King George V declares that the royal household will abstain from the consumption of alcoholic beverages for the duration of the war. This is in response to David Lloyd George’s recent speech in Bangor denouncing drinking as an enemy of the war effort. Lloyd George declared: “drink is doing more damage in the war than all the German submarines put together.” The Drink Crisis during WWI
South African forces quell German resistance in South West Africa, occupying the city of Aus
Drawing of the sinking of the Elder Dempster liner Falaba, 28 March 1915. Image courtesy Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19150422-47-2.
SS Falaba is torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-28 in the Irish Sea. The British liner with 145 passengers and 95 crew aboard is en route from Liverpool to Sierra Leone when she is struck by a single shell. 104 lives are lost, among them the American mining engineer Leon Thraser. The New York World describes the sinking of the Falaba as “massacre” and “an act of piracy”.
James Stuart McLean was born in Walgett in 1893, one of five children born to James Fletcher McLean and Ellen Campbell McLean nee Stuart. In 1894 the family moved to the Parkes district, where they remained for several years.
By 1914 the family had relocated to Orange, where the family worked Cranley at Bloomfield. In October 1914 James junior volunteered his services to the AIF and, in December, embarked for overseas service.
In April 1916 James was transferred to the 10th Field Artillery Brigade at Tel-el-Kebir; in June he joined the British Expeditionary Force in France as a Bombardier. In January 1917 he was promoted to Temporary Colonel, and, in June, to Colonel.
Colonel McLean suffered an attack of appendicitis in January 1918 which saw him transferred to the Tidworth Military Hospital in England. In March he wrote home from Hurdcott Convalescent Camp praising the quality of the cuisine and the amusements. He also recalled that this is now the fourth Easter that he has seen in the Army.
In January 1919 James married Florence Emma Allen. The couple later moved to Sydney, where James was an employee of NSW Tramways. They lived at Penshurst until their deaths. James died in the Repatriation General Hospital at Concord in 1966, aged 72.
James is commemorated on Bloomfield Honour Roll and the St John’s Presbyterian Church Orange Honour Roll.
James’ brother Alfred Fletcher McLean also served in WWI.
The Leaderreports that local militiamen must return their arms and associated equipment in order to supply the Expeditionary Force reinforcements with weapons
French soldiers capture the summit of Hartmannsweilerkopf on the Western front. The 956m high mountain peak in Alsace is of major strategic importance, providing a bird’s eye view into enemy territory. It is an area bitterly fought for by both sides during the course of the war.
French airmen bomb the Frescaty airfield near Metz in Bavaria with heavy calibre shells. One zeppelin is destroyed and several soldiers killed.
Vernon James Williams MM c1953. Image courtesy Julia Williams.
Vernon James Williams MM became an Orange lad when he moved to Amaroo in 1904 at age 15. His parents, James and Elizabeth Williams moved from Collector to allow James to take up his position as school teacher at Amaroo School.
Vernon was born in Sutton on 29 July 1888 and lived in Collector between 1894 and 1904. He came from a close knit rural family which, for two generations, had been involved enthusiastically in church and community affairs. Education had been important to the family over several generations.
Vernon secured his first position as a schoolteacher in 1907, at the age of 19 and taught in several small schools including High Range, Jellore, Mandemar and Winduella.
Vernon enlisted on 1 May 1916 and trained at the Musketry school at Liverpool. Vernon, like many of the men who enlisted around this time, would have realised that he was going over to the Western Front to fight a difficult war which had already claimed the lives of many Australians and had stagnated in trench warfare. On 31 October 1916 his family and friends from Amaroo, Nyrang and Cudal presented Vernon with a watch and other gifts at a farewell social. (more…)
Otto Liman Von Sanders by American Press Assn. The Project Gutenberg eBook, The New York Times Current History: the European War, February, 1915. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.
Otto Liman von Sanders assumes command of the Ottoman 5th Army in the Dardanelles. He has at his disposal some 84,000 well-equipped soldiers in six divisions. He would later be credited with overseeing the failure of the Allied army’s attempt to land at the Dardanelles.
The Dutch steamer Medea is captured and sunk by the German submarine U-28 shelled and sunk in the English Channel off East Sussex. Her crew is rescued by HMS Teviot of the Royal British Navy.
British Naval airmen bomb the German submarine depot at Hoboken near Antwerp in Belgium. The subsequent fire destroys two German submarines.
Chile protests against violation of her territorial waters by the British on 14 March 1915
The Leader publishes a letter from Driver Thomas Nicholson written from Mena Camp. Nicholson provides an entertaining account of an Egyptian shave, and describes the weather as being similar to an Orange spring, except for the sandstorms.