The world’s first tank battle occurs at Villers-Bretonneux on the Western Front when British Mark IVs engage German A7 tanks.
The Royal Air Force (RAF) is founded by combining the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service.
The Germans use mustard gas against British troops for the first time during the Third Battle of Ypres.
Petty Officer Walter Yeo, badly burned during the Battle of Jutland (1916) on HMS ‘Warspite’, becomes the first person to undergo advanced plastic surgery when he is treated by Sir Harold Gillies.
The Tank Corps is formed to co-ordinate the growing use of tanks in the British Army.
The Queen’s Hospital in Sidcup, Kent is opened to specialise in the treatment of soldiers’ facial injuries.
US Army doctor, Captain Oswald Robertson, sets up the first blood bank on the Western Front.
The Royal Navy introduces the convoy system to protect shipping from German U-Boats.
Part of the Battle of Arras: The Canadians obtain a significant victory over the Germans in the Battle of Vimy Ridge. This engagement sees the first successful use by British Empire forces of flash-spotting and sound-ranging techniques to detect and suppress enemy batteries.
The Craiglockhart War Hospital in Edinburgh begins treating officers with shell shock (neurasthenia).
Part of the Battle of the Somme: The Battle of Flers-Courcelette sees the British use tanks for the first time in history.
The British use the creeping artillery barrage for the first time during the Battle of the Somme.
The box respirator is introduced as the British Army’s standard gas mask.
Major Lawrence Robertson of the Canadian Army performs one of the earliest blood transfusions on the Western Front.
The Royal Navy destroys Germany’s U-68, the first submarine to be sunk with depth charges.
The Germans use phosgene gas for the first time against the British at Wieltje, near Ypres.
The Short Magazine Lee Enfield (SMLE) Mk III*, a cheaper mass-produced version of the British Empire’s iconic Mk III Rifle (adopted in 1907), is introduced for general service.
The British Army forms the Machine Gun Corps to make more effective use of heavy machine guns (primarily the Vickers) on the Western Front.
The British Army officially adopts the Lewis Gun for both land and aircraft use.
The Battle of Loos on the Western Front sees the British offensive fail at German hands. The 50-watt Trench Set (or BF Set), the British Army’s first reliable radio, was first used during this engagement.
The British Army adopts the Brodie helmet as its standard head protection for soldiers.
The Royal Engineers form Special Companies to oversee Britain’s gas warfare effort.
A German Fokker, the first aircraft to be fitted with a device enabling the pilot to fire his machine gun through the arc of the propeller, shoots down a French aircraft.
The first large-scale use of flamethrowers takes place at Hooge in Belgium, during a German attack on the British lines.
The Maudsley Military Hospital is set up in London to treat cases of shell shock (neurasthenia).
The No 5 Grenade (Mills Bomb) is introduced. This is the standard grenade used by British Empire forces for the rest of the war.
Scottish physiologist John Scott Haldane invents the veil respirator, the first British gas mask.
The first large-scale use of poison gas by the Germans fails to end the stalemate on the Western Front.
The introduction of the Thomas splint, named after the Welsh surgeon Hugh Owen Thomas, drastically cuts the numbers of British soldiers dying from broken femurs.
The Royal Engineers form Tunnelling Companies to oversee underground warfare.
The first Zeppelin (airship) raid on Britain sees King’s Lynn and Great Yarmouth bombed by the Germans.
The 3-inch Stokes Mortar is invented and soon becomes the standard British Army mortar of the war.
The Germans detonate ten mines under the British lines at Givenchy. This is the first large-scale use of underground mines on the Western Front.
In the aftermath of the First Battle of the Marne, thick belts of barbed wire appear on the Western Front as both sides dig in.
The Royal Naval Air Service deploys its vehicles on the Western Front, marking the first British combat use of armoured cars.
The Serbs defeat the invading Austro-Hungarians in the first major Allied victory of the First World War. This battle also sees the first aerial dogfight when the pilots of Serbian and Austro-Hungarian reconnaissance aircraft engage each other with small arms.
Four squadrons from the Royal Flying Corps join the British Expeditionary Force in France.