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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Time differences......


fangfarrier
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Very simple question, but one that seems very difficult to get a definative answer........I'm aware that times were standard during the Great War, no difference in French and British time? So I'm guessing that in order to be accurate in France on 1st July 2016 I will be looking to pay my respects at 06.30 local time? Sorry if this is a bit basic.......

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On 1 July 1916 the British, French and Belgian armies were using Daylight Saving Time. GMT + 1. The Germans also used DST, so they were on GMT + 2.

So you should be observing the anniversary at 08.30 current local French time, which is equivalent to 07.30 BST, the French having adopted the same time zone as the Germans during or just after WW2.

However, as I can't see the French or Belgians can be persuaded to move the Armistice Day observation to 12.00, so as to be simultaneous with 11.00 GMT, when we observe it at the Cenotaph.

Ron

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On 1 July 1916 the British, French and Belgian armies were using Daylight Saving Time. GMT + 1. The Germans also used DST, so they were on GMT + 2.

So you should be observing the anniversary at 08.30 current local French time, which is equivalent to 07.30 BST, the French having adopted the same time zone as the Germans during or just after WW2.

However, as I can't see the French or Belgians can be persuaded to move the Armistice Day observation to 12.00, so as to be simultaneous with 11.00 GMT, when we observe it at the Cenotaph.

Ron

You are correct. The French villages I know observe a short silence at 1100 their time.

Frankly, I don't think it makes any difference, except to lawyers and bureaucrats.

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I'm confused.

in 1916, France, Belgium and British Armies were on Daylight Saving Time, which was one hour ahead of GMT, =GMT +1 which is the same as the current British Summer Time.

So the kick off time in 1916 would be the same time in current BST ?

France now being another hour ahead are currently GMT+2.

So if you wish to pay your respects at 0630 (Local French 1916 Time), that would be 0630 BST would it not?

ie 0730 Local 2016 French Time.

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If you wish to commemorate it in Britain, 06.30 BST would be equivalent to 07.30 modern French BST.

For the Germans, the assault was at 08.30 German BST for either 1916 or 2016, and hence also 08.30 by modern French BST.

Ron

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If you wish to commemorate it in Britain, 06.30 BST would be equivalent to 07.30 modern French BST.

For the Germans, the assault was at 08.30 German BST for either 1916 or 2016, and hence also 08.30 by modern French BST.

Ron

Yes I understand.

As Kick Off was 0730 (Local French Time 1916/BST 1916 & 2016), and 0830 (German Army Time 1916, and CET 2016), I wasn't entirely clear why the OP wanted to commemorate at 0630 CET 2016.

Just wait for the barrage to lift, and then give it one more minute . . . .

Now that sounds like an eminently sensible plan!

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Looks like 08.30 local time then! I was a little confused, but that's not hard for me. Thanks for the help.

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  • 2 months later...

Having often thought about this subject and wondered at Lochnagar and even this year at Thiepval whether we were an hour out. It would be good to get a definitive answer.

I suppose for simplicity we could always revert all times (British, French, Belgian and German) to GMT and then add on the appropriate hour/s that were in use in both 1916 and currently today.

 

1916               GMT           Local DST          

British              06.30         07.30

French            06.30          07.30

German           06.30         08.30

2016               GMT           Local DST

British              06.30         07.30

French            06.30          08.30

German           06.30         08.30

 

Thus, on 1st July 1916 following the introduction of BST in May 1916, the local start time in 1916 would have been the same in France and the UK - 07.30am.

 

However, now France is plus 2 hours on GMT, that 07.30 in 1916, would the local time in 2016 France actually be 08.30?

If so, have we been commemorating the 'Start Time' for 1st July one hour earlier than it actually was?

 

Confusing isn't it and I'm probably spouting a load of garbage !

 

 

Edited by Joe Toy
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No you're not talking rubbish at all, I thought it would be simple, but the more I think about it the more confused I became (not hard that though). Thanks for the info.

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I've visited Western Front battlefields on numerous occasions but only once did I visit on 1st July. On that day I attended the service at Lochnagar Crater and later the service at Thiepval. If I remember rightly there are 4 services during the day and no two start at the same time. This allows people to go to all 4 services if they wish. I'm attaching a link to the Lochnagar Order of Service. This will show you that they fire a maroon at 07.28 (local time) to mark the blowing of the mine. The service itself starts at 07.30.

http://www.lochnagarcrater.org/2016OrderofService.pdf 

As far as I can tell all commemorations are carried out at current Local Time no matter what GMT, DST, or CET may be in effect. It makes life a lot easier; after all should you mark 1 July at Lochnagar in British Time for the start of the battle or in German Time? Lochnagar was in German hands at the time of the start of the battle and for a few minutes after.

I think marking events in Local Time is so much easier.

Garth

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I agree with you Garth.... it would be a nonsense to change the time/s of the local commemoration/s even if it was in fact one hour out. The whole purpose is the actual commemoration itself and we are not commemorating the actual time.

 

Malcolm

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