Annie and William Patteson of Lords Place receive letters from their sons George and William, who recently bumped into each other on the Western Front. William complains that the last shipment of mail from home was lost when the SS Mongolia was torpedoed:
This is very bad news for us, as the mail days are looked forward to with interest, more than anything else. We would sooner miss pay day than lose our mail.
A piece of shell took a liking to half one side of my nose, and took it straight off. It was the right side of my nose and top lip that got hit. It is nothing serious. About eight weeks in this hospital will do me the world of good.
I didn’t think it was as cold at the North Pole as it is in Flanders… the food used to be frozen. We had to break it with our bayonets, and it crackled when we chewed it. We had to breathe on the jam before eating it; even then it made our teeth ache. I had an onion one day, and, being such a watery thing, it was a block of ice. I had to break it with a stone before I could do anything with it. We had to sit on our water bottles, or we should have had nothing to drink.
I am not having as bad a time at the front as you would think. We are in the trenches a good deal, and we are advancing at a good pace, so that makes it better for us; it breaks the monotony… I am lucky to get paper to write to you, as we are advancing so fast that it is impossible for the transports to get supplies to us.
King George V decrees that members of his family with a German surname are to adopt a British one. Those bearing the surname Teck adopt the surname Cambridge; those named Battenberg become Mountbatten.
British troops on the Western Front advance at Arras
Italian troops on the Southern Front continue their offensive on the Asiago plateau, gaining ground on Mount Ortigara
General Sir Arthur William Currie is appointed commander of Canadian troops in France
General Sir Arthur William Currie, Commander of Canadian troops in France, June 1917. Image courtesy Library and Archives Canada.
Wreckage of German Navy zeppelin L-48, Harwich, 17 June 1917. Image in public domain.
In the early hours of the morning two German Navy zeppelins raid London and southern England. L-42 bombs Ramsgate, igniting a munitions dump and destroying the naval base. Three civilians and two Royal Navy personnel are killed; 14 civilians are injured. The L-42 escapes and returns to Germany. L-48 bombs open countryside outside Harwich before being shot down by Lieutenant LP Watkins, a Canadian Army officer attached to No 37 Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps. 14 of the 17 men on board are killed, another is fatally injured. Among the dead is Viktor Schütze, the deputy commander of the German Naval Airship Service.
The Corpo Expedicionario Portugues (CEP) [Portuguese Expeditionary Corps] sees their first action on the Western Front. 50,000 Portuguese soldiers would serve in WWI; 7,000 of whom would die in battle. The Forgotten Ally – Portugal in WWI
German troops capture French trenches on the Western Front near Hurtebise
Allied forces repulse Austrian attacks on Asiago Plateau and Vodice near Trentino
The Petrograd Soviet Assembly meeting, 1917. Image in public domain.
The First All-Russian Congress of Soviet Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies opens in Petrograd. 1,090 predominantly pro-government delegates attend the congress which continues until 7 July. The Congress votes 543 to 126 to support the Provisional Government.
The Leader suggests that an avenue of trees be planted at the entrance of Orange to commemorate the district’s war dead. Remembrance Avenue
Mrs Helena Irwin unveils a polished oak tablet on which are inscribed the names of Orange High School teachers and former pupils who have enlisted. Three of Mrs Irwin’s sons have volunteered for service; only two would return. Roll of Honour Unveiled at Orange High School
Norbert Ambrose Gahan returns to Orange following nine months’ overseas service. He says that if he is no longer fit for active service he intends to work in an English munitions factory. Home Again
Portrait of King Constantine I of Greece, Philip de László, April 1914. Image in public domain.
The Battle of Messines ends on the Western Front; nine men from the Orange district have died during the week-long conflict
An H12 Flying Boat from the Royal Naval Air Station at Felixstowe shoots down the German zeppelin L-43 over the North Sea
King Constantine of Greece abdicates. The King and his queen, Sophie of Prussia, leave Greece for exile in neutral Switzerland. King Constantine is succeeded by his second-born son, Alexander, a supporter of the decidedly pro-Allied Eleftherios Venizelos. The King proclaims:
Yielding to necessity, accomplishing my duty towards Greece, and having in view only the interests of the country, I am leaving my dear country with the Crown Prince, leaving my son Alexander on the throne.
Still, when far from Greece, the queen and I will always preserve the same love for the Hellenic people. I beg all to accept my decision calmly and quietly, trusting in God, whose protection I invoke for the nation.
In order that my bitter sacrifice for my country may not be in vain, I exhort you, for the love of God, for the love of our country, if you love me, to maintain perfect order and quiet discipline, the slightest lapse from which, even though well-intentioned, might be enough to cause a great catastrophe.
The love and devotion which you have always manifested for the queen and myself, in days of happiness and sorrow alike, are a great consolation to us at the present, time. May God protect Greece.