Select Page

March

1st March

Romanovs Face Restrictions

 

The Russian Royal family was now being held in the former governor’s mansion in Tobolsk. They were now reduced to surviving on soldier’s rations. Butter and coffee were forbidden and they had to part with their eleven servants.

Calgarian Sunk Near Rathlin

The S.S. Calgrian was constructed on the Clyde for the Allan lines Shipping Company, for trading between Liverpool and the Canadian ports of Quebec and Montreal. Many of these trans-Atlantic ships called at Moville.

This eight decked ship of 18,000 tons could hold one thousand passengers and shortly after the outbreak of war was taken over as an armed merchant cruiser. Close to the island of Rathlin, involved in escorting about thirty ships, the Calgrian was hit by two torpedoes fired by U19. H.M. Trawler Lord Lister came to the rescue and two men on board this trawler lost their lives. About fifty- nine men lost their lives on the Calgrian.

2nd March

Earnest Blythe Arrested Near Skibereen

He was born into Church of Ireland family in County Antrim and at the age of fifteen began employment in the Department of Employment in Dublin. Three years later he became a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood. He served as an organiser for the Irish Volunteers across Ireland and trained men in drilling and also in teaching them how to avoid conscription.

He was arrested near Skibereen and imprisoned for a while in Crumlin Road Jail and in the General Election later that year was elected to represent North Monaghan.

Strike by the city’s Cornmill Workers Ended

This had begun on 25th February which directly involved over forty workers and it ended this day.

3rd March

Treaty of Brest-Litovsk

This dramatic event ended Russian involvement in the war. The peace talks had taken three months to conclude and there were severe terms for Russia. Russia was forced to pay six billion marks in compensation. The boundary changes included the Baltic States being ceded to Germany and Russia lost about 90% of its coalmines. Militarily it meant the Germany could now concentrate its forces on the Western Front. In addition, the Allies were now concerned as to how they would be treated if Germany won the war.

4th March

C.R.W. Nevinson’s War Painting, Paths of Glory

Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson was a British figure and landscape painter who was one of the most famous war artists in the First World War. At the outbreak of the war he enlisted in an ambulance unit and he was deeply disturbed by his work tending wounded French and British soldiers. Following ill – health he volunteered for service in the Royal Army Medical Corps. He used his experiences for a series of powerful paintings which were created in a Futurism style, influenced by Cubism.

Nevison had been commissioned by The Ministry of Information, a government department which had been established with responsibility for publicity and propaganda. ‘Paths of Glory ‘depicted two dead soldiers face down in a battlefield on the Western Front. They lie unburied in a barren, muddy landscape with a barbed wire fence. The painting was included in his official exhibition in London which opened on 4th March 1918. However, the painting had been censored and the painting was displayed with a brown paper strip across the bodies of the soldiers, bearing the word ‘censored.’

Nevinson was reprimanded by the War Office for exhibiting a censored image and for using the word ‘censored’ in public without official authorisation.

Cargo Ship Sunk in Culdaff Bay

The S.S. Castle Eden was a 2,000 ton collier taking Welsh coal and timber from the Clyde to the Royal Navy in Lough Swilly. Normally the commander of U-110 preferred to attack ships which were fully laden with produce being taken from the United States to the ports of Glasgow or Liverpool. The collier had a gun at the stern and this may have caused the captain of the German submarine to attack. One fireman was killed but the ship did not sink. The U-boat surfaced and from close range fired twenty shells at the collier.

Just over ten days later, U-110 was attacked by H.M.S Michael and H.M.S Moresby and sent to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean .The U-boat had taken part three wartime patrols and sank ten ships, totalling 26,963 tons.

6th March

Death of John Redmond

John Redmond had a long political career and in 1891 he succeeded Charles Stewart Parnell as the leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party. For many years he campaigned for Home Rule for Ireland and as conflict in Ireland loomed over this protracted issue, he took control of the Irish Volunteers.

With the outbeak of war in August 1914, Home Rule was postponed. Redmond saw the opportunity by supporting the war effort and called on the Irish Volunteers to enlist. This caused a split in the Irish Volunteers but the majority formed the National Volunteers many of whom enlisted in the British army.

Clash Between the Military and Soldiers at Patrickswell, County Limerick

The pipe band with Volunteers clashed with soldiers of the Welch Fusiliers. In the disturbance some of the soldier’s weapons were taken.

UB-123 Leaves Germany, Bringing Death in the Autumn to the Irish Sea

This German submarine was responsible for the sinking of the M.V. Leinster in October 1918.U- 123 sailed through the Kiel Canal, out into the Baltic and into the North Sea. The captain was twenty- seven year old Oberleutenant zur See Robert Ramm, married with two children. His two officers were aged twenty-three and twenty-one and the average age of the crew was nineteen. The immediate task waiting for Captain Ramm was to avoid the minefield off East Scotland which was referred to as the ‘Northern Barrage.’

7th March

German Bomb in London, Famous Lyricist Killed

A German bomb weighing over two thousand pounds demolished four houses in Maida Vale. Among those killed was the United States born Lena Guilbert.She wrote the lyrics for the very popular war- time hit ‘Keep the Home Fires Burning.’

Cork Registered Ship sunk Off Wales

The S.S. Kenmare was sailing from Liverpool to Cork with general cargo when it was sunk off Angelsey and only six of a crew of thirty-five survived. It was sunk by U-104 which in four patrols sank eight merchant ships with a loss of 10,795 tons. U-104 was attacked and sunk on 25th April 1918 and only one of a crew of forty-two survived.

Newspapers Reflect on the Passing of John Redmond

The Northern Whig stated, ‘The regret of his passing is not confined to one political party and it is no less sincere in Ulster than elsewhere. We differed immensely from Mr. Redmond on public questions but we always found that no matter how strongly he advocated his own views he did so like a gentleman. The Empire loses a great practical imperialist.’

The Irish Independent said,’ Regret will be felt by the Irish race the world over and also by members of other races who sympathised with the claim of Ireland for self-government. ‘The newspaper went on to reflect on his political visits to Australia and the United States.

The Northern Whig declared,’Like every other nationalist leader, he ended his career deserted by his supporters. Death has relieved him of a humiliation as deeps as any modern political leader has to bear.’

Strike in the City of Drapery Assistants Ends

This strike involving over twenty drapery assistants had begun on 18th February.

11th March

First Official Record of Spanish Flu in United States

This was the greatest medical holocaust in history. It has been estimated that up to one hundred million people lost their lives. The first official record of influenza was recorded as having broken out in a British camp in Etapes in North-East France, where over one hundred thousand soldiers were based. The camp here was the largest British military base on the Western Front.

12th March

Attack on the Midlands

Five German airships launched an attack on the English Midlands. Two bombs fell harmlessly in the sea and Hull was bombed but little damage caused.

13th March

Attack on Hartlepool by Zepplins

In the First World War the town of Hartlepool on the east coast of England was attacked on three occasions by German Zepplins. These aircraft were named after Count von Zepplin, a former German naval officer. The aircraft was made up of a large hydrogen-filled balloon, with a gondola or basket underneath with usually four engines.

Under cover of darkness on 13th March, a Zepplin flying silently at high altitude approached the town. A number of bombs were dropped and eight people were killed and twenty-two were injured, mostly by flying glass.

15th March

Passenger Ship Sunk Off Malin Head

RMS Amazon was a 10,000 ton passenger ship which had been built in 1906 by Harold and Wolff in Belfast. It was sailing from Liverpool to Brazil with just twenty-four passengers. It was sunk off Malin head by U-110 with no loss of life.

Later that day the German submarine was attacked with depth charges by HMS. Michael and H.M.S. Moreby. Nine of the forty-eight crew of the submarine were rescued. Initally there had been plans to restore the submarine but eventually it was sold for scrap.

Local Man Loses Life in First World War

Robert G. Spratt served as a corporal in the Royal Dublin Fusiliers.

21st March

Germany Launches Spring Offensive

This was code named ‘Operation Michael ‘or ‘Kaiserschlacht’ or The Second Battle of The Somme. and was launched near Saint Quentin. German artillery bombed an area of over one hundred and fifty square miles. Over one million shells were fired in a space of five hours. At the end of the day the British had lost twenty thousand men.

Airships Deployed Over the Channel Ports

German airships bombed Calais, Dunkirk, Boulogne and they also attacked railway lines and stations.

Fifteen Derrymen Lost in the Great War

David Adams served as a sergeant in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

John L. Coyle served as a lance corporal in the Royal Irish Regiment.

He was declared as missing and there was correspondence between his family in Derry and the War Office.

5, Rossville Street, Derry, 31st July 1919.

Sir, the deceased soldier No. 2854 Lance Corporal John Coyle 7th Batallion Royal Irish Regiment who was my brother made no statement to me at any time or in any place regarding the disposal of his effects. Furthermore, I know of no person to whom he made a statement. I can only say I saw his will which was written in his small book on one occasion in January 1917 when he was on leave from France. It was as follows,’ In the event of my death, I leave all to my mother Annie Coyle.’ This is the only information I can give on this matter.’

Charles O’Neill, D.L., L’Derry 31st July 1919

On 11th July 1919 there was further correspondence with the War Office. ‘I saw the will. I saw and read the will on two occasions in January 1917 and October 1917, ‘In the event of my death I leave all to my mother, Annie Coyle. It was written on the front leaf of his Soldiers Small Book.

William V. Crockett served in the Royal Irish Regiment.

His informal will was written on 22nd January 1918 and he was killed in France. His mother was Mrs. Annie Crockett of 29 Glasgow Terrace, Londonderry. The War Office processed his will on 8th February 1920, just over two years after his death. Mrs Annie Crockett had to survive the reminder of her life having lost her son in the Great War.

John Doherty served as a private in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Patrick Doherty served as a private in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Charles H. Dooley served as a lance corporal in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

James Dunn served as a private in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Robert Graham served as a rifleman in the Royal Irish Rifles.

William McDowell served as as a private in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Thomas Mahon served as a private in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

William Munn served in the same regiment.

Alexander Reid served in the same regiment.

Robert Reid served in the Royal Dublin Fusiliers.

John Shiels served in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

William A. Wilkinson served as a 2nd Lieutenant in the same regiment.

22nd March

Sixteen Local Men Were Lost in the Great War

Charles Brown served as a private in the same regiment.

James E. Campbell served as a private in the same regiment.

George R. Cargill served as a stoker in the Royal Navy.

On the first anniversary of his death in March 1918, his family placed the following lines in a local newspaper.

‘A face still loved, so sadly missed,
His smile that was so bright;
He was so thoughtful, good, and kind,
Time cannot blot him from our mind.’

Thomas Gilmore served as a private in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

On the first anniversary of his death in 1919 his family inserted the following lines in a local paper.

‘With his comrades he is sleeping
On that battlefield of fame
Waiting for the bugle sounding
To recall them once again.
To duty, stern, he did respond,
His youthful life he gave;
He died a fearless soldier’s death,
And fills an honoured grave.’

James M. Glenn served as a private in the same regiment.

John Hamilton served as a lance corporal in the same regiment.

His informal will was written in March 1916 and the War Office reported that he was killed on or since 22nd March 1918. His will was processed by the War Office on 25th March 1920, just over two years after his death. In his will he wrote,’ In the event of my death I leave all my property and effects to Mr. John Hamilton, Carnakily, Eglinton, County Derry, Ireland. If you are sent to hospital in England send a P.C. as soon as possible to the Honorary Secretary, Lady Carson’s Ulster Division Comfort Fund, 31 Belgrave Square, London S.W. and every endeavour will be made to look after you.’

The Hamilton family of Eglinton had to survive the remainder of their lives in the knowledge that they had lost a family member in the Great War.

James H. Jackson served as a sergeant in the same regiment.

Andrew R. Mc Carter served as a private in the same regiment.

David McCarter served as a private in the same regiment.

William McClay served as a corporal in the same regiment.

William C.E. McConnell served as a sapper in the Royal Engineers.

Thomas Parkhill served as a private in the same regiment.

Joseph Stevenson served as a private in the same regiment.

Henry N. Thompson served as a 2nd Lieutenant in the same regiment.

John Fannon served as a private in the same regiment. His Informal will was dated 23rd November 1915.In the official War Office document it stated that his date of death was 22nd or 23rd March and that he was presumed dead. In his will he wrote,’ I hereby leave everything which the government owes me, Lance Corporal J. Fannon to Mrs. I. McMorris, 34, Governor Road, Londonderry. Signed on the 23rd November 1915. If you are sent to hospital in England send a P.C. as soon as possible to The Honourable Secretary, Lord Carson’s Ulster Division Comfort Fund, 3, Belgrave Square, London S.W. and every endeavour will be made to look after her.

The Fannon and Mc Morris families had to survive the remainder of their lives in the knowledge that they had lost a loved one in the Great War.

Private Alexander Gourley, aged twenty-five, served in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. He was from Ballyarton near Claudy.

23rd March

Giant German Gun Attacks Paris

The ‘Paris Gun’ or Kaiser Wilheim Geschutz was manufactured by the German arms manufacturer Krupp and were given this name as they were especially built to attack Paris from a distance of one hundred kilometres, seventy-five miles. The primary objective was to undermine the morale of Parisians. Each gun was manned by eighty men and the barrel of the gun was over one hundred feet long and weighed almost one hundred and forty tons. The gun fired a shell of over one hundred kilogrammes, reaching a height of twenty-five miles and travelling at a speed of five thousand feet per second. It was the first human-made object to reach the strathosphere and took three minutes from firing to reach Paris, the equivalent of taking three minutes from Derry to Belfast. Over a period of one hundred and forty days, the ‘Paris Gun’ killed two hundred and fifty Parisians.

Germans Reach the Somme with an Air Battle Over the Area

German forces in their advance now reach the River Somme. A great air battle involving over seventy aircraft took place over the area.

Green on Green, Royal Naval Submarine Sunk at Lynn Peninsula

Off the Lynn Peninsula a Royal Naval submarine was mistaken for a U-boat. It was rammed by the Rutherglen and all twenty crew members in the submarine lost their lives.

23rd March

Four Local Men Lost in the Great War

John Duggan served as a private in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. His will was dated 7th May 1917 and was processed by the War Office on 16th October 1918, about seven months after his death. In his will he wrote,’ In the event of my death I leave all my property to my sister-in-law Mrs. Annie

Duggan, 4 St Columb’s Street, Londonderry, Ireland. The Duggan family had to survive the rest of their lives knowing that they had lost a relative in the Great War.

Orbituary in Local Paper

Shortly after John Duggan’s death his family placed the following lines in a local paper.

‘A light is from our household gone,
A voice we loved is still;
A place is vacant in our home,
Which never can be filled.’

Robert Hamilton served as Company Sergeant Major in the same regiment.

George F. Healy served as a rifleman in the Post Office Rifles.

John J. Quigley served as a private in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

24th March

Two Local Men Lost in the Great War

Henry Clifford served as a rifleman in the Royal Irish Rifles.

Joseph Collins served as a rifleman in the same regiment.

Newspaper Reports on General Strike in Ireland

In the Evening Telegraph, the article on the general strike declared,’ In the whole record of Ireland’s connection with England, there has been no demonstration so unanimous, so effective and so dramatic.’

25th March

Local Man Lost in the Great War

James S. Patton served as a lance corporal in the Royal Scots Fusiliers.

26th March

Frenchman Appointed Supreme Allied Commander

Marshal Ferdinand Foch was appointed supreme commander on the Western Front. He joined the French infantry during the Franco-Prussian War. With French and British armies in danger of defeat he took command of the Allied forces and successfully withstood the Ludendorff Offensive.

Local Men Lost in the Great War

William Simms served as a private in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

William J. Thompson served as a lieutenant in the same regiment.

27th March

Local Men Lost in the Great War

Ernest Boyd served as a corporal in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Robert Dolan served as a Regimental Sergeant Major. in the same regiment.

In an orbituary notice members of his family placed these lines in a local paper,

‘O Blessed Mother Mary,
On him your prayers extol,
O, Sacred Heart of Jesus,
Have mercy on his soul.’

John McDonald served as a corporal in the Liverpool Regiment.

William Molloy served as a private in the Leinster Regiment.

28th March

Anti-Conscription riots In Canada, Danger of Civil War

At the outbreak of the First World War over three hundred thousand Canadians volunteered for the war in Europe. French Canadians were reluctant to enlist, one reason being that they felt that they had been abandoned by France.

However, with the relentless toll of war and increasing number of casualties, Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden declared that conscription would be introduced. Eight of the English-speaking provinces were in support but French-speaking Quebec opposed it.

In Quebec City two policemen attempted to question a French-speaking man about his conscription papers. A crowd gathered and the conscription office was destroyed. The trouble spread across the city, martial law was declared and over six thousand federal troops were deployed on the streets. Snipers opened fire on the soldiers and in the next few days five were killed, over one hundred were injured and there was extensive damage to property.

By the end of the war fewer than fifty thousand Canadian conscripts were deployed in Europe.The result of the conscription crisis in Canada in 1918 has had an impact in relations between Quebec and the rest of Canada to the present day.

21st March

German Attack on Arras

‘Kaiserchlacht ‘began at twenty minutes to five in the morning. It involved the use of six thousand guns and in five hours over one million shells were fired.

By twenty minutes to ten in the morning thirty divisions of German soldiers poured over a front of fifty miles, supported by a further thirty divisions. The British were outnumbered three to one.

The Germans began an assault on the British Third Army at Arras but were repulsed. The Germans had initially taken an area devastated in 1916 during The Battle of The Somme. Each side lost a quarter of a million men.

A Local Man Lost in the Great War

John Downs lost his life in the Great War. He had served as a drummer in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

He completed an informal will dated 19th July 1917 and he was killed in action in France. In his will he wrote,’ In the event of my death I give the whole of my property to Miss Florence Downs, 15 Stewart’s Terrace, Londonderry, Ireland. ‘His will was processed by the War Office on 19th July 1918, about four months after his death.

Miss Florence Downs, possibly a sister, had to survive the remainder of her life in the knowledge that she had lost a brother in the Great War.

25th March

A Local Man Lost in the Great War

John Gilliland served as a private in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. Shortly after receiving the news of his death, his wife and children who lived in Cuthbert Street had the following lines placed in a local paper.

‘God holds the key, He knows the way,
He guides us with unerring hand;
Some time with tearless eyes we’ll see,
Up there some time we’ll understand.
None but those who have lost are able to tell
The pain of the heart at not saying farewell.’

21st March

A Local Man Lost in The Great War

Robert Reid served as a private in the Royal Dublin Fusiliers.

Orbituary

Shortly after Robert Reid’s death, members of his family inserted the following lines in a local paper.

‘Though link by link is broken
And tears unseen do fall,
Look up, amid thy sorrows,
To God, who knoweth all.’

25th March

A Recipient of Victoria Cross

Lieutenant-Colonel William Anderson was born in Fife in 1881 and served in the Highland Light Infantry. He died as a result of the action for which he was commended. His citation reads,’ For most conspicuous bravery, determination, and gallant leading of his command. The enemy attacked on the right of the frontage and succeeded in penetrating the wood held by our men. Owing to successive lines of the enemy following on closely there was the greatest danger that the flank of the whole position would be turned. Grasping the seriousness of the situation, Colonel Anderson made his way across the open in full view of the enemy now holding the wood on the right, and ater much

effort succeeded in gathering the remainder of the two right companies. He personally the counter- attack and drove the enemy from the wood, capturing twelve machine guns and seventy prisoners, and restoring the original line. His conduct in leading the charge was quite fearless and his most splendid example was the means of rallying and inspiring the men during the most critical hour. Later on in the same day, in another position, the enmy had penetrated to within three hundred yards of the village and were holding a timber yeard in force. Colonel Anderson reorganised his menafter they had been friven in and brought them forward to a position of readiness for a counterattack. He led the attack in person and throughout showed the utmost disregard fro his own safety. The counter-attcak drove the enemy from his position, but resulted in this very gallant officer loswing his life. He died fighting within the enemy lines, setting a magnificent example to all who were privileged to serve under him.’

28th March

German offensive Halted

This was halted at the River Scarpe with heavy losses inflicted on the Germans.Forces from the United States played a leading role.

29th March

Local Men Lost in the Great War

Andrew Christie of Killaloo served as a private in the same regiment.

He was killed in France sometime between 21st and 29th March 1918. His will was processed on 27th August 1918. Almost five months after his death. In his will he wrote, ‘In the event of my death I give the whole of my property and effects to my brother, James Christie, Gortmoran, Killaloo, County Derry.’ Signed, Andrew Christie.

William J. Davis served as a private in the same regiment.

His informal will was undated and he was killed in France. In his will he wrote,’ In the event of my death I leave the whole of my property and effects to my mother, Mary Cowan Davis’.

Mrs Davis had to survive the rest of her life in the knowledge that she had lost a son in the Great War.

William A. Lappin served as a private in the same regiment.

Robert McGovern served as a private in the same regiment.

30th March

A Local Man lost in The Great War

Trobert Mc Cahon served as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Engineers.

31st March

A Local Man Lost in the Great War

Robert Arbuckle served as a sergeant in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Churchill Supports the Extension of Conscription to Ireland

This month Winston Churchill gave his support to the Chief of The Imperial General Staff, Sir Henry Wilson, in his desire to extend conscription to Ireland. At the time Churchill was unaware of the growing support for Sinn Fein. Later Churchill wrote,’ The question of Irish conscription was handled in such a fashion that we had the worst of both worlds, all the resentment against compulsion and in the end no law and no men.’