DIARY OF THE GREAT WAR - 100 years ago today #WWI 1st Oct 1914

  • Bombardment of Antwerp forts resumed; Waelhem, Wavre, St. Catherine, Puers, and Lierre being hotly engaged.


  • Admiralty reports that H.M.S. Cumberland captured nine German merchant vessels (total tonnage, 30,915) and the gunboat Soden off the Cameroon River (West Africa).


  • Thirty-five Prussian casualty lists published to date show a total of 90,000 killed, wounded, and missing (Including about 1,000 officers killed and 2,000 wounded).


  • Kaiser's message about General French's “contemptible little army” published.  The Kaiser, upon hearing that German forces were being held up in France while en route to the French capital, is said to have exclaimed his exasperation of "Sir John French's contemptible little army".  British regulars were delighted thereafter to be referred to as ‘The Old Contemptibles’ and named their post-war veterans' association accordingly.  In order to be considered a contemptible, a soldier must have received the 1914 Star, often referred to as the Mons Star.


Army Order Issued by Emperor William II, 19 August 1914

It is my Royal and Imperial command that you concentrate your energies, for the immediate present, upon one single purpose, and that is that you address all your skill and all the valour of my soldiers to exterminate first the treacherous English and walk over General French's contemptible little army.

Headquarters, Aix-la-Chapelle


Find out more about your ancestors...

As well as records concerning World War One, Forces War Records also hold databases on World War Two, The Crimean War, Boer War, African Wars, Indian Mutiny, and the Napoleonic Wars (including Waterloo and Trafalgar). You can also search medal rolls, individual battle data and Prisoner of War Records, Royal Marines Databases, Fighter & Bomber Command Losses, and Fleet Air Arm Data among lots more.

Forces War Records are always adding to their ‘historic documents’ library, which contains a wealth of original documents, periodicals, manuals and newspapers that could have been read by your ancestor — explore our website — what might you discover? 

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