WW1 – 1914

Heads of Countries


Russia – Tsar Nicholas II until the Revolution in 1917 (Grandson of Victoria) Pime Minister – Ivan Goremykin

England – King George V – Prime Minister Herbert Henry Asquith(until 1916) David Lloyd George(from 1916) (Grandson of Victoria)

Australia – King George V – Prime Minister – Joseph Cook

New Zealand – King George V – Prime Minister – William Massey

Canada – King George V – Prime Minister – Sir Robert Borden

India – King George V – Commander in Chief – Herbert Kitchener

France – President – Raymond Poincaré

Italy – King Victor Emmanuel III

Romania – King Ferdinand I and Maria of Edinburgh (Granddaughter of Victoria)

Serbia – King Peter I

Belgium – King Albert I – Prime Minister – Baron Charles de Broqueville

Greece – King Contantine I  married to Sophie – Victoria’s Granddaughter – entered the war on 29/06/1917

Portugal – Various Presidents

Montenegro –  King Nicholas I

USA: President – Woodrow Wilson

Central Powers

Austria – Hungary – Emperor Franz Joseph I (until 1916) Emperor Karl I (until dissolution of Austria-Hungary in 1918)

Germany – Kaiser Wilhelm II (until abdication in 1918) (Grandson of Victoria)

Turkey/Ottoman Empire – Sultan Mehmed V, Enver Pasha, minister of war.

Bulgaria – Tsar Ferdinand I – Prime Minister – Alexander Malinov – Entered the War 12/10/1915


Country Total Forces    Killed  Wounded Prisoners and Missing Casualties Casualty % 
Russia 12,000,000 1,700,000 4,950,000 2,500,000 9,150,000 76.3
British Empire 8,904,467 908,371 2,090,212 191,652 3,190,235 35.8
France 8,410,000 1,357,800 4,266,000 537,000 6,160,800 73.3
Italy 5,615,000 650,000 947,000 600,000 2,197,000 39.1
Romania 750,000 335,706 120,000 80,000 535,706 71.4
Serbia 707,343 45,000 133,148 152,958 331,106 46.8
Belgium 267,000 13,716 44,686 34,659 93,061 34.9
Greece 230,000 5,000 21,000 1,000 27,000 11.7
Portugal 100,000 7,222 13,751 12,318 33,291 33.3
Montenegro 50,000 3,000 10,000 7,000 20,000 40
TOTAL  42,188,810 5,142,631 12,800,706 4,121,090 22,062,427 52.3
Central Powers            
Germany 11,000,000 1,773,700 4,216,058 1,152,800 7,142,558 64.9
Austria-Hungary  7,800,000 1,200,000 3,620,000 2,200,000 7,020,000 90
Turkey 2,850,000 325,000 400,000 250,000 975,000 34.2
Bulgaria 1,200,000 87,500 152,390 27,029 266,919 22.2
TOTAL 22,850,000 3,386,200 8,388,448 3,629,829 15,404,477 67.4
GRAND TOTAL 65,038,810 8,528,831 21,189,154 7,750,919 37,466,904 57.5
United States 4,355,000 116,516 204,002 4,500 323,018 7.1
Japan 800,000 300 907 3 1,210 0.2

The Beginning.

WW1 started between 28th July 1914 and went on until 11th November 1918

Archduke Frans Ferdinand of Austria was the heir to the Austrian throne.

He and his pregnant wife, Sophie, were visiting Sarejevo in Serbia on 28/06/1914.

A bomb was thrown at their car but they escaped injury. They then took a wrong turn and they were shot and killed by Gavrillo Princip, a Serb.


There were only 200,000 men at the start of the war so Lord Kitchener was asked to carry out a recruitment campaign. The country was swept up in a wave of patriotism, and after the news about initial victory at Mons, by September over 750,000 had joined up. The word was out that the war would be over by Christmas.

The age limit was 19, but boys younger got through by simply lying, there were no stringent age checks. The youngest soldier to die in WWI was 15. There was only a few weeks, because they didn’t have enough time to spend months training new recruits.

In January 1916 Conscription was introduced, whereby every unmarried man between 19 and 40 had to sign up and this was extended to married men in May 1915. The only men who were not forced to join were those workng in ‘essential industries’ such as Weapons production, food production, religious ministers etc.


28th July Austria Hungary declared war on Serbia.

July 31st – The Russians mobilized their army and Germany warns them to stop.

1st August – Germany declared war on Russia.

2nd August – Austria invaded Serbia.

3rd August – Germany declared war on France and Belgium.

Germany marched through Belgium and ignored a British ultimatum to withdraw.

4th August – UK declared war on Germany for invading neutral Belgium.

6th August – Austria Hungary declared war on Russia.

9th August – Montenegro declares war on Germany.

11th August – France declares war on Austria Hungary.

12th August – UK declares war on Austria Hungary.

13th August – Japan issued a ultimatum to Germany.

14th August  – Germans entered Brussels when Belgium citizens resisted 600 were shot.

14–24 August – French, Belgium and British forces met German forces at Lorraine which began the Battle of the Frontiers. The

French lost 200,000 men in the first month of the war.

16th – 19th August – Serbs defeat the Austria Hungarians at the Battle of Cer gaining the allied powers their first victory.

20th August – The Germans occupy the Belgian capital, Brussells.

23rd August – Austria Hungary declares war on Belgium.

23rd August – British Expeditionary Forces almost collided with the German army at Mons on 23rd August they inflicted huge casualties but combined with the French retreat, they lost ground overall.

26th – 30th August – Russian and German armies fought at Tannenburg and the Russians suffer a heavy defeat. The Germans later built a monument to commemorate the victory in 1924. The main structures were destroyed by Hitlers troupes in 1945, before the besieging Russians could destroy it. Only a small trace remains after Polish authorities razed the site.

September 5th – 12th – The Germans were advancing towards Paris but were halted at theBattle of Marne. With over 1 million soldiers on each side the force made up mainly of French but with some British. General Galieni commandeered all the motor taxis in Paris to carry his troupes to the front line to join Joffre’s armies. They launched a British, French counter attack and turned the Germans back. Casualties were around 250,000 with 82,00 deaths.

September 15th – The first trenches are dug on the Western Front.

The trench system stretched from the North Sea coast of Belgium southward through France, including Ypres. It ran in front of such French towns as Soissons, Reims, Verdun, St. Mihiel and Nancy, and finally reached its southernmost point in Alsace, at the Swiss border. Laid end-to-end, the trench system would stretch for 25,000 miles. There were usually three lines of trenches: a front-line trench located 50 yards to a mile from its enemy counterpart, guarded by tangled lines of barbed wire; a support trench line several hundred yards back; and a reserve line several hundred yards behind that. A well-built trench did not run straight for any distance, as that would invite the danger of enfilade, or sweeping fire, along a long stretch of the line; instead it zigzagged every few yards. There were three different types of trenches: firing trenches, lined on the side facing the enemy by steps where defending soldiers would stand to fire machine guns and throw grenades at the advancing offense; communication trenches; and “saps,” shallower positions that extended into no-man’s-land and afforded spots for observation posts, grenade-throwing and machine gun-firing.

Life in the trenches

Life was horrific, with the stench of rotting bodies, rats and lice. The greatest danger came when the soldiers on either side left the trenches to attack the enemy or when the trenches were shelled.

Over the TopNight Raid

Referenced to attacking infantry rising out of their own trenches to assault the enemy in “no mans land” with a high risk of being killed. Communication were sent by ‘runners’ which was a very dangerous job.

There were 475 miles of Trenches.

October 19th – 22nd November – 1st battle of Ypres – Germans attacked the combined British French and Belgium troupes. Ypres

defined rat and lice infested trench warfare for the next 4 years.  150,000 were killed, wounded and captured.

October 29th – Turkey enters the war helping to bombard Russia.

November 5th – France and Britain declare war on Turkey.

24th – 25th December – Some parts of the trench lines had a unofficial truce exchanging Christmas greetings and sometimes small gifts. It would be the last time it ever happened because the high command did not like it.

I could continue with a brief summary of the rest of the war but the site is really dedicated to Hull. I started this page because my Great Uncle was killed in 1917 during this horrific war. It seems pointless repeating stuff that can already be found in great detail here – http://www.firstworldwar.com/