Timeline of Lewisham and National First World War Events
Nov 17th 1911 New Headquarters for the 4th London (Howitzers) Brigade, Royal Artillery opened in Enersdale Road, Hither Green.
Dec 22nd 1913 Park Cinema, Hither Green Lane and Queen’s Hall, Rushey Green Opened.
Nov 27 1913 Globe Cinema, Stapleton Road, Hither Green opened.
Feb 1914 Globe Cinema, Stapleton Road, Hither Green closed, several attempts to revive it but closed for good in 1916.
Deptford Library opened.
Trams reached Southend.
Second Antarctic Expedition of Ernest Shackleton, [1874 – 1922] Son of a doctor, born in Ireland, but came to Sydenham aged 10. He was on Scott’s Antarctic Expedition of 1901 and organised 2 further voyages in 1907-9, 1914-16 and 1921-2. He died at South Georgia during his third expedition. [Plaque – LCC 12 Westwood Hill, Sydenham].
Jan 1914 Burnt Ash Cricket Pavilion burnt down and local suffragettes blamed.
Jun 28th 1914 Francis Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian throne assassinated at Sarajevo in Serbia.
Jul 5th 1914 Kaiser William II promised German support for Austria against Serbia
Jul 25th 1914 Ultimatum delivered on the 23rd to the Serbian Government by the Austrian Government expired.
Dr W G Grace played his last Cricket match at Grove Park
Jul 28th 1914 Austria declared war on Serbia [Ultimatum ran out on the 26th]
Jul 31st 1914 Russian Mobilisation ordered and Martial Law declared in Germany.
Aug 1st 1914 Germany declared war on Russia
Aug 2nd 1914 French Mobilisation ordered.
Aug 3rd 1914 Germany declared war on France and invaded Luxemburg and Belgium. Russian Fleet driven back by the Germans. British Navy and Army mobilisation ordered.
Aug 4th 1914 Britain declared war on Germany
Aug 5th 1914 Germans repulsed by Belgians. Lord Kitchener appointed War Secretary.
Aug 6th 1914 British Cruiser Amphion struck mine and sank.
Aug 10th 1914 British Expedition to France began. German troops entered Liege.
Aug 12th 1914 French Successes in Alsace.
Aug 13th 1914 Great Britain declared War on Austria.
Aug 14th 1914 Sir John French crossed the Channel to take Command of the BEF.
Aug 17th 1914 Belgians driven back.
Aug 20th 1914 Germans enter Brussels.
Aug 22nd 1914 First Big Battle between the Allied Troops and German forces of the War [Mons] began.
Aug 23rd 1914 The BEF started its retreat from Mons. Germany invaded France.
Lewisham resident, Sidney Frank Godley, defended a bridge at Mons single handed for two hours covering his comrade’s retreat. He was captured and received his Victoria Cross medal whilst in a POW camp. Also Deptford resident Albert E Burstow died during this battle along with Forest Hill resident Charles Owen, A Rogers of Lewisham all of the Royal West Kent Regiment.
Aug 24th 1914 Fall of Namur and Allied Troops retired.
Aug 25th 1914 Two Thousand casualties reported when 16 East Coast Trawlers were sunk by German Warships.
Aug 26th 1914 Russian army defeated at Tannenburg and Masurian Lakes. Fierce battle between Allied Forces and Germans. After 4 days of continuous fighting, troops retired to Cambrai and Le Chateau.
Aug 27th 1914 British Marines arrived at Oostende. Louvain destroyed.
Aug 28th 1914 Naval Engagement in Bight of Helgoland. 5 German ships sunk.
Aug 29th 1914 Allied Troops retire to Armiens and La Fore.
Aug 30th – 31st 1914 British Troops frequently engaged.
Sep 1st 1914 Sharp action between British and Germans at Compiegne. Austria defeated by the Russians, near Lemburg.
Sep 2nd 1914 British troops experience their first quiet day since 23rd August. British Casualties totaled 15,000.
Sep 4th 1914 Dinant destroyed by fire and shell.
Sep 5th 1914 HMS Pathfinder a scout Cruiser was sunk by Submarine and Wilson liner Runo from Hull sunk by mines in the North Sea. Britain, France and Russia agreed not to sign a peace agreement separately during the present war. Germany suffered heavy casualties in fighting with the Belgians at Malines. Environs of Antwerp flooded.
Sep 6th 1914 Battle of the Marne started as the Germans crossed at Marnes.
Sep 7th 1914 Advance of Allies Forces commenced.
Sep 8th 1914 Allies forced Germans back capturing prisoners and guns.
Thomas James HIGHGATE [Pte 1st Royal West Kent] was the first person to be was ‘shot at Dawn’ for Desertion and is remembered on the St Laurence Catford First World War Memorial, with his 2 brothers Joseph and Robert.
Sep 9th 1914 Dispatch of 70,000 Indian Troops announced.
Sep 10th 1914 German retreat continued. Prussian Guard failed to break Allied line at Vitry-le-Francois. Semlin taken by Serbia.
Sep 11th 1914 Belgian Army made sortie from Antwerp.
Sep 12th 1914 German retreat 150 guns and many prisoners captured. Luneville re-occupied by French. Russian victory over Austrian Army in Galicia. Battle of Aisne began.
Sep 13th 1914 German invasion of British East Africa Announced.
Grove Park Workhouse (Hospital) was taken over by the Army Service Corps
Sep 19th 1914 Rheims Cathedral Destroyed
Sep 21st 1914 HMS Pegasus (third class cruiser) bombarded by enemy in Zanzibar Harbour, whilst dismantled.
Sep 22nd 1914 HMS Abonkir, Creasey and Hogue sunk by submarines in the North Sea. Locals Coker, Horace, Ewen, Ernest Cecil and Silcox, William Henry died on HMS Aboukir. See HMS Aboukir for more details. And Gilbank, Charles and Mussett, William Henry died on HMS Hogue See HMS Hogue for more details. And Green, Thomas Michael died on HMS Cressy See HMS Cressy for more details.
British Airmen dropped bombs on Zeppelin Sheds.
Sep 20 – 25th 1914 Russian Advance continues. Austrians driven back to Western Galicia.
Sep 25th 1914 Australian Troops occupy Kaiser Wilhelmsland, German New Guinea. Zeppelin Raid on Oostende, attempt to destroy ammunitions train fails.
Oct 18th 1914 First Battle of Ypres
Oct 29th 1914 Turkey entered the war on Germany’s side. Trench warfare started to dominate the Western Front.
1915 The 4th London (Howitzers) Brigade, Royal Artillery saw action abroad, whilst their headquarters in Enersdale Road, Hither Green became No. 43 Depot, RFA until conscription in 1917.
Jan 19th 1915 The first Zeppelin raid on Britain took place
Feb 19th 1915 Britain bombarded Turkish forts in the Dardanelles
Apr 25th 1915 Allied troops landed in Gallipoli
May 2nd 1915 During a gas attack, Forest Hill born, Private John Lynn manned a machine gun and repelled an enemy attack without the aid of a gas mask. He died of gas poisoning and was awarded the VC for his heroism.
May 7th 1915 The “Lusitania” was sunk by a German U-boat
May 23rd 1915 Italy declared war on Germany and Austria
Jul 27th 1915 Herbert Francis BURDEN [Private 1st Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers] was `Shot at Dawn’ for Desertion. He was 17 and was remembered on the St Laurence’s, First World War Memorial. He was used as the model for the Shot at Dawn Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum, in Staffordshire.
Aug 5th 1915 The Germans captured Warsaw from the Russians
Sept 7th 1915 A S-L II dropped several bombs in the Deptford area killing 16.
Sept 25th 1915 Start of the Battle of Loos
Dec 19th 1915 The Allies started the evacuation of Gallipoli
Jan 27th 1916 Conscription introduced in Britain
Feb 21st 1916 Start of the Battle of Verdun
March 2nd 1916 Conscription introduced and all single men between the ages of 18 - 41 years in Britain are enlisted into the fighting forces and liable to call up
Mar 27th/29th 1916 Vicar of St Mark’s, Lewisham, Captain Reverend Edward Noel Mellish despite the risk to his own life repeatedly returned to the front line to rescue wounded soldiers and for this he was awarded the Victoria Cross.
Apr 29th 1916 British forces surrendered to Turkish forces at Kut in Mesopotamia
May 25th 1916 Conscription extended to include married men.
May 31st 1916 Battle of Jutland. At the Battle of Jutland, Sydenham born, Major Francis Harvey, despite being mortally wounded when the gun house exploded, flooded the magazine of the HMS Lion and saved the ship. He was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross
Jun 4th 1916 Start of the Brusilov Offensive
Jul 1st 1916 Start of the Battle of the Somme. Many Lewisham Residents served and lost their lives this day. See Battle of the Somme for more details.
Aug 10th 1916 End of the Brusilov Offensive
Aug 24/25th 1916 At about Midnight a Zeppelin raid dropped 2 High Explosive Bombs on the Engine Room of the London Electric Supply Company Works at Stowage Wharf, Deptford. This stopped the Deptford Search Light and injured 1 (dying later in hospital).
Sept 15th 1916 First use en masse of tanks at the Somme .
December 1916 Ministry of Food set up.
December 1916 The Land Cultivation Order enabled the acquisition of empty land by local councils for use as allotments.
Dec 7th 1916 Lloyd George becomes British Prime Minister
Jan 1917 Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps formed, women started working for the Military at Grove Park.
Jan 1st 1917 Blackheath Hill Station and Lewisham Road Station closed [London, Chatham & Dover Railway]
Jan 19 1917 Silvertown Explosion, 69 died, although in North Woolwich doors and windows were damaged across Lewisham and Deptford Boroughs.
February 1917 Voluntary rationing for bread, meat and sugar encouraged
Feb 1st 1917 Germany’s unrestricted submarine warfare campaign started
April 1917 Compulsory rationing applied to restaurants, hotels and clubs
April 1917 The baking of light pastries, muffins, crumpets and tea-cakes prohibited.
Apr 6th 1917 USA declared war on Germany
Apr 16th 1917 France launched an unsuccessful offensive on the Western Front
June 1917 Sugar rationing introduced
Jul 1st 1917 Emergency Landing Ground opened at Grove Park.
Jul 31st 1917 Start of the Third Battle at Ypres
Oct 19/20th 1917 On the night the last bomb dropped on London by a Zeppelin L45 (300lb bomb) fell at Glenview Road, Hither Green (now Nightingale Grove). It destroyed 3 houses and damaged many others. 5 women and 9 children were killed and 2 men, 3 women and 2 children were injured.
Oct 24th 1917 Battle of Caporetto – the Italian Army was heavily defeated
Nov 6th 1917 Britain launched a major offensive on the Western Front
Nov 20th 1917 British tanks won a victory at Cambrai
December 1917 Severe food shortages led the Lewisham Food Control Committee to telegram the Food Controller stating that ’very grave issues hang on the meat shortage in particular'.
Dec 5th 1917 Armistice between Germany and Russia signed
Dec 9th 1917 Britain captured Jerusalem from the Turks
Mar 3rd 1918 The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was signed between Russia and Germany.
Mar21st 1918 Germany broke through on the Somme
Mar 29th 1918 Marshall Foch was appointed Allied Commander on the Western Front
**Mar 30th 1918 Lewisham born pilot, Flight Lieutenant Alan Jerrard, whilst on an offensive patrol in Italy destroyed three enemy aircraft and attacked an aerodrome despite overwhelming odds and was later awarded the Victoria Cross.
April 1918 Meat rationing introduced and within three months all basic staples were rationed.
Apr 9th 1918 Germany started an offensive in Flanders
April 18th 1918 Conscription extended to Ireland and upper age to include all men aged 51 years or under.
17 May 1918 On Friday 17 May 1918 Hither Green was attacked by aircraft, 2 bombs were dropped. One near St Swithun's Church, where about 20 houses were damaged. The other bomb was dropped in Hither Green Lane, damaging 12 houses. No people were injured or killed.
May 19th 1918 German airplane dropped 2 50Kg and 2 100 Kg bombs fell in the area of 187 Leahurst Road (Hither Green Station), Killing 2 Soldiers and injuring 2 others. A Man, 2 women and child were also injured in this incident. 19 shops and 63 houses were damaged. The other fell on the corner of Sydenham Road and Fairlawn Park destroyed 3 shops and killed 18 people including 5 soldiers.
Jul 15th 1918 2nd Battle of the Marne started. The start of the collapse of the German army
Aug 8th 1918 The advance of the Allies was successful
Sept 19th 1918 Turkish forces collapsed at Megiddo
Oct 4th 1918 Germany asked the Allies for an armistice
Oct 29th 1918 Germany’s navy mutinied
Oct 30th 1918 Turkey made peace
Nov 3rd 1918 Austria made peace
Nov 9th 1918 Kaiser William II abdicated
Nov 11th 1918 Germany signed an armistice with the Allies, official date of the end of War.
Jan 4th 1919 Peace conference met at Paris
Jun 21st 1919 The surrendered German naval fleet at Scapa Flow was scuttled.
Jun 28th 1919 The Treaty of Versailles was signed by the Germans.
1920s Burnt Ash Farm closed down and Lewisham Council built the Grove Park Estate, acquiring Chinbrook Meadows for a recreation ground.

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