The Wartime Memories Project - The Great War - Day by Day
26th August 1914On this day:
- Russian army defeated The Russian army is defeated at the Battle of Tannenburg and the Battle of the Massurian Lakes
- 9th Divisional Heavy Battery formed. The 9th Divisional Heavy Battery is formed at Fort Brockhurst as a 4-gun 4.7in. Battery under the command of Captain Osborne, who is later succeeded by Major Twiss.
- 32nd Brigade Royal Field Artillery go into action 32nd Brigade Royal Field Artillery have their first taste of action at the Battle of le Cateau.
- Battle of Rio de Oro The Battle of Río de Oro was a single-ship action fought in August 1914 during the First World War. The British protected cruiser HMS Highflyer attacked the German auxiliary cruiser SS Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse off the small Spanish Saharan territory of Río de Oro.
Under the command of Max Reymann, the German ship SS Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse was originally a passenger liner. Built in 1897 she was part of the German merchant fleet until requisitioned for service at the outbreak of World War I. She was fitted with six 4-inch guns and two 37-millimeter guns. The German vessel set steam for a commerce raiding mission in the Atlantic Ocean. Commanded by Henry T. Buller, the British ship HMS Highflyer was a protected cruiser built in 1898 with eleven 6-inch guns, nine 12-pounder guns, six 3-pounder guns and two torpedo tubes. She had been detached to support the 5th Cruiser Squadron in hunting the German raider.
The battle off Rio de Oro on 26 August 1914 began when the German raider Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse was caught by surprise in a harbour, taking on coal from three German and Austrian colliers. Highflyer, badly outgunning the German auxiliary cruiser, first demanded surrender, but the German commander argued that the British had violated Spain's neutrality. The British disregarded this because the Germans had already violated Spain's neutrality by taking over a week to resupply in a neutral port. So a battle began and from 1510 to 1645 the two ships bombarded each other, sometimes dodging the shots. Eventually, Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse exhausted her ammunition and began to flee the battle. Now out of ammunition, running from several larger guns, the crew scuttled their ship and abandoned her to the Atlantic. The German sailors made it to shore and escaped into the Saharan Desert.
British sources at the time insisted the German auxiliary cruiser was sunk by Highflyer's crew but eventually stories from the surviving German seamen began to circulate, thus ending Britain's claim. Despite whether or not the Germans scuttled their ship or whether the British sank the raider, the British were still responsible for the raider's end. Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse became the first passenger liner to sink during World War I. For years, the wreck of the German commerce raider was identifiable because its starboard side remained above the waterline until the ship was scrapped in 1952. One Briton was killed and six others wounded. German casualties are unknown.
- German Cavalry stampede column At 7.15am the column is stampeded by German cavalry from Le Cateau. 59th Coy RE received the order to withdraw at 2pm.
- 26th August 1914 Ongoing Action
- 26th Aug 1914 First Australian Casualty WW1
- Battle of Le Cateau 1st Battalion East Lancashire Regiment
26 August 1914 - Le Cateau
0400 Left Beauvois and marched to take up positions as ordered. After considerable hesitation C and D companies took up a position on La Carriere hill just south of Beauvois, with the Rifle Brigade on our right and the Hampshire regiment on our left. The remainder of the battalion moved south. The transport in Beauvois village came under fire about 0500 but escaped.
0600 C and D Coys came under rifle and machine gun fire at a range of about 800 yards. One gun in particular from a position in a corn field caused us considerable loss. A and B coys were moved back to the support of the other two Coys. In spite of our own fire the enemy advanced and at about 1000 C and D Coys (less Lt Hopkinsons platoon) retired a short distance and took up a position on the railway line and along a sunken road. About this time the enemy started to shell our position along the railway, but without doing any damage. Lt Col Le Marchant was hit in the foot but not seriously hurt. From this position we held up the enemy's attack until about 1200 when German reinforcements came up and they pushed forward. They also managed to establish a machine gun somewhere which hit the sunken road and we had a good number of casualties, chiefly wounds in the leg.
1330 Orders received to retire on Ligny village, and take up a position on the hill covering the village. The battalion less a part of C Coy under Lt Hopkinson which with the Rifle Brigade covered the retirement, formed up with the rest of the brigade under cover of the hill and then retired across the 1 1/2 miles of open country which separated us from the village. During the retirement we were subjected to very heavy rifle, machine gun and shell fire, and lost considerably.
The battalion reformed as far as possible in the village and took up a position covering the East end of the village. While this was being done village was attacked, but the attack was repulsed.
1830-1930 The battalion retired in three parts, one under Major Lambert, one under Major Green, and the third under Lt Col Le Marchant in a South Westerly direction. Major Lamberts party was composed of men not engaged in defending the village, whom he had collected and later of the men who were defending the village and who were withdrawn at this time.
Lt Col Le Marchants party consisted of a few odd men and Lt Hopkinsons party, which retired with the Rifle Brigade from La Carriere where they had been engaged all day. Just prior to this Major Greens party was with Major Lambert, but missed the road and did not rejoin until some days later.
1930 Major Lamberts party joined Lt Col Le Marchants party near Clary. The battalion had been ordered to retire to Malincourt, but on arrival at Elincourt were ordered to halt just outside and billeted at 2300.
Causualties 26th August
- Lt Chisholm killed
- Major Collins killed
- 2nd Lt Hooper wounded and taken prisoner.
- 2nd Lt Salt wounded
- Lt Flood R.A.M.C taken prisoner.
- About 250 other ranks killed, wounded or missing.
Almost everyone was either bruised or hit through the clothing.
- 32nd Brigade RFA in action 32nd Brigade Royal Field Artillery are in action at the Battle of Le Cateau.
- 26th Aug 1914 On the March
- 26th Aug 1914
- 26th Aug 1914 Worse than the Mouth of Hell
- 26th Aug 1914 Enemy Engaged
- 26th Aug 1914 Prisoners Taken
- 26th Aug 1914 Prisoners Taken
- 26th Aug 1914 Battle Begun
- 26th Aug 1914 Taken Prisoner
- 26th Aug 1914 On the Move
- 26th Aug 1914 On the Move
- 26th Aug 1914 On the March
- 26th Aug 1914 Regimental Dinner
- 26th August 1914 Battle of Le Cateau - Phase 2 continued
- 26th August 1914 Battle of Le Cateau - Phase 2 retirement
- 26th Aug 1914 In Action
- 26th August 1914 Ongoing Retirement
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Killed, Wounded, Missing and Prisoner Reports published this day.
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