1914: December 8
What had began as a ‘European war’ was now being fought in the Ottoman Empire, Africa and East Asia and it was not much longer until the ripples of conflict were felt as far away as the South Atlantic Ocean.
In November 1914 German naval forces off the Southern coast of Chile had successfully outgunned and destroyed a British squadron in the Battle of Coronel. A month later their attention turned to the Falkland Islands, a target due to its radio station and coaling depot. However on December 8, the German Admiral, Graf Maximilian von Spee, was unaware that a fast British squadron was coaling on the island.
Realising the mistake the German boats tried to escape to the open sea but the quick British ships quickly tracked them down. Four German cruisers were sunk during the battle, killing around 2,200 sailors.
The British success brought a much needed morale boost, especially important because elsewhere the war was not advancing as planned.