- The 11th Australian Light Horse makes a surprise raid on the Turkish outpost of Bir el Hassana in Sinai. The enemy abandon their post.
- The Australian 3rd and 4th Battalions advance one kilometre at Ancre on the Western Front, as British soldiers to the north continue their advance; together they capture 773 prisoners
- A German raid on Australian and British positions at Baillescourt Farm, Ancre, is repulsed
This entry was posted on February 20th, 2017.
Captain William Henry Payne and despatch riders with the 1st Cavalry Divisional Signal Squadron, Mesopotamia, 1917. Image courtesy Australian War Memorial.
- William Henry Payne enlists. William is commemorated on the Centenary of WWI in Orange Honour Roll; he would die of wounds in Baghdad on 10 December 1917.
- The Leader reports the death of former Millthorpe boy, Denis Stinson. Pte Denis Stinson Killed in Action
- Residents of Orange continue to support the Red Cross’s appeal for jam for soldiers serving overseas; a further 1000lbs (453 kilos) are ready for dispatch to Sydney. Red Cross Society
- Lady Roberts’ Field Glass Fund in England appeals for more binoculars to be sent for the war effort. Field Glasses For The War
- German soldiers on the Somme employ a flammenwerfer (flamethrower) to capture a British post south of Le Transloy; they take 30 prisoners
- British troops east of Ypres raid enemy positions, and capture 114 prisoners
- The British Admiralty adopts the following scale of weekly pensions for loss of limbs:
- leg up to the hip 16s.
- leg up to the thigh 14s.
- leg above the knee 12s.6d.
- leg below the knee 10s.6d.
- right arm to the shoulder 16s.
- left arm to the shoulder 15s.
- right arm above or through elbow joint 14s.
- left arm above or through elbow joint 13s.
- right arm below the elbow 11s.6d.
- left arm below the elbow 10s.6d.
This entry was posted on February 19th, 2017.
The Berrima under construction, 1913. Image in public domain.
- The Australian troopship Berrima is torpedoed by the German submarine U-84 in the English Channel off the coast of Portland. The crew manages to beach the Berrima with the loss of four lives. Just six days earlier the ship had landed 1,600 Australian troops at Plymouth.
- Allied forces on the Western Front repulse strong enemy attacks on new British positions near Baillescourt Farm north of the Ancre
- Russian troops on the Eastern Front launch a surprise attack in the Trotus valley, capturing a strong position on high ground
- French and Italian troops join forces in southern Albania, isolating Greece from the Central Powers
This entry was posted on February 18th, 2017.
Three members of the Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force inspect the remains of Turkish trenches at Shumran Bend during the advance on Baghdad, February 1917. Note the home made white flag flying on the shovel in the background. Image courtesy Australian War Memorial.
- Orange born Harry Murphy, a station manager at Cumnock, dies of wounds in France
- Australian Prime Minister William (Billy) Hughes forms the Nationalist Party of Australia, a merger between the conservative Commonwealth Liberal Party and the National Labor Party. The party holds government until 1929.
- Australian pilot Sub Lieutenant Roderic Stanley Dallas, serving with the Royal Naval Air Service, shoots down a German Aviatik aircraft over France
- British troops in Mesopotamia continue their progress along the south bank of the Tigris River. Sir Frederick Maude crosses the Shumran bend to the right of Turkish forces and launches an attack on both flanks.
- British troops on the Ancre capture German positions and penetrate enemy lines to the north and south, capturing 773 prisoners
This entry was posted on February 17th, 2017.
Forty year old Bertie Tanner arrived in Devonport, England, with the 33rd Battalion on 29 January 1917. Bertie did not see active combat; he died of pneumonia eighteen days later in the Tidworth Military Hospital. The attending medical officer noted: “this was a serious case which progressed rapidly to a fatal termination”.
Bertram Frederick Tanner was born in Molong on 8 January 1876. ‘Bertie’, as he became known, was the third of eight children born to William Tanner and his wife Catherine (Kate) Tanner (nee Archer). William ran a drapery store in Riddell Street, and in 1879 was elected as the first mayor of the newly formed Molong Municipal Council. By 1886 the family had moved to Orange, where William operated a drapers and outfitters business in Summer Street. He also served as an alderman and, in 1892, was elected mayor of Orange.
It seems that Bertie had a history of chest complaints. In November 1899 the Western Champion reported that the 23 year old had contracted a severe case of “water pleurisy” while working at Singleton and had been forced to return home to Orange for treatment. In October 1916, during his time at Rutherford training camp, he was hospitalised with a severe cold.
Bertie enlisted in Walgett on 11 July 1916 and proceeded to Narrabri training camp. He was there for two weeks before being transferred to Armidale. On 2 September he was transferred to Rutherford, and, on 7 November, to Liverpool, in preparation for embarkation.
Private Tanner embarked SS Port Napier at Sydney on 17 November 1916, and disembarked at Devonport on 29 January 1917. The following day the 33rd Battalion was marched into the 9th Training Battalion at Durrington. Two weeks later, on 13 February, a dangerously ill Bertie was admitted to the Tidworth Military Hospital. He passed away three days later, on 16 February, and was buried in the nearby Tidworth Military Cemetery on 19 February.
Upon enlistment Private Tanner had nominated his brother in law, Edgar Albert Tanner, as his next of kin and, in his will, bequeathed his personal effects, bank savings and deferred pay to his nephew, Warren Tanner. In July 1917 Edgar received Bertie’s personal effects, which consisted of one holdall, a housewife, two knives, a pipe, a shaving brush, a hair brush, a polishing brush, a boot pad, cheque forms, a book, postcards, one photograph, one letter, one pair of mittens, his identity discs, a leather belt, watch, three badges, two rings, tobacco pouch and one key.
In May 1921 the Base Records Office wrote to Bertie’s father to inform him that: “the provisions of a Will have no bearing upon the distribution of Medals unless they are specifically mentioned therein”. William Tanner was issued with his son’s war medals in September 1922.
Bertram Frederick Tanner is commemorated on the Orange Public School Honour Roll, the Holy Trinity Church Orange Honour Roll, on the World War I Roll of Honour on the southern face of the Orange Cenotaph and on panel number 123 on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. His name also appears on a commemorative plaque on his parents’ grave in Rookwood cemetery, Anglican section.
In July 1917 a tree was planted at Orange Public School in Bertie’s memory. It was one of 26 trees planted in honour of fallen soldiers who had attended the school.
In 1923 the Anzac Memorial Avenue of trees was planted along Bathurst Road to commemorate fallen WWI soldiers. A tree was planted in honour of “L Cpl RF Tanner”, presumably Bertie. It was donated by former mayor of Orange, James Stuart Leeds. Very few of the trees are still standing today.
This entry was posted on February 16th, 2017.
- Day 935 of the war
- Bertie Tanner [aka Joseph Turner] dies of disease in England
- The Victorian Government announces that electricity prices have dropped by 25% since the introduction of daylight savings in January
- German airships drop bombs on Boulogne town and harbour; damage is minimal
- British troops in Mesopotamia capture the remaining Turkish positions in the Dahra bend west of Kut-al-Amara. They capture nearly 2,000 prisoners.
This entry was posted on February 16th, 2017.
- Commander of 8th Infantry Brigade, Brigadier Edwin Tivey, claims that Australian soldiers on the Somme display “marvellous endurance, patience and pluck” in the face of the bleakest winter weather. The Australian Soldier – Patient and Plucky
- The Leader publishes the 272nd Casualty List
- The Leader reports that “Win the War League Day” will be observed on 23 February 1917 to raise funds for the war effort and boost home service
This entry was posted on February 15th, 2017.
- Francis William Courtenay Bootle dies of disease in England
- French soldiers carry out a successful large-scale raid 20kms north-west of Compiegne on the Western Front
- British naval airmen bomb Bruges for the second time this week
- German ambassador to the United States, Count Johann Heinrich von Bernstorff and his staff set sail from Hoboken, New Jersey, having been ordered to leave the country by President Woodrow Wilson on 3 February
- Britain informs the Japanese government that it will support Japanese claims to German territories north of the Equator if Japan will support similar British claims south of the Equator
- The Leader publishes the poem When President Wilson Starts To Act
The President sat in his easy chair, and a lonely man was he,
For the ‘phone alone intruded there with the latest news from sea.
His brow was furrowed with groves of care, and his fingers smudged with ink.
It’s a quiet room and a fastened door when the President starts to think.
The streets were ringing with rumoured war, and the citizens all alive,
Like a swarm of bees on a summer’s day when there’s danger near the hive.
And Theodore Roosevelt swore a swear, while the Kaiser, winked a wink.
He knew he might venture another coup when the President starts to think.
There are few of us wrought in the same design, it’s a trick that Nature plays,
But many men of many minds and many amazing ways.
To each and all his personal mood, to each his dominant kink.
So some will smile and others may sigh when the President starts to think.
At sea, ten thousand hearts are stirred with alternate fear and hope,
And twenty thousand eyes are strained for a threatening periscope.
There’s murder lurking in every wave, for they’re always on the brink,
And the death-watch ticks the tortured hours while the President stops to think.
There are men of action and men of words, entirely different stuff.
Yet even the worm is moved to turn if you pinch it hard enough.
And even patience may tire at last of the perjured word and pact,
And the Chancellor find it time to think when the President starts to act.
This entry was posted on February 14th, 2017.
SS Afric. Image courtesy Titanic-Titanic.com.
- German submarine SM UC-66 torpedoes the British passenger liner SS Afric 22 kms south west of the Eddystone Lighthouse in the English Channel. The Afric is transporting cargo from Liverpool to Sydney at the time; five people die as the Afric sinks.
- British troops south-east of Grandcourt on the Western Front capture a German strong point as raids north-east of Arras take 40 prisoners
- German soldiers repulse Russian counter-attacks near Jakobeny on the Eastern Front
- American president, Woodrow Wilson, refuses to negotiate with Germany until the unrestricted submarine warfare policy is revoked
- The Allied Conference to discuss military and financial issues closes in Petrograd after deliberations lasting two weeks
This entry was posted on February 13th, 2017.
- Frederick Hart of Molong sends news from Minden in Germany, where he is a prisoner of war. Fred says he is “still alright” and that prisoners receive clothing and a weekly food parcel from the British Red Cross League, and bread and cheese from Switzerland. Prisoner in Germany
- Treasurer of the Commonwealth, Alexander Poynton, extends the deadline for investment in the Commonwealth War Loan to 14 February. The War Loan
- British forces on the Western Front repulse German attacks south of Serre, and take 48 prisoners east of Souchez. Successful raids are effected at Neuville, Loos and Ypres.
- German troops on the Eastern Front near Jakobeny attack and seize the new Russian positions and more than 1,200 prisoners
- German soldiers attack Hill 1050 on the Southern Front east of Monastir, gaining a footing at several points in the Italian front lines
- US Ambassador to Germany, James Watson Gerard, and his staff arrive in Switzerland from Berlin
- Austrian submarine U-35 bombs and sinks the American schooner SS Lyman M Law in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Cagliari, Sardinia. The crew of eight American and two British sailors are ordered to disembark prior to the attack; they are transported to Cagliari and released. American schooner Lyman M. Law is sunk
German submarines SM U-52 (right) and SM U-35 (left) meeting in the Mediterranean c1916. Image courtesy Der Weltkrieg 1914-1918 in seiner rauhen Wirklichkeit.
This entry was posted on February 12th, 2017.