German soldiers in Lodz, December 1914. Image courtesy Deutsches Bundesarchiv.
The Battle of Lodz ends after one month of fighting. The outcome is inconclusive; the Russians have repelled the Germans and saved Warsaw; the Germans, for their part, have caused the Russians to abandon their offensive into Silesia.
The second Austrian invasion of Serbia ends as Belgrade is retaken by Serbian forces
A German airship is sighted off the East Coast of England. This is the first appearance of enemy aircraft in the British Isles.
The German merchant raider SMS Cormoran. Image in public domain.
The German merchant raider Cormoran pulls into Apra Harbor in the US Territory of Guam with the intention of replenishing coal supplies. Due to strained diplomatic relations between the US and Germany, and the limited amount of available coal, US authorities refuse to supply more than a token amount. Governor William John Maxwell orders the ship to leave within 24 hours or submit to detention. The Cormoran is interned.
Lieutenant Norman Douglas Holbrook VC on board HMS Adamant, December 1914. Image courtesy Australian War Memorial.
British naval officer Lieutenant Norman Douglas Holbrook wins the first Victoria Cross medal to be awarded to a submariner. Lieutenant (later Commander) Holbrook sinks the Turkish battleship Messudiyeh in the Dardanelles Straits. Navigating HMS B11, an obsolete submarine built in 1905, through five rows of mines, he successfully navigates his craft back to the Mediterranean, evading gun fire and torpedo boats, after having been submerged for nine hours. The town of Germanton in NSW is renamed Holbrook in his honour.
Jack McLachlan’s headstone, Beaumetz Cross Roads Cemetery, France. Image courtesy Sharon Hesse.
John Daniel McLachlan was born in Cumnock in 1895, the fourth child and eldest son of John Angus McLachlan and his wife Emma nee Kearney. John Angus – or ‘Jack’/’Jock’, as he was known – was the the highly popular proprietor of the Cumnock Hotel between 1888 and 1904.
The family moved to Peisley Street in Orange following the sale of the hotel in 1904. In 1912 John Daniel – also known as ‘Jack’ – started a two-year apprenticeship with the butcher Thomas Hamer on Bathurst Road in East Orange. In December 1914 Jack enlisted in WWI; he embarked the following February, a private in the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Reinforcements.
In April 1915 Private McLachlan joined the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force and proceeded to Gallipoli, where he was hospitalised twice. In July he sustained a gunshot wound to his left hand, and in November an infected heel. On 1 August 1915 he was appointed Lance Corporal, however this promotion would later be revoked.
In March 1916 McLachlan proceeded to France. Three months later he was admitted to No. 13 Stationary Hospital in Boulogne, suffering a gunshot wound to the right eye. In October he was transferred to the 54th Battalion. Jack was hospitalised for a fourth time, in November 1916, with an abscess.
Private McLachlan was transferred back to the 3rd Battalion late in 1916. He was killed in action on 9 April 1917.
Jack McLachlan is commemorated on the Patrician Brothers’ Roll of Honour, St Joseph’s Church Orange Honour Roll and on the World War I Roll of Honour on the southern face of the Orange Cenotaph. He is also remembered on his sister Bertha’s headstone in Orange Cemetery.
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 “Pte JD McLachlan”; it was donated by Orange High School. Very few of the trees are still standing today.
The German battleships SMS Goeben and SMS Breslau bombard Batumi on the Russian coast
Hill 60 on the Western Front in Flanders is captured by German forces
The French begin a series of attacks along the Western Front against the Germans in the Artois region of northern France and Champagne in the south. Hampered by a lack of heavy artillery and muddy winter conditions, the French fail to make any significant gains and both offensives are soon suspended.