First World War Project
Home News - April 1917
A change of theatre map (right), even if no great change in front lines! This map shows the major formations confronting each other over the Western Front in the run up to April 1917 (click map for enlarged image). Immediately following the Close of The Somme, military formations were reorganised, men entered into training in more flexible formations. However, assaults and attrition continued to take their toll on our local men; mostly on the Western Front. There followed "the Somme winter" from October 1916 to February 1917. 1917 proved very costly to our communities; more so than the Somme. Both sides were exhausted and depleted by the Battle of the Somme; both sides had to live in the partially destroyed trenches in the bitter cold and (when thawed) knee-deep mud. What followed was a period of relative quiet but for a few limited actions and losses. The suffering would have been known about at home simply through the return of soldiers injured or on leave.
The German retreat from the Somme to the Hindenberg Line" began during March (from 14th through to 5th April).
The 'game changer' waiting in the wings was the declining reliability and effectiveness of the impoverished and ill-equiped Russian Army as well as the groundswell of popular opposition to the instruments of the Russian state. The upheaval of March gave expression to disaffection in the armed forces who had suffered significant privation. With that decline in Russian structure and forces, through to June 1917, Germany was increasingly able to move some of its own military machine to its Western Front. As this story-line unfolded, the Allies also prepared themselves for an 'end game' to the War. Not entirely out of the picture, Russia did retake Khanaqin (north-east of Baghdad) on 4th April.
During 1917, the desire to disrupt and strangle supplies to British forces on the battlefield and to home populations who suffered food shortages. Consequently, 1917 saw losses of shipping that included civilian and hospital shipping following the German implementation of "unrestricted submarine warfare". The month opened with H.M.S. "Jason" striking a mine and sinking on 3rd April. Enemy mines also saw the destruction of British hospital ship "Salta" off Havre. On 17th April, Japanese flotillas join the Allies in the Mediterranean. British ambulance transports "Lanfrane" and "Donegal" were torpedoed and sunk in the English Channel. A few days later the Germans mounted their second raid on the Straits of Dover (overnight on 20th/21st), and an action involved the "Swift" and "Broke". On 26th, a German destroyer raided Ramsgate over the night of 26th/27th April.
America declares war on Germany. The USA had, in February, severed diplomatic relations with Germany and the "final straw" came that same month with the German sinking of the British S.S. "Laconia". Merchant shipping added armaments to protect themselves. However, the Declaration of War did not happen until 6th April 1917. U.S. Navy's General Simms arrived in England on 9th April. On 28th April, the United States Congress passes a Bill to raise 500,000 men.
For our Creekside Parishes, the First Battle of Arras (9th April - 16th May 1917) was costly - five deaths in April associated with Canadian-led successful attack on Vimy Ridge and First Battle of the Scarpe (9th - 14th April). Two deaths came from "the Teynham Pals" - local men who returned serving with the Canadian Expeditionary Force (C.E.F.).
NOTE: On this web site, the phrase, "Teynham Pals", includes a smaller number from other Parishes of the Creekside Cluster.
The French 1917 Offensive began on 16th April with the Second Battle of the Aisne and closed on 20th April. The second Battle of the Scarpe opened on 23rd/24th April.
Statistics - Men in Reserved and Other Occupations as at 30th April 1917
|Reserved Occupations||Domestic grounds, &c.|
|Single men aged 25 and under||5,057||45,473||18,990||22,024||91,544|
|Married men aged 25 and under||603||8,538||3,029||15,217||15,217|
|Single men aged 30 and under||10,045||72,466||29,759||143,096||143,096|
|Married men aged 30 and under||3,753||53,014||22,423||100,864||100,864|
|Married and single men aged 41 and under||40,146||372,979||206,191||779,936||779,936|
|Age||Men in controlled firms, Government Establishments, &c.||Exempted by Colliery Courts||Railway Employees||Government Departments Employees||Exempted by W.O. letters and telegrams, Army Council Instructions &c.*||Total|
|Single men aged 25 and under||213,128||154,104||47,667||6,511||32,566||453,976|
|Married men aged 25 and under||34,809||26,973||8,155||794||1,988||72,719|
|Single men aged 30 and under||289,929||188,831||65,066||9,613||40,919||594,376|
|Married men aged 30 and under||160,199||97,482||40,677||4,696||9,536||312,590|
|Married and single men aged 41 and under||914,298||516,838||239,652||35,476||90,464||1,796,728|
* These are nearly all men of very low category engaged in special war work, e.g., Red Cross, canteen work, special constables, also teachers, students, medical men, &c.
|Age||Appeals dismissed - men awaiting substitutes.||Applications to Tribunals outstanding or adjourned.||Miscellaneous exemptions||Total||Grand total|
|Single men aged 25 and under||6,967||18,965||8,526||34,458||579,978|
|Married men aged 25 and under||622||2,256||975||3,853||91,789|
|Single men aged 30 and under||8,559||24,815||11,489||44,863||782,335|
|Married men aged 30 and under||2,604||14,492||5,051||22,147||435,601|
|Married and single men aged 41 and under||15,719||111,019||38,586||165,324||2,741,988|
† - Fifty Eighth Loss in the Kingsdown with Creekside Benefice - 4th April 1917.
Rifleman, Sidney James PULLEN (of Doddington). Killed in Action: aged 22 years
Air Raid on Kent Coast
|Whitstable and Herne Bay Herald of 14th April 1917|
EIGHT BOMBS DROPPED AND GLASS BROKEN.
GERMAN REPORT - "RAMSGATE FORTS"
Amsterdam, April 7th. A Berlin official telegram says:- "During Thursday night a German waterplane squadron lavishly and successfully bombed vessels, lying in the Downs and searchlights and fortifications north-west of Ramsgate."(Signed) Chief of Admiralty Staff.
New Magistrate appointed from Greenstreet
|Kent Messenger of 7th April 1917|
|"The following took the oath on their appointment as Justices for Peace for the County: W.R.Dixon, Greenstreet, Sittingbourne"|
† - Fifty Ninth Loss in the Kingsdown with Creekside Benefice - 10th April 1917.
Private, Frank MILLS (of Doddington and Wychling). Killed in Action aged 33 years
† - Sixtieth Loss in the Kingsdown with Creekside Benefice - 10th April 1917.
Private, William Henry HODGE (of Teynham). Killed in Action aged 32 years.
† - Sixty First Loss in the Kingsdown with Creekside Benefice - 13th April 1917.
Private, John Lovett SATTIN (of Lynsted), Killed in Action aged 32 years, Killed in Action Aged 32 years
The Price of a Pint
|Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald of 14th April 1917|
WHY THE PRICE OF BEER HAS BEEN INCREASED. Many people are asking why the price of beer has recently been further increased, and seem quiet unaware of the extraordinary conditions and restrictions under which the brewing licensed trades are being carried on.
† - Sixty Second Loss in the Kingsdown with Creekside Benefice - 14th April 1917.
Rifleman, James FRENCH (of Lynsted), Killed in Action: Aged 23 years
Promotion earned by Lynsted man - Ernest White
|Faversham and North East Kent News of 21st April 1917|
|LOCAL WAR ITEMS. Driver Ernest White, R.G.A., the youngest son of Mr. and Mrs W. White, of Lynsted, has, we are pleased to learn, been granted a commission. Driver White, who has seen six months' service in France, performed a dangerous piece of duty by taking a message from his battery commander along a road that was swept by German shell fire. For this and much excellent work as observer he was recommended for a commission. Accordingly he returned to England for a course of training, and now has been gazetted 2nd-Lieutenant, R.G.A. The young officer is to be congratulated on his success. He was married recently to Miss Ella Madeline Pulford, youngest daughter of Mr. and Mrs W.E. Pulford, of Stroud Green.|