On Sunday, 28 June 1914 the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife Sophie were assassinated in Sarajevo by Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb nationalist. This incident lit the fuse that started the Great War. In what is probably one of history's most momentous events, the Archduke's chauffeur had missed his turn and driven the car down the wrong street right by the point where the would-be assassin just happened to be standing.
This event merely precipitated a conflict between the major European powers, which by then had already become inevitable. The main causes were the aspirations, fears and misunderstandings of Britain, France, Russia and Germany. All of them, in their different ways, considered that their vital interests were threatened.
Austria-Hungary blamed Serbia for the assassination and attacked on Tuesday, 28 July 1914. Russia came to the assistance of Serbia and Germany to that of Austria-Hungary. Germany then declared war on France because it was Russia's ally and Britain declared war on Germany when it invaded Belgium and Luxembourg on its advance towards Paris. Consequently, the date when the Great War (World War One) actually started was the 28 July 1914, although Britain was not involved for another seven days when Germany violated Belgian neutrality.
The British declaration of war on Germany was on Tuesday, 04 August 1914 at 23:00 (11:00pm, midnight in Berlin) and it ended 4 years and 99 days later with an Armistice, which came into effect on Monday, 11 November 1918 at 11:00 (11:00am).
At the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, the Treaty of Versailles ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on Saturday, 28 June 1919, five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The negotiations took place in the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles. The treaty became effective on Saturday, 10 January 1920 following its ratification by the governments concerned, namely: Germany (Central Power), France, British Empire, Italy, United States of America and Japan (Allied Powers). Other treaties resulting from the Paris Peace Conference were: St Germain (Austria), Trianon (Hungary), Neuilly (Bulgaria) and Sèvres (Turkey/Turkish Empire), all Central Powers. The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was a separate treaty signed on the 3 March 1918 between the new Soviet Government of Russia and the Central Powers.
Abridged Timeline of the Great War
Lord Palmerston, British Foreign Secretary. Senfft von Pilsach, Austrian Minister. H. Sebastiani, French Minister. Gabriele von Bulow, Prussian Minister Carlo Andrea Pozzo di Borgo, Russian Diplomat. Sylvan van de Weyer, Belgium Ambassador to Britain.On Tue, 4 August 1914 the German Chancellor, Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg, described the Treaty of London as “a scrap of paper” in his final meeting with the British Ambassador to Germany, Sir Edward Goschen.
|No. 1220 Fighting Platoon of the 3/9th Battalion, Manchester Regiment. 10830 Private Nathan Marlor of Denton is on the third row from the front, second from the right.
Nathan Marlor enlisted on the 7 September 1914 and he served in France where he entered the theatre of war on the 8 November 1915. In February 1916 a gas shell affected his eyesight and on the 1 July 1916 he received gunshot wounds to his head and shoulder. After receiving hospital treatment in Lichfield he was posted back to France where he joined the 1/7th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment. He was then attached to the 126th Trench Mortar Brigade after which he joined the 1/10th Battalion where he received further injuries causing him to be transferred to the 8th Reserve Battalion and later to hospital for treatment. Finally, as a result of his injuries, he joined the 512th Home Service Company, Labour Corps, with 623821 as his new number. He served in the Labour Corps for the remainder of the war and was discharged on the 26 February 1919.
|Charles Edward Marlor enlisted with the Ashton Territorials (9th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment) on Saturday, 10 October 1914 and he was allocated service number, 2322.
By Sunday, 5 December 1915 he had been promoted to the rank of Corporal.
He was posted to Egypt and his entry into a theatre of war was on Monday, 5 July 1915 and his medal card shows that this was Theatre 2b, which was the Balkans including the Gallipoli peninsular in Turkey. Following the allied withdrawal from Gallipoli at the end of 1915 he was posted to France.
At the beginning of 1917 Territorial soldiers were allocated new six-digit service numbers and his was 350735.
The War Diary of the 1/6th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment for February 1918 records that a draft of men were arriving from the 1/9th Battalion. It seem that the 1/9th and the 2/9th were merged and this produced a surplus of men who were transferred to the 6th Battalion. It must have been around this time (February 1918) that Charles Edward Marlor was transferred from the 9th to the 2/6th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment.
He was serving with the 2/6th Battalion when he was killed. The circumstances are that the Allied Fifth Army, of which the Manchester Regiment was a part, was driven back across the former Somme battlefields during March and April 1918.
Surviving records concerning his death conflict. His medal card states that he was killed in action between the 21 and 31 March 1918. In contrast to this, the Record of Soldiers who died in the Great War states that he died of wounds on the 26 March 1918. This conflicts with him having no known grave. This suggests two possibilities, the first being considered to be the most likely.
Charles is the son of Edward Marlor and Catherine Corless of Denton, Manchester.
|33474 Guardsman Samuel Marlor of the Grenadier Guards.
He was born in Haughton in 1884 and he is the son of Edward Marlor and Catherine Corless who were married at Christ Church, Heaton Norris, Stockport, in 1864. He survived the war and married Annie Davies at St Mark’s Church, Dukinfield, in 1921. By the outbreak of war he was resident on Ashton Road, Denton.
|580708 Private Samuel Marlor of the Labour Corps, formerly 33870 of the 1st Battalion, Border Regiment.
He was born in Denton in 1894 and he is the son of Frank Marlor and Martha Harrison who were married in Ashton-under-Lyne in 1891. He survived the war and married Ellen Brook at St Lawrence’s Church, Denton, in 1923. He was resident on Stockport Road, Denton.
|14959 (late B/916) Serjeant Thomas Callaghan MM of the 62nd Company, Machine Gun Corps (late of the Rifle Brigade).
He was the killed in action on the 7 October 1917, aged 38 years, and is buried in the Godewaersvelde British Cemetery, France.
At the outbreak of war he was a time-expired professional soldier who felt that it was his duty to re-join the army. During the interim he lived and worked in Denton, Manchester.
He is the son of Thomas and Catherine Callaghan and the husband of Mary A Callaghan. His brother, 2543 Private Edward Callaghan of the 1st Battalion, Manchester Regiment, died of his wounds in France on the 12 June 1915, aged 44 years, and is buried in La Gorgue Cemetery, France.
|T/577 Staff Serjeant John Kemp of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps.
He was born in Denton in 1892 and he is the son of John Kemp and Fanny Buckley who were married at Christ Church, Denton, in 1885. He survived the war although wounded in the thigh by a German sniper. He married Eva Burke at Christ Church in 1917 and was resident on Seymour Street, Denton.
|70243 (also 1008305) Driver Frank Grimshaw who served with the Royal Field Artillery. He enlisted at Ashton-under-Lyne on the 9 January 1915 for 3-years Army Service and 9-years Reserve Service.
He survived the war and was discharged as physically unfit on the 8 April 1921.
He was born in Audenshaw in 1896 and he is the son of Charles Grimshaw and Ellen Campbell, who were married at St Mary’s Church, Droylsden, in 1895. He survived the war and he married Miriam Kay at St Mary’s Church in 1921.
|7682 Private Harold Percy Saxton of the 2nd Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers.
He was wounded in action in November 1914 and he died 13 months and five days later in Netley Military Hospital (Royal Victoria Military Hospital) near Southampton on the 19 December 1915, aged 33 years. He is buried in Denton Cemetery.
He was awarded the 1914 Star (Mons Star) and Clasp. The bronze clasp (bar) was attached to the ribbon of the 1914 Star and it bore the inscription ‘5th Aug.-22nd Nov. 1914’. A silver rosette confirmed entitlement to this clasp when ribbons alone were worn. Recipients served under fire of the enemy in France and Belgium between the 5 August 1914 and midnight on the 22/23 November 1914.
He is the son of John James Saxton and Lydia Poxon of Two Trees Lane, Denton. At the outbreak of war he was a reservist professional soldier and in civilian life he worked in the drawing office of the engineering firm of Kendal and Ghent in Gorton.
|4912 Private David Saxton of the 10th Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers.
He was killed in action on the 27 June 1916, aged 32 years, and he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, France.
He is the son of John James Saxton and Lydia Poxon of Two Trees Lane, Denton. He lived on Grafton Street, Hyde, with his wife, Bertha Reece, and their two children. He is the brother of the above Private Harold Percy Saxton. A third brother, Private John William Saxton, survived the war.
|Front row, left to right: Three first cousins, Ronald Woolfenden MM, Frank Woolfenden and Edward Woolfenden.
Back row, left to right: Robert Schofield Hopwood Woolfenden, Joseph Woolfenden and James Henry Woolfenden.
The Woolfenden family of Dane Bank, Denton, were associated with J Woolfenden & Co, Silk & Felt Hat Manufacturers.
PS/5969 Private Ronald Woolfenden MM of the 20th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers.
He entered the theatre of war in France on the 14 November 1915 and he died of wounds on the 18 August 1916, aged 21 years. He is buried in Daours Communal Cemetery, France.
He is the son of Robert Schofield Hopwood Woolfenden and Lillie Bell.
PS/7907 Private Frank Woolfenden of the Royal Fusiliers.
He is the son of James Henry Woolfenden and Eva Salkeld and he survived the war.
8983 Private Edward Woolfenden of the Manchester Regiment who was transferred to the Royal Defence Corps with Service Number 89171. He is the son of Joseph Woolfenden and Emma Taylor and he survived the war.
|PS/5969 Private Ronald Woolfenden MM of the 20th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers.|
|Second Lieutenant Russell Willis who served with the York and Lancaster Regiment but was attached to the 1st Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment.
He was killed in action on the 25 October 1914, aged 19 years, and was buried in the Pont-du-Hem Military Cemetery, France. Grave Ref. X.G.3.
Lieutenant Willis was part of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) and he disembarked in France on the 30 September 1914. He was posthumously awarded the 1914 Star (Mons Star).
He is the son of William Willis and Anne Maria Lightfoot of Dawlish Road, Wallasey, Cheshire, and he was born in Denton in 1894. William Willis was the headmaster of the Russell Scott Memorial School in Denton for many years.
|295206 Petty Officer Stoker Elijah Stopford of the Royal Navy ship H.M.S. Circe.
He was drowned in the North Sea near Aberdeen on the 8 December 1915, aged 33 years, and is buried in Hyde Cemetery.
He is the son of John Stopford and Sarah Ellen Batty and he was resident on George Street West, Hyde, Cheshire (no longer extant), with his wife, Maria Oldham, and young son, Wilfred.
H.M.S. Circe was built in 1892 as a torpedo boat and by the outbreak of war she had been converted into a mine sweeper. She was one of five ships in the Alarm Class, the other four being Speedy, Hebe, Jason and Leda.
|841297 Private Ellis Yates of the 42nd Battalion. Canadian Infantry.
He was killed in action on the 9 April 1917, aged 29 years, on first day of the Battle of Arras. He had enlisted in the Canadian Army and Canadian troops fought in the Battle of Vimy Ridge, the most crucial offensive of the Battle of Arras, during which the Canadians suffered over 10,000 casualties. He is commemorated on the Vimy Memorial, France.
Ellis Yates was born in Denton in 1887 and he is the son of Abel Yates (1850-1891) and Eliza Ann Wood (1854- ) who were married at St Paul’s Church, Stalybridge, in 1873. In 1911 he and his brother Thomas were boarding with the Holt family on Seymour Street, Denton, and both of them were employed in the hatting industry. At some point after 1911 he emigrated to Canada where he enlisted in the Canadian Army at the outbreak of war in 1914.
|2856 Joseph Nadin of the 1st Battalion, King’s Royal Rifle Corps.
He died of wounds on the 20 May 1915, aged 40 years, and he is buried in Chocques Military Cemetery, France.
Joseph Nadin was born in Ashton-under-Lyne in 1875 and he is the son of Samuel Henry Nadin and Hannah Maria Slater who were married at St Michael’s Church, Ashton-under-Lyne, in 1872. He married Mary Woolley at St Michael’s Church in 1894. In 1911 he was resident on Town Lane, Dukinfield, employed as a coal miner. Later, his widow was resident on Birch Lane, Dukinfield.
|Right, 300620 (late 2835) Private Alexander ‘Alex’ Whitehead and, left, an unknown soldier of the 1/8th Battalion, Manchester Regiment.
He was born in Bradford, Manchester, in 1897 and he is the son of James Whitehead and Jane Whiteley who were married at St Silas’s Church, Ardwick, in 1886. He survived the war and married Harriet Lomas at Christ Church, Bradford-with-Beswick, in 1919.
|An unidentified corporal and private serving with the Manchester Regiment|
|Two soldiers serving with the South Lancashire Regiment. The seated soldier is Albert Braddock of Manchester, but the identity of the other soldier is unknown.
Both were professional soldiers and this photograph was taken prior to the outbreak of the war while they were serving in India. It was taken by N D Batra at Quetta.
3644831 (late 15195) Private Albert Braddock served during the Great War and in 1919 he was awarded a medal for serving on the North West Frontier in India.
|An unidentified serjeant serving with the Manchester Regiment.
He was a professional soldier and this photograph was taken prior to the outbreak of the war while he was serving in India. It was taken by S. Dhundjeebhoy at Trimulgherry.
As a professional soldier, it is possible that he was in the British Expeditionary Force (the Old Contemptibles), which went to France shortly after the commencement of hostilities.
|201627 Private George Norman H 'Norman' Watson who served with the 3/4th Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment.
Aged 19 years, he enlisted at Leicester on the 12 October 1915 and on the 22 October 1915 he was posted to Belton Park for basic training.
He survived the war in spite of being wounded and sent back to the front.
|A group of soldiers serving with 'B' Company of the 1/6th Battalion, Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment).
Back row, left to right: Alfred Arnold Simpson, Joseph Wainwright Waterhouse, George Barnes, James Edward Hamer, and Christopher Niven.
Middle row, left to right: Albert Richardson, George Henry Waterhouse, Harry Gordon Benstead and Joseph Barnes.
Front row: Crouching, Arthur Marchington, and, seated, the gentleman with whom they were billeted.
It is likely that the photograph was taken somewhere in Luton in late September or early October 1914 before the 1/6th Battalion left for France in February 1915.
|Commemorative photograph for Private Edgar Wilks Thorp, who was killed in action at Gallipoli on the 15 October 1915, aged 36 years.
22961 Private Edgar Wilks Thorp, 9th Battalion, Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment), son of John and Lavinia Thorp of Shipley, Yorkshire, husband of Ann Thorp née Longson of Brierley Green, Bugsworth. Buried at Green Hill Cemetery, Turkey, Reference I.C.1.
From left to right, Edgar, Elizabeth Ann, Phyllis, Marion, John Joseph, Gladys, May, Leslie (in his mother's arms) and Ann, widow of Edgar Wilks Thorp.
The couple were married in the Chapel-en-le-Frith District in 1905.