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Richmond WW1 Diary 27 March 1917

British defeat at Gaza The First Battle of Gaza was the first attempt by the Allies to advance south into Ottoman territory. Fighting took place around the town of Gaza on the Mediterranean coast. The British forces were close to capturing the town when the order came to withdraw, as it was feared huge Ottoman…

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Richmond WW1 Diary 11 March 1917

British forces take Baghdad In the Spring of 1917, there was much attention on the war in the Middle East. At the start of the First World War, the Ottoman Empire covered vast territories in the Middle East, including parts of modern day Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, Palestine/Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. The heart of…

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Richmond WW1 Diary 13 February 1917

Death of Edward Tompkins, one of The Alberts dead Edward Tompkins was a Private in the 1/5 Battalion, Middlesex Regiment.   Before the war he had been a painter, living with three younger brothers and one sister. The census listed Edward as head of the household, which likely meant their parents had died. We do not know…

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Richmond WW1 Diary 10 February 1917

Poor children & orphans Local children’s lives were inevitably affected by the war. Although many of them experienced the loss of a male relative over the next years, not all aspects of the war had a negative impact. One surprising outcome was that the number of extremely poor and malnourished children actually decreased. As public…

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Richmond WW1 Diary 1 February 1917

Germany’s unrestricted submarine warfare campaign begins In January 1917, Germany renewed its policy of unrestricted submarine warfare. The policy had been abandoned in 1915 after the sinking of the Lusitania, which had caused an international outcry. This was a particular concern since the ship had sailed from New York with hundreds of American citizens onboard,…

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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…