian Reserve Corps extending as far as Blaireville.

    Historical Records





Can you add to this factual information? Do you know the whereabouts of a unit on a particular day? Do you have a copy of an official war diary entry? Details of an an incident? The loss of a ship? A letter, postcard, photo or any other interesting snipts?

If your information relates only to an individual, eg. enlistment, award of a medal or death, please use this form: Add a story.




Want to know more?


There are:40 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.

  • Pte. George Gunn. Northumberland Fusiliers 2nd Btn.
  • Private Michael Joseph Leonard. Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers 1st Battalion Read their Story.
  • Pte. Patrick McMahon. Royal Munster Fusiliers 1st Btn. Read their Story.
  • Pte. William Rowan. Northumberland Fusiliers 2nd Btn.
  • Pte. James White. Northumberland Fusiliers 2nd Btn.

    Add a name to this list.


  • Items from the Home Front Archive


    Do you have any letters, photos, postcards, documents or memorabilia from the Great War? We would love to include copies. Please use this form to submit diary entries and letters or photographs for this new Section: add to this archive.





    Select another Date
    Day:  Month:   Year:









    The Wartime Memories Project is a non profit organisation run by volunteers.

    This website is paid for out of our own pockets, library subscriptions and from donations made by visitors. The popularity of the site means that it is far exceeding available resources.

    If you are enjoying the site, please consider making a donation, however small to help with the costs of keeping the site running.


    Hosted by:

    The Wartime Memories Project Website

    is archived for preservation by the British Library





    Website © Copyright MCMXCIX - MMXVII
    - All Rights Reserved