War Diary April 1917

War Norfolk
America Joins the War

Following on from the Zimmerman Affair, President Woodrow Wilson declares war on Germany

Lifeboat Man Rewarded

Coxswain Henry G Blogg of Cromer Lifeboat was presented with the Lifeboat Institution’s gold medal for courage and devotion after rescuing the crew of S S Ferebo. The 4-mast steamer struck a mine off Cromer and split in two in rough seas in January 1917.

Battle on All Fronts

 Attacks are launched by the Allies in France, Salonika and Gaza for very few gains. The exception is the success of the Canadians who seize Vimy Ridge.

Food Restrictions

 In an effort to combat the food shortages caused by the German submarine blockade Norfolk people were warned in the press that  “If you waste food stuffs or eat more than the recognised daily allowance you are a traitor to your country.”  Meanwhile an auctioneer at Wells-next-Sea was fined 60s for selling potatoes in Burnham above the regulated price of the Food Control Act.

War Diary March 1917

War Norfolk
Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps Founded 

Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC) formed in Britain, offering women the chance to serve directly in the armed forces. Before the end of the war over 57,000 women enrol in the WAAC, with 9,000 serving in France.


Conscientious Objector Arrested

A Norwich man was charged with “absenting himself without leave from the Army” when called up for permanent service. He argued he was a C.O. but was fined by the bench and handed over to the military.


Some Mesopotamian Victories

Baghdad captured by British forces in Mesopotamia. However during the First Battle of Gaza British forces from Egypt led by General Sir Archibald Murray nearly break through Turkish lines in Palestine but fail to exploit their success.


Objection to Land Requisition

The proposal from the Central War Agricultural Committee to plough up the school playground in Dereham was opposed by the council who claimed that “the school has prepared the field at considerable expense and that ploughed pasture does not produce a good crop.


 Russian Abdication

The Russian Tsar, Nicholas II, abdicates the throne. The Provisional Government takes control and early in April Lenin returns.

War Diary February 1917

War Norfolk
German Retreat

German forces facing the Somme withdraw around 40km (25 miles) to new, strongly prepared defences known to the British as the Hindenburg Line. The withdrawal continues until 5 April.

Art Exhibition

An exhibition of art work was displayed in Norwich Marketplace it had been created by wounded soldiers from the Norfolk War Hospital, the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital and many of the V.A.D. auxiliary hospitals

 Food Shortages

Public campaign launched in Britain to encourage people to eat less bread as a result of shortages. The shortages are worsened by the Germans navy restarting unrestricted submarine warfare.

Appeal to Housewives

The Lady Mayoress of Norwich appealed to the women of Norwich “to arrange, voluntarily, the provision of her household… as to make compulsory rationing unnecessary” as this would be of great benefit to the State.

War Diary January 2017

War Norfolk
The Zimmerman Affair

German Foreign Secretary, Arthur Zimmerman, sends a secret telegram to the German minister in Mexico telling him to offer German support to the Mexicans if they were to attack the United States. The telegram is intercepted by British Naval Intelligence.

Disappointment for Farmers

 One farmer’s wife reports her disappointment that of the number of women who stated that they were prepared to work on farms, many were not up to scratch or found other work considered “more suitable.”

Help for Farmers

 The Norfolk War Agricultural Committee was informed that Norfolk would be supplied with 10 tractors by the War Office to help improve badly cultivated land.

War Diary December 1916

War Norfolk
New British Prime Minister

David Lloyd George replaces Herbert Asquith as British Prime Minister and also takes over leadership of the wartime coalition. One of his first actions is to reject a German peace note and to turn down the offer of talks.


Entertainment for the wounded

 1500 wounded soldiers enjoyed a performance at the Hippodrome in Norwich. The proprietors sent out an invitation to all hospitals including Red Cross hospitals & convalescence homes in the district. Special arrangements were made to get them there including a special train from Whitlingham to Norwich and trams to St Giles while country cases were brought up in waggonettes and motor cars.

Cigarettes were provided, these were paid for by sales of patriotic songs during the week.


War Diary November 1916

War Norfolk
American Presidential Election

Democrat Woodrow Wilson is narrowly re-elected President of the United States of America under the slogan “he kept us out of the war”.


Library to Publish a Book

Norwich Public Library proposes to publish “Three Centuries of a City Library to celebrate its 60th anniversary of its opening on March 16th 1917. Price 3s net.


Balkan Victory

At Salonika, Allied forces liberate the Serbian town of Monastir after an offensive lasting two months,


Black Out Breach

 A local lady was fined 5s for breaching light regulations after forgetting to pull the blind down in the vestry when arranging flowers at the Baptist Chapel.


War Diary October 1916

War Norfolk
Counter Attack at Verdun

A major French counter-attack at Verdun under General Robert Nivelle pushes the Germans back. Fort Douamont is recaptured by the French. Fighting continues until 18 December

Mitten Request

The Norfolk and Norwich Voluntary War Work Association put out a request for 1,500 pairs of mittens for British troops in Mesopotamia. The mittens needed to be 8 inches long with short thumbs and in drab colours or khaki.