6 August 1914; Thursday

Busy at the office. Got news of Belgium victory over Germans at Liege. A lot of guns captured & a tremendous slaughter. A German Cruiser King Louise1 sunk by destroyer Lance. Various rumours afloat. The town full of soldiers. Defences at Hendon being proceeded with. Ad Ahlers2 arrested. Received news of the birth of Hilda’s baby.

  1. King Louise: actually the Königin Luise, a minelayer and converted Hamburg – Holland ferry. The destroyer Lance (launched 1914, broken up 1921) fired the first British shot of the War at her as she (Königin Luise, camouflaged as a Great Eastern Railway steamer) was laying mines off Harwich and the Thames. Her captain scuttled her on realising he couldn’t escape; 46 out of 100 crew saved by RN ships. 

  2. Ad Ahlers: the New York Times of 10.12.1914 records that on 9 Dec., Nicholas Ahlers was convicted at Durham Assizes of high treason and condemned to death. He had been German Consul in Sunderland, was a naturalised British citizen, but had aided German reservists to rejoin their colours as war approached. Death was the only penalty available on conviction under the Edward III statute; but the Court of Appeal soon quashed the verdict. Ahlers then went to live in Surbiton, under the name Alfred Anderson – perhaps he was already known in Sunderland as ‘Alfred’ (abbreviated in writing to ‘Ad.’?) – but was interned in July 1915 when discovered to be receiving £10 a month from the German consul in Rotterdam. His naturalisation was revoked in March 1919, and he was deported to Germany in June 1919.