14th January 1918: The British began to extend its front southwards taking over from the French, first to St.Quentin and then by the end of the month to Barisis. Field Marshall Haig now had 125 miles to defend with 57 divisions, but these were much weaker than before. Intelligence estimated that Germans were transferring between 30 to 40 divisions from the now quiet east over the winter, so for Haig the question was how to distribute his forces against the expected attack. With the Americans still slowly arriving it made sense that if the Germans were to attack it would be sooner than later, probably in early March. Although the weather had been bad for flying and for observation, British airmen had brought in photographs of numerous new aerodromes, dumps, railway sidings and hospital camps in the region opposite the British 3rd and 5th Armies from Arras to Peronne. But similar reports were coming in opposite the British 2nd Army on the Lys, and also on the French front in Champagne near Rheims.
8th January 1918: US President Wilson (photograph right) published his ‘Fourteen Points’ which must be conceded by Germany before the US could think of peace. With one exception they were the same as British Prime Minister Lloyd George’s and although not all agreed by the French they became recognised as the general basis upon which the Allies would consent to negotiate.
4th January 1918: The Hospital Ship Rewa was returning to Britain from Malta with 279 wounded officers aboard. Neutral inspectors from Spain had boarded the ship in Gibraltar to confirm that she had no military function. At 11:15, she was hit by a torpedo 19 miles off Hartland Point, Devon. The ship took around two hours to sink, allowing all wounded and ship’s crew to board lifeboats except for the four engine men who died in the initial explosion.