First World War Project

Home News - August 1916

Stabilised Front in Europe 1914/1915

The Western Front continued largely "stabilised" from January 1915 to the end of 1916. But assaults continued to take their toll on our local men; mostly on the Western Front.

One Kingsdown and Creekside man died during August. We have included Denis Joseph Pownall as he and his wife lived in and around Oare. However, he is not remembered on the Oare Memorial. He is reported as 'died of wounds', which may indicate either a rapid decline from 'gas gangrene' (common at this time without penicillin that wasn't discovered until 1928) or from trauma.

The Battle of The Somme continued to drag on with significant casualties but without significant change to the front. Significant actions included the Battles of Ypres that stretched across the whole of August into September and beyond. Between 15th and 25th August the Battle of Hill 70 raged.

On 29th August, Field-Marshal von Hindenburg succeeded General von Falkenhayn as Chief of the General Staff of the German Field Armies, with General von Ludendorff as Chief Quartermaster-General.

With the 'siege' operations along the Allied Front in France/Flanders, other actions were widely reported. This category includes conflict in the Sinai (Rumani), Battle of Goriza (6th Battle of Isonzo - began on 6th and ended successfully on 17th August), the Italians landed troops at Salonika and joined Allied force, several concerted efforts in East Africa against German forces. Battle of Florena (Macedonia) opened lasted two days (17th to 19th).

The Russian actions included the retaking of Stanislau (10th) and a crossing of the River Danube into the Dobrudja to aid Rumanian forces. On 30th August, Turkey declared war on Rumania just three days after Rumania declared war on Austria-Hungary (27th) and crossed the Hungarian frontier and invaded Transylvania.

There was little of note in the fight for supremacy in the Air. However, this aspect consumed increasing resources for reconnaissance, bombing and escort duties.

At sea, the Italian Dreadnought "Leonardo da Vinci" was sunk by an internal explosion while at anchor in the harbour of Taranto. For Britain, H.M.S. "Falmouth" and "Nottingham" were sunk by submarine in the North Sea.

The Battle of Verdun continued to place the French Army resources under tremendous mortal strain - with heavy casualties on both sides. Although the Battle of The Somme had lent some relief a Second Offensive Battle of Verdun renewed fighting on that front from 20th August.


The machinery for the detailed monthly compilation of Military Statistics did not take place until later in 1916 (October) after the intervention of Lloyd George (then Secretary of State for War). Statistics up until then were somewhat haphazardly recorded. However, the War Office bound together those War Statistics in March 1922 adding available data for earlier months.

The Somme offensive resources expended compared with 1918 offensive resources (munitions):

Stocks of Gun Ammunition at the time of Somme Offensive, 1916, as compared with stocks at the time of the Offensive of 1918
9th July, 1916
9th February, 1918
In France
At home
In France
At Home
13-pr. 6-cwt.
13-pr. 9-cwt.
3-inch 5-cwt.
3-inch 20-cwt.
4 - 18-pr.
6 - 4.5 inch
4.7 inch
6 inch howitzer
6 inch B.L. gun
8 inch howitzer
9.2 inch howitzer
9.2 inch gun
12 inch howitzer
15 inch howitzer
Grand total 7,658,809 27,755,775
Increase of 262 per cent.
* Includes Home Defence † Excludes Home Defences

Equally, the carnage of key battles can be measured in the ammunition expended.

Comparative Statement showing the Gun Ammunition expended by the British Army in France during certain Periods of Intensive Fighting
Battles Periods Approximate Expenditure
Rounds Tons
Somme 26th June to 9th July, 1916
Arras 9th April to 16th May, 1917
Messines 3rd June to 10th June, 1917
3rd Battle of Ypres 30th July to 7th October, 1917
(Average weekly)
(Average weekly)
Autumn Offensive 18th August to 27th October, 1918
(Average weekly)
(Average weekly)

Medical support

The increased numbers of injured men saw a corresponding increase in the Royal Army Medical Corps. In August 1914, the RAMC consisted of 1,047 Officers and 16,331 Other Ranks. By August 1916, the numbers stood at 12,300 Officers (including 300 dental surgeons) and 111,776 Other Ranks. By the close of hostilities in 1918, the overall numbers had increased but not by such a margin - 13,035 Officers (831 dental surgeons) and 131,361 Other Ranks.

Nursing: The effective strength of Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Services (Q.A.I.M.N.S.) including the Reserve was: August 1914 = 463 trained, nil untrained or partially trained; August 1916 - 6,864 trained nurses, 3,580 untrained or partially trained. By far the largest numbers of Q.A.I.M.N.S. were found at Home and in France. The strength off the Territorial Force Nursing Services (T.F.N.S.) was: August 1914 = 2,783 Trained, nil untrained or partially trained; August 1916 = 4,491 Trained, 2,785 untrained or partially trained. These nurses were heavily represented at Home (60%).

For the mules and horses, there was a comparable significant increase in the RAVC Establishment: August 1914 Establishment stood at 197 Officers and 322 Other Ranks; August 1916 saw 1,170 Officers in this Veterinary Corps supported by 17,346 Other Ranks. There continued to be very heavy dependance on mules/horses for transport, supply and manoeuvring guns and lumbers.

The Royal Army Ordnance Corps (R.A.O.C.) grew over the same period from 251 Officer and 2,272 Other Ranks to 1,413 Officers and 23,058 Other Ranks. A fair measure of the consumption of all supplies in the stand-off in the European Theatre.

The emergence of Tank warfare

August 1916 saw the first four Tank Companies arrive in France. Although their first use in The Somme took place on 15th September.

Isolation Hospital at Beacon Hill, East of Teynham Parish: Report

South Eastern Gazette of 1st August 1916
RURAL DISTRICT COUNCIL. The isolation hospital report presented at Wednesday's meeting, showed that there were 7 more patients than a month ago. The Medical Officer had had to close Dunkirk School. The sanitary Inspector had written to Mr. G.A.H. Smith, of Lynsted, respecting the habitation of two buildings belonging to him, which have no sanitary provision, and one of which is without light or ventilation.

Echoes of the 'Irish Question'

On 20th April 1916, Roger Casement landed in Ireland from a German submarine and was immediately arrested. On 3rd August 1916, he was executed.

Death of Teynham and Conyer businessman in Whitstable

Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald of 5th August 1916
THE DEATH OF MR. A.M. WHITE.- The death occurred at his residence, South Bank, Northwood Road, Tankerton, on Sunday, of Mr. Alfred M. White, who came here just over two years ago for rest and quiet after a serious cycle accident which befell him a few years since and as a result of which he suffered much with his heart. he was able to take motor drives almost daily and do a little walking and at other times was wheeled in a bath chair. He was 52 years of age. Mr. White was well known as a barge builder and was the builder of many of the most famous barges on the Thames and the Medway. he came of a ship building family and carried on business at Conyer, Teynham, for many years. At one time he had a barge building yard at Faversham, but after this was burnt out a few years ago he confined all his operations to the Conyer yard. He was the possessor of several silver cups for barge building. He was a strong Conservative and an enthusiastic worker at election times in the North East Kent Division. The funeral took place at Whitstable Churchyard on Wednesday.
The funeral arrangements were efficiently carried out by Mr. F.S. Gann.

Mrs Selby Honoured for her help after the Faversham Explosion

Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald of 12th August 1916
[Harty Ferry Explosion] BRAVERY OF A GREENSTREET DOCTOR'S WIFE. At a Chapter General of the Order of St. John held at St. John's Gate on Friday last, Lord Plymouth, the Sub-Prior, presented Mrs. Selby, wife of Dr. P.G. Selby, of Greenstreet, with a silver medal for conspicuous bravery on the occasion of that great explosion which occurred in Kent on a Sunday afternoon not many months ago. Dr. and Mrs. Selby had not returned from church when the terrible catastrophe occurred, and without waiting for any food they at once motored to the scene, and there they both rendered yeoman service.

Farm building fire at Ludgate Farm

South Eastern Gazette of 12th August 1916
On the afternoon of the same day [as one in Strood] a fire broke out in the farm buildings of Ludgate Farm, Lynsted, Sittingbourne, in the occupation of Mr. W.R. Farmer. A large barn and a range of stables were burnt down, the damage (covered by insurance) being about £400.

The Brace Committee - Conscientious Objectors

During the whole of World War 1, there were Courts-Martial Proceedings on 8,806 of which 5,808 were scrutinized by the Central Tribunal with the result that 4,522 men were recommended to the Brace Committee by the Central Tribunal for work of national importance under Civil Control. Of the 4,126 who were finally employed under the Brace Committee, 2,868 were subsequently sent out to Exceptional Employment, 27 died and 444 were arrested or recalled to the Army for absconding or other breach of regulations. The earliest data on which any man was employed under the Brace Committee was 12th August 1916. The last man in employment was released on 19th April, 1919.

† - Thirty-eighth Loss in the Kingsdown with Creekside Benefice - 16th August 1916.

Sergeant, Denis Joseph POWNALL (of Oare), Killed in Action aged 24 years
Memorial: Abbeville Communal Cemetery, Plot 6, Row "H", No.6
Theatre: France and Flanders
Serving in
: 13th Battery/"B", 277th (West Lancs) Brigade, Royal Field Artillery
Died of Wounds ("gas gangrene" probable)

Vicar who went to prison - Rev. S.F. Green of Luddenham

Faversham and North East Kent News of 18th August
The death has occurred at Sydenham of the Rev. Sidney Faithorne Green, who was Rector of Luddenham from August, 1914, to October 1915, and prior to coming there had been for many years Rector of Charlton-in-Dover.
The deceased clergyman came prominently before the public in the ritual prosecutions of more than 30 years ago.
In 1879, while vicar of St. John's, Miles Platting, in the diocese of Manchester, Mr. Green was prosecuted by the Church Association under the Public Worship Regulation Act for the use of vestments and incense. He refused on the ground of conscience to obey his Bishop, Dr. Fraser. The case came before Lord Penzance, as Dean of the Arches, who prohibited the use of the ornaments and ceremonies against which objection had been taken.
Mr. Green, however, disregarded the monition issued against him (says the "Times"), and consequently more than a year later an order was made declaring him guilty of contumacy and contempt. In March, 1881, he was imprisoned in Lancaster Castle.
The Bishop made efforts to induce Mr Green to submit to his ruling, but without success, and meanwhile the Church Association and the English Church Union continued their contest. Mr. Green would not plead for release, for by doing this he might have been understood to recognise the Court which had caused his imprisonment.
Eventually, after he had been in Lancaster Gaol about a year and eight months, Bishop Fraser applied for a relaxation of the prohibition, and Lord Penzance ordered Mr. Green's release, declaring that his imprisonment had satisfied his contempt.
Mr. Green served as curate of St. John the Baptist, Kensington, from 1883 to 1888, and then was appointed rector of Charlton-in Dover by Keble College. In 1914 he was appointed by the Lord Chancellor (Lord Haldane) to the rectory of Luddenham, Faversham, but resigned in the following year, and had since held no charge.
Mr. Green was a graduate of Trinity College, Cambridge, and was ordained by the Bishop of Manchester (Dr. Jams Prince Lee) in 1885. He was a curate at Swinton for four years before he went to Miles Platting.
When deceased came to Luddenham the erection of a new rectory house was contemplated. The war, however, put the scheme out of the question for the time being, and as the existing old house was unfit for habitation Mr. Green resigned the living. His successor, as is generally known, is temporarily residing at Homestall House.
Mr. Green was 75 years of age.

Prisoners of War

Faversham and North East Kent News of 19th August 1916
Private W. Gambell, The Buffs (Osiers Farm, Teynham)
Lance-Corporal, D.W. Luckhurst, the Buffs, Teynham
Private C. Appleton, the Buffs, Doddington

Registration of Graves

With an eye to the hoped-for peace and the steady flow of casualties being reported at Home, the Directorate of Graves Registration and Enquiries was established on 21st August, 1916. Its purpose was to locate, verify and register the graves of soldiers in the various theatres of war.

Dover Patrol in the news

Liverpool Daily Post of 23rd August 1916
WORK OF THE DOVER PATROL. But our naval work off the coast of Belgium, which is in the capable hands of what is known as the Dover Patrol, is not only to bombard the German shore positions, to strafe Zeebrugge, and to fight the warships that issue therefrom. More important still is the patrol work proper. Dover is the headquarters of the force which protects in part our vital line of communications with France. Along that line pour the men and munitions, the food and material, for our great armies in Flanders and on the Somme. Did anything happen to our communications the Allies were undone. But the transport of all the life-blood of our overseas forces has proved as safe as if there had been a Channel tunnel - thanks to the services of the Navy. In addition there is the vast work of safeguarding our commerce. Well over a thousand ships a day pass through the hands of our patrol apart from naval vessels, and in six months the utmost efforts of the enemy, aided by weather and other lucky accident, have only been able to get home attacks on a score of these ships of all nations, and not all of these were sunk. Such facts speak for themselves. It is not only in the clash of battle that the greatness of the Navy shows, but equally its efficiency, courage, skill, and seamanlike qualities shine in the inconspicuous but dangers and difficult work on the Belgian coast.

Absent from service in The Buffs suspected - increasing public prominence

Dover Express of 25th August 1916

THE ASSISTANCE of the PUBLIC IS INVITED in giving any INFORMATION in their possession which will assist in tracing any of the men named below. Information so afforded will be treated as strictly confidential, and should be addressed either personally or by letter to: The Headquarter Recruiting Officer, 3rd Regimental District Recruiting Area, Depot The Buffs, CANTERBURY. [These lists were often very long - these are just a sample]

Heart, A.H. 40 117, St. Mary's Road, Sittingbourne
Plummer, J.A. 20 Apsley House, London Road [accounted for in 17 November]
Hyland, Mark 40 2, Provident Place, Faversham
Phillips, Frank 38 Newnham, Sittingbourne
Holland, J.H. 35 1 Hut, Harty Ferry, Faversham [accounted for in 17 November]
Carter, A.T. 39 9, William Street, Sittingbourne [accounted for in 17 November]
Roper, B. 40 3, Vine Cottages, Quay Lane, Sittingbourne
Porter, S 20 6 Amos Cottage, Oare
Pecker, G 39 Monks Law, Lynsted [18th May 1917]
Whibley, J.W. 37 2 Triggs Cottages, Teynham [18th May 1917]

[Signed on 1916-10-13] The Recruiting Officer, 3d Regimental District Recruiting Area, Canterbury, asks for information regarding the following men, as to whether they:

(a) Have joined the Army,
(b) Are excepted from the provisions of the Military Service Acts, 1916,
(c) Are in possession of a definite certificate or badge exempting them from liability for Military Service.
(d) Are in a reserved occupation,
(e) Have moved to another district, etc., etc.,"

By August, the Corps of Military Police had grown from 115 to 2,108, of which 2,098 were Other Ranks.

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