25th October 1914 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY: in the Netherlands – Franciscus Henricus Antheunis Sr, who migrated to Australia in 1956, together with his wife, taking with them nine year old Franciscus Henricus Antheunis Jr, now a musican and children’s entertainer.




Western Front: In Flanders, in a desperate attempt to stop the German advance, the Belgians open the sluice gates of the coastal dikes to flood the area between the River Yser and a railway embankment further inland. [Burg and Purcell].

An anonymous nursing sister records in her diary the desperation, as recounted to her by the wounded:

“First, you must understand that this big battle from Ostend to Lille is perhaps the most desperate of all, though that is said of each in turn – Mons, the Aisne, and this; but the men and officers who have been through all say this is the worst. The Germans are desperate, and stick at nothing, and the Allies are the same; and in determination to drive them back, each man personally seems to be the same. Consequently the ‘carnage’ is being appalling, and we have been practically in it, as far as horrrors go. Guns were cracking and spitting all night, lighting up the sky in flashes, and fires were burning on both sides. The Clearing Hospital close by, which was receiving the wounded from the field and sending them on to us, was packed and overflowing with badly wounded…”


7th August 1914 (Friday)

BORN TODAY: in Auckland, New Zealand – Alice Mary Bush, doctor, paediatrician and family planning activist.



In Belgium, German forces capture the city of Liege, but not the forts, still manned by Belgian forces.

In Alsace, French forces are advancing on Mulhouse, and (briefly) seize/ reclaim the town of Altkirch, just across the Alsatian border.

In Britain, at his first attendance at the Government’s “cabinet” meeting, Lord Kitchener responds to ministers who are predicting a war of weeks, or at most months, that “it will not end until we have plumbed our manpower to the last million” [Scott Anderson].

Global Finance: in the “City” within London, fearful of a run on the banks caused by collapsing confidence that Britain can maintain its globally dominant trading activities, the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Finance Minister) David Lloyd George, introduces the “Bradbury Pound” (paper money) designed to shore up confidence.



Burg and Purcell: Almanac of World War


Tuchman: The Guns of August


Anderson: Lawrence in Arabia