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Countdown to the Great War 1914-1918 by John Alcock

By Cheadle Post and Times  |  Posted: June 28, 2014

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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. 

ON 28th June 1914 Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Hapsburg throne of Austria-Hungary, was visiting Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia in his role as Field Marshal and Inspector General of the Imperial Army.

He had married beneath him, and his wife Countess Sophie Chotek was not allowed to ride beside him on public occasions except when he was acting in a military capacity.

He took this opportunity to have her beside him in an open car.

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Earlier in the day an attempt by dissident elements to throw a bomb at his car failed.

Continuing with his duties he left the City Hall again in the open car, but the chauffeur took a wrong turning into a side street instead of crossing the bridge over the Milacka River; The car stopped then reversed.

Local student 19-year-old Gavrilo Prinzip, on his way home after the earlier attempt, saw his chance and fired two shots killing Franz Ferdinand and Countess Sophie. Next week:- Anticlimax.

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