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5th September 1918 - The Great War, Day by Day - The Wartime Memories Project

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

5th September 1918

On this day:

  • In Action   9th Btn. (North Irish Horse) Royal Irish Fusiliers report: "During the night of 4th/5th of August enemy patrols were out and signs of work were heard. A Company of the 1st Royal Irish Fusiliers was ordered to fill up gap between B and A Companies. At 0500 under a very light barrage two Platoons of C Company, two of B, and the Company of the 1st Royal Irish Fusiliers were to attack the line Hanbury Support down to Irish Farm.

    The 1st Royal Irish Fusiliers were not in position, in time for the attack. B Company were held up by barbed wire and had to retire. C Company got into King Edward Trench, but being unsupported on either flank had to retire to jumping-off trench after holding out for an hour. The enemy artillery did not reply but his machine guns were active.

    The remainder of the day was quiet; occasional bursts of shelling near St Quentin Cabaret and farm at T.12.a.40.40. The Battalion was relieved at night by the 2nd Royal Irish Rifles on the line from road at T.6.d.40.80 along hedge running south through T.6.d.4.0 to river in T.12.b and from T.12.c.50.95 T.18.a.80.90. The Company of 1st Battalion were holding line T.12.b.35.30 T.12.b.20.10 and part of Plum Duff Street.

    Our casualties since coming into line were four Officers wounded Lieutenants Murphy, Bell, Laird and Lyons, twenty Other Ranks killed, twenty Other Ranks missing and 103 Other Ranks wounded. We captured one anti-tank rifle, one light trench mortar, and three machine guns including a Vickers. On relief the Battalion moved to Divisional support at Cyprian Farm. The enemy shelled the roads during relief and the Battalion had to pass through gas shelling."

    War Diary North Irish Horse

  • Naval Action - 5th September 1918    The Action of 5 September 1918 was a naval battle 200 miles off the coast of France in the North Atlantic during World War I. The action was fought between a German U-boat and American warships.


    SS Kronprinzessin Cecilie was a German ocean liner operating between the U.S. and Europe. On the outbreak of the war, she sought refuge in the then-neutral United States to avoid the British Royal Navy and was taken into Bar Harbor, Maine, where she was interned. After America entered World War I in April 1917, the ship was seized and turned over to the United States Navy, who renamed her USS Mount Vernon in honor of Mount Vernon. Mount Vernon was used to transport American troops across the Atlantic to France. U-82, a German submarine, had several successful patrols of the Atlantic to sink any and all Allied shipping.


    On the morning of 5 September 1918, Mount Vernon and four destroyers were off France and steaming in convoy toward the U.S. when Mount Vernon was attacked by U-82. The German vessels' periscope was spotted 500 yd off the starboard bow, by a man of Mount Vernon's gun crew; they immediately fired a round from the gun. The shot was a hit. Apparently unaffected by the shot, which reportedly did not harm anyone, U-82 surfaced. The U-boat fired a single torpedo at Mount Vernon and then submerged. The American captain ordered "right full rudder" but the ship could not turn fast enough and was hit. The destroyers USS Winslow, Conner, Nicholson and Wainwright responded immediately and approached the battle area. Once they arrived near Mount Vernon, they observed the damage from a large explosion on Mount Vernon's side. The German commander, seeing the fast-approaching American destroyers, decided not to follow up with a second torpedo, so no further damage to the U.S. auxiliary cruiser was sustained. The four destroyers dropped depth charges for many minutes after Mount Vernon was hit, but they failed to sink the U-boat, which slipped away. Despite this, the American destroyers were credited with saving Mount Vernon from being sunk. Mount Vernon steamed safely back to Brest with the loss of 36 out of the 1,450 people on board. Thirteen others were wounded with all of the American casualties being the result of the single torpedo explosion. The ship suffered considerable damage, but after immediate improvised repairs, she was able to return to Brest under her own steam with an allied warship for additional protection.


    Further temporary repairs were made at Brest and from there Mount Vernon proceeded to Boston, Massachusetts for a complete repair. This was Mount Vernon's last battle of the war and one of the bloodier days for the U.S. Navy during the conflict with Germany. U-82 continued to fight, as did the four U.S. destroyers.

    John Doran

  • 5th September 1918 Relieved unit in trenches

  • 5th Sep 1918 Reliefs

  • 5th Sep 1918 Attack Made

  • 5th Sep 1918 Recce

  • 5th of September 1918 Considerable Casualties


    IWM (Q 9459)

    Massed bands of the 166th Brigade Near Bethune, 5th Battalion, Royal Lancaster Regiment, 10th (Scottish) Battalion, King's (Liverpool Regiment), 5th Battalion, South Lancashire Regiment.

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?

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

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Want to know more?

There are:8 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.

  • Cpl. John Bell. Royal Dublin Fusiliers 2nd Btn. Read their Story.
  • Lt. E. J. A. Hay. 41st Dogras 2nd Btn. Read their Story.
  • Pte. John William Johnson. East Yorkshire Regiment 11th (Hull Pals) Btn. Read their Story.
  • Pte. David Dunn McAllister. 24th Battalion Quebec Regiment Read their Story.
  • 2nd Lt. Thomas Edward Smith. London Regiment 8th Btn. (Post Office Rifles) Read their Story.

    Add a name to this list.

  • Items from the Home Front Archive

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