We’ve gathered here some of the more pertinant dates from World War I to try to put into context the progression of the war.

Events of 1914
June 28Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and his wife Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, are assassinated in Sarajevo, Bosnia.

June 29Secretary of the Austro-Hungarian Legation at Belgrade sends despatch to Vienna accusing Serbian complicity in the assassination.

July 20Austria-Hungary sends troops to the Serbian frontier.

July 25Serbia orders mobilisation of troops. Russia arranges for troops to be stationed on Russo-Austrian frontier.

July 28Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia.

July 29Great Britain warns Germany that it cannot remain neutral. Austrians bombard Serbian capital Belgrade. German patrols cross the French border.

August 1French military mobilisation ordered. Germany declares war on Russia. Italy announces neutrality. Belgium announces neutrality.

August 3Germany declares war on France. Great Britain gives order for troops to mobilise.

August 4Germany declares war on Belgium. United States declares neutrality. Great Britain gives Austria-Hungary ultimatum to stand down from hostilities. When Austria-Hungary doesn’t comply a state of war is declared at 11.00pm

August 6Royal Navy cruiser HMS Amphion is sunk by German mines in the North Sea, causing the death of 150 men and the first British casualties of war.

August 7First members of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) land in France.

August 11‘Your King and Country Need You’ slogan is published, calling for the first 100,000 men to enlist for Kitchener’s New Army. The call is answered within two weeks.

August 13The first squadrons of the Royal Flying Corps arrive in France.

August 20Brussels is evacuated as Germans occupy the city.

August 25The Royal Flying Corps claim their first ‘kill’ as three aircraft from 2nd Squadron force down a German reconnaissance plane.

August 26The Battle of Le Cateau. BEF suffers 7,812 casualties and is forced to retreat.

Sept 6The First Battle of Marne checks German advance at the cost of 13,000 British, 250,000 French and 250,000 German casualties.

Oct 16The British Indian Expeditionary Force sails from Bombay to the Persian Gulf in preparation for the defense of Mesopotamia.

Oct 19First Battle of Ypres.

Oct 29Turkey enters the war.

Nov 22Trenches are established along the entire Western Front.

Nov 23The British enter Basra, securing oil supplies in the Middle East needed to supply most of the Royal Navy.

Dec 8The Battle of the Falkland Islands. A Royal navy task force sinks three German cruisers that were victorious at the Battle of Coronel in Nov. Only the SMS Dresden escapes.

Dec 16The German First High Sea fleet bombards Hartlepool, Whitby and Scarborough, killing 137 civilians and proving that the British mainland is susceptible to attack.
Events of 1915
Jan 19 In the first airborne attack on British soil, Zeppelins bomb Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn, killing five civilians.

Feb 18 Blockade of Britain by German U-boats begins. All vessels are considered viable targets, including those from neutral countries.

Feb 19 Allied naval bombardment of the Dardanelles and Gallipoli begins./td>

March 10 The British Offensive at Neuve Chapelle begins. Allied losses amount to 12,800 in two days. Some of the blame falls on the poor quality and lack of British shells, initiating the ‘Shell Crisis’.

April 22 Second Battle of Ypres begins. First use of poison gas by Germany./td>

April 25 Allied landing at Gallipoli – 70,000 British, Commonwealth and French troops are under heavy fire. On ‘Y’ Beach, 1,200 out of a force of 1,500 men are casualties.

May 2 Austro-German offensive on Galicia begins.

May 7 German U-boat torpedoes British liner Lusitania with the loss of American lives, creating a US-German diplomatic crisis.

May 23 Italy declares war on Austria-Hungary.

May 25 The ‘Shell Crisis’ exposes the failings of the British Government in supporting front line troops. Discontent over rising casualty figures grows and a coalition government is formed as Prime Minister Asquith struggles to maintain control of the House of Commons.

May 31 The first Zeppelin raid on London kills seven and injures 35. British morale is shaken as Germany demonstrates it can attack the capital at will.

June 4 The Third and final Battle of Krithia begins at Gallipoli as Allies attempt to push inland from their beach-heads. British losses amount to 6,000 men.

June 21 British troops reach the Euphrates in Mesopotamia, and re-occupy Aden.

June 30 German troops use flame throwers for the first time against the British lines at Hooge, Ypres.

August 4 Germans annex Warsaw.

August 6 Allies land two divisions at Suvla Bay, Gallipoli. They opt not to take the strategic heights overlooking the beaches and are eventually pinned to the coast by Turkish troops.

August 16 A U-boat bombards Whitehaven, proving that Britain’s maritime defences can be breached by German submarines.

August 21 The Battle of Scimitar Hill, Gallipoli, is the final British offensive in the Dardanelles. They are repelled and lose 5,000 men.

Sept 25 The Great Allied Offensive focuses on Loos and Champagne. At the Battle of Loos the British use gas for the first time but the wind blows this over their own troops resulting in 2632 casualties – seven are killed.

Sept 27 British and Canadian regiments take Hill 70 at Loos and break the German line, but lack of reserves to exploit the breach results in limited success. The Canadians alone receive over 9,000 casualties.

Oct 5 Under German pressure to open up military rail links to Constantinople and the Middle East, the Austro-Hungarians step up their campaign against the Serbians. Anglo-French forces land at Salonika to counter allied German expansion in the Balkans.

Oct 12 British nurse Edith Cavell is executed by German firing squad for helping POWs escape from Belgium to Holland. She becomes a popular martyr and British heroine.

Oct 31 Steel helmets introduced on the British Front.

Nov 22 Battle of Ctesiphon, 25 miles south of Baghdad. Allies inflict heavy casualties on the Turks, but are forced to retire to Kut due to lack of supplies. The Turkish soldiers give chase and besiege the town.

Dec 15 Sir Douglas Haig replaces Sir John French as Commander in Chief of the British Expeditionary Force.

Dec 20 Allies complete the evacuation of 83,000 troops from Suvla Bay and ANZAC Cove in Gallipoli. Not one soldier or sailor is killed in the withdrawal and the Turkish are unaware of the evacuation taking place.

Events of 1916
Jan 4 The Battle of Sheikh Sa’ad is the first attempt to relieve the besieged British in Kut, Mesopotamia. The Turkish finally withdraw but the British casualties number 4,000, a situation exasperated by the poor medical facilities.

Jan 8 Allied evacuation of Helles marks the end of the Gallipoli campaign.

Jan 24 Introducing conscription, the British Government passes the Military Service Act, to become law on 25 May.

Feb 21 The Battle of Verdun starts with a German offensive against the Mort-Homme Ridge. The German plan is to bleed the French dry of men and resources. The battle lasts 10 months and over a million men become casualties.

March 9 Germany declares war on Portugal. Six days later, Austria follows suit.

April 5 The Battle of Kut. The third and final Allied attempt to relieve Kut flounders in the mud along the Tigris, with 23,000 Allied casualties.

April 29 Besieged garrison at Kut in Mesopotamia surrenders after 143 days and 3,000 British and 6,000 Indian troops go into captivity. The majority of these die of disease and starvation in prison camps.

May 31 – June 1 The Battle of Jutland. The German High Seas Fleet is forced to retire despite inflicting heavier losses on the Royal Navy (14 ships and 6,100 men), but the German fleet remains irreparably damaged for the rest of the war.

June 4 The Russian Brusilov Offensive begins on the Eastern Front. It nearly cripples Austria-Hungary out of the war.

June 5 TE Lawrence aids Hussein, Grand Sharif of Mecca, in the Arab revolt against the Turks in Hejaz. Lord Kitchener sails for Russia on board HMS Hampshire. The ship is mined off Orkney and Kitchener is lost along with 643 other crewmen and general staff.

June 8 Voluntary Enlistment in Britain is replaced by Compulsion.

July 1 The Battle of the Somme sees 750,000 Allied soldiers unleashed along a 25 mile front. By the end of the day nearly 60,000 are dead, wounded or missing for very little gain. It is the worst single day’s fighting in British military history.

July 14 The Battle of Bazentin Ridge marks the end of the first Somme Offensive. The British break the German line but fail to deploy the cavalry fast enough to take full advantage. Some 9,000 men are lost.

July 23 The Battle of Pozières Ridge marks the second Somme Offensive. Close to the highest point of the Somme battlefield, Pozières dominates the surrounding countryside. The action to take the village costs 17,000 Allied casualties, the majority of whom are Australian.

August 26 Under General Smuts, Britain enters the Morogoro Campaign in East Africa. The Germans lead a deadly guerilla campaign, but disease kills 30 men for every one that dies in combat.

August 28 Italy declares war on Germany

Sept 2 The first Zeppelin is shot down over Britain. The Royal Flying Corps uses a new combination of explosive and incendiary bullets to great effect.

Sept 9 The Battle of Ginchy. The British capture Ginchy – a post of vital strategic importance, as it commands a view of the whole Somme battlefield.

Sept 15 The Battle of Flers-Courcelette signifies the start of the third stage of the Somme Offensive. Tanks are used for the first time. Despite initial gains the Allies fail to break through German lines.

Sept 26 The Battle of Thiepval. Tanks play a crucial role in the capture of this strategic village.

Nov 13 The Battle of Ancre. The fourth phase of the Somme Offensive is marked by the British capturing Beaumont Hamel and St Pierre Division, taking nearly 4,000 prisoners.

Dec 7 David Lloyd George elected British Prime Minister.

Dec 12 Germany delivers Peace Note to Allies suggesting compromise.

Dec 18 The Battle of Verdun ends. It is the longest and costliest battle on the Western Front.

Events of 1917
Jan 31 Germany announces the continuation of unrestricted submarine warfare, hoping to starve Britain into submission.

Feb 3 The United States severs diplomatic relations with Germany as U-Boats threaten US shipping. Intercepted messages reveal that Germany is provoking the Mexicans into war against the US.

Feb 21 The Great German Withdrawal begins. They will evacuate Serre, Miraumont, Petit Miraumont, Pys and Warlencourt, falling back 25 miles to establish stronger positions along the Hindenburg Line.

Feb 24 Turkish retreat to Baghdad, abandoning Kut in Mesopotamia.

March 11 Baghdad is taken by the British after three days fighting.

March 15 Tsar Nicholas II abdicates as Moscow falls to Russian Revolutionaries. Demise of the Russian Army frees German troops for the Western Front.

March 26 The First Battle of Gaza, Palestine, as the British attempt to cut off the Turkish forces in Mesopotamia from their homeland. They fail to take the town and are forced to withdraw.

April 6 US declares war on Germany. Troops begin to mobilise immediately.

April 9 The Battle of Arras. The British successfully employ new tactics of creeping barrages, the ‘graze fuse’ and counter battery fire.

April 16 The Second Battle of Aisne begins as part of the ‘Nivelle Offensive’. Losses are horrendous, triggering mutinies within the French Army.

April 19 The Second Battle of Gaza begins in Palestine. The plan consists of nothing more than to throw troops against well prepared Turkish positions. It is eventually called off due to mounting casualties- a loss of 6,000.

June 7 The Battle of Messines Ridge. The British take the ridge with few casualties, as it is preceded by the detonation of 19 mines under the German front lines. The explosions are reportedly heardfrom England.

June 13 Germans launch the first major heavy bomber raid over London. Bombs dropped from 18 Gotha GV aircraft kill 162 people andinjure 432.
June 25 First US troops arrive in France.

July 16 TE Lawrence and the Arabs liberate Aqaba in Jordan after crossing the Nefu desert. This opens the route north for the Arab Army and isolates the Turkish Army in Mesopotamia.

July 31 The Third Battle of Ypres begins along a 15 mile front in Flanders. Initial attacks are successful as the German forward trenches are lightly manned.

August 15 The Battle of Lens (Hill 70). Canadian troops are in the vanguard of this assault. Hill 70 is only 15 feet higher than the surrounding landscape but it dominates the battlefield. The Canadians take the hill and hold it against five German counter attacks. Allies lose 9,200 men.

August 20 The Third Battle of Verdun begins. French progress is marked by gaining lost territory in the earlier battles.

Oct 9 The third phase of the Ypres Offensive begins with British and French troops taking Poelcapelle. 25mm of rain falls in the next 48 hours on already saturated ground. The previous bombardments smashed the drainage systems and the battlefield turns into a quagmire.

Oct 12 The British launch their latest assaults at Ypres against the Passchendaele Ridge. New Zealand and Australian divisions in the vanguard of the attack take terrible casualties, then are bogged down in the mud and are forced back to their start lines.

Oct 19 The last airship raid on Britain is carried out by 11 Zeppelins.

Oct 26 The Second Battle of Passchendaele begins with 20,000 men of the Third and Fourth Canadian Divisions advancing up the hills of the salient. It cost the Allies 12,000 casualties for a gain of a few hundred yards.

Oct 30 Reinforced with the addition of two British divisions, a second offensive is launched in torrential rains to capture Passchendaele. The Allies hold the town for the next five days in the face of repeated German shelling and counterattacks.

Oct 31 Battle of Beersheba, Palestine. British forces take the town capturing 1,800 Turkish troops. This leaves the way open for the advance on Jerusalem.

Nov 7 British capture Gaza.

Nov 10 Battle of Passchendaele ends. After months of fighting, the Allies have advanced only 5 miles, but have taken the high ground that dominates the salient. Half a million men are casualties, of which around 140,000 have been killed.

Nov 20 The Battle of Cambrai begins. During the attack, Royal Flying Corps aircraft drop bombs on German anti-tank guns and strongpoints to clear a path for the Allied tanks and ground troops. It is an early example of the ‘Blitzkrieg’ tactics destined to be used by the Germans so effectively in World War Two.

Dec 11 Britain liberates Jerusalem, ending 673 years of Turkish rule.
Events of 1918
Jan 16 Riots break out in Vienna and Budapest as the Austro-Hungarians express mounting dissatisfaction with the war.

March 3 Soviet Russia concludes separate peace at Brest-Litovsk with Germany and her allies.

March 21 Second Battle of the Somme marked by the German Spring Offensive, the ‘Kaiserschlacht’. Germans attack along a 50 mile front south of Arras.

March 22 The German Operation Michael is a complete success. They use new ‘Stormtrooper’ assault teams to smash through British positions west of St Quentin, taking 16,000 British prisoners.

March 23 German assaults now reach the Somme Line. The greatest air battle of the war takes place over the battlefield as 70 aircraft are involved in a single combat.

March 28 The German offensive along the River Scarpe is halted at great loss. The American Expeditionary Force plays a vital role in the battle.

April 5 The German Spring Offensive halts outside Amiens as British and Australian forces hold the line. The second 1917 battle of the Somme ends, as Germany calls off Operation Michael.

April 9 The Battle of the Lys, marked by Operation ‘Georgette’, is the second German Spring Offensive.

April 22 Allies carry out raids against the harbours of Ostend and Zeebrugge. Obsolete vessels are driven ashore and blown up in order to blockade the entrances. Zeebrugge is partially successful; the Ostend raid fails.

April 29 The Battle of the Lys ends. Three British Divisions hold off 13 German divisions, inflicting crippling loss.

May 10 The British launch a second raid on Ostend. HMS Vindictive is this time successfully scuttled in the harbour entrance. German cruisers are no longer able to use the port.

May 19 The German Air Force launches its largest and last raid on London. Out of the 33 aircraft, 6 are lost, while 49 civilians are killed and 177 wounded.

May 27 Operation Blucher, the third German Spring Offensive assaults the French army along the Aisne River. The French are forced back to the Marne but hold the river after being reinforced by American troops.

June 9 The fourth German Offensive on the Western Front, codenamed ‘Gneisenau,’ between Noyan and Montdidier. It fails to break the French line and ends four days later.

June 15 The second Battle of the Piave River, Italy, opens with a massive offensive by the Austro-Hungarian Army. Italian and British troops first hold and then push back the attackers. Despite heavy losses the Allies destroy the Austro-Hungarian Army, precipitating the collapse of the the Empire.

July 15 The second Battle of the Marne marks the final phase of the German Spring Offensive. Allied counter attacks inflict irreplaceable German casualties. The defeat leads to the cancellation of the planned Invasion of Flanders and puts the Germans on the complete defensive.

August 8 The second Battle of Amiens begins. German resistance is sporadic and thousands surrender. Fighting is now defined by mobility as the lines of trenches are breached.

Sept 19 The Battle of Samaria marks the British offensive of Palestine.

Sept 22 The Great Allied Balkan Victory.

Sept 27 The Great British Offensive on the Cambrai Front leads to the storming of the Hindenburg Line. The Battle of St Quentin – British and American troops launch devastating offensives, piercing the Hindenburg Line along the Canal Du Nord and St Quentin Canal.

Sept 30 British and Arab troops take Damascus, capturing 7,000 prisoners and securing stability in the Middle East.

Oct 4 The German and Austrian peace proposal is sent to the American President, Woodrow Wilson, requesting an armistice.

Oct 8 The Allies advance along a 20 mile front from St Quentin to Cambrai and drive the Germans back 3 miles, taking Cambrai and le Cateau. Over 10,000 Germans are captured.

Oct 17 British and American troops launch attacks at the Battle of the Selle. The British liberate Lille and Douai. Belgians retake Ostend and reach Zeebrugge the following day. The whole of the Channel coast in the west of Flanders is liberated.

Oct 23 The British launch a night attack with all three of their armies, the First, the Second and the Fourth. This time the British advance six miles in two days. The British are now 20 miles behind the rear of the Hindenburg Line.

Oct 29 German sailors aboard the High Seas Fleet at Jade mutiny and refuse to engage the British Fleet.

Oct 30 The Turkish army surrenders to the British in Mesopotamia. Turkey signs an armistice with the Allies. Fighting ceases the following day.

Nov 3 At Kiel, German sailors mutiny. Austria-Hungary signs an armistice with the Allies.

Nov 8 Armistice negotiations between the Allies and Germany begin in Ferdinand Foch’s railway carriage HQ at Compiègne

Nov 9 Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicates and flees to Holland. Revolution in Berlin breaks out.

Nov 11 Armistice Day The Armistice is signed at 5.00am and comes into effect at 11.00am. At 10.57am Canadian Private George Lawrence Price is killed while on patrol in Canal du Centre. He is the last soldier to die in action on the Western front.

Nov 14 General Von Lettow-Vorbeck surrenders his East African forces on the Chambezi River, Northern Rhodesia.

Nov 21 The Capitulation of Rosyth – Nine German battleships, five battle-cruisers, seven cruisers and 49 destroyers arrive off Rosyth to surrender. Thirty nine U-Boats surrender off Harwich.

Dec 12 The British Cavalry cross the Rhine and begin the Occupation of Cologne.

Dec 13 Americans cross the Rhine and occupy the bridgehead at Coblenz. Armistice is prolonged for one month until 17th Jan 1919.
Events of 1919
Jan 10-15 Communist Revolt in Berlin

Jan 18 Paris Peace Conference begins.

Jan 25 Principle of a League of Nations ratified.

Feb 14 Draft of the League of Nations completed.

May 6 Under conditions of the Peace Conference, German colonies are annexed.

June 21 German High Seas Fleet scuttled at Scapa Flow.

June 28 Treaty of Versailles signed.

July 19 Cenotaph unveiled in London.