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WWI Timeline


Evie's War covers the years from early 1914 to late 1918. The timeline below provides a glimpse of the broader scaffolding on which the story is hung. It includes events pertinent to Evie's experience of the war, and hence focuses in the main on the war fought on the Western Front in Belgium and northern France.

Brandhoek New Military Cemetery, Belgium

28 June

28 July

1 August

3 August

4 August

7 August


12 August

16 August

20 August

21 August


23 August


29 August


30 August

5–9 September


10 September

1215 September

22 Sept–late Nov


27 Sept–10 Oct

14 October

12 Oct–2 Nov

13 October

16 October

19 October



5 November

3 December

10 December

15 December

16 December


2425 December




19 January

31 January

3 February

4 February

16 February

18 February

26 February

1013 March


18 March

28 March

1722 April

22 April25 May


25 April


7 May

9 May

15 May

23 May

31 May

7 June

16 June


18 June

1 August



6 August


5 September


25 September


26 September

12 October

19 December

21 December




27 January

16 February

21 February


21 February

1 March

31 March

11 April

24 April

15 May

25 May

31 May1 June

5 June

10 June

1 July




1920 July



23 July

1522 September

23 September

2628 September


1 Oct11 Nov

24 October

1318 November

20 November


13 November

18 November

28 November

7 December

18 December

22 December




19 January

31 January

3 February

17 February

25 February

26 February

8 March

12 March

15 March

2 April

5 April

6 April

914 April



16 April



16 April


18 May

27 May



714 June


13 June

25 June

7 July

12 July

31 July6 Nov


15 August

20 August

1 September

4 September

20 September

4 October



12 October

26 October

6 November

7 November

11 November


20 Nov3 Dec


7 December

15 December





21 March


21 March5 April


26 March


929 April




24 April

16 April

23 April

27 May3 June



30 May

9-13 June


Mid 1918


4 July

15 July5 August


17 July


8 August




20 August

29 August



12 September


27 September


28 September


29 September

14 October

5 October

1419 October


25 October

1 November

3 November

4 November

9 November

11 November


16 November

24 November


31 July, 1919


Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to Austrian throne, assassinated in Sarajevo

Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia

Germany declares war on Russia

Germany declares war on France and invades neutral Belgium

Britain declares war on Germany. Six million men are mobilised across Europe by the day’s end

First British troops (120,000 trained men of Britain’s standing army, the BEF) land in France; French suffer worst single-day casualties (27,000 killed) in their history

Great Britain and France declare war on Austria-Hungary

Main body of BEF lands in France

Brussels occupied by German forces

Battle of the Ardennes begins; French unable to withstand superior artillery and training of the German army; casualties heavy

Battle of Mons; first encounter between British and German forces. BEF is outnumbered two to one and suffers heavy casualties before retreating

French army pushed back at the Battle of Guise, retreating to the Oise. By the end of August the French and German armies had suffered 300,000 casualties

New Zealand troops occupy German Samoa

Battle of the Marne: with the German army only 30 miles from Paris, the British and French forces put up a desperate attack and push the Germans back to Chemin des Dames ridge

The Germans began to ‘dig in’ on Chemin des Dames ridge, the entrenchments gradually spreading the length of the Western Front from Belgium to Switzerland, a distance of 450 miles.

Battle of the Aisne

The ‘race to the sea’; battles of Picardy, Albert, Artois, Le Bassée, Arras, Messines, Yser, Armentieres, Ypres, Langemarck, Gheluvelt and Nonneboschen

German army takes Antwerp by siege

First Battle of Arras

Battle of Messines

First sighting of German submarines in the English Channel

New Zealand Expeditionary Force leaves New Zealand, heading for France

First battle of Ypres: British, French and Belgian armies suffer heavy losses but the Germans fail to break through. Ill-trained German schoolboys advance against the more experienced BEF in what is later called by Germans ‘the Massacre of the Innocents’. Battle continues until 22 November

Britain and France declare war on the Ottoman Empire

NZEF arrives in Egypt, having been diverted en route

French attacks in the Artois and Champagne regions fail due to mud and lack of artillery

German airship sighted off British Coast

Scarborough, Whitby and Hartlepool bombarded by German battle cruisers, resulting in first British civilian casualties

Men in the trenches in Flanders call a truce and exchange gifts with one another in No Man’s Land. Such fraternisation is subsequently forbidden by Allied commanders, with orders that violators will be shot



Germans begin an aerial bombing campaign against England using Zeppelins

Poison gas used for the first time by the Germans against the Russians

Turkish troops launch an attack on Suez Canal, defeated by NZ Expeditionary Force

Germany declares waters around Britain a war zone in which ships can be sunk without warning

Second French offensive in Champagne is defeated by mud and lack of heavy artillery

German submarine blockade of Great Britain begins

Liquid fire first used by Germans on the Western Front

Battle of Neuve Chapelle; British and Indian troops take their first objective but fail to capitalise on the breach in the German lines. Both sides suffer more than 10,000 casualties

Naval attack in the Dardenelles

First passenger ship, S.S. Falaba, sunk by German submarine

Battle of Hill 60 launched with first British use of mines beneath German trenches

Second battle of Ypres; Germans use chlorine gas for the first time; British and Canadian troops plug the gap left by retreating gassed French African divisions; Ypres remains in Allied hands but Hill 60 is recaptured by Germans

Allied troops land on the Gallipoli Peninsula; 15,000 Australians and New Zealanders are part of the 70,000-strong landing force

Passenger liner S.S. Lusitania torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat; 1200 of 2000 passengers drowned

Abortive French and Allied attacks at Vimy Ridge, Neuve Chapelle, Fromelles and Le Bassée

British attack at Festubert sees an advance of just 1000 yards at a cost of 16,000 casualties

Italy declares war on Austria-Hungary

First aerial bombing of London kills 28 civilians

German airship L.Z-37 is destroyed in the air by an R.N.A.S. aircraft

The French make a second attempt to seize Vimy Ridge and it again changes hands twice, at a cost of 100,000 French and 60,000 German casualties

Second Battle of Artois ends

The Fokker Scourge begins as the Germans achieve aerial supremacy over the Western Front using captured French technology allowing a machine gun to be fired through the spinning propeller; Allied aerial technology takes a year to catch up

In the Dardenelles, British and Allied forces attack at Anzac Cove and Cape Helles and are beaten back by Turkish reinforcements led by Mustafa Kemal

Czar Nicholas II takes command of the Russian Army in an attempt to boost morale; the once six million strong army has already suffered 1.4 million casualties with a further 750,00 men captured

Allied Autumn Offensive launched on the Western Front at Loos (ends 8 October), Artois (ends 15 October) and Champagne (ends 6 November)

On their third attempt French forces secure Vimy Ridge

Edith Cavell shot in Brussels following a German Court Martial

Sir Douglas Haig becomes Commander-in-Chief of the British Army in France

Allied withdrawal from Gallipoli complete; 66,000 Turkish, 28,000 British, 7000 Australians, 2000 New Zealanders and 10,000 French soldiers are dead with a further 200,000 Allied casualties. 83,000 survivors are evacuated



First conscription Act passed in the UK

War Office takes over responsibility for anti-aircraft defence of London from the Admiralty

Germans attack the Fortress of Verdun, making rapid gains along the river Meuse; however the attack is slowed by mud and French reinforcements. The assault will last ten months

German naval attacks extended to merchant shipping

German submarine campaign begins

German airship raid on England

New Zealand troops begin to arrive in France from Egypt

Belgian coast barrage begun by British navy

Italians halt Austrian advance at Trentino

Universal conscription for men aged between 19 and 40 comes into force in Britain

Naval battle off Jutland, neither side making a decisive victory though both claim it

Lord Kitchener drowned by a mine in the North Sea

Compulsory Military Service Bill passed in New Zealand

Battle of the Somme begins with casualties of more than 60,000 British troops in the first day. The four month offensive would gain six miles and cost more than one million lives. Significant battles include Albert, Gommencourt salient, Bazentin, High Wood, Delville Wood, Pozieres, Guillemont, Ginchy, Flers-Courcelette, Morval, Thiepval, Le Transloy, Ancre

Battle of Fromelles. A feint to distract attention from the Somme, Australian and British troops assault in broad daylight under heavy fire; over 5500 Australian troops wounded and more than 2000 killed in a bloody initiation to the Western Front

Battle of Pozieres Ridge

First use of tanks by the British at Flers-Courcelette

Airship raid on England causes serious casualties

Battle of Thiepval sees British success followed by heavy rain which turns the battlefields to a sea of mud, halting further advances

Battle of Ancre Heights

French forces on the offensive at Verdun (ends 18 December)

Battle of the Ancre

Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary dies aged 86; he is succeeded by Archduke Charles who wants to take his country out of the war

Surprise attacks see the Allies capture Beaumont-Hamel and Beaucourt in the northern Somme

Snowfall ends the 1916 Somme Offensive; casualties stand at more than 1.2 million men

First German daylight aeroplane raid on London

Lloyd George succeeds Asquith as Prime Minister of Britain

President Woodrow Wilson continues efforts to organise a peace conference

Ministry of Food formed in Britain to address food shortages caused by the German blockade




German Government negotiates with Mexico to form an alliance against the United States

Germans resume ‘unrestricted’ submarine warfare around the UK, aiming to starve Britain into submission

USA severs diplomatic relations with Germany

Revolutionary unrest in sections of the Russian army

German forces on the Ancre withdraw to the Hindenburg Line

Anglo-French conference in Calais

Russian civilians protest food shortages in Petrograd

Russian Revolution begins; Russian soldiers mutiny and join the revolution

German forces in the Somme begin a strategic withdrawal to the Hindenburg (Siegfried) Line

President Woodrow Wilson tells US Congress “the world must be made safe for democracy”

German withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line complete

United States of America declares war on Germany

Battle of Arras; Canadian, Australian and British troops make a 3.5 mile advance in snow, the Canadians recapturing Vimy ridge. Once again, failure to capitalise on initial success halts the advance; Allies suffer 150,000 casualties and Germans 100,000

French Nivelle Offensive is launched but a poorly co-ordinated creeping barrage combined with German aerial reconnaissance results in heavy losses of over 100,000 men; Nivelle is replaced by General Petain as Commander-in-Chief

Vladimir Lenin arrives back in Russia following 12 years of exile in Switzerland

British airmen suffer a 50% casualty rate; average life expectancy is three weeks

US Congress passes Selective Service Act; the draft will enlarge the standing army of 145,000 to 4 million men

Sections of the French army mutiny; Commander-in-Chief Petain cracks down then suspends all offensives while he endeavours to improve morale. With the French in disarray the main burden of the Western Front falls on British and Allied forces

Battle of Messines, preceded by nineteen mines under the German Front line at Wyteschaete Ridge; 10,000 Germans are killed instantly and the British storm the ridge

German daylight air raid on London causes 158 deaths and 425 casualties

First American troops arrive in France

German air raids on Margate and London

First mustard gas attack by Germans near Ypres

Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele) begins; Allied forces sustain over 300,000 casualties. Battles include Pilckem Ridge, Langemarck, Menin Road Ridge, Polygon Wood, Broodseinde, Poelcapelle and Passchendaele

Battle of Hill 70

French launch Second Offensive Battle of Verdun

The Russian army retreats before the German 8th Army’s storm troop attack

Germany begins night air raids on London

Menin Road attack costs the Allied forces 22,000 casualties for a 1000 yard gain

Battle of Broodseinde, II ANZAC Corps. The Ypres offensive culminates around the village of Passchendaele where New Zealand and Australian soldiers die in their thousands attempting to advance across a sea of liquid mud, for a total gain of 100 yards

Second attempt to take Passchendaele fails, this time costing thousands of Canadians lives

Passchendaele is finally captured by Allied (Canadian) forces, bringing the Third Battle of Ypres to a close at a cost of around one million men

Russian Revolution; Bolsheviks under Lenin call for an armistice on all fronts

Ludendorff tells German High Command at Mons that he is willing to sacrifice a further million German men to achieve victory before the Americans arrive in Europe

Battle of Cambrai begins favourably, assisted by tanks, but German counter-attacks see most first-day gains subsequently lost

USA declares war on Austria-Hungary

Soviet Russia signs an armistice with Germany, allowing forty-four German Divisions to be transferred to the Western Front




German Spring Offensive launched on the Western Front in an attempt to break the deadlock before US forces are fully engaged in the war

Second Battle of the Somme; the thinly stretched British army is quickly over-run and the German Offensive looks likely to succeed

Ferdinand Foch is appointed Allied Supreme Commander at a strategic conference held at Doullens in Northern France

Second German Offensive, including battles of Estaires, Messines, Hazebrouck, Bailleul, Kemmel Ridge, Bethune, Scherpenberg; ground gained by the Allied forces in the previous year, including Passchendaele Ridge, is lost to the advancing German army; arrival of British, French and Australian reinforcements halt the German momentum; Germans suffer 330,000 casualties and lack further reserves

German Advance halted at Villers-Bretonneux

St Omer bombed by German aircraft

British forces storm the harbour at Zeebrugge

Third German Offensive: on Day One the Germans gain more ground than either side has made on the Western Front since 1914 – ten miles encouraging Ludendorff to make an all-out push towards Paris. This proves too much for his exhausted troops

Germans 80 miles from Paris; American Third Division halt their advance at Chateau-Thierry

Fourth German Offensive of 1918, Noyon-Montdidier; French and American troops, supported by tanks, halt the advance

Soldiers from all sides begin to succumb to a deadly strain of influenza; the epidemic becomes worldwide, ultimately leading to 20 million deaths

Battle of Le Hamel, won for the Allies by Australian 4th Division supported by US infantry and tanks

The final German offensive of the war; Second 1918 Battle of the Marne. French, British, American and Italian troops push the Germans back, regaining Soissons on 2 August

Bolsheviks murder Czar Nicholas and his family; impact of civil war in Russia is exacerbated by disease and starvation

Allied 100 Days Offensive launched at Amiens and Montdidier; later in the month at Noyon, Albert, Bapaume, Arras, Scarpe, Mont-St.Quentin and finally, on 2 September, at Drocourt-Quéant. 8 August is later referred to by General Ludendorff as the “Black Day of the German Army”; 13,000 German prisoners are taken during a seven-mile advance

French army takes 8,000 German prisoners at Noyon and captures the Aisne Heights

Germans begin to withdraw on the Western Front

Diversionary Allied assaults launched along the Hindenburg Line, starting at Havrincourt; each success boosting Allied morale

First stand-alone US attack at St Mihiel, supported by a co-ordinated air attack involving nearly 1500 Allied aircraft; 15,000 German prisoners are captured

British, Australian and US units break through a 20 mile sector of the Hindenburg Line between Cambrai and St. Quentin

Allied Flanders Advance launched at Ypres (Fifth Battle of Ypres). Faced by the prospect of defeat, General Ludendorff suffers a nervous collapse

Unbeknownst to the Allies, Generals Ludendorff and Hindenburg recommend to the Kaiser that the war be ended

Allies advance on all sectors of Western Front

The Allies break through the last of the Hindenburg Line

Second Battle of Belgium sees the Allies retake Menin, Coutrai, Roeselare, Ostend, Bruges, Zeebrugge and the French towns of Lille and Douai

Generals Foch, Haig, Petain and Pershing meet at Senlis, France to discuss armistice demands

Battle of Valenciennes

Austria-Hungary, the last of Germany’s allies still in the war, signs an armistice with Italy

New Zealand troops liberate Le Quesnoy without heavy artillery

The Kaiser’s Imperial Government collapses and he seeks refuge in the Netherlands

Armistice signed at 5.10am at Compiegne, effective from 11am; 2000 casualties occur during the morning prior to signing

Allied troops begin march to Germany

British and US troops reach German frontier


At the Palace of Versailles a German delegation signs the Treaty formally ending the war.

Evie's War by Anna Mackenzie, WWI fiction, cover
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