July 1915

 

When the Ministry of Munitions was formed on 2nd July 1915, David Lloyd George was appointed Minister. The Munitions of War Act were passed in July 1915 in a desperate attempt to tackle the problem of labour shortages on the home front. Government control over labour was required to overcome the soldier-civilian balancing act. With some 2.5 million men having volunteered for military service, skilled jobs were being performed by unskilled labour. Included in the civilian labour force were women who were answering the call to participate. The unions were unhappy with this situation but Lloyd George found a way to appease the unions. Productivity of arms, shells and equipment increased.

 

16th July 1915 saw the British National Registration Act in force whereby men of eligible age were conscripted to work in the factories that were under military jurisdiction. This ensured the boost to the production of munitions. Women were encouraged to undertake the work formerly done by men releasing the men to continue to join the military. Conscription was introduced into the British military forces in May 1916

 

The second battle of Isonzo began on 18th July 1915 with the Italian forces attacking Austro-Hungarian defences. The River Isonzo was the front line and the Italian objective was Trieste, which is 20 miles (34km) into enemy territory. The battle lasted until 30th August 1915 but the end result was stalemate and with horrendous loss of life on both sides. There were to be a further two battles for Isonzo before 1915 was over.

 

On the 30th July 1915 saw the first tactical use of flamethrowers. At the battle of Hooge, just outside Ypres in Belgium, the Germans used the flamethrower consisting of a backpack containing a pressurised reservoir of nitrogen and coal tar/benzene mixture. Connection from the reservoir to the ignition nozzle was by a flexible hose. When the trigger, complete with the igniting device was operated the pressurised liquid was released through the nozzle projecting flaming liquid approximately 47 mts. (50 yds). The flamethrower was designed to destroy enemy strongholds or enemy troops.

 

In July 1915, Pope Benedict XV condemned both the sinking of the “Lusitania” and the German blockade of Britain as unchristian. In time of war, French Catholics were outraged at the neutral stance of the Roman Church. The Catholics were denied the patriotic commitment of all French citizens to defend themselves.

 

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