Full-scale German attacks start again
The Anzac Commemorative Working Party is contributing a regular column — Coo-ee — outlining what was happening in Benalla and in World War I, 100 years ago.
This week, 100 years ago, saw resumption of fighting on most fronts.
During winter’s worst, both sides had limited themselves to raiding.
Some raids had been large, but this week saw a resumption of full-scale German attacks in the Passchendaele and Chemin des Dames regions, French attacks in the Champagne region and Austrian attacks on the Asiago front.
Leon Trotsky, Foreign Affairs Commissar, announced that Russia was no longer at war with Germany and Austro-Hungary.
A treaty would be negotiated eventually.
However, Trotsky ordered immediate demobilisation of Russia’s army.
Despite German renewal of an offensive against the Russians just three days from today, the Great War was over for Russia. The Russians fell back, unwilling to fight further.
However, the Russian Civil War was just getting under way.
Previously, General Mikhail Alekseyev had sent a telegram to the Tsar advising him to abdicate the throne. This the Tsar had done. During 1917, Alekseyev had attempted to prevent the outbreak of civil war by arresting Kornilov and other far-right leaders.
After the Bolshevik Revolution in November 1917, it became clear what the Bolsheviks intended.
Alekseyev then formed units that became the core of the White Volunteer Army.
This week he was defeated in their first battle with the Reds.
He died of a heart attack eight weeks later.
General Kaledin, commanding another White army, the Don Cossack Army, was defeated after the dreadful winter Ice March.
Losing hope, he committed suicide this week.
This week also saw the torpedoing of USS Tuscania off the Irish coast by UB-77, a German submarine.
This was the first ship carrying American troops to be torpedoed, 210 soldiers and crew died.
In Benalla, this week, saw the first report of deaths in the area from Spanish flu.
Malcolm Allen, an 18-year-old draper’s assistant died in Mooroopna Hospital after a 10-day illness.
Despite ducks being plentiful on local swamps and waterways, bags of ducks from the Broken river and Winton swamp were poor.
In these there was too much water.
During recent years there had been repeated collisions between motorcars and trains at the Nunn St crossing and at the Rowan St crossing in Wangaratta.
Wangaratta Borough Council this week joined Benalla Shire Council in calling for an overpass or subway to be built to replace their town’s most dangerous crossing.
In time, Rowan St would get a subway or underpass; Nunn St is still waiting.
In Benalla Magistrates Court this week James Sherwill was fined $4 for failing to dip his sheep immediately after shearing.
The sheep were found to be tick infested.
A fire destroyed a house and its contents at the corner of Charles and Deas Sts.
The occupants, a mother and child, escaped.
— John Barry, ANZAC Commemorative Working Party, Coo-ee
— Honouring our WWIheroes