The Great War Timeline

This timeline details the main events and phases of the Great War as well as the political ones surrounding it. It has three groupings, the ‘Western Front’, the ‘Eastern Front’ and ‘Elsewhere’ to reflect both where most soldiers were involved in fighting and that it was truly a global conflict. Added in italics are the main incidents that happened to just one soldier as an invitation for the reader to remember that the conflict involved millions of separate individuals.

Timeline Key: Western Front - Eastern Front - Elsewhere

  • Timeline 1914

    28 JuneArchduke Francis Ferdinand assassinated at Sarajevo

    5 JulyKaiser William II promised German support for Austria against Serbia

    28 JulyAustria declared war on Serbia

    1 AugustGermany declared war on Russia

    3 AugustGermany declared war on France and invaded Belgium

    4 AugustBritain declared war on Germany

    5 AugustJoe Garvey and other Guards reservists called up, forming the British Expeditionary Force (BEF)

    14 AugustJoe Garvey, 1st Scots Guards, BEF arrived at Le Harve

    24 AugustThe British Expeditionary Force started its retreat from Mons. Germany invaded France.

    Battle of Tannenberg (Russian army defeated by 30 August)

    5 SeptemberBattle of the Marne started (Ended 12 September)

    8 SeptemberRussian army defeated at Masurian Lakes (by 13 September)

    13 SeptemberBattle of the Aisne (Ended 28 September) (BEF)

    18 OctoberFirst Battle of Ypres (BEF)

    29 OctoberTurkey entered the war on Germany’s side.

    Trench warfare started to dominate the Western Front.

    Joe Garvey captured at Ypres, POW at Schneidemühl till August 1918

  • Timeline 1915

    19 JanuaryThe first Zeppelin raid on Britain took place

    19 FebruaryBritain bombarded Turkish forts in the Dardanelles.

    Joe Garvey contracts typhus fever, eventually recovered and spent the next four years as a POW either in camp or on working commandos

    22 April to 25 MaySecond Battle of Ypres

    25 AprilAllied troops landed in Gallipoli (Finally leaving on 9 January 1916)

    7 MayThe RMS Lusitania was sunk by a German U-boat

    23 MayItaly declared war on Germany and Austria

    5 AugustThe Germans captured Warsaw from the Russians

    25 SeptemberStart of the Battle of Loos, France (Ended 13 October)

    19 DecemberThe Allies started the evacuation of Gallipoli

  • Timeline 1916

    27 JanuaryConscription introduced in Britain

    21 FebruaryStart of the Battle of Verdun (Ended 16 December)

    29 AprilBritish forces surrendered to Turkish forces at Kut in Mesopotamia

    31 MayBattle of Jutland

    4 JuneStart of the Brusilov Offensive

    1 JulyStart of the Battle of the Somme (Ended 18 November)

    10 AugustEnd of the Brusilov Offensive

    15 SeptemberFirst use of tanks in large numbers at the Somme

  • Timeline 1917

    1 FebruaryGermany's unrestricted submarine warfare campaign started

    6 AprilUSA declared war on Germany (AEF first participated at the front in late October)

    16 AprilFrance launched an unsuccessful offensive on the Western Front

    31 JulyStart of the Third Battle at Ypres (Passchendaele)

    24 OctoberBattle of Caporetto (also known as the Twelfth Battle of the Isonzo or the Battle of Karfreit) – the Italian Army was heavily defeated by 19 November

    6 NovemberBritain launched a major offensive on the Western Front

    20 NovemberBritish tanks won a victory at Cambrai

    5 DecemberArmistice between Germany and Russia signed

    9 DecemberBritain captured Jerusalem from the Turks

  • Timeline 1918

    3 MarchThe Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was signed between Russia and Germany

    21 MarchGermany broke through on the Somme

    29 MarchMarshall Foch was appointed Allied Commander on the Western Front

    9 AprilGermany started a major offensive in Flanders

    MayJoe Garvey is shot by a sentry and court-martialled.

    July 15thSecond Battle of the Marne started. Beginning of the collapse of the German army

    August 8thStart of Battle of Amiens, opening phase of the Allied offensive on the Western Front that ultimately led to victory

    Joe Garvey transferred to officers’ camp, Dänholm Island, Stralsund

    September 19thTurkish forces collapsed at Megiddo

    October 4thGermany asked the Allies for an armistice

    October 29thGermany's navy mutinied

    October 30thTurkey made peace

    November 3rdAustria made peace

    November 9thKaiser William II abdicated

    November 11thGermany signed an armistice with the Allies – the official date of the end of World War One

    DecemberJoe Garvey repatriated to Britain

  • Timeline 1919 (post-war)

    January 4thPeace conference met at Paris

    JanuaryJoe Garvey demobbed and returned to civilian life as postman

    June 21stThe surrendered German naval fleet at Scapa Flow was scuttled.

    June 28thThe Treaty of Versailles signed by Germany

Positions - 1st Battle of Ypres

Menin Gate Memorial

The curved ceiling of the Menin Gate Memorial with the rebuilt town in the distance.

Pte A. Stringer’s grave in Perth Cemetery (China Wall)

Menin Gate Panel 11

A detail of Panel 11 of the Memorial with Joe’s friend Fellowes among those without a grave.

Army map of 1st Ypres October, 1914

Army map of 1st Ypres 29th October, 1914 – source, copy in the 'In Flanders Fields Museum', with permission. Where Joseph Garvey was captured is circled.

The Scots Guards Listed on Panel 11 on the Menin Gate

The Scots Guards are listed on Panel 11 on the Menin Gate. Just some of the 58,000 fallen who could not be identified.