28th June 1914 Francis Ferdinand assassinated at Sarajevo
4th August 1914 Britain declares war on Germany
23rd August 1914 Battle of Mons; a phase of the Battle of the Frontiers
24th-25th December 1914 An unofficial Christmas truce is observed in sections of the Western Front
19th January 1915 First Zeppelin raid on Great Britain
May 1915 McCrae writes 'In Flanders Fields'
25th-28th September 1915 Battle of Loos, a major British offensive, fails
27th January 1916 Conscription introduced in Britain
1st July 1916 The Battle of the Somme begins
18th November 1916 Letter to soldier killed in action
5th-7th December 1916 UK PM Henry Asquith resigns, succeeded by David Lloyd George
1st June 1917 First successful heavy bomber raid on London
Over 10 million soldiers lost
their lives in the Great War
October 1917 Owen completes 'Anthem For Doomed Youth'
85,000 soldiers died
in poison gas attacks
March 1918 Owen finishes work on 'Dulce Et Decorum Est'
1st April 1918 Royal Air Force founded
11th November 1918 Armistace Day marks the end of the war
28th June 1919 Signing of the Treaty of Versailles
The Aftermath The war claimed the lives of over 10 million soldiers and 7 million civilians


Welcome to our interactive World War 1 timeline.

Use the arrows on the left and right of the screen to explore content from the official album of World War 1 commemorations, set within the context of key events from the Great War.

In Flanders Fields

written by John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields. Listen read by various Victoria Cross recipients

Army Form W. 3236

NOTICE PAPER to be sent to those who belong to the Army Reserve under the provisions of the Military Service Acts, 1916


You are hereby warned that you will be required to join for service with the Colours on the 26th October 1916

You should therefore present yourself at your nearest Recruiting Office on the above date, not later than 9 am, bringing this paper with you.

Signature WilliamBarnes

Date of Issue 12/10/1916

On 18th November 1916, a mother and father wrote a letter to their son, a soldier who was posted in France, asking when he'd be back for Christmas.

He was killed the day his parents wrote the letter.

(Click the images to view larger versions.)

Anthem For Doomed Youth

written by Wilfred Owen

What passing-bells for these who die as cattle? Only the monstrous anger of the guns. Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle Can patter out their hasty orisons. No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells; Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs, The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;

And bugles calling for them from sad shires.
What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys but in their eyes Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes. The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall; Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds, And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds. Listen read by Sean Bean

Dulce Et Decorum Est

written by Wilfred Owen

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs And towards our distant rest began to trudge. Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind; Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind. Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling, And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime... Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light, As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning. If in some smothering dreams you too could pace Behind the wagon that we flung him in, And watch the white eyes writhing in his face, His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin; If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, My friend, you would not tell with such high zest To children ardent for some desperate glory, The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.
Listen read by John Thomson

Forever: The Heroes' Stories

Forever, album packshot

The official album of the World War One Commemorations

Find out more


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