Uncle William

Lieutenant William Ellis Gomersall

Key events during World War I

4 August 1914 German Schliefen Plan starts. German Right wing (750,000 men) attempts to circle Paris through Amiens. Germans sweep through Belgium, defeat French at Charleroi, and BEF at Mons. French troops (250,000) and British Expeditionary Force (120,000) (BEF) delay and weaken German advance, so Germans retreat to a defensive line of trenches from Calais through Verdun to the Swiss border.
29 October 1914 Turkey enters war on German side, by attacking Russian Black Sea ports.
November 1914 Stalemate begins. Enemies face each other across same trench (within 10 miles or so) line till March 1918. Germany has occupied all Belgium, and 10% of France, including French coal and iron ore mines. German trench defences are very strong and effective.
25 April 1915 Australian, New Zealand, British, French and Indian troops land at ANZAC cove in Dardanelles, Turkey.
23rd May 1915 Italy declares war on Austro-Hungary, hoping to win territory from them in Trento-Alto Adige region. It thereby joined the Allies.
August 1915 - Jan 1916 Failed Dardanelles campaign. Withdrawal of troops.
Spring 1915 Battles of Neuve-Chappelle, Aubers Ridge, and Festubert.
1st July  - 13th November 1916 Battle of the Somme. The Allies succeeded in winning about 325 sq km of territory. The Germans were forced to retreat to the Hindenburg line, and they abandoned their attacks on Verdun. The drive did not bring about an end in the war, but it was regarded as the beginning of improving Allied fortunes. (See detailed narrative)
March 1917 Mesopotamia Campaign. Sir Stanley Maude takes Bagdad from Turks.
March 1917 Russian Revolution, and abdication of Czar Nicholas II
6 April 1917 USA (under President Woodrow Wilson) declares war on Germany and joins Allies, after German submarines started attacking US ships crossing Atlantic to Britain.
June 1917 Mines detonated under German trenches at Messines Ridge.
31 October 1917 Palestine Campaign. Col. Lawrence with Arab irregulars harass Turks east of the Jordan. Allenby's cavalry takes Beersheeba (in Gaza) from Turks, and later also Jerusalem.
July-November 1917 Passchendaele campaign. War of attrition. Both sides suffer losses of 200,00 men for the exchange of only a few square miles of 'lunar' landscape.
November 1917 Battle of Cambrai. British use tanks to advance effectively, but then fail to hold ground, and are driven back to starting trenches.
15 December 1917 Following the Bolshevik revolution, Russia signed an Armistice with Germany and withdraws from the Eastern front, permitting the enemy to concentrate on the Western front.
March 1918 Germans break out of trench line and advance, nearly taking Amiens.
August 1918 Battle of Amiens. Allied victory spearheaded by 400 British tanks.
September 1918 German Hindenburg line breached by Allies.
19th September  Allenby and Arabs defeat Turks at Battle of Megiddo
2nd October 1918 Fall of Damascus. Turkey capitulates, signs armistice on 30th October.
4th November 1918 Allied victory at battle of Vittorio-Veneto, shatters Austrian army, precipitates armistice between Austria and Allies.
November 1918 Hindenburg line completely broken by Allies, and Germans in retreat. German fleet mutinies. Kaiser Wilhem II abdicates. German Republic proclaimed on 9th November, and they sent a team to negotiate an armistice with the allies.
11 a.m on 11th November 1918. War ends. Armistice signed  The Peace Treaty of Versailles was signed  in the Hall of Mirrors on 28th June 1919.