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1st October 1914 - 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 October 1914

On this day:


  • Inspection   The trenches held by 1st East Kent Regiment, were inspected by Major General H. Hamilton Commanding 3rd Division at 6.30am

    Commanding Officer, Adjutant and Captain Raines met General I. Williams at 10am and inspected buildings and walls north of Saint Precord and Vailly with a view of placing them in a state of defence. This work was carried out by D Company.

    D Company 1st East Kent relieved a Company of 5th Northumberland Fusiliers on the battalion's left at 6.30pm. One man accidentally shot himself in the foot.

  • Recruitment of First County Down Volunteer   16th Bn Royal Irish Rifles. The First County Down Volunteer call was to mobilise existing Militia and Ulster Volunteer Force members into what was to become the 13th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles which assembled at the Clandeboye Estate in Bangor, County Down for military training alongside other units of the Ulster Division. 1300 men from County Down were recruited in this initial call. However many of the UVF did not respond because of the perceived need to defend Ulster against Home Rule. On the 20th October plans were agreed to raise a unit separate to the Ulster Division, but it was to be a Service Battalion directly at the disposal of the GOC, Ulster Division and not a reserve battalion used merely to supply trained men as reinforcements for regular battalions. The Ulster Division, later called the 36th (Ulster) Division, consisted of three Brigades and other supporting elements including Artillery units, Medical units and 2 Companies of Royal Engineers under the command of a Chief Engineer (CRE), the standard model for divisions in the British Army at the time.

    Division Formation.

    107th Brigade.

    • 15th (Service) Battalion (North Belfast), the Royal Irish Rifles.
    • 8th (Service) Battalion (East Belfast), the Royal Irish Rifles.
    • 9th (Service) Battalion (West Belfast), the Royal Irish Rifles.
    • 10th (Service) Battalion (South Belfast), the Royal Irish Rifles (until February 1918).
    • 1st Battalion, the Royal Irish Fusiliers (from August 1917 until February 1918).
    • 1st Battalion, the Royal Irish Rifles (from February 1918).
    • 2nd Battalion, the Royal Irish Rifles (from February 1918).
    • 107th Brigade Machine Gun Company (from 18 December 1915, moved into 36th Divisional Machine Gun Battalion on 1 March 1918).
    • 107th Trench Mortar Battery (from 1 April 1916).
    • In August 1917 the 8th and 9th battalions of the Royal Irish Rifles amalgamated to form the 8/9th Battalion, which disbanded in February 1918. Between November 1915 and February 1916 the brigade swapped with the 12th Brigade from the 4th Division.

    108th Brigade.

    • 9th (Service) Battalion, the Royal Irish Fusiliers.
    • 12th (Service) Battalion (Central Antrim), the Royal Irish Rifles.
    • 2nd Battalion, the Royal Irish Rifles (from November 1917 then moved to 107th Brigade. in February 1918).
    • 11th (Service) Battalion (South Antrim), the Royal Irish Rifles.
    • 13th (Service) Battalion (County Down), the Royal Irish Rifles.
    • 1st Battalion, the Royal Irish Fusiliers (from 107th Bde. February
    • 1918).
    • 108th Brigade Machine Gun Company (from 26 January 1916, moved into
    • 36th Divisional Machine Gun Battalion on 1 March 1918).
    • 108th Trench Mortar Battery (from 1 April 1916).
    • In August 1917 the 11th and 13th battalions of the Royal Irish Rifles amalgamated to form the 11/13th Battalion, which disbanded in February 1918.

    109th Brigade.

    • 9th (Service) Battalion (County Tyrone), the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.
    • 10th (Service) Battalion (Derry), the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (disbanded January 1918).
    • 11th (Service) Battalion (Donegal and Fermanagh), the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (disbanded February 1918).
    • 14th (Service) Battalion (Young Citizens), the Royal Irish Rifles (disbanded February 1918).
    • 1st Battalion, the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (from February 1918).
    • 2nd Battalion, the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (from February 1918).
    • 109th Brigade Machine Gun Company (from 23 January 1916, moved into
    • 36th Divisional Machine Gun Battalion on 1 March 1918).
    • 109th Trench Mortar Battery (from 1 April 1916).

    • 2nd Life Guards Brigade Reconnaissance Scheme   2nd Life Guards - War Diary states: Brigade Reconnaissance Scheme and billeted.

    • 13th Battalion formed in The Rifle Brigade   13th (Service) Battalion The Rifle Brigade was formed at Winchester in October 1914 as part of Kitchener's Third Army and attached as Army Troops to 21st Division.

    • 5th Welsh return from Portmadoc   The 5th Battalion, Welsh Regiment left Hearson Camp in Oct 1914 for Haven Fort

    • Battle of Rufiji Delta   The Battle of the Rufiji Delta took place in German East Africa (modern Tanzania) from October 1914 to July 1915 during the First World War. It was fought between the German light cruiser SMS Königsberg and a powerful group of British warships. The battle was a series of attempts to sink the blockaded German cruiser that eventually resulted in the destruction of Königsberg.

      In 1914, the most powerful German ship in the Indian Ocean was the light cruiser Königsberg. After an engine failure, Königsberg, along with her supply ship Somali, sought refuge in the delta of the Rufiji River. She planned to hide there while her damaged machinery was transported overland to Dar es Salaam for repair. The British cruiser HMS Chatham discovered Königsberg in the delta towards the end of October. On 5 November, two additional British cruisers, HMS Dartmouth and Weymouth, arrived at the scene and blockaded the German ship in the delta. In early November, Chatham opened fire at long range and set fire to Somali, but she failed to hit Königsberg, which promptly moved further upstream. The British ships were more powerful than Königsberg, but were unable to navigate the delta. The crew of Königsberg disguised their ship so it looked like the forest around the delta.

      Blockade

      The British made several attempts to sink Königsberg including one to slip a shallow-draught torpedo boat (with escorts) within range, an operation easily repulsed by the force in the delta. A blockship, the Newbridge, was successfully sunk by the British across one of the delta mouths to prevent her escape. However it was soon realized that Königsberg could still escape through one of the delta's other channels. Dummy mines were laid in some of these alternates, but they were considered a doubtful deterrent. A civilian pilot named Cutler was hired to bring his Curtiss seaplane for reconnaissance. His plane was shot down, although they verified the presence of the elusive cruiser. A pair of Royal Naval Air Service Sopwith seaplanes were brought up with the intention of scouting and even bombing the ship, but they soon fell apart in the tropical conditions. A trio of Short seaplanes fared a little better, managing to take photographs of the ship before they were grounded by the glue-melting tropical heat and German fire. Attempts to use the 12 inch guns of the old battleship HMS Goliath to sink the cruiser were unsuccessful, once again because the shallow waters prevented the battleship getting within range. However, by March 1915 food supplies were low and many of the crew members aboard the Königsberg died from malaria and other tropical diseases. Generally cut off from the outside world, the morale of the sailors fell. However, the situation was marginally improved with a scheme to resupply the ship and give her a fighting chance to return home. A captured British merchant ship, Rubens, was renamed Kronborg and given a Danish flag, papers, and a crew of German sailors specially selected for their ability to speak Danish. She was then loaded with coal, field guns, ammunition, fresh water, and supplies. After successfully infiltrating the waters of East Africa, she was intercepted by the alerted HMS Hyacinth, which chased her to Manza Bay. The trapped ship was set on fire by the crew and left. The Germans later salvaged much of her cargo which went on to be used in the land campaign and some transported to the Königsberg.

      Sinking

      Two shallow-draught monitors, HMS Mersey and Severn, were towed to the Rufiji from Malta by the Red Sea making it to the delta in June 1915. With nonessential items removed, added armour bolted on, and covered by a full bombardment from the rest of the fleet, they ran the gauntlet. Aided by a squadron of four land planes—two Caudrons and two Henry Farmans, based at Mafia Island to spot the fall of shells, they engaged in a long-range duel with Königsberg, which was assisted by shore-based spotters. Although Mersey was hit and the monitors were unable to score on the first day, they returned again on 11 July. Finally, their 6 in guns knocked out Königsberg's armament and then reduced her to a wreck. At around 1400, Looff ordered her scuttled with a torpedo. After the battle, the British were unquestionably the strongest naval power in the Indian Ocean.

      Aftermath

      The next day, 33 German dead were buried by the 188 remaining crewmen. A plaque reading "Beim Untergang S.M.S. Königsberg am 11.7.15 gefallen..." was placed near the graves, followed by a list of the dead. The Germans recovered Königsberg's ten 105-millimetre quick-firing guns, mounted them on improvised field carriages, and used them with great success as powerful field guns in their guerrilla campaign against the Allies around East Africa. The guns were used as harbor fortifications in Dar es Salaam, with one being remounted onto the passenger ship Graf von Götzen. The last gun was not knocked out until October 1917. The remaining crew from Königsberg went on to serve as ground troops under General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck. Three of Königsberg's 105-mm guns survived; one is on display outside Fort Jesus, Mombasa, Kenya, another outside the Union Building in Pretoria, South Africa and a third at Jinja Barracks in Uganda. There are stories of another in the Congo, but no details have been forthcoming.

    • More movements   E Battery 3rd Brigade RHA Marched at 1500 and moved into new billets at St Remy at 1630.

    • 1st October 1914 Relocation

    • 1st October 1914 Quiet spell

    • 1st Oct 1914 

    • 1st Oct 1914 Farewell Speech

    • 1st Oct 1914 Exhaustion Point

    • 1st Oct 1914 Hurdles

    • 1st Oct 1914 On the March

    • 1st Oct 1914 Enemy Trenches





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