John Alcock, a member of the Cheadle Branch, Royal British Legion, in conjunction with Cheadle Discovery Centre, has prepared a study of the who, the why, the where, the when and the how of Great Britain's involvement in World War One. The Countdown to War will be published in serial form every week up to and including Wednesday 6th August, each article reflecting the events during that particular week 100 years ago, culminating in the first time the British Army engaged the German Army at Mons in Belgium in late August 2014. Please see the latest submission below. 31st July Austria and Russia order full mobilisation. Germany sends Ultimatum to Russia.
1st August Germany orders full mobilisation. Germany declares war on Russia. France orders mobilisation.
2nd August Germany sends Ultimatum to Belgium demanding free access through their territory. German troops move into Luxembourg.
3rd August Germany declares war on France, using as an excuse the concentration of French troops on the border and blaming the Entente powers for the state of affairs.
4th August German troops invade Belgium. British Ultimatum to Germany to stop the invasion by midnight 4th August otherwise a state of war will exist between Britain and Germany. British Fleet ordered to battle stations. Germany sends curt refusal to Britain's Ultimatum.
5th August 1205am. Britain is now at war with Germany and Sir Edward Grey, British Foreign Secretary looking out into the London streets observed "the lights are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our lifetime"
5th August Britain prepares to assemble and to send to France under the command of General Sir John French, the British Expeditionary Force of six divisions, four of which are to be dispatched as soon as possible, the remaining two, as soon as they are equipped and ready. A force of 120,000 (72 infantry battalions with supporting cavalry, artillery, engineers, supply and transport), half the entire home army. Next week:- Into battle