Agnes McConnell of Dalton Street, Orange, receives a letter from her brother, Charles Cornelius McConnell, describing the voyage to the front, dodging mines in the Mediterranean and the incessant shelling in the Western Front. Soldiers’ Letters – An Orange Soldier’s Travels
British soldiers on the Western Front advance towards Cambrai, taking eight villages
French troops recapture lost trenches in eastern Champagne
The Russian Provisional Government issues a proclamation acknowledging the independence of Poland
The British hospital ship Gloucester Castle is torpedoed in the English Channel between Le Havre and Southampton. The vessel is towed ashore with no loss of life.
Germany has suffered 500,000 losses between 1 July 1916 and 30 March 1917; the Allies, 650,000
The British press reports that US president Woodrow Wilson has adopted a go slow policy in regard to the war, and should be more reactive to the continued German torpedoing of American vessels. To President Wilson
You have sat on the fence for two years and a half,
Which from motives flnancial’s discreet,
You have prattled of right
And you’ve ta’en a delight,
ln telling the world you are too proud to fight,
Which is merely the Yank for “cold feet.”
You do not imagine that now you can start?
To dictate to us what we should do,
We will finish the Hun
With the bayonet and gun,
And you jolly well mind your own business my son,
We’re a little bit fed up with you.
John Tilliard Allman writes to his uncle in Orange:
I am having a pretty rotten time over here, what with the snow, and the cold… We have just finished a 16 days’ stunt…They say they are going to give us a spell after this next stunt, but I don’t believe it. It is dreadful to think the people of Australia voted No. it means that we shall have to keep going, without a chance of getting any help, and God knows, Jack old chap, we want help and want it badly. Jock Allman Wounded
French forces on the Western Front repulse the enemy in Maisons de Champagne, but lose a few trenches. They recapture Hill 304 at Verdun.
A spring thaw on the Eastern Front prevents fighting on large scale
Russian attacks on Magyaros Ridge in Moldavia fail
The Royal Australian Naval Bridging Train (RANBT) is officially disbanded. Formed in Melbourne in February 1915, the 1st RANBT was a horse drawn engineering unit attached to the Royal Naval Division serving as infantry on the Western Front. The train built jetties and berthing facilities at Gallipoli, and later served in the Suez Canal zone and Sinai. The men of this unit are transferred to the AIF, RAN, RN, or return to Australia for discharge.
British forces on the Western Front attack north-east of Bapaume and occupy villages north-east of Peronne
French troops reach St Gobain Forest and, north of Soissons, the Aisne-Oise Canal
Allied troops take 950 Turkish prisoners following two days’ fighting at Gaza
The Orange Red Cross Society sends clothing and magazines to Sydney for local boys at the front. Red Cross Society
91 men from Orange have presented for enlistment so far this year. 69 were successful; 22 were declared unfit. Recruiting – Enlistments for Orange
The Leader reports that the government will subsidise operations for men that are found to be unfit for military service due to minor ailment. Men With Minor Defects
Australian forces battle for control and eventually recapture the village of Lagnicourt in northern France from German forces. Captain Percy Herbert Cherry is awarded the Victoria Cross
The First Battle of Gaza is fought. This is the first of three Allied attempts to capture the main Turkish offensive position 32 kilometres inside the border of Palestine. The Allied strength includes two Australian Light Horse Brigades and the ANZAC Mounted Division under Major General Sir Harry Chauvel.
Ottoman officers who successfully defended Gaza during the first battle, 26 March 1917. Image courtesy American Colony Jerusalem.
A scene in Vaulx, showing wilful German destruction. The village was the battle headquarters of the 7th Infantry Brigade in the capture of Lagnicourt on 26 March 1917. Image courtesy Australian War Memorial.
Day 970 of the war
British troops on the Western Front take Roisel, east of Peronne, as the French occupy the right bank of Oise from north of Vaudreuil to La Fere and progress along the east bank of Ailette River.
The French government protests against the barbarity and devastation caused by the German army in evacuated French territory
Russian armies on the Eastern Front pledge loyalty to the new Provisional Government
Great Britain, France, Italy, the United States of America, Romania, and Switzerland formerly recognise the new Provisional Government in Russia. British Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, sends a telegram to Russian Prime Minister Lvov, declaring:
There is most profound satisfaction in Great Britain and the overseas Dominions that Russia stands with the nations which base their institutions on responsible government…We believe that the revolution…will be the greatest service yet performed for the Allied cause. There is [no] doubt that the revolution will result in the establishment of a stable constitutional Government, which will strengthen Russia in the resolve to prosecute the war until the last stronghold of tyranny has been destroyed and all free people will unite to attain in the future fraternity and peace.
British troops meet with increased enemy resistance from west of St Quentin to south of Arras, amid heavy snow storms on the Western Front