First World War Project
Home News - August 1915
The Western Front continued largely "stabilised" from January 1915 to the end of 1916. Perhaps the mood surrounding events in the Gallipoli Peninsula is revealed by General Ian Hamilton in his Despatch of 26th August 1915:-
"Finally, if my despatch is in any way to reflect the feelings of the force, I must refer to the shadow cast over the whole of our adventure by the loss of so many of our gallant and true-hearted comrades. Some of them we shall never see again; some have had the mark of the Dardanelles set upon them for life, but others, and, thank God, by far the greater proportion, will be back in due course at the front."
The war expanded in central Europe as Italy engaged more fully with German and Austro-Hungarian forces. Not always successfully at first. Italy further expanded her engagement by declaring war on Turkey on 21st August.
Newspaper reporting on the Russian experience on the Eastern Front and the addition of Italy on the Western Front gains more column-inches. Following the "Great Austro-German Offensive on the Eastern Front" that began on 13th July 1915, Warsaw falls to German forces on 1st August. The successful German attack on Kowno/Kovno forts 17th/18th August on Russian soil reverberated in the psyche of Russian forces that had been overwhelmed. Further losses continued as Germany stormed Osovets (22nd August, Poland),Brest-Litovsk (25/26th August, Poland), Byelostok (26th August, Poland).
The Dardanelles engagement moved firmly away from the initial idea of a naval attack into 'boots on the ground' with landings at Suvla (15th August) and the Battle of Sari Bair (9th/10th August). Italy and Austro-Hungary locked horns along the Isonzo River on 18th July and again on 10th August - there followed a series of Battles in the mountainous valley in following months and years.
Naval engagements became more important as Germany strove to strangle Britain and other Allies using ships and submarines. The entrenched front lines in France and Flanders did not entirely define the confrontation as aircraft and zeppelins extended the impact of each side. On 21st August, there was the first authenticated case of a German submarine firing on a merchant marine ship's crew who were in open boats after being torpedoed (S.S. Ruel). British submarine "E-13" was attacked when it was aground in Danish waters. The traffic was not all one way - HMS "Baralong" (special service ship) destroyed the German submarine "U-27".
August also saw significant Allied aerial bombing raids on Germany.
Thankfully, for those who were living within the Kingsdown with Creekside Benefice communities, August was free of losses.
Newspapers were continuing to report under censorship - so Zeppelin raids were recorded as "East coast" rather than confirm key locations to German spies for future raids....
The "Munitions of War Act, 1915," gained traction as British means of production were diverted to meet the need for all manner of armament and munitions. This included the shifting from 'cotton powder' to T.N.T. (of which more will be revealed in the 1915/1916 account of the tragic loss of Alice Post of Greenstreet/Teynham).
Charles Alfred Channon (b 1889) married Edith Mildred Kimber (b 1894) in Lynsted (her father was Thomas Benjamin Kimber, blacksmith - recorded in H.M. Dockyard, Sheerness, in the 1911 Census). On 2nd August 1915.
A Review of casualties - one year into the war
|Faversham and North East News of 7th August 1915|
THE ROLL OF HONOUR. DEATH ROLL OF LOCAL MEN. THE TOLL OF WAR.
Last Wednesday [4th August] was the anniversary of the outbreak of the War. During the year Faversham and the district has lost by death as many as 50 men, that is to say men who belonged here either by birth, or the residence of their parents, or by their own residence here.
Volunteer training with 4th Battalion East Kent Regiment
|Herne Bay Press of 7th August 1915|
|SITTINGBOURNE. Volunteers in Camp. A numerous section of the Sittingbourne, Milton and District Volunteer Training Corps went into camp on Saturday at Blue Bell Hill, spending the week-end training with the 4th Buffs.|
"Brides in the Baths" - execution at Maidstone Prison, 13th August
Note: For many weeks, the local and national papers carried the story of George Joseph Smith, serial killer and bigamist who gained notoriety drowned his brides in their baths at home. From February 1915, the story took a local twist with the death of Alice Smith (née Burnham) at the seaside resort of Herne Bay ...
|Kent Messenger of 14th August 1915|
SMITH EXECUTED AT MAIDSTONE - THIS MORNING - What happened? - The "Brides in the Baths Case". Smith, the villain of the "brides in the baths" dramas, paid the penalty of his crimes this (Friday) morning, when, at eight o'clock, he was hanged in Maidstone Prison.
The Last Scene. It was a brilliantly fine morning - one of the few brilliant mornings of this summer - when Smith took his last limited view of the things of this world.
HISTORY OF THE CRIMES
It will be recalled that Smith was tried at the Old Bailey before Judge Scrutton. There were indictments for the murder of three women whom he had married, viz., Beatrice Constance Mundy, on July 13th, 1912; Alice Burnham, on December 12th, 1913; and Margaret Elizabeth Lofty, on December 18th, 1914.
Underage volunteering - 14 years old
|South Eastern Gazette of 17th August 1915|
|A FOURTEEN-YEAR OLD SOLDIER. Alfred Thompson was probably the youngest recruit that joined the new Army. He enlisted when he was fourteen, spent his fifteenth birthday in barracks at Dover, and was in the fighting line before he was fifteen and a half years of age. He is now home "on leave" with his parents at Brighton, pending his discharge from the Army as being too young.|
Isle of Sheppey Military Restrictions
|South Eastern Gazette of 24th August 1915|
|WAR PASSES IN THE ISLE OF SHEPPEY. The military form which has been in force for the Isle of Sheppey since May became obsolete on Friday [20th August], and a new series is in course of issue. This change of passes, the third since passes were first issued for the island in November last, is dictated by military considerations. There has only been one serious abuse of the pass system during the ten months, and in that instance heavy fines were imposed upon the offenders.
Visitors to the Isle of Sheppey by road are required to obtain their passes at Sittingbourne Police Station, and those travelling by rail and desiring to enter those portions of the island outside of the military canal at Sheerness can obtain them only of the Mayor of Queenborough.
No pass is required to enter or leave Sheerness by persons travelling by rail, but this does not apply to any one entering Sheppey on the King's highway via the Swale Bridge.
Voluntary Aid Detachments (VADs) in Sittingbourne
|Kent Messenger of 28th August 1915|
|An inspection of the men of the 4th Kent Division Voluntary Aid Detachments took place on Saturday afternoon (21st August) at Sittingbourne by Lord Chilston, the new county director. Accompanying him were Dr. Yolland (Chief Staff Officer), Dr. Selby (Assistant county Director), Dr. Noble (Commandant of Kent 3 Area), Dr. Henderson (Commandant of Kent 7 Area), and Dr Harper. There were 150 men on parade from Sittingbourne, Greenstreet, Faversham, Doddington, Boughton, Sheppey, Gillingham, Dartford and Gravesend, Lord Chilston congratulated them on their smart appearance, and hoped that many of the younger men would see their way to join the R.A.M.C., who were in need of recruits.|
Absent without Leave
|Faversham and North East Kent News of 21st August 1915|
|TEYNHAM - At the Faversham County Police Court this (Friday) morning (before E Chambers, Esq), Charles Lucas, who was in plain clothes, pleaded guilty to being an absentee from the Queen's Royal West Surrey Regiment. PC Hogg stated that at 6.30 the previous evening he saw prisoner at his home in Greenstreet and asked if he was absent without leave. He admitted he had been absent since the 9th of this month. Prisoner, who said the reason he had not returned was that he had been queer with neuralgia, was ordered to be detained until an escort arrived.|
Society Note: Charles was a brother to James Lucas who lost his life on 5th September 1915, only a matter of two weeks after this event.
Adulteration of Milk (in Sittingbourne)
|South Eastern Gazette of 24th August 1915|
|MILK ADULTERATION IN KENT.- A HIGH RATE. A report from the County Analyst (Mr F.W.F. Arnaud) that milk adulteration in Kent was on the increase and inferior quality milks were more numerous than usual. "Of the 290 samples of milk submitted by the police during the quarter, 21 were adulterated, giving an adulteration rate of 7.2 per-cent. "This rate percent," says Mr. Arnaud, "is very high, particularly as there were in addition 34 samples of inferior quality."
Six of the adulterated samples were found to contain added water, 14 were deficient in cream, and one sample contained boric acid added as a preservative. Some of the samples were found to be very deficient in cream, the deficiency in a Sittingbourne sample exceeding 30 per cent. A Chatham sample was deficient in fat and also contained added water, other milks showing large fat deficiencies being submitted from the Elham, Malling, Penge, and Wingham Divisions."
No samples of adulterated milk were received from the Bearsted, Cranbrook, Faversham and Home Divisions.
|Daily Express of 28th August 1915|
DAILY RAIDS BY THE ALLIES ON GERMAN POSITIONS FROM FLANDERS TO ALSACE. AVALANCHES OF BOMBS.- POISON FACTORY AND ELECTRIC WORKS BOMBARDED. The great aerial offensive by the Allies on the west, begun on August 24, was continued yesterday, and now for four days there have been daily raids on a large scale, against which the Germans seem to be helpless.
Germany repatriates injured soldiers to England
|Kent Messenger of 28th August 1915|
|RETURN OF BRITISH WOUNDED - ARRIVAL OFF GRAVESEND. Shortly after 2.30 on Wednesday afternoon [25th August] the "Princess Juliana" arrived at Tilbury with 258 wounded British officers and men, whom the Germans had released because they considered them unfit for further military service. There were also 27 unwounded Army medical men.
Amid cheers, the boat put into Tilbury Dock, where two special trains were drawn up. One train was for those who could move about by themselves or with assistance, and the other - a South-Western ambulance train - fitted with beds for the conveyance of the helpless. About the first and larger class, belonging to many regiments, the most noticeable feature was their high spirits. Number os them had been prisoners for 12 long months, since Mons and Landrecies; they were clad in a combination of very tattered khaki and raiment unknown to the British Army, some wearing black corduroy trousers and clogs or German side-laced boots. Many bore on their faces the strain of the sufferings they had endured, but they were one and all delighted with a word of kindly welcome, and many were quite jubilant. They had heard wonderful stories of the fate of England, and seemed surprised and relieved to find Tilbury intact.
New Battalion Recruitment to Royal West Kents
|South Eastern Gazette of 31st August 1915|
|TENTH SERVICE BATTALION R.W.K. REGIMENT. A further appeal is now being made for recruits for this Battalion, which has its encampment on Penenden Heath, Maidstone. Another 500 are wanted immediately, and, as will be seen by an advertisement announcement in this issue, it is open for any man between the ages to 19 and 40 to join. The recruiting office is at the Barracks, Maidstone, or at the Camp, Penenden Heath.|
The Dardanelles - more fighting (not much progress)
|South Eastern Gazette of 31st August 1915|
|DARDANELLES OPERATIONS - THE TRUE OBJECTIVE NOT YET REACHED. The Press Bureau on Wednesday night issued a frank statement with reference to the recent British operations in the Gallipoli Peninsula. The public are informed that, the true objective has not yet been reached, and that further serious and costly efforts will be required before a decisive victory is won.
It appears that the attack from Suvla was not developed quickly enough, with the result that the dominating ground gained, mainly by the Australasian forces, at Auzac, had to be abandoned. A renewed attack on the 21st inst., did not meet with success, except on the Anzac left. The losses on both sides were heavy.
ARTEFACTS - Background Records...................
Map of opposing formations in 1915