Tag Archives: Russia

Diary entries which mention aspects of Russia’s involvement in the War.

23 August 1915; Monday

Had drill after dinner. Had to wash out rooms first thing and only paraded at 7 and 10. Inspected by General of Northern Command in the morning. Out with Dunn, Moil and another chap at night. Visited the reading room at the Wesleyan chapel. Miss Inwood walked in and spoke for a minute. Received postcard from Charlie saying he would try to get across to see me.

[Written at foot of previous day’s page -­ ] Monday. Received news of the battle in the Baltic1. The Molke [sic] sunk by a British submarine and 2 or 3 cruisers and 8 German destroyers destroyed or damaged by the Russians, who lost one ship.

  1. The Battle of the Gulf of Riga was a major engagement between the German High Seas Fleet and the Russian Baltic Fleet, but British vessels were involved. The Moltke was indeed torpedoed on 19 August by the British submarine E1, but did not sink, was repaired in Hamburg, and survived Jutland and other engagements, to be scuttled at Scapa Flow at the end of the War. Moltke had previously been involved in several other incidents noted in the diaries, including the Battle of Heligoland Bight, the Raid on Yarmouth, the Raid on Scarborough, Hartlepool and Whitby and the Battle of Dogger Bank

27 November 1914; Friday

Got day book written up to date. Stayed in at night and wrote a long letter to Ernie. Went out last thing with Joe and had short walk round.

Russians gained great victory in East Prussia1.

  1. East Prussia largely disappears from standard WW1 histories after Hindenburg’s victory at Tannenberg in September 1914, which stopped the Russian advance. According to a 1917 Illinois University thesis by Benjamin E. Ludvik, “The Russian Invasions of East Prussia, 1914-15”, the Germans in turn then advanced, despite bad roads and worse rail, but their attempt to cross the Niemen near Grodno (modern Hrodna) was repulsed with heavy losses; Ludvik quotes: “The London Times claims a great victory but the Germans deny the claim”. But this appears to date from 5 October. Ludvik records that thereafter the Russians advanced “slowly but surely”, and by 14 November had reached Stallupönen (c. 80 miles E. of Königsberg), where there had been a battle on 17 August, preceding Tannenberg. But the next phase, which Ludvik calls “The second [Russian] invasion of East Prussia” did not start until January 1915. So, failing any other candidate for the “great victory”, perhaps ALL had belatedly seen or heard a reference to The Times’ October headline, with the date missing. 

5 November 1914; Thursday

Very busy at work. Received news of a naval engagement off Valparaiso in which the cruiser Monmouth was reported to have been sunk and the cruiser Good Hope badly damaged if not sunk1. German losses are reported small. The German Cruiser Yorck2 lost on a mission in the Coral Sea. Probably one of their own mines. Affairs on land progressing favourably. Had hair cut.

Russian Victory in Galicia.

  1. “Naval engagement…”: The Battle of Coronel, which took place on 1 November and which ALL subsequently also noted in his diary entry for that day. Both vessels mentioned were in fact sunk; Good Hope was Rear-Admiral Sir Christopher Cradock‘s flagship. 

  2. SMS Yorck was returning from the raid on Yarmouth of 3 November, made a navigational error in heavy fog and accidentally sailed into a German minefield.