Puneet Varma (Editor)

1918 in the United Kingdom

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1918 in the United Kingdom

Events from the year 1918 in the United Kingdom. This year sees the end of World War I after four years, which Britain and its allies won, and a major advance in women's suffrage.



  • Monarch - George V
  • Prime Minister - David Lloyd George (coalition)
  • Events

  • 12 January
  • Minnie Pit disaster, a mining accident at Halmer End in the North Staffordshire Coalfield, kills 155 as the result of an explosion caused by firedamp.
  • Admiralty M-class destroyers HMS Narborough (1916) and HMS Opal (1915) run aground and are wrecked off Orkney in a severe storm with only one survivor.
  • 15 January - The keel of HMS Hermes (95) is laid on Tyneside, the first purpose-designed aircraft carrier to be laid down.
  • 28 January - Night of unusually heavy bombing in London and south-east England.
  • 31 January - "Battle of May Island": In a confused series of collisions as a large Royal Navy fleet steams down the Firth of Forth this evening, submarines HMS K4 and HMS K17 are sunk, three other submarines and a light cruiser are damaged and 104 men are killed.
  • 6 February - Representation of the People Act gives women the vote provided they are over 30 and are (or are married to) a local government elector. It also removes most property qualifications, giving all adult (over-21) male resident householders the vote, and requires elections to be restricted to a single day. Many conscientious objectors are barred from voting until 5 years after the end of the war.
  • 1 March - Imperial German Navy U-boat SM U-19 sinks HMS Calgarian off Rathlin Island, Ireland.
  • 23 March - In London at the Wood Green Empire, Chung Ling Soo (William E Robinson, US-born magician) dies during his trick where he was supposed to "catch" two separate bullets – one of them perforates his lung. He dies the following morning in hospital.
  • 1 April - The Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service are merged to form the Royal Air Force; the Women's Royal Air Force is also founded to provide mechanics.
  • 23 April
  • Conscription Crisis of 1918 in Ireland: a general strike is held here against conscription.
  • Zeebrugge Raid, an attempt by the Royal Navy to seal off the German U-Boat base here.
  • June - Standard clothing introduced.
  • 3 June - GPO raises postage rates: the ordinary letter rate is now 1½d., bringing an end to the Uniform Penny Post which has existed since 1840; and the rate for postcards doubles from ½d. to 1d.
  • 1 July - Explosion of 8 tons of TNT at the National Shell Filling Factory, Chilwell (Nottinghamshire) kills 134; only 32 bodies can be positively identified.
  • 15 July - Ration books introduced for butter, margarine, lard, meat, and sugar.
  • 17 July - RMS Carpathia is torpedoed and sunk off the east coast of Ireland by Imperial German Navy U-boat SM U-55; 218 of the 223 on board are rescued.
  • August - Education Act raises the school leaving age in England and Wales to fourteen.
  • 1 August - British anti-Bolshevik forces occupy Archangel, Russia. On 10 August their commander is told to help White Russians.
  • 30 August - Strike of 20,000 London policemen with demands of increased pay and union recognition.
  • 29 September - First performance of Gustav Holst's orchestral suite The Planets, before an invited audience at the Queen's Hall in London, conducted by Adrian Boult.
  • 26 October - Cecil Chubb donates Stonehenge to the nation.
  • 27 October to 2 November - 2,200 deaths in London over this period due to Spanish Flu.
  • 3 November - Armistice with Austria-Hungary signed in Padua.
  • 5 November - Former Cunarder HMS Campania sinks in an accident in the Firth of Forth.
  • 9 November - British battleship HMS Britannia is sunk by a German submarine off Trafalgar with the loss of around fifty lives, the last major naval engagement of World War I.
  • 11 November - World War I ends: Germany signs an armistice agreement with the Allies in a railroad car outside Compiègne in France. George Edwin Ellison becomes the last British soldier to be killed in the War, near Mons in Belgium.
  • 14 November - Labour Party leaves the wartime coalition government.
  • 20 November - U-boats start to rendezvous off Harwich to begin the surrender of the High Seas Fleet to the Royal Navy; in the following week the German warships are escorted to internment in Scapa Flow.
  • 21 November - The Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act 1918 receives Royal Assent, giving women over 21 the right to stand as a Member of Parliament.
  • 23 November - British military government of Palestine begins.
  • 5 December - Light cruiser HMS Cassandra sunk by mine in the Gulf of Finland while assisting Estonia against the Bolsheviks, with eleven crew lost.
  • 14 December - General election polling held. It is the first national election in the United Kingdom at which women are entitled to vote or stand, and the male franchise is extended. This is known as the "Coupon election" from the letter of endorsement given to candidates of the official (and victorious) Coalition by Bonar Law and Lloyd George.
  • 24 December - First Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols held at King's College, Cambridge.
  • 28 December - Countess Constance Markievicz, while detained in Holloway Prison, becomes the first woman MP elected to (but not to take her seat in) the British House of Commons. Sinn Féin has won 73 out of 105 Irish seats in the British Parliament. In accordance with their manifesto, Sinn Féin members refuse to take their seats in the Palace of Westminster and instead form the First Dáil in Ireland in 1919.
  • 29 December - The Sunday Express newspaper published for the first time.
  • Undated

  • United Newspapers Ltd. founded in London.
  • The Scottish county of Elginshire is officially renamed as the County of Moray (Morayshire).
  • Gainsborough wins the English Triple Crown by finishing first in the Derby, 2,000 Guineas and St Leger.
  • Publications

  • Gerard Manley Hopkins' Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins (posthumous).
  • Daniel Jones's textbook An Outline of English Phonetics (containing the first comprehensive description of British Received Pronunciation).
  • Wyndham Lewis's novel Tarr (in book form).
  • André Maurois' novel Les Silences du Colonel Bramble.
  • Siegfried Sassoon's Counter-Attack and Other Poems
  • Dr Marie Stopes' books Married Love and Wise Parenthood.
  • Lytton Strachey's historical biography Eminent Victorians.
  • Rebecca West's novel The Return of the Soldier.
  • Births

  • 1 January - Patrick Anthony Porteous, Scottish soldier, recipient of the Victoria Cross (born in the British Raj; died 2000)
  • 28 January - Harry Corbett, English puppeteer, actor and screenwriter (died 1989)
  • 1 February - Muriel Spark, Scottish author (died 2006)
  • 1 March - Roger Delgado, actor (died 1973)
  • 10 April - Betty Tebbs, campaigner for women's rights and peace (died 2017)
  • 16 April - Spike Milligan, comedian, writer, musician, poet and playwright (born in the British Raj; died 2002)
  • 16 May - Wilf Mannion, footballer (died 2000)
  • 25 June - P. H. Newby, novelist (died 1997)
  • 25 July - Alexander McKee, journalist, military historian and diver, discoverer of the Mary Rose (died 1992)
  • 8 August - Brian Stonehouse, painter and World War II spy (died 1998)
  • 13 August - Frederick Sanger, biochemist, double Nobel Prize laureate (died 2013)
  • 8 September - Derek Barton, organic chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (died 1998)
  • 17 September - Chaim Herzog, sixth president of the State of Israel (born in Belfast; died 1997)
  • 27 September - Martin Ryle, radio astronomer, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics (died 1984)
  • 21 December - Frank Hampson, illustrator (died 1985)
  • Deaths

  • 25 March - Walter Tull, footballer and first Black infantry officer to serve in the British Army (killed in action) (born 1888)
  • 1 April - Isaac Rosenberg, painter and poet (killed in action) (born 1890)
  • 7 October - Hubert Parry, composer (born 1848)
  • 4 November - Wilfred Owen, poet (killed in action) (born 1893)
  • 9 November - Peter Lumsden, Scottish Indian Army general (born 1829)
  • 29 November - Thomas Allinson, physician and dietetic reformer (born 1858)
  • 27 December - Birt Acres, American-born pioneer of cinematography (born 1854)
  • References

    1918 in the United Kingdom Wikipedia

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