15 March 1917.

15 March 1917.


According to Havana messages, the members of Gerrard’s party declare that the people of Germany are not only starving but have reached that stage of stoicism in face of the inevitable that they care little whether victory or defeat awaits them if they can only get food. They say that the last straw that will break the camel’s back must come for the German people before another year is past and that once they come to learn that the harvest has failed and that the supply of men is short the people will realize the failure which has hitherto been so carefully hidden from them.

15 March 1917.

DEATH OF COUNT ZEPPELIN.  The special correspondent of the National Tidente at Berlin telegraphs—Count Zeppelin who died at noon on Thursday in his 79th year in a sanatorium at Charlottenburg, Berlin, had been staying until a few days ago at the Hotel Kaiserhof, Berlin, When he became ill with inflamation of the lungs he was taken to the sanatorium.

It was in 1892 that the Count first conceived the idea of a dirigible. The German Government treated his representation for a subsidy without sympathy and though the inventor succeeded in flying over take Constance in 1900 his second Zeppelin was shattered on its first landing. The King of Wurtenberg and afterwards the German War Office were ultimately induced to take an interest in the invention which turned out to be of use for scouting purposes at sea but a failure for raiding purposes. The Count’s aerial ships are a national mania with the Huns, despite the disaster that has so often overtaken them. A warrior as well as a scientist, Count Zeppelin took part in the American War of Secession, and saw service in the Franco-German War of 1870.

15 March 1917.


Sergeant Joseph H. Crawford, of the Royal Irish Constabulary, appeared in the dock at the Belfast Police Court on Friday charged with the alleged murder of his wife, Ellen Jane Crawford, at their residence, 107 Fortwilliam Parade, on 17th January last. The accused was formerly dock sergeant in the same court and, as he was assisted into the dock, where, for two and a half years, he had discharged his public duties, the presiding magistrate and the officer s of the court were visibly affected. Throughout the proceedings he sat with a handkerchief to his eyes, as if he could not trust himself to look upon the familiar faces of the officers and professional gentlemen in court. On the 17th January, when the three young children of Mr. and Mrs. Crawford returned home from a pantomime they found their father and mother lying on the floor of the kitchen with their throats cut and a bloodstained razor between the bodies. Mrs, Crawford was dead and the sergeant has since been, under treatment in hospital. District-Inspector Gerty was the only witness examined on Friday. He arrested the accused that morning and after giving him the usual caution he said, “I never done it. Is she dead? I was sitting in the kitchen when she put her arm round my neck and gave me a jag. ’ ’ The accused also spoke some other words, which he the (the District-Inspector) could not catch, as he broke down and was sobbing. The accused was remanded for a week, Mr. Graham, who defended, stating that owing to the condition of the accused he was unable yet to get instructions.“ “It is one of the saddest cases I have ever known,” he added.

15 March 1917.

THE NEWTOWNHAMILTON MURDER. ACCUSED GETS FIFTEEN YEARS. George Berry, a young man of humble rank, who was placed on trial for his life at Armagh Assizes, before Mr. Justice Ross and a common jury, charged with the murder of Charles Warnock, a pedlar, in Newtownhamilton, on 24th January last was found guilty of manslaughter, and sentenced to fifteen years imprisonment.

15 March 1917.

LORD CROMER’S COMMISSION; The Part Played by Mr Asquith, Mr, Churchill & Lord Kitchener. The eagerly-awaited report of Cromer’s Commission of Inquiry into the Dardanelles Expedition was published on Thursday. A voluminous document of nearly 60 closely-printed pages, it covers the origin and inception of the campaign and the events up to March 23 of 1915 to, when, the naval effort having failed, it was decided to postpone further operations until adequate forces could be assembled. It is clear that the men mainly responsible for the campaign were Mr. Asquith, Lord Kitchener, Mr. Churchill, and Lord Fisher.

Mr, Churchill, in the first place, and Kitchener, subsequently, urged the need and practicability of the forcing of the Dardanelles, while Lord Fisher and the other naval experts, when they were consulted first dissented, and afterwards gave half-hearted approval. The report confirms the impression that by mismanagement, misunderstanding, and delay, an opportunity of reaching Constantinople by sea was thrown away, and rendered inevitable the ultimate failure of the Gallipoli operations which followed the naval failure.

The main points brought out by the report are: — Attack on Dardanelles first mooted November, 1914, but no intention then of making a purely naval attack.

On January 2, 1915, the Russians, hard pressed in the Caucasus, appealed to London to make a demonstration against the Turks elsewhere.

On January 13, the Admiralty were instructed to “prepare” for a naval attack on the Dardanelles, but there was some doubt as to whether the War Council had on that date committed themselves to the expedition.

On January 28 the decision to do so was confirmed. Lord Fisher decided to resign, but yielded to persuasion by Lord Kitchener.

There was still no intention of using troops; except in minor operations, but on February 16 it was decided to mass a large army ready to assist once the Fleet had forced the passage. Three days later the first bombardment took place, with “fairly satisfactory results.’ On the following day, February 20, the decision to send troops from England was suspended principally owing to the anxiety of Lord Kitchener regarding the position in other theatres. Mr. Churchill strongly dissented from this decision, and “disclaimed all responsibility if disaster occurred in Turkey as a result of the insufficiency of troops.”

On March 10 Lord Kitchener sanctioned the departure of the troops held back on February 20. Eight days later the second bombardment took place. Heavy losses were sustained, but Admiral de Robeck, commanding, and officials at the Admiralty wished to persist.

As a result, however, of representations made by Admiral de Robeck and Sir Ian Hamilton, who had been sent out to command the troops, it was decided, on March 23, to await the arrival of adequate troops before renewing the attack. By the time the troops were ready the Turks were prepared to meet the attempt.

15 March 1917.

CAMPAIGN OF MURDER. THE CALIFORNIA SUNK. 43 PASSENGERS AND CREW MISSING. THE SECOND OFFICER’S STORY. The Anchor Line steamer California from New York, with passengers and mails, has been torpedoed and sunk. Survivors state that 90 of the crew and 13 passengers are missing, and it is feared they are drowned. Four persons were killed by the explosion, and about 20 were injured. The big vessel, it is stated, was attacked by two submarines.

When the rescuing vessels arrived sympathetic crowds gathered near the deep-water quay and Custom House and cheered the survivors as they descended or were carried down the gangway. Motor cars, ambulances, and other vehicles were in readiness to convey the victims of the latest German sea outrage to the hospitals and the hotels and a strong feeling of indignation was evinced when the wounded were being carried on stretchers to the Red Cross ambulances hard by.

Second-Officer McCallum, of the ill-fated liner, who was one of the survivors, was in his shirt sleeves and wearing water-soaked clothes, he having been in the water for some time before being rescued. Mr. McCallum stated that the California left New York on last Monday week for Glasgow with about 205 passengers and crew. The voyage was a comparatively fair one for a winter passage. The weather was clear, with a heavy swell but calm sea. At 9-10 am. on Wednesday the steamer was quite suddenly struck by a torpedo close by No. 4 hatch. The shock was absolutely terrific, and the vessel shook from end to end. He was standing on the poop at the tune, and was knocked down, and a huge column of water was blown upon the dock, deluging those in the immediate vicinity. The captain, who was on the bridge, ordered the crew to the boat stations, and then promptly directed the boats to be lowered away.

There was no panic, and the passengers behaved splendidly. The women were first got into the boats, and he added that the number of boats ready was in excess of the requirements. He did not see either the submarine or the torpedo which sent their ship to her doom. But some of the crew assert that there were two submarines, one on each side of the liner, and that escape for them was impossible.

One boat got swamped unfortunately, but he could not say what happened to those who were in it. The captain, with splendid coolness and deliberation, gave his orders from the bridge, and did not leave his post until the California foundered under him. A number of the officers stood by the sinking vessel, even after the boats had filled, and then they had to plunge overboard to save themselves being carried down by the suction of the huge hull. She went down stern foremost. He {Mr. McCallum) got in the boat which had been swamped, and was subsequently taken into a boat, which also picked up the captain.

No warning of any kind was given by the Germans, who must have known there were helpless women passengers on board. The California only remained afloat about seven minutes after being struck. He was confident it was not ten. They were in the boats scarcely an hour when assistance came in response to the wireless messages sent out. The crew and passengers lost everything they had. “And,” added Mr. McCallum, “as you must have observed when they landed, some of the crew had only pants and shirts on, and were without boots or hats.” He believed that of the 32 passengers on board 19 were saved, and about 13 are missing.


November 29th 1917.  BATTLE OF CAMBRAI. A GREAT VICTORY.  THE ATTACK LED BY TANKS BREAK THE HINDENBURG LINE AND ADVANCE FIVE MILES.  On the morning of the 20th last the Third Army under the command of General the Hon. Sir Julian Byng delivered a number of attacks which were carried out without previous military artillery preparation and in each case the enemy was completely surprised.  Our troops are now close to Cambrai.  It looked as though the enemy suspected something a night or two ago when they raided our trenches and captured two or three prisoners.  Had those men told anything?  All was on the hazard of that.  Most of the prisoners say that the first thing they knew of the attack was when out of the mist they saw the tanks advancing, smashing down wire, crawling over trenches and nosing forward with gunfire and machine gun fire slashing from their sides.  The Germans were aghast and dazed.  Many hid in their dugouts and tunnels and then surrendered.  Only the bravest of them rushed to their machine guns and got them into action.  Behind the tanks coming forward in platoons, the infantry swarmed cheering and shouting, trudging through the thistles while the tanks made a scythe of machine gun fire in front of them and thousands of shells screamed over the Hindenburg line.

The battle picture was the most wonderful thing I have seen in this war.  A number of tanks were on the battlefield resting awhile for another advance barely visible at any distance.  I spoke to one of the pilots.  ‘How are you doing?  ‘We’re giving them merry hell, he said, ‘it is our day out.  On one part of the battlefield I saw not one British dead.  Credit for that is due to the tanks.  The distance covered by some of our troops on the first day was extraordinary, the men of one division going not less than 7000 yards.

The advance of the great army of Tanks to the attack on the 23rd Inst. was made specially dramatic by the General in command of the Tank Corps who went into battle himself in a Tank sailing some two or 300 yards ahead of the rest of the fleet.  He flew a huge flag on the masthead and reports say he sent a truly Nelsonian message to his commanders before going into action – namely, ‘England expects that every Tank today will do its damnedest.’


After the infantry came the cavalry.  Everyone except the Germans will be glad the cavalry have had something like a real chance at last.  Already they have distinguished themselves brilliantly pushing through the gaps made by the tanks and infantry and the capture of some most important positions has been their work.  In the folds of the land towards the German Lines there were thousands of cavalry horses massed in parks with the horse artillery limbered up and ready for their ride.  All through the morning infantry officers and men taking part in advance ask the question: ‘when at the cavalry going through?’

In a steady rain and wet mist I saw squadrons of them going into action and it was the most thrilling thing I have seen for many a long day in this war and one which I sometimes thought I should never live to see.  They streamed by at a quick trot and the noise of all the horses hooves was a strange rushing sound.  The rain slashed down upon their steel hats and all their capes were glistening and the mud was flung up to the horse’s flanks as in long columns they wound up and down the rolling country and cantered up a steep track – it was a wonderful picture – a scene to remember.