Saturday 5 December 1914 – We Lost 69

by greatwarliveslost

Horace Smith-Dorrien

Horace Smith-Dorrien

II Corps (General ‘Sir’ Horace Smith-Dorrien) issues instructions to all Divisions. “It is during this period that the greatest danger to the morale of troops exists.  Experience of this and of every other war proves undoubtedly that troops in trenches in close proximity to the enemy side very easily, if permitted to do so, may fall into a live and let live theory of life…officers and men sink into a military lethargy from which it is difficult to arouse them when the moment  for great sacrifices again arises the attitude of our troops can be readily understood and to a certain extent commands sympathy such an attitude is however most dangerous for it discourages initiative in commanders and destroys the offensive spirit of all ranks…the Corps commander therefore directs Divisional Commanders to impress on subordinate commanders the absolute necessity of encouraging offensive spirit…friendly intercourse with the enemy, unofficial armistices, however tempting and amusing they may be, are absolutely prohibited.”

Irish Nationalist Roger Casement addresses Irish members of the British Army who are prisoners of war in Germany in an attempt to raise a ‘rebel brigade’.  He gets only three recruits.

The South African Rebels offer to negotiate but Botha demands an unconditional surrender.

  • Lance Corporal Thomas Swan DCM (Black Watch) is killed at age 26. His brother will die of pneumonia on service two weeks before the Armistice.
  • Lance Corporal John Farrer (Durham Light Infantry) is killed while on sentry duty at age 24. He was discharged from the Special Reserve of the Durham Light Infantry in 1913 after 6 years.  He was called up at mobilization on 5 August 1914.

photo from