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16th August 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

16th August 1914

On this day:

  • Liege fort forced to capitulate   At 7:30am the last of the Liege forts was forced to capitulate under heavy artillery bombardment, which had lasted 10 days. The Battle was regarded as a moral victory by the Allies as no one had expected Belgium to put up any resistance to the invading army. In delaying the German advance time had been bought, allowing the French Forces to mobilize.

  • German Siege Howitzer arrives at Liege   After seven days of hard fighting at Leige, the German, 420mm Siege Howitzer, known as 'Big Berta' arrived by rail. The Belgian forts had not been constructed to with stand such heavy artillery and were pounded into submission with the last to fall holding out until the 16th of August. The first 1700lb 42cm shell was fired as the German's set their sights on Fort Pontisse.

  • 9th Lancers arrive in France   At about 3pm the 9th Lancers began to disembark at Boulogne from the SS Welshman and the SS. Armenian, the narrow gangway of the Armenian was hardly suited to horses and the process was slow and tedious. After a period of waiting on the quay, they set off on the three mile march to the camp at Pont de Bricques cheered along by excited locals who festooned them with flowers. Arriving at the camp to find there were no shackles in the horse lines dampened the mood and it was late night before they could finally retire for the night.

  • 12th Lancers entrain for France   The 12th Lancers completed their mobilization at Norwich and entrained for Southampton en-route to France.

  • Queen's Bays arrive France   The Queen's Bays (2nd Dragoon Guards) disembarked at Le Harve from the SS Minneapolis, having spent the night anchored in the bay. The horses were stabled in a large store at the docks until noon, then the regiment moved to a large cotton store near the railway. The men spent most of the morning conversing with French soldiers who were guarding the docks.

    Lieutenant A. J. R. Lamb recorded in his diary:- "Sailed into Le Harve docks and began disembarking about 5:30 a.m., All the horses of the regiment were put into a large store shed, and stood there from about 6:30 a.m. till noon. A party of French soldiers are guarding the docks, and it does not take our men long to become on speaking terms with them. They seem to quite interest each other in spite of not being at all acquainted with each other’s languages. Left these docks about noon and then moved on to a huge store shed near the railway (the biggest thing of its kind I have ever seen), where the horses were fastened up in lines."

  • 59 Field Company RE proceed to France   59 Field Company RE left their base at Curragh and arrived at Dublin docks, 4pm were aboard H.T. Bellerophon, which left Dublin 8.15pm for Le Havre.

  • 1st Royal Fusiliers sail from Cork   The 1st Royal Fusiliers sailed at 2am from Cork aboard the Empress of Ireland. They sailed round the Irish Coast by Waterford then crossed to Holyhead arriving at 5pm where they entrained for an unknown destination.

  • 26th Heavy Battery proceed to France   26th Heavy Battery RGA land in France

  • 16th August 1914 9th Lancers arrives Boulogne

  • Battle of Antivari 1914   The Battle of Antivari was a naval engagement between the French, British and Austro-Hungarian navies at the start of World War I. The Austrian light cruiser SMS Zenta and the destroyer SMS Ulan were bombarding the town of Antivari, today known as Bar, when on 16 August 1914 they were cut off by a large Franco-British force that had sortied into the Adriatic. It was an attempt to bring the Austro-Hungarians into a fleet action. The two Austrian vessels at Antivari were cut off and forced to fight an engagement in order to attempt to free themselves. Although Zenta was destroyed, Ulan escaped and the Austrian fleet did not come out of port to meet the Allied fleet. After blockading the Adriatic for a while the French were forced to withdraw due to lack of supplies.


    When war broke out between the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Montenegro, the Austro-Hungarians began a blockade of the Montenegrin coast as well as several bombardments of the various towns and cities there. The French Navy had decided to try to force the Austro-Hungarian Navy into a decisive fleet action by making a sortie into the Adriatic and bait the Austrians into engaging them. The Allied force consisted of three dreadnought battleships, 10 pre-dreadnought battleships, four armoured cruisers, one protected cruiser and more than 20 destroyers.


    The Allied Fleet managed to cut off Zenta and Ulan from escaping back to the main Austro-Hungarian fleet. Hopelessly outnumbered, the commander of Zenta decided to attempt to fight his way out and cover Ulan's escape. Zenta also had serious disadvantage as the range of her 120 mm cannons was too short, so they were not able to reach the enemy ships. The French battleships significantly outranged Zenta and so were able to score large numbers of hits without taking any damage themselves. Eventually, Zenta was sunk with 173 men killed and over 50 wounded, but allowing enough time for Ulan to make good her escape.


    Despite Zenta being cut off, the main body of the Austro-Hungarian fleet did not sortie out to do battle as the French had hoped. The French fleet did not have the logistical support to remain in the Adriatic for very long and so were forced to return to Malta periodically to resupply.

    Order of Battle

      French Navy
    • Courbet, dreadnought battleship, flagship
    • Jean Bart, dreadnought battleship
    • 1st Battle squadron Voltaire, pre-dreadnought battleship
    • Vergniaud, pre-dreadnought battleship
    • Diderot, pre-dreadnought battleship
    • Danton, pre-dreadnought battleship
    • Condorcet, pre-dreadnought battleship
    • Vérité, pre-dreadnought battleship
    • Justice, pre-dreadnought battleship
    • Démocratie, pre-dreadnought battleship
    • Patrie, pre-dreadnought battleship
    • République, pre-dreadnought battleship
    • Victor Hugo, armoured cruiser
    • Jules Ferry, armoured cruiser
    • Jurien de la Gravière, protected cruiser
    • 5 destroyer squadrons Royal Navy
    • HMS Warrior, armoured cruiser
    • HMS Defence, armoured cruiser
    • 3 destroyer divisions Austro-Hungarian Navy
    • SMS Zenta, light cruiser, flagship
    • SMS Ulan, destroyer

    John Doran

  • move to billets   2nd Battalion - Royal Irish Regiment

    Sunday, August 16th, 1914 - 10:00 Aulnoye

    Arrived at Aulnoye about 20 miles from the Belgian frontier and detrained. Marched about 3 miles to Taisnieres, where we went into billets. We received a great ovation from the inhabitants. Lt. Anderson with 12 men remained at Aulnoye railway station for duty. A lengthy business getting into billets, but we shall improve with experience. Over 20 British aeroplanes passed over us as we were on the march to our billets.

    war diaries

  • 26th Heavy Brigade proceed to France   26th Heavy Brigade RGA arrived in France on the 16th of August 1914

  • Warwickshire Territorials on the March   The Warwickshire Brigade broke camp in Leighton Buzzard and set out on a staged route march to Essex

  • 16th Aug 1914 On the Move

  • 16th Aug 1914 On the March

  • 16th August 1914 8th Inf Bde Movement Orders

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  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.

  • Sgt. George Crosby Smith. Royal Garrison Artillery 5th Mountain Bty Read their Story.

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