[From 1916 Examiner Annual]
Since 1914 the greatest war of all time has spread, until it now embraces well nigh the whole of Europe, and at the time of writing there are no indications that peace is within measurable distance.
On the Western front France and Flanders the present position is practically as it was a: year ago. The Germans on the one hand, and the French, British, and Belgians on the other, are entrenched so strongly along am irregular line from the North Sea to the Swiss frontier, that advance can only be made art appalling cost in life. In December last the Indian Corps of the British Army attacked the Germans at Givenchy, but were severely repulsed, and as the result of an attack by the Germans at Soissons in January, the French were slightly forced back. In March the British gained some ground as the result of the battle of Neuve Chapelle. Owing in large measure to the gallantry of the Canadian Corps, a German attack with poisonous gas, north of Ypres, in April, was well held, and in the following month a further attempt by the Germans at Ypres to break thorough was heavily repulsed. Little further was done by either side up to September 25th, when the combined attack of the French and British armies upon the German lines resulted in the gain of a fair amount of ground and the hurrying of German troops from the East for reinforcement of the western positions.
In the early part of the year the Russians had much the better of the fighting on th Eastern front. German attempts to capture Warsaw failed for a time, and the Austrians ware driven back in Galicia until Przemysl fell. Just as it appeared as if the Russians would pour into Hungary, a change came over the situation; the Germans in the North, as Germans and Austrians in the South, commenced a series of movements which led to the driving back of the whole Russian. line. Warsaw was quickly captured, as were other important fortresses in Russian Poland, while Mackensan's army swept through Galicia-the Russians, however, maintaining an orderly retreat and fighting stubbornly. Just as the star of Russia seemed about to set, a gleam of hope came in the splendid stand of their armies in the North-a stand which is still maintained and which bids fair to have an important influence in the determination of the war.
In. February a Turkish force, led by Germans, crossed the desert from Palestine and attacked the Suez Canal, but was easily repulsed by the British forces.
An attempt to force the passage of the Dardanelles by British and French warships was begun in February, and was abandoned in March after three ships had bean lost. On April 25th an attack by land and sea was made in the Dardanelles. British and French troops were disembarked at Gallipoli, the landing being one of the greatest feats of arms in the history of the world. Later there was a further landing in the northern portion of the peninsula. So far, the Dardanelles operations have not been successful, the position being one of stalemate.
The greatest success in connection with the war has been attained by General Louis Botha, who at the head of a South African force commenced in the early months of the year to march on German South-West Africa:. General Botha, by brilliant leadership and tactics and great rapidity, completely non plussed the Germans, and by July completed the conquest of this important German possession.
There is also good reason for rejoicing in connection with the operations oaf the British forces in Mesopotamia. under General Nixon our troops-British and Indian-have overcome enormous difficulties of country and climate, and have gova from success to success. The latest news is to the effect that our army is now within a few miles of Baghdad, the ancient capital of Horoun Alraschid, and one of the most important strategic places in the East.
Gallant Serbia has had a most distressful experience. Invaded in the Autumn from the North by an Austro-German army, and from the East by the Bulgarians, our brave Near Eastern ally, has had a considerable portion of country desolatad. The Serbians, nevertheless, are making a most gallant resistance, and it is yet quite possible that the attempt of the enemy to open communication with Constantinople will result in failure. Greece declined to fulfil her treaty obligation to Serbia to resist Bulgarian aggression, but after considerable squeezing permitted the landing of French and British troops at Salonika. It is hoped that a force sufficient to save Serbia will be available in time. Further pressure has resulted in the Greeks agreeing to permit of the Allied troops operating in Greek territory should such a course be necessary.
Right through the year the British Fleet has remained supreme. German warships, with the exception of submarines, have been swept from the seas, and German seaborne commerce has been almost paralysed, with the result that the foe has been considerably hampered in the matter of supplies. Great energy was exhibited by our Admiralty authorities in dealing with enemy submarines, and the menace has now almost ceased to exist. On the other hand British submarines have entered the Baltic and played havoc with German commerce.
Generally speaking, the position of affairs is favourable to the Allies, for though the enemy held big tracts of French and Russian territory, further advance is held up. In, the meantime German and Austrian resources in man, munitions, and money are dwindling. while the British, French, and Russian armies grow daily, and the supply of munitions is increasing by leaps and bounds.
Up to the Spring of 1915, Manx people were very hopeful that there would be an influx of holiday-makers to the Island during the summer months. Nobody, of course, was sufficiently sanguine to look forward to a renewal of the prosperous time experienced in 1913, for the requisitioning by the Admiralty of eleven of the vessels of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company's fleet had utterly precluded such a possibility. Still it was expected that the pleasure traffic to Douglas and Ramsey would be sufficient of volume to afford persons engaged in catering for visitors an opportunity of keeping their heads above water until a return of normal conditions. All such hopes were dashed by the attempt on the part of the German naval authorities to blockade Great Britain by submarine war vessels. At the outset, and four some considerable period afterwards, these oraft met with considerable success. Weekly the toll of British merchant ships sunk in waters adjacent to the, British coast mounted up, and the submarines quickly extended Their operations to the Irish Sea and became so temerarious :as to, actually destroy vessels in the Mersey estuary, while others were sent to the bottom in the stretch of sea lying between the Island and England. Naturally those depredations had an alarming effect upon those Britons who had contemplated a, holiday in the Isle of Man, and though the British Navy took prompt and effective steps to clear the Irish ,Sea of the enemy craft, confidence was not restored. Indeed the torpedoing later on in the Spring of the great Cunard liner Lusitania, off the South-west of Ireland, attended by great loss of life, intensified the misgivings of the travelling public. While nothing like panic was caused in the United Kingdom by this feature of German " frightfulness," people refrained from travelling for pleasure over waters that might be infested by hostile submarines. The result was disastrous for the Isle of Man. From Whit-week to the end of September the holiday traffic between British and Manx ports was quite negligible, and, as -a matter of fact, during the inclusive period May-September the arrivals of passengers at Douglas only numbered thirty-three thousand, of whom certainly not more than twenty thousand would be visitors for pleasure-about ono-thirtieth the number landed in 1913. A few more might have come but for the action of the Admiralty in interdicting the Heysham-Douglas service and in forbidding a, double daily service from Liverpool in August. This awful failure of the holiday season has been disastrous for Douglas, Port Erin, and Port St. Mary, and in a lesser degree for Ramsey. It is computed that the average expenditure of visitors in the Island is three pounds per head, and upoin such a basis the money left behind by holiday-makers during a normal season amounts to about a million and a half sterling. In consequence of the season collapse, distress in the Island has been very great, and it is feared that the crisis will not be reached until further on in the winter. In Douglas very rainy persons have not been able to pay any portion of their rents, while the rating authorities are at their wits' end to recover the rates. Tradesmen cannot get in their debts, and mortgagees are wondering how property-owners will be in a position to, discharge interest liabilities. So far, remedial measures have been few and insufficient. There have been grants to distressed folk from the National Relief (Prince of Wales) Fund, while employment for women has been found to some extent by the Needlework Guild and the Manx Industries Association, and for men at the two alien camps. Nothing has been forthcoming in the shape of national assistance. A committee of the Tynwald Court have suggested advances to persons financially prejudiced by the war, and application has been made to the Imperial Treasury for leave to devote £50,000 of Manx national moneys for this purpose. The Treasury have made it a condition of sanction that the Insular Revenue shall be strengthened, but though the Legislature have imposed additional indirect taxation, and have pledged themselves to impose next year some form of direct taxation, the Treasury sanction has not yet arrived. There is a strong feeling that the proposed £50,000 will be entirely insufficient to adequately deal with the situation, that the, amount should be increased, and that the increased amount should be supplemented by a grant from the Imperial Government, the distress having mainly been brought about by the actions of the British Naval and Military Authorities.
15th. At a Military Court in Douglas, two aliens interned at the Detention Camp were charged with breaches of the Camp regulations. Otto Luz guilty of sending letters to a party in Germany in invisible ink, was sentenced to two months' hard labour. Kurt Vausch, found guilty of stirring up disaffection among prisoners, prejudicial to good order, sentenced to five years' penal servitude.
1st. Retirement of Mr J. H. Aitken, chief clerk in the Manx Government Office
after 44 years' constant service.
1st. Death of Mr. G . R. Cookson, advocate, chief clerk at the Rolls Office. Douglas.
7th. Annual meeting of Isle of Man District Oddfellows at Port St. Mary. Mr. R. H. Cubbin elected Prov. Grand Master.
13th. The Town Clerk of Douglas submitted the 1914 accounts of Villa Marina. which showed total loss of about £3,000. The Town Council decided to engage British bands only in future. At a later meeting Mr. F. C. Poulter was appointed bandmaster.
17th. Rev. D. C. Woodhouse resigned as Vicar of St. Ninian's, Douglas, he being designated Candidates' Secretary to the Men's Missionary Society, London.
29th. Rev. H. C. McNeil, curate of Tonbridge, appointed to the Vicarage of St. Ninian's.
30th. Enemy submarines reported off Liverpool; four tramp steamers sunk; crew of the Hilcoan landed at Douglas by the collier Gladys.
3rd. Lieut. Radcliffe visited the Island for the purpose of raising a Manx
battalion of Royal Scots numbering 500. and held meetings all over the Island.
11th. With a view to economising, all street lamps in Douglas were turned down at 9 p.m. Later in the year the lighting of most of the lamps was discontinued entirely.
13th. Sinking of the Downshire nine miles N.W. of the Calf Island by a hostile submarine. Port Erin lifeboat launched to the rescue. Mr. Thos. Turnbull, Croit-e-Caley, Colby, was one of the saved.
13th. Wreck of the. Catherine Latham near Fort Anne jetty. Crew rescued by lifeboat and Rocket Corps.
14th. Farewell service, St. Thomas's Church, for Volunteers about to leave for general military duty.
23rd. 85th annual meeting of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Co. Dividend of 3% declared. It was stated that eight steamers were then in H.M. Government Service, and that 400 of the Company's employees were with the naval farces.
24th. Death of Mr. Thomas P. Ellison, of Douglas, at the age of 69 years. He was for 29 years secretary and manager of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, resigning in 1908.
25th. Inspection of the three companies of Volunteers by the Lieutenant-Governor, at Pulrose.
4t. Death of Mr. Alex. Hill, J.P., manager of the Isle of Man Bank for 21
years, aged 54.
7th. Death of Mr. Thos. Clague, of Port St. Mary, after a. useful public career.
9th. Departure of 152 of Major Mackenzie's unit (officers, N.C.O.'s and men) for training quarters, prior to departing for Imperial service.
16th. :The Landlord and Tenant Bill, designed to alter the date of yearly tenancies in town and village districts from May 12th to April 1st, passed third reading in the House of Keys.
21st. Burial with full military honours of two victims of the Bayano, torpedoed off Scotland.
23rd. Opening of Manx Music Festival, The Palace, Douglas.
30th. Dairy farmers gave notice of increase in the price of milk to fourpence per quart. Determined objection made to the advance by the householders of Douglas, and after a short trial the old price (3d.) reverted to.
6th. Sitting of Tynwald. Deputation appointed to proceed to London, to urge
upon the Imperial Authorities the need for release of some of the Manx steamers
requisitioned for war purposes, and to represent the serious financial position
of the Island.
8th. Memorial tablet unveiled at the Free Library, Douglas, to the memory of Edward Forbes, F.R.S., in celebration of the 100th anniversary of his birthday (12th February, 1815).
9th. In the Legislative Council, the Landlord and Tenant Bill was unanimously rejected.
9th. Announcement made that the Annual Movable Conference of the Manchester Unity of Oddfellows, which was to have been held in Douglas, is changed to Manchester.
10th. Death of the Mayoress of Douglas (Mrs. D. Flinn).
12th. Opening of a Soldiers' Home, Marathon-road, Douglas.
15th. Death of Mr. J. F. Clucas, one of the proprietors of the " Mona's Herald."
19th. Three prisoners escaped from the Douglas Alien Internment Camp. They were captured next day near Port Soderick, and were subsequently sentenced by the Military Court to six months' imprisonment with hard labour.
22nd. Induction of the Rev. H. C. McNeil, Vicar of St. Ninian's, Douglas; and dedication of now organ.
1st. John J. Gorletb, of The Cronk, Andreas, was fined £10 by the High-Bailiff
of Ramsey for having publicly used words calculated to prejudice recruiting
for his Majesty's forces.
5th. Intimation received fram the Admiralty that none of the Isle of Man steamers could be released for season, passenger service.
7th. The American liner Lusitania torpedoed off the Irish coast. The fishing lugger Wanderer, of Peel, rescued 140 of the victims, picking them out of the sea, or from small boats.
12th. H.M.S. Goliath sunk by a torpedo at the Dardanelles. About 500 lives were lost, including several Naval Reservists from the Isle of Man.
13th. A deputation of women waited on the Lieut.-Governor, urging the need of Government assistance for boarding and lodging-house proprietors.
24th. Death of Mr. John Quirk (58), Ballaquine-a successful farmer and Parish Commissioner of Braddan.
22nd. Death of Canon Savage (65), who was Vicar of St. Thomas's, Douglas, from 1882 to 1914.
1st. A Labour Exchange was opened in Douglas, in connection with which a
number of Manx people, obtained situations in England as the year wore on.
3rd. Tynwald deputation to the Home Secretary to urge the need of financial assistance for the Inland.
5th. Prosecution of Mr. A. Qualtrough, M.H.K., under the Defence of the Realm Act, for (1) spreading a false and alarming report, and (2) refusing to divulge the name of his informant. He was fined £5 for each offence, but elected to take the alternative of imprisonment-seven days in each case.
21st. At a meeting of parishioners, the re-building of the spire of St. German's Church (Poel) was decided upon.
26th. Manx Government Financial Statement issued, estimating a deficiency of £26,722 for current year.
1st. The Rev. C. Copeland Smith inaugurated a stocking factory in Douglas,
to provide an industry for Manx women during the time of war stress. By November,
some 200 women were employed in this way.
1st. Prohibition by Admiralty of extra passenger service between Liverpool and Douglas.
1st. At the Odd-fellows' I.O.M. District Meeting, it was stated that the A.M.C. of the Order were willing to meet at Douglas in 1916 (Whitsuntide), if national conditions be favourable.
5th. Annual Promulgation Ceremony at Tynwald Hill. Presentation by the Lieut.-Governor of Manchester Manx Society's medals to crew of Wanderer for rescue of Lusitania passengers and crew.
5th. World Manx Association Gathering at Great Meadow, Castletown.
7th. At a meeting of the Insular branch of the English Church Union, a striking paper was read by Mr. Geo. A. Ring (Attorney-General).
8th. Heysham-Douglas steamer service, announced to open on July 12th, cancelled.
11th. Lonan Parish Church re-opened after extensive renovation of the interior.
14th. It was reported to the Town Council that the sale of eighteen Douglas tramway horses realised £1,079.
15th. Stone-laying of New P.M. Sunday school at Kirk Michael,
18th. Death of Mr. John Cubbon, saddler, Douglas.
5th. Death of the Bishop's son, Gordon Denton Thompson, in his 14th year,
who had been an invalid from childhood.
3rd. Public meeting in Douglas to, support the Municipal Association's scheme asking Government assistance for payment of rent, rates, etc., of boarding-houses and kindred businesses. A report was issued by the Association shewing approximate amounts required for the needs of the several towns and villages, viz.,
|To be found by ratepayers||£20,850|
|To be borrowed by Local Authorities||20,850|
|Grants from Tynwald||>20,850|
5th. Agricultural Society's Annual Show at Douglas-a highly successful event,
the gate money and sundries realising £180.
8th. H.M.S. Ramsey-one of the Isle of Man steamers requisitioned by the Admiralty, and described by that department as a small armed patrol vessel-sunk by a German gunboat in the North Sea. A number of Manxmen were in the casualty lists.
20th. Deputation from the Municipal Association to the Lieut.-Governor, suggesting scheme of assistance for urban ratepayers. Lord Raglan declined to recommend any grant from Government funds for the purpose.
17th. In the House of Keys, Mr. A. Qualtrough submitted a resolution that the Imperial Government be asked to annex the Isle of Man to the County of Lancashire, and that the Island be formed into a local government district. The voting was: For the motion, 1; against, 18.
22nd. Dedication of new tower added to Arbory Church, provided by a bequest of £;100 from the late Mrs. Clague, Crofton, supplemented by gifts and church collections.
1st. Presentation of Royal Humane Society's certificates to W. Crellin and
J. Chalmers, two Douglas swimmers, for bravery in attempting to save life.
16th. Public meeting in Douglas, calling upon the Imperial Authorities to receive a, deputation on behalf of immediate action for the assistance of the Insular community. The proceedings became animated upon Councillor Quayle, making an impassioned speech, followed by Councillor Frank Gale with an amendment in favour of Annexation.
17th. At a recruiting meeting in Douglas, the Governor gave as his estimate that 3,000 men from the Isle of Man are engaged in the national military services.
22nd. Death of Councillor Andrew Caley, of Douglas, after a long and useful public career.
5th. Taxation debate in Tynwald. Additional Customs duties imposed, and direct
taxation deferred. At an adjourned Court, it was decided to exempt Manx manufactured
tobacco from the extra impost, by way of encouraging an Insular industry.
17th. Death of Mr. John Scarffe, an ex-President of the Liverpool Manx Association.
16th. Death of Mr. W. J. Corlett, one of the members of the House of Keys for North Douglas.
21st. Major Mackenzie, having accepted a commission in the R.A.M.C., left the Island to be in readiness for proceeding to Malta.
25th. Mr. James Stowell re-elected president at the annual meeting of the Liverpool Manx Association.
2nd. In the Keys, Mr. Cormode moved: " That this House is of opinion that
the direct taxation it is pledged to impose ought to be in the form of Income
Tax." Ten members voted for, and eleven against.
9th. Councillor Flinn re-elected Mayor of Douglas.
12th. A great storm of wind and rain made this Hollantide Fair Day memorable. The usual steamer sailing from Douglas to Liverpool did not take place.
15th. In consequence of Lord Raglan being detained in London through illness, Mr. Thomas Kneen (Clerk of the Rolls) was appointed Deputy-Governor of the Isle of Man.
3rd. House of Keys Bye-Election in North Douglas. Two candidates went to
the Poll, the result being Mr Joseph Cunningham received 863 votes and Mr Councillor
Quayle 567. Majority for Mr Cunningham, 296.
11th. Issue of the EXAMINER ANNUAL for 1916.