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Richmond WW1 Diary 19 January 1917

Venesta factory explosion At about 7pm on January 19 a massive explosion in a munitions factory in Silvertown, West Ham, killed 73 people. Many of the workers killed were women, ‘munitionettes’ who had volunteered to do their bit to support the war effort. The explosion happened after the day shift had ended; had it been…

Black & White postcard showing the entrance building to the South African Hospital

Richmond WW1 Diary 6 January 1917

The South African Military Hospital Visitors enjoying the tranquillity of Richmond Park are seldom aware that there was once a large military hospital within the park, not far from Star and Garter Gate. Today the only traces of the South African Military Hospital are some of its foundations, sometimes visible in the winter months. South…

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Richmond WW1 Diary 23 December 1916

Christmas “It is not a time for fasting and rejoicing on the scale of former years …” (Richmond & Twickenham Times, 23 December 1916) As Christmas 1916 approached in Richmond, the mood was sombre. There seemed little to celebrate in the aftermath of the Somme, and little to spare anyway. The newspapers reported on the…

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Richmond WW1 Diary 9 December 1916

Fundraising for Christmas The Saturday edition of the Richmond & Twickenham Times on 9 December 1916 was backing the campaign for the Christmas Comforts Fund. The fund provided Christmas gifts to the wounded servicemen in hospitals around Richmond. Nearly 1,400 gifts had already been supplied to the Star & Garter Home, Richmond Military Hospital, the…

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Richmond WW1 Diary 7 December 1916

Lloyd George becomes new UK Prime Minister Nationally, the mood of popular support for the war in Britain changed following the Battle of the Somme. As the casualty figures – one million British Empire dead – began to emerge, rumours of poor leadership grew. Discontent led to the then Prime Minister, Herbert Asquith, being forced…

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Richmond WW1 Diary 21 November 1916

Death of Franz Josef I Franz Josef, ruler of Austria-Hungary, had ruled an empire that included Bohemia (modern Czech Republic) Austria, Hungary, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and parts of Italy, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia and Ukraine. His heir was his nephew, Franz Ferdinand, whose assassination sparked the war. By the time of Franz…

Postcard showing buildings along the lakefront and a steamer boat

Richmond WW1 Diary 18 November 1916

The situation in Constance (Konstanz) Constance, Germany, was a small garrison town on the shores of Lake Constance, on the border with Switzerland. In August 1914 it hosted the last European Peace Conference before the continent and the world erupted into war. As elsewhere across Europe, Germany suffered from severe food shortages. Things were worse…