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Richmond WW1 Diary 7 June 1917

Messines ridge destroyed | On 17 June 1917 a huge underground explosion destroyed the German-held Messines ridge south of Ypres. British, Australian and Canadian miners had worked for a year to dig tunnels and place 600 tonnes of explosives. Some 10,000 German soldiers were killed instantly and the blast was heard as far away as…

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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 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…

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Richmond WW1 Diary 28 October 1916

German Prisoners The Richmond & Twickenham Times reported a group of German prisoners had been spotted at Richmond station. They had been discharged from local hospitals and, recovered from their wounds, were on their way to prisoner-of-war camps. Although their uniforms were noted to be “stained” and the men generally in poor shape, the article…

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Richmond WW1 Diary 20 July 1916

Wounded Germans Before the start of the war, relations between Britain and Germany and their citizens had been good, not least because the British and German royal families were related. But after the outbreak of war, Germans living in London found their homes and businesses under attack, as people were over-whelmed by pro-war frenzy. However,…

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Richmond WW1 Diary 21 February 1916

Start of the Battle of Verdun  The Verdun Offensive was an attempt by the Germans to end the stalemate with France. An area of barely 10 square kilometres, Verdun was perceived as the gateway to France. Considered one of the longest battles in history, it lasted from 21 February 1916 to 19 December 1916, resulting in…