The Wartime Memories Project - The Great War - Day by Day
8th October 1914On this day:
- Antwerp Evacuated The City of Antwerp is evacuated as British and Belgian Forces struggle to hold back the besieging German forces as they closed in on the port:
“Private (sic) William Foster, of Old Fallow, Cannock, who has a remarkable record of assisting at the siege of Antwerp six weeks after enlistment, has a good story to tell of the gallant attempt of the Naval Brigade to check the advance of the Germans, after Antwerp had fallen. Foster, who belongs to the 2nd Naval Brigade, was a member of the Howe division (sic), and his trench was situated in the middle of a churchyard. They were in the trenches for two days and two nights, from Tuesday to Thursday. In the course of the fighting Foster says the bombardment was so terrific that some of the Britishers were driven out of their minds by it. The German artillery was very accurate, and deadly for the most part.
When the Naval Brigade first took to the trenches, the German shells did not touch them, but soon one of the enemy aeroplanes appeared overhead, and within ten minutes the trenches were raked with a terrible fire. A great deal of difficulty was experiences because the Germans drove the Belgian refugees before them, and the Naval Brigade had to avoid shooting them, although the Germans continued to fire at the men in the trenches. Foster says that lack of artillery was responsible for the retirement of the British force. It was simply a case of rifles against hundreds of German guns. If they had killed two Germans to every one Englishman, there would have been plenty of the enemy left to march to Antwerp, so at last they had to retire.
The retreat from Antwerp was full of peril and incident. The Naval Brigade had to pass between blazing tanks of petrol, over a river on a pontoon bridge. Foster says it was certainly not an orderly retreat, because they had to get out as fast as they could.”
K.X/152 Ordinary Seaman William Foster - 6th (Howe) Battalion, Royal Naval Division published in The Lichfield Mercury on 23rd of October 1914
"On the 7th the Marine Brigade was withdrawn to the line of inner forts. The Marines defended this position until the conditions on which we could remain were no longer being fulfilled. A final decision was made on the 8th of October by Mr Winston Churchill (the First Lord) to retreat to the coast." Charles James Black, RMLI.
- German troops leave Ypres The day after arriving in Ypres, the ten thousand troops, along with their horses, transports and guns, left the city, the infantry marching towards Dickebusch, the cavalry headed for Vlamertinghe, taking with them sixty two thousand Francs from the city's coffers, a vast amount of forage, horses, wagons, food and clothing belonging to the citizens of Ypres. The majority of the coupon payments were never honoured as the German Army was never to return to the city.
- 6th Cavalry Brigade land Ostend The 6th Cavalry Brigade, consisting of the 1st (Royal) Dragoon Guards, 10th (Prince Of Wales’s Own Royal) Hussars and C Battery, RHA land at Ostend as part of the 3rd Cavalry Division.
- BEF HQ moves again GHQ for the British Expeditionary Force moved from Tardenois to Abbeville.
Holts Battlefield Guide
- 2nd Life Guards land at Zeebruggen The Adjutant of the 2nd Life Guards records in the War Diary:
"Landed at Zeebruggen and found myself senior officer in the place and in command of 7 Squadrons of H C and 2 of Royal Dragoons. Ordered to billet in the area Uitkerke-Lisseweghe-Zuyenkerke. This was countermanded by an order to march to Clemskerke, and again later by an order to assist outside Zeebruggen, which we did till 5 p.m. when orders came to bivouac which I did in the dark on the sea shore 1 mile west of Blankenberghe. The HQ and 2 Squadrons Royal Dragoons left us to march to Ostend.
- 8th October 1914 2nd Queens march into Bruges
- further moves E Battery 3rd Brigade RHA
Started at 0830 and marched to billets at Maison Roland about 1600.
- 8th Oct 1914 1st East Lancs on the march
- 8th Oct 1914 1st North Staffs on the March
- 8th Oct 1914 On the Move
- 8th Oct 1914 On the March
- 8th Oct 1914 Reinforcements
- 8th Oct 1914 Outpost Duty
- 8th October 1914 Divisional relocation continuing
- 8th Oct 1914 Trench Work
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