28 August 1914; Friday

Got up early and went to baths. Managed pretty well. Sleepy and busy at work. Finished pretty early. Naval Battle off Heligoland1  2. 3 German cruisers and 2 destroyers sunk. British losses slight, only 29 killed and 38 wounded. German losses very heavy. We heard this next day. A good deal of interest about the position of the British Army in France. We know it is very much at the * and there are rumours about their being cut off.

Germans destroy Louvain3.

  1. The Battle of Heligoland Bight, the first naval battle of the War: both sides maintained destroyer patrols on the German coast (the Bight), and the RN arranged this ambush; actually 3 German cruisers and 1 destroyer were sunk, and 1 RN cruiser and 3 destroyers. The Heligoland islands, originally Frisian, were acquired by Britain in 1814 from Denmark, and ceded to Germany in 1890 under the Heligoland-­Zanzibar Treaty, whereupon Germany fortified them. 

  2. See also note on 9 August 1914

  3. The burning of the university library is probably the best-known feature of the destruction of Louvain (now usually Leuven), but there was also determined street-fighting, and consequent reprisals, now featuring in a display in the bell-tower of the rebuilt library (as at 2019). A new library was built, 1921-27 (and again reconstructed post-WW2), in the Mgr. Ladeuzeplein, financed mainly but not entirely from the USA; many American donor universities’ and colleges’ names are engraved on the façade, and an uncompromising inscription to the effect that American money had repaired German destruction was averted only at a late stage by the university authorities. The bell-tower contains a peal of 48 bells, cast in London: one for each pre-1940 USA state.

    See also The Destruction of Louvain, 1914 at firstworldwar.com