The Wartime Memories Project - The Great War - Day by Day
14th March 1915On this day:
- 14th March 1915 9th Lancers church parade
- Shell burst in W Yorks billet Received information that a shell had burst in one of the billets of the West Yorks at Houplines. Sent out shortly after 1 pm 2 squads of bearers, the Motor Ambulance wagon and brought in 34 wounded (7men were killed). Wired for motor convoy, and at 6 pm all were evacuated to Bailleul. In evening Lt. Davidson, when supervising the collection of wounded of the Leinster Reg (20 cases) was wounded near the cemetery, in left hand and left hip. Lt. Preston was sent out to Advanced Post to take over the duty.
- Brigadier congratulates 1st Bn Herts The Brigadier congratulated the Bn on the excellent work and intelligent reports of the patrols that went out on the previous evening and specially congratulated C.S.M. Raven on his gallant conduct in saving the life of Cpl Beaver of the 1st Bn Kings Royal Rifle Corps. Casualties 2 wounded.
- Battle of Más a Tierra 1915 The Battle of Más a Tierra was a First World War sea battle fought on 14 March 1915, near the Chilean island of Más a Tierra, between a British squadron and a German light cruiser. The battle saw the last remnant of the German East Asia Squadron destroyed, when SMS Dresden was cornered and sunk in Cumberland Bay.
After escaping from the Battle of the Falkland Islands, SMS Dresden and several auxiliaries retreated into the Pacific Ocean in an attempt to commence raiding operations against Allied shipping. These operations did little to stop shipping in the area, but still proved troublesome to the British, who had to expend resources to counter the cruiser. On 8 March, his ship low on supplies and in need of repairs, the captain of the Dresden decided to hide his vessel and attempt to coal in Cumberland Bay near the neutral island of Más a Tierra. By coaling in a neutral port rather than at sea, Dresden's Captain Lüdecke gained the advantage of being able to intern the ship if it was discovered by enemy vessels. British naval forces had been actively searching for the German cruiser and had intercepted coded wireless messages between German ships. Although they possessed copies of captured German code books, these also required a "key" which was changed from time to time. However, Charles Stuart, the signals officer, managed to decode a message from Dresden for a collier to meet her at Juan Fernandez on 9 March. A squadron made up of the cruisers HMS Kent and Glasgow along with the auxiliary cruiser Orama cornered the Dresden in the bay on 14 March, challenging it to battle.
Glasgow opened fire on Dresden, damaging the vessel and setting it afire.
After returning fire for a short period of time, the captain of Dresden decided the situation was hopeless as his vessel was vastly outgunned and outnumbered, while stranded in the bay with empty coal bunkers and worn out engines. Captain Lüdecke gave the order to abandon and scuttle his vessel.
The German crew fled the cruiser in open boats to reach the safety of the island, which was neutral territory. The British cruisers kept up their fire on Dresden and the fleeing boats until the light cruiser eventually exploded, but it is unclear whether the explosion was caused by the firing from the British ships or from scuttling charges set off by the Germans.
After the ship exploded, the British commander ordered his ships to capture any survivors from Dresden. Three Germans were killed in action and 15 wounded. The British suffered no casualties.
With the sinking of Dresden, the last remnant of the German East Asian Squadron was destroyed, as all the other ships of the squadron had been sunk or interned. The only German presence left in the Pacific Ocean was a few isolated commerce raiders, such as SMS Seeadler and Wolf. Because the island of Más a Tierra was a possession of Chile, a neutral country, the German Consulate in Chile protested that the British had broken international law by attacking an enemy combatant in neutral waters.
The wounded German sailors were taken to Valparaíso, Chile for treatment, where one later died of wounds received during the action. The 315 of Dresden's crew who remained were interned by Chile until the end of the war, when those who did not wish to remain in Chile were repatriated to Germany. One of the crew—Lieutenant Wilhelm Canaris, the future admiral and head of Abwehr — escaped internment in August 1915 and made it back to Germany, where he returned to active duty in the Imperial Navy.
- 14th Mar 1915 Enemy attacks
- 14th March 1915 Defensive adjustments
- 14th Mar 1915 2nd Queens holding line
- 14th Mar 1915 SS Minnewaska arrives Alexandria
- 14th Mar 1915 Heavy Gun Firing
- 14th Mar 1915 An Odd Hour
- 14th Mar 1915 Reliefs
- 15th Mar 1915 15th Geneal Hospital to camp
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