WWI Anniversaries and Events of 2015

List of some major WWI anniversaries and events set to be commemorated this 2015.

1915 was the first full year WWI was fought, so, it was no surprise that many events pertaining to the said war occurred in this year. And since 2015 celebrates the centenary of that year, many commemorations are expected to be celebrated this year in connection to the Great War.

January 19-20

The first in the list of WWI anniversaries will occur right this month. It was on January 19 and 20, 1915  when Zeppelin airships first attacked the British mainland. The first towns that got hit with the air raid were King’s Lynn, Great Yarmouth and Sheringham. The attack resulted to four casualties.

February 19

The date above marks the start of naval operations by the French and British in the Dardanelles. It was in response to Russia’s asking for help in the war it was in against Turkey.

March 10-13

The Indian Memorial in Neuve Chapelle
The Indian Memorial in Neuve Chapelle

In these dates, the British, with the help of colonial troops from India, tried to bring about a breakthrough in France’s Neuve Chapelle. However, their campaign faltered and as it did,  Sir John French, the British commander-in-chief, complained about how the troops lacked ammunition.

March 22

On this day, the fortress of Przemyśl of the Austro-Hungarian empire in Galicia [Poland] fell to the Russians. The siege was the longest during the Great War and lasted for over four months.

April 22

One of the really major WWI anniversaries occur on this day — the start of the Second Battle of Ypres. It was during this battle that the Germans used poison gas for the first time. The day will be marked with planned solemn commemorations in various areas around the former Ypres salient.

April 24

April 24, 1915 – the infamous day when authorities of the Ottoman Empire started to round up Armenian individuals in fulfillment of the government’s systematic annihilation of its minority Armenian subjects. The massacre went on from 1915 to 1923. It is acknowledged to be one of the world’s first modern genocides and is second to the Jewish Holocaust in the most-studied cases list.

The mass killing, also known as the Armenian Holocaust, the Armenian Massacres, Medz Yeghern [traditional Armenian name] and Aghet [after a controversial German documentary in 2010], resulted to the death of 1 to 1.5 million people.

April 25

Another one of the major WWI anniversaries occurred on this day — the Allies’ invasion of Gallipoli, Turkey. It is the first major operation wherein the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps [Anzacs] got involved in to support the British and the French.

This year will be the centenary celebration of this event. According to reports, the Australian and New Zealand governments are holding ballots for tickets to the events which will occur in the Gallipoli peninsula space is restricted.

May 2

Austro-Hungary and Germany launched a new campaign in Galicia. This led to the recapture of the Przemyśl fortress and eventually, resulted to the withdrawal of the Russians from the Polish salient.

May 7

May 7 marks another milestone, one of the major WWI anniversaries — the sinking of RMS Lusitania which, in a way, helped influenced America’s decision to officially get involved in WWI.

The Cunard liner was torpedoed by a German U-boat resulting to the death of its 1,198 passengers and crew including  128 Americans. The boat’s sinking was met with protests in the United States and gave the British an opportunity to rally the country to their side. It changed America’s opinion about Germany. Two years later, the United States declared war against Germany, its official entry into “the war to end all wars”.

May 23

On this date one century ago, Italy declared war against the Austro-Hungary empire which opened an Alpine front in WWI against the Central Powers.

May 31

Zeppelin airships attacked London for the first time on this day killing seven people.

July 9

 July 9 this year will mark 30,000th sounding of the Last Post at the Menin Gate. This means that past and present buglers at the gate would have sounded the Last Post on 30,000 various occasions.

The day will be marked one of the major WWI anniversaries of the year with a global remembrance ceremony filled with solemnity — a tribute to the Great War.

August 4

Warsaw fell to the German Army on this day one hundred years ago as the Russians went on with their “Great Retreat”.

August 21

The British launched their final offensive attack of the Dardanelles Campaign.

September 25

For the first time, the British employed the use of poison gas during the Battle of Loos. The move was part of the attempt of the Allies to pierce through the defenses of the Germans in Artois and Champagne.

October 5

British and French troops landed on the Greek port of Salonika [currently Thessaloniki] in support of Serbia.

October 7

Germany and the Austro-Hungary empire invaded Serbia on this day and managed to capture Belgrade two days later.

October 11

Bulgaria officially enters WWI siding with the Central Powers, thus, joining in the latter’s invasion of Serbia.

October 12

The day when British nurse Edith Cavell was executed by the Germans in Brussels, Belgium for helping Allied POWs escape to neutral the Netherlands.

December 20

The end of the Gallipoli operation with the Allies withdrawing Suvla Bay and Anzac Cove.

In December 1915commander of the British forces in France, Sir John French, was also replaced by Sir Douglas Haig.

Heziel Pitogo

Heziel Pitogo is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE