British troops on the Western Front advance south-east and east of Peronne, occupying 40 more villages
Russian soldiers in western Persia continue to pursue the Turks from Sakiz towards Kermanshah
The American oil tanker SS Healdton, bound from Philadelphia to Rotterdam, is sunk without warning by a German submarine in the North Sea, despite being inside the safe channel established by Germany for neutral ships. 21 of the 41 crew die. The Loss of the Healdton
Lieutenant Frank Hubert McNamara of the Australian Flying Corps No 1 Squadron rescues a downed comrade in Palestine and becomes the first Australian airman to win a Victoria Cross
Retreating German soldiers blow up the historic ruins of Chateau de Coucy, built in the 1220s
British forces on the Western Front advance towards Cambrai and St Quentin capturing a further 14 villages
Alexandre Félix Joseph Ribot is appointed Prime Minister of France
The German U-boat UC-66 torpedoes the British hospital ship Asturias near Bolt Head, Devon. The Asturias is en route to Southampton when she is torpedoed without warning, having just discharged 1,000 wounded men from the Western Front to Avonmouth. 31 people are killed; a further 11 go missing. In November 1916 the Asturias transported the then unknown Lieutenant JRR Tolkien, a victim of trench fever, from France to hospital in England. HMHS Asturias
Campbell Joseph Edwards, a labourer from East Orange, describes the stopovers in Durban, Cape Town and Cape de Verde on the voyage to England. He is given four days’ leave shortly after arrival, which he uses to explore the sights of London. In England
Arnold Cassin Caldwell, a draughtsman with the Land Board Office in Orange, provides an insight into daily life at Perham Downs training camp on the Salisbury Plains. He says:
We are just beginning to settle down to life here, which is hardly a bed of roses, but we are making the best of it… The ground is frozen all day long, and we have to break the ice to wash in the mornings. Soldiers’ Letters – With The Engineers
Ernest William Lee of Blayney depicts the Battle of Rafa in Sinai in great detail. Bloomfield farmer, James Stuart McLean, informs his mother that he has sent her some souvenirs from the Western Front, including a small organ bellows from the ruined cathedral in Ypres. In Sinai – Clearing Out The Turks From Rafa
Sir Frederick Stanley Maude leads the Indian Army into Baghdad, 11 March 1917. Image courtesy Sir Stanley Maude and Other Memories.
One week after the British Army’s occupation of Baghdad, Lieutenant General Frederick Stanley Maude delivers The Proclamation of Baghdad, promising freedom for the Arab race. He declares:
Our armies do not come into your cities and lands as conquerors or enemies, but as liberators…It is the wish not only of my King and his peoples, but it is also the wish of the great nations with whom he is in alliance, that you should prosper even as in the past, when your lands were fertile, when your ancestors gave to the world literature, science, and art, and when Baghdad city was one of the wonders of the world.
Allied forces on the Western Front capture a further 40 villages; a total of 170 villages have been taken in the last three days
German submarine U-64 torpedoes the French battleship Danton torpedoed in the Mediterranean Sea 35 kilometres off the coast of Sardinia. 806 men are rescued; 296 men, including the captain go down with the ship.
The Russian Provisional Government announces amnesty for political prisoners
British troops on the Western Front occupy Chaulnes and Peronne; they advance along a 72 kilometre front from Chaulnes to Arras
French soldiers occupy Chauny, Noyon, Nesle and Guiscard and advance along a 64 kilometre front
German forces launch heavy attack against Avocourt-Mort Homme sector at Verdun
After five days’ fighting on the Southern Front French soldiers capture 1,200 Bulgarians, 1.5 kilometres of trenches and the village of Svegovo, north of Monastir
Russian soldiers enter the city of Van in Armenia
German submarines attack three American steamers. The City of Memphis is sunk by gunfire from SM UC-66 south of Fastnet, Ireland; all 57 people aboard survive. The Illinois is torpedoed in the English Channel, also without casualty. SM U-70 torpedoes the Vigilancia west of the Scilly Islands, with the loss of 15 lives.
Australian soldiers occupy Bapaume on the Western Front, as the British capture Fresnes and several nearby villages, and the French capture Roye and Lassigny; all of which had been German-occupied for the last two years
Allied aircraft bomb Frankfurt in retaliation to the wanton German destruction of French towns and villages. As a reprisal the Germans move many Allied prisoners of war closer to the front, placing them in range of artillery fire.
Five German airships raid Kent inflicting minimal damage and no casualties. On her return trip to Germany L-39 is shot down at Compiegne in France with the loss of the entire crew.
British troops in Mesopotamia continue their advance; they are now almost 60 kilometres north of Baghdad
Russian Provisional Government, March 1917, Jakov Vladimirovic Stejnberg. Image in public domain.
Tsar Nicholas II abdicates, ending the 300 rule of the House of Romanov. A new democratically minded Provisional Government is established with Prince Georgy Yevgenyevich Lvov appointed as Prime Minister, Paul Nikolayevich Milyukov as Foreign Minister and General Alexander Ivanovich Guchkov the Minister for War. The new government pledges to bring order to the chaos created by the old government, and seeks the full cooperation of the people and army. Great Britain, France, the United States, and Italy rush to recognise the new government in the hope Russia will stay in the war and maintain its extensive presence on the Eastern Front.
British and Australian troops on the Western Front progress on a four kilometre front between St Pierre Vaast Wood and Saillisel, as German soldiers attack east of Achiet-le-Petit
German forces continue their withdrawal to the Siegfried Stellung (the Hindenburg Line), employing a scorched earth policy in their wake
British troops in Mesopotamia take Mushaidiya, forcing the Turks to retreat further north along the Tigris River
Revolutionary activity continues in Petrograd. The Prime Minister, Prince Nikolai Dmitriyevich Golitsyn, and the Minister for War, General Mikhail Belyaev resign. The Duma (Russian State Assembly) appeals to the people of Petrograd to not damage public service buildings or harm the property of other citizens. Russia Before the 1917 Revolution
British troops on the Western Front occupy Loupart Wood and Grevillers and German soldiers retreat east and north-east of Gommecourt
German forces attempt to retake Hill 185; they fail
Bulgarian troops on the Eastern Front bombard Galatz from the Danube River
William Poole of the 10th Light Horse regiment thanks Marjorie Eslick, a student at Gosling Creek School, for the balaclava he received for Christmas. Letter from a Soldier
Entire regiments of Russian soldiers in Petrograd mutiny and join the many thousands of protesters in the streets. Within 24 hours the entire army garrison – some 150,000 men – join the uprising, demanding a new constitutional government. Russian Army Lends Support to Rebels in February Revolution
German submarine SM U-62 torpedoes without warning the American cargo boat SS Algonquin in the Atlantic Ocean 120km west of the Isles of Scilly. The crew survive.
The United States government announces that all American merchant vessels in the war zone will now be armed
Representatives of Britain and France assemble in London to discuss relations between their respective commanders on the Western Front