This Day In History

1704 War of the Spanish Succession. Anglo-Dutch fleet under Admiral George Rooke, in which detachments of Saunderson’s Regiment (later 30th Foot and then 1st East Lancashires) are serving as Marines, completes the capture of Gibraltar from Spain. The Rock is then ceded to Britain when the Peace of Utrecht brings the war to an end in 1713.
1914
During the morning, German troops invade neutral Belgium. At 2 pm Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey instructs the British Ambassador in Berlin to tell the German Government that unless an assurance to respect Belgian neutrality is received by midnight Central European Time (11 pm in Britain), a state of war would exist between the two countries. At 7 pm the 1st East, 2nd South, and 1st Loyal North Lancashire Regiments are ordered to mobilise and prepare to deploy to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force - the Old Contemptibles. At 10.45 pm the King convenes the Privy Council in Buckingham Palace for the purpose of authorising the declaration of war. They wait until 11 pm, and when Big Ben strikes the hour, the country is at war. The vast crowd which has gathered outside Buckingham Palace cheers wildly. 
 
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The 1914 Christmas Truces

The unofficial truces which broke out all along the Western Front at Christmas 1914, the first Christmas of the war, have grown in myth and legend in the 100 years since, no doubt because people desperately seek any signs of grace and compassion in that most terrible of wars.

It has been estimated that over 100,000 men from both sides took part in the spontaneous events. Three of our antecedent battalions were on the Western Front at the time –  the 1st and 2nd East Lancashires, and the 1st Loyal North Lancashires – with the 1st East Lancashires being most directly involved.

On the 100th anniversary, our good friends at the Lancashire Evening Post newspaper told their story. Please click on the pictures below to get the full articles, reproduced here by kind permission of the Editor.

 

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