Header Copy

Covering the villages of Wilsden and Harecroft

November 3rd - November 9th 1914

This week in 1914

“KEIGHLEY’S BELGIAN REFUGEES: Two Grand Concerts for the Local Refugees Fund, will be given on SUNDAY, November 8th 1914 in the Keighley Hippodrome… Admission by programme 6d, at the doors 9d”

Keighley News, 7th November 1914

 

  • November 4th - Captain Harry Dillon of the 2nd Battalion Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, records in his diary of the fierce fighting around Ypres that “we have not had our clothes off or washed or a regular sleep since the 21st [of October]. Just fighting like hell, then lie down and sleep to wake up and fight again or find rations have been issued, or to hurry off elsewhere”
  • November 7th – The Keighley News reports on Turkey’s entry to the war on the Austro-German side: “it has now become the mere tool of German mischief makers from without… What any intelligent and truly patriotic Turk can hope to gain by plunging into a war against the allied Powers of Britain, France and Russia, it is next to impossible to conceive”
  • November 9th – The Australian Battleship Sydney sinks the German Cruiser Emden in the Indian Ocean, becoming the first Australian ship to ever fight in a wartime action

 

“A BOY LEADS A BAYONET CHARGE… told by Corporal Isherwood of the 2nd Manchesters… “The Germans were all around us… and we were left without a single officer to command the platoon. We were wondering what to do when a private, a boy of 18… threw up his cap, and with a ringing cheer yelled ‘Fix Bayonets, lads!’. We did, and charged the advancing Germans. The boy was in the act of bayoneting a German when the latter shouted ‘For God’s sake, don’t stick me’. ‘It is too late,’ returned the youngster, it is through you"

Sources

Brown, M The Imperial War Museum book of the Western Front

Gilbert, M First World War

Keighley News Archives (accessed via Bradford libraries website)

 

October 27th - November 2nd 1914

This week in 1914

“On Monday next, October 26th in the Victoria Hall Bingley, a meeting will be held at 8pm, men, come and hear “Why your King and Country need You”

Keighley News, 24th October 1914

 

  • October 28th – An Indian battalion – only recently arrived in France, retakes the French village of Neuve Chapelle, despite being subjected to heavy machine-gun fire. They hold the village for only a few hours before a sustained German counter-attack drives them out, causing heavy losses – only 68 of 289 men managed to retreat. For his bravery, Subadar Malla Singh was awarded the Military Cross, the first Indian officer in the war to receive one
  • October 30th – The Battle for Gheluvelt begins. A German attempt to capture Ypres, over five days of fighting, losses were heavy on both sides. One British battalion, shelled at close range, lost its commanding officer and 275 men. The fifty-four survivors were all captured – all were wounded. Gheluvelt fell to the Germans on October 31st, but was recaptured by the Allies that afternoon.
  • German forces capture the Messines Ridge from the British. They will hold it for the next two and a half years.
  • October 31st – One of the British officers killed this day was Prince Maurice of Battenburg, hit by shrapnel leading his men in an attack. Like the German Kaiser, he was a grandson of Queen Victoria.
  • November 1st – Under heavy attack, the Irish Guards are driven back from the British front line. One solider described it as “like a football scrum”, as “officers, orderlies, batmen, even cooks, seized rifles and joined the front line troops”.

“The third contingent of Belgian refugees expected in Keighley has not yet arrived, but there is very little doubt that we shall be called upon to exercise our, hospitality to the full extent promised… The town and district have never seen such an outburst of charitable enthusiasm”


Sources

Brown, M The Imperial War Museum book of the Western Front

Gilbert, M First World War

Keighley News Archives (accessed via Bradford libraries website)

20th October - 26th October 1914

This Week in 1914


The First Battle of Ypres

21st October – British and French troops at the village of Passchendaele fall back to the more secure location in proximity to Ypres. Both sides had begun to dig networks of trenches, redoubts and fortifications. The trench lines around Ypres would become the scene of some of the most brutal fighting of the whole war over the next four years, but Sir John French, the British commander, wrote to Lord Kitchener in late October 1914 that “the enemy are vigorously playing their last card and I am confident that they will fail”. The First Battle of Ypres, as it was later known, raged until November, dragging in divisions of the British, French, Belgian and German armies. It ended in stalemate, with all the participants digging into the trenches that would characterise the fighting on the Western Front for the next four years.

22nd October – The British government orders all foreign vessels out of the Suez Canal

26th October – Four “suspect” foreigners had to be rescued by the police from a mob of angry Welsh farmers after fleeing into the Welsh hills. One of them, a professor of languages, was studying the Welsh language.


Sources

Gilbert, M First World War

Keighley News Archives (accessed via Bradford libraries website)

Askwith, R (ed.) A History of the Great War in 100 Moments