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1916 in the United Kingdom

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1916 in the United Kingdom

Events from the year 1916 in the United Kingdom. This year is dominated by World War I.



  • Monarch - George V
  • Prime Minister - H. H. Asquith (coalition) (until 5 December), David Lloyd George (coalition) (starting 6 December)
  • Events

  • 1 January - The Royal Army Medical Corps carries out the first successful blood transfusion using blood that has been stored and cooled.
  • 9 January - World War I: Battle of Gallipoli: Last British troops evacuated from Gallipoli, as the Ottoman Empire prevails over a joint British and French operation to capture Istanbul.
  • 27 January - Conscription introduced by the Military Service Act; applied to unmarried men aged 18–41 from 2 March and to married men in the same age bracket from April/May; it does not extend to Ireland.
  • 1 February - Night-long German Zeppelin raid on the West Midlands of England, claiming at least 35 lives; Tipton suffers the heaviest losses, with 14 fatalities.
  • 1 March - Transfer of the National Library of Wales at Aberystwyth into its purpose-built premises is completed.
  • 4 March - Third war budget raises income tax to five shillings in the pound.
  • 10 March - Sir Hubert Parry writes the choral setting of William Blake's poem "And did those feet in ancient time", which becomes known as "Jerusalem" (first performed 28 March at the Queen's Hall, London).
  • 22 March - Marriage of J. R. R. Tolkien and Edith Bratt at St. Mary Immaculate Roman Catholic Church, Warwick. They will serve as the inspiration for the fictional characters Beren and Lúthien.
  • 25 March - Military Medal instituted as a military decoration for personnel of the British Army and other services below commissioned rank, for bravery in battle on land.
  • 1/2–5/6 April - Nightly German Navy airship raids on England.
  • 2 April - Munitions factory explosion at Uplees near Faversham, Kent, kills 108 men.
  • 7 April - Garrick Theatre fire, Hereford: 8 young girls appearing in an amateur benefit evening performance for soldiers are killed when their costumes catch fire.
  • 24 April–30 April - Easter Rising in Ireland: Members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood proclaim an Irish Republic and the Irish Volunteers and Irish Citizen Army occupy the General Post Office and other buildings in Dublin before surrendering to the British Army.
  • 24 April–19 May - Voyage of the James Caird, an open boat journey from Elephant Island in the South Shetland Islands to South Georgia in the southern Atlantic Ocean (800 nautical miles (1,500 km; 920 mi)) undertaken by Sir Ernest Shackleton and five companions to obtain rescue for the main body of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition (left under command of Frank Wild) following the loss of its ship Endurance.
  • 25 April - German battlecruisers bombard Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth.
  • 27 April - Gas attack at Hulluch in France: 47th Brigade, 16th (Irish) Division, decimated in one of the most heavily concentrated gas attacks of the war.
  • 29 April - Siege of Kut ends with the surrender of British forces to the Ottoman Empire at Kut-al-Amara on the Tigris in Basra Vilayet during the Mesopotamian campaign.
  • 2 May - Eight German Zeppelins raid the east coast of England.
  • 16 May - The UK and France conclude the secret Sykes–Picot Agreement, which is to divide Arab areas of the Ottoman Empire, following the conclusion of the war, into French and British spheres of influence.
  • 21 May - Daylight saving time introduced.
  • 31 May–1 June - Battle of Jutland between the Royal Navy's Grand Fleet and the German High Seas Fleet in the North Sea, World War I's only large-scale clash of battleships. The result is tactically inconclusive but British dominance of the North Sea is maintained. Prince Albert is present as an officer.
  • 5 June - HMS Hampshire sinks having hit a mine off Orkney with Lord Kitchener aboard.
  • 12 June - Whit Monday bank holiday abandoned.
  • 1 July–18 November - Battle of the Somme: More than one million soldiers die; with 57,470 British Empire casualties on the first day, 19,240 of them killed, the British Army's bloodiest day; the Accrington Pals battalion is effectively wiped out in the first few minutes. The immediate result is tactically inconclusive.
  • 25 July - North of Scotland Special Military Area declared, restricting access by non-residents to everywhere north of the Great Glen. Other areas so designated this year are the Isle of Sheppey (7 September), Newhaven (22 September), Harwich (27 September), Dover (6 October) and Spurn.
  • 27 July - English civilian ferry captain Charles Fryatt is executed at Bruges after a German court-martial condemns him for attempting to ram a U-boat in 1915.
  • 3 August - The musical comedy Chu Chin Chow, written, produced, directed and starring Oscar Asche, with music by Frederic Norton, premières at His Majesty's Theatre in London. It will run for five years and a total of 2,238 performances (more than twice as many as any previous musical), a record that will stand for nearly forty years.
  • 7 August - August bank holiday abandoned.
  • 10 August - The official documentary propaganda film The Battle of the Somme is premièred in London. In the first six weeks of general release (from 20 August) 20 million people view it.
  • 2 September - William Leefe-Robinson becomes the first pilot to shoot down a German airship over Britain.
  • 15–22 September - Battle of Flers–Courcelette in France: British advance. The battle is significant for the first use of the tank in warfare. The Prime Minister's son, Raymond Asquith, is killed in action.
  • 24 September - Following a bombing raid on east London, German Zeppelin LZ76 carrying military number L 33 makes a forced landing at Little Wigborough in Essex; its crew are the only armed enemy personnel to set foot in England during the War.
  • 21 November - Hospital ship HMHS Britannic, designed as the third Olympic-class ocean liner for White Star Line, sinks in the Kea Channel of the Aegean Sea after hitting a mine. 30 lives are lost and, at 48,158 gross register tons, she is the largest ship lost during the War.
  • 28 November - First bombing of central London by a fixed-wing aircraft when a German LVG C.II biplane drops 6 bombs near Victoria station.
  • 7 December - Asquith resigns; Lloyd-George becomes Prime Minister.
  • 11 December - Lloyd-George establishes a War Cabinet; Lord Derby succeeds Lloyd George as War Minister; Ministry of Labour formed.
  • 22 December - The Sopwith Camel biplane fighter aircraft makes its maiden flight at Brooklands.
  • 31 December - Douglas Haig promoted to Field marshal.
  • Undated

  • The Kent village of Hampton-on-Sea is abandoned due to coastal erosion.
  • Gustav Holst completes composition of his orchestral suite The Planets, Opus 32.
  • White-tailed sea eagle last breeds in the UK, on Skye (prior to reintroduction).
  • Publications

  • Robert Baden-Powell's The Wolf Cub's Handbook.
  • John Buchan's novel Greenmantle.
  • Sir Oliver Lodge's spiritualist text Raymond; or, Life and death
  • Charles Hamilton Sorley's posthumous Marlborough and Other Poems.
  • The first Wheels poetry anthology Wheels 1916 edited by the Sitwells.
  • Births

  • 9 January - Peter Twinn, mathematician and World War II code-breaker (died 2004)
  • 4 February - Gavin Ewart, poet (died 1995)
  • 13 February - John Reed, actor and opera singer (died 2010)
  • 14 February - Sally Gray, born Constance Stevens, film actress (died 2006)
  • 15 February - Ernest Millington, politician (died 2009)
  • 11 March - Harold Wilson, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (died 1995)
  • 17 March - Ray Ellington, singer (died 1985)
  • 7 May - Huw Wheldon, broadcaster (died 1986)
  • 20 May - Owen Chadwick, religious historian (died 2015)
  • 22 May - Rupert Davies, television actor (died 1976)
  • 31 May - Bernard Lewis, historian
  • 8 June - Francis Crick, molecular biologist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (died 2004)
  • 23 June - Len Hutton, cricketer (died 1990)
  • 1 July - Olivia de Havilland, Tokyo-born film actress
  • 9 July - Edward Heath, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (died 2005)
  • 11 July - Reg Varney, actor (died 2008)
  • 18 August - Moura Lympany, born Mary Johnstone, classical pianist (died 2005)
  • 13 September - Roald Dahl, author (died 1990)
  • 14 September - Cledwyn Hughes, politician (died 2001)
  • 17 September - Mary Stewart, born Mary Rainbow, romantic suspense novelist (died 2014)
  • 19 September - Giles Romilly, journalist (died 1967)
  • 29 September - Carl Giles, cartoonist (died 1995)
  • 3 October
  • James Herriot, born James Alfred Wight, veterinarian and author (died 1995)
  • Frank Pantridge, cardiologist (died 2004)
  • 11 November - Robert Carr, politician (died 2012)
  • 24 November - James Pope-Hennessy, biographer and travel writer (murdered 1974)
  • 28 November - Lilian, Princess of Réthy, born Mary Lilian Baels, English-born Belgian queen consort (died 2002 in Belgium)
  • 17 December - Penelope Fitzgerald, born Penelope Knox, poet, essayist and biographer (died 2000)
  • 19 December
  • Jack Agazarian, World War II spy (executed 1945)
  • Roy Baker, film director (died 2010)
  • Deaths

  • 30 January - Clements Markham, geographer, explorer and writer (born 1830)
  • 28 February - Henry James, novelist (born 1843 in the United States)
  • 11 March - Florence Baker, explorer (born 1841 in Hungary)
  • 31 May - Horace Hood, admiral (killed in action) (born 1870)
  • 5 June - Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener, field marshal, diplomat and statesman (drowned) (born 1850)
  • 12 June - Silvanus P. Thompson, professor, member of the Royal Society and author (born 1851)
  • 23 July - William Ramsay, chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (born 1852)
  • 27 July - Charles Fryatt, mariner (executed) (born 1872)
  • 3 August - Roger Casement, Irish nationalist (executed) (born 1864)
  • 5 August - George Butterworth, composer (killed in action) (born 1885)
  • 14 November - Saki, short-story writer (killed on active service) (born 1870)
  • 23 November - Lanoe Hawker, fighter pilot (killed in action) (born 1890)
  • 5 December - Augusta of Cambridge, member of the Royal Family (born 1822)
  • References

    1916 in the United Kingdom Wikipedia

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