World War I

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World War I

You may wish to consult Great War for other, similarly-named pages.

The First World War, also known as World War I, the War to End Wars, the 1914-18 War, (TV: The War Games) the Great War (TV: The Family of Blood) and the First Great War, (PROSE: The Mark of the Rani) was a major conflict on Earth fought over four years, four months and four days (COMIC: The Weeping Angels of Mons) from 1914 (TV: The War Games) to 11 November 1918. (AUDIO: The White Room)

Though largely concentrated in Europe, the war ultimately spread to involve other nations such as the United States of America and Japan. (PROSE: Doctor Who and the War Games)

Millions of people — men, women and childrenlost their lives in the war. Sometimes 20,000 soldiers were killed in a single day, and a battle for six miles of wasteland could cost lives of 1,500,000 men. Battlefields of the First World War were considered perfect hunting grounds by Weeping Angels. (COMIC: The Weeping Angels of Mons)

By the war's end, 37 million people had lost their lives, from both sides. (AUDIO: Harry Houdini's War)

The war was referred to as "the War to End All Wars", (TV: To the Last Man, PROSE: The Way Through the Woods) or "the War to End Wars". (TV: The War Games) However, the war's end only resulted in two decades of an unstable peace, plagued by enduring bitterness and resentment. (AUDIO: The Alchemists, PROSE: Players, et al.) Eventually the post-war settlement collapsed, plunging the world into a second global conflagration. (PROSE: Timewyrm: Exodus, Just War, et al.)



Ada Lovelace was temporally displaced from 1834 to 1943, where she was witness to the war-torn Paris, as well as learning from Noor Inayat Khan that the current war came following one of a similar scale. The Thirteenth Doctor noted that these were "dark times", but that they would not sustain. Ultimately, the Doctor removed Ada's memory of this experience as she returned her home to 1834. (TV: Spyfall)

By the turn of the 19th century, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany was already known internationally as an ambitious figure. The prospect of his ambitions causing a European land war was already a topic of discussion in the United Kingdom by 1900. (PROSE: Foreign Devils)

In 1903, after receiving a wealth of information from the future, Grigori Rasputin foresaw the Great War. (AUDIO: The Wanderer)

The time travelling Family of Blood, while in 1913, warned some people there would be a war the next year though they kept some details vague. (TV: The Family of Blood)

In the Dalek Project, Daleks, spread across a trio of Survey Ships, had travelled through centuries of human history where they studied human strategy to determine their weaknesses which they aimed to exploit in their future conflict. While in the process of travelling forwards through time, however, they were caught in a vortex storm and emerged in 1908. Survey Ship Sigma and Survey Ship Delta collided and the latter was destroyed in Siberia. Meanwhile, Sigma managed to make it to Kent. Though he briefly considered the possibility that the Daleks, motivated by desperation, created the conflict themselves, the Eleventh Doctor presumed that they merely waited. (COMIC: The Dalek Project)

According to the Doctor, "everyone who was paying any attention knew" that war was coming. (COMIC: The Dalek Project)



A Slitheen disguised as Sir Edward Scott Cameron described the Seven Years' War, which was fought during the reign of King George II of England, as a prequel to World War I, "a glorious affair" that "spanned continents" and "consumed countless lives." (AUDIO: Death on the Mile)

The United Kingdom engaged in an arms race with Germany in February 1906 when the Royal Navy launched the first Dreadnought-class warship. It contributed to the beginning of the First World War, and led to the creation of weapons such as the atomic bomb in the longer term. Time travelling aliens intent on invading a weakened Earth tried to stop the arms race by handing the Dreadnought plans to German agents in January 1906, but the First Doctor, Steven Taylor and Ruby Watkins foiled their plans. (AUDIO: Peace in Our Time)

The war was caused in part by the influence of the Nemesis statue passing by Earth in 1913 (TV: Silver Nemesis) but also by Jack Harkness throwing Object 1 into the Rift. (AUDIO: The Torchwood Archive)

Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand[[edit]]

In June 1914, an Archduke of Austria was shot by a Serbian, and this then led, through nations having treaties with nations, like a line of dominoes falling, to some boys from England walking together in France on a terrible day.The Tenth Doctor on the build up to World War I. [The Family of Blood (TV story) [src]]

The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife by Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo, 28 June 1914, the consequences of which led to war. (COMIC: The Dalek Project)

However, the ostensible reason was that a Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip assassinated the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo in June 1914. Austria issued a list of demands to Serbia, which were rejected. In response, Austria prepared to invade Serbia. Russia was allied to Serbia and started mobilising its troops. Knowing that France was also allied to Serbia, Germany, which was itself allied to Austria, decided to attack France first because France wanted the provinces of Alsace-Lorraine back. In order to do that, Germans had to march through Luxembourg and Belgium. However, the United Kingdom had a treaty to protect Belgium. (PROSE: Human Nature) This brought Britain's colonies into the war - including Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa and India - as well as Japan, which had an agreement with Britain. Although Italy were bound by treaty to Germany, they held back from the war for a year, before siding against Germany in 1915. (PROSE: The Time Traveller's Almanac) Thus, most of the major powers were pulled into the war, and the others soon chose a side too. (PROSE: Human Nature)

At one point, the Eleventh Doctor grew fearful as he began to suspect that the Daleks had conditioned Princip to commit the assassination so humanity would be plunged into war, allowing the Daleks to make advancements with the Dalek Project. Yet the Doctor ultimately never found any conclusive evidence to confirm his suspicions and conceded that it was only a possibility. (COMIC: The Dalek Project)

The War[[edit]]


Early combat[[edit]]
One of the many battlefields during the War. (TV: The Family of Blood)

In August, the United Kingdom entered the war. (COMIC: The Weeping Angels of Mons) Among the soldiers who joined up were a group of six including Johnny, Rex, Archie, James, Tommy and a private; they had joined in search of action and adventure. Of them, Johnny and Rex were killed in the first disastrous push while Archie was killed by the constant mixture of mud and death underfoot. (PROSE: Front Line)

Some of the battlegrounds were Mons, (COMIC: The Weeping Angels of Mons) Passchendaele, the Somme, Verdun, Tannenberg and Ypres. (TV: To the Last Man, AUDIO: The Next Life, PROSE: Byzantium!, Remembrance of the Daleks, Illegal Alien)

Scottish Highland regiments were part of the British Army in World War I. The Highlanders gained a reputation as fierce soldiers in the conflict. The Germans called them "the devils in skirts" and "the ladies from hell." (AUDIO: The Mouthless Dead)

On 21 August, British troops were preparing to defend the town of Mons in Belgium from the advancing German troops. The Battle of Mons was the first battle of the British Army in the war. There were rumours of Weeping Angels making German soldiers vanish during the battle. (COMIC: The Weeping Angels of Mons)

In 1914, the Third Doctor, Tobias Philby and Thomas ended up in a No Man's Land in France, where they learned of a German artillery build-up and warned the British Army of it. (COMIC: The Amateur)

The Tenth Doctor and Rose Tyler visited the war and put a stop to the Warfreekz' observation of the battles. (COMIC: Warfreekz!)

The Eighth Doctor in World War I (AUDIO: The Great War)

The Eighth Doctor was led by Straxus to the middle the conflict, and arrived in a No Man's Land in France. A time winds leak from the vortex was causing trouble and harm to the humans. During the mission, he met his soon-to-be companion Molly O'Sullivan, a nurse serving on the front. When he acknowledged the conflict as "the Great War", she commented there was nothing great about it, calling it the "worst war". At this point in the war, tanks had yet to be introduced, while American involvement was limited to volunteers. The Doctor also encountered a fake surgeon named Sturgis and learned he was a servant of the Daleks (AUDIO: The Great War) before escaping the exterminators with Molly. (AUDIO: Fugitives)

Japan also became involved in the war (PROSE: Doctor Who and the War Games) and naval action took place in the Pacific Ocean. (PROSE: The Eye of the Giant)

In October, Germany bombarded Antwerp. Using her yacht, a British woman named Jessica Borthwick evacuated numerous Belgians across the English Channel while under German fire. (AUDIO: Brotherhood of the Daleks)

Christmas truce[[edit]]
Main article: Christmas truce
The Ninth Doctor referees a Christmas football match between the English and the German. (COMIC: The Forgotten)

On Christmas Day 1914, a festive truce was called and soldiers on both sides participated in football matches in no-man's land. (PROSE: This Town Will Never Let Us Go) They also conversed and shared cigarettes. (PROSE: The Little Drummer Boy, COMIC: The Forgotten) The celebrations were witnessed by the First Doctor, Steven Taylor, and Sara Kingdom; (PROSE: The Little Drummer Boy) the Third Doctor, Tobias Philby and Thomas; (COMIC: The Amateur) the Fifth Doctor and Peri Brown; (PROSE: Never Seen Cairo) the Ninth Doctor and Rose Tyler; (COMIC: The Forgotten) the First Doctor a second time and the Twelfth Doctor. (TV: Twice Upon a Time)

The Ninth Doctor visited at Christmas, 1914 with Rose Tyler. He started the football game between the opposing troops taking part in the Christmas truce. (COMIC: The Forgotten) The Fifth Doctor also visited a battlefield during the Christmas truce, during which he met Edward Woodbourne. (PROSE: Never Seen Cairo)

On Christmas 1914 in Ypres, Captain Archibald Hamish Lethbridge-Stewart entered into a standoff with a German soldier that would ultimately cost them both their lives. However, Archibald was briefly extracted by the Testimony to copy his memories, but an error in the timeline caused Archibald to end up in Antarctica in 1986 near the First Doctor and Twelfth Doctor. The two Doctors attempted to save Archibald from the Testimony before understanding its true purpose. Ultimately, Archibald was returned to his own time, but the Twelfth Doctor adjusted the time periods for the two soldiers ahead by a couple of hours.

The Twelfth Doctor on the quiet battlefield during the Christmas truce (TV: Twice Upon a Time)

As a result, their standoff ended with neither man dying when the Christmas truce began shortly after time resumed. Seeing his future self's actions caused the First Doctor to understand what "the Doctor of War" really was and he decided to go forth with his regeneration. (TV: Twice Upon a Time)

The next day, soldiers resumed fighting. (PROSE: The Little Drummer Boy)


The Eastern Front. (COMIC: The Dalek Project)

In 1915, the Dalek crew of Survey Ship Sigma made their move to complete the Dalek Project. A missile from the Survey Ship shot down a plane flown by Ralph Hellcombe on his way back to Kent's Hellcombe Hall. Recovering Ralph's body, the Daleks converted him into a Dalek duplicate. A single Dalek approached and presented Ralph to his father, Lord Hellcombe, claiming to have used its advanced technology to save his life. Having earned Lord Hellcombe's gratitude, the Dalek had him create an army of Proto-Daleks at Hellcombe Factory, ostensibly for the British war effort. Meanwhile, a pair of Daleks appeared on the Eastern Front, where German forces were engaged against the Russians. There, they shot down two German soldiers including Heinrich Graul, the son of Erik Graul. Claiming that his son was shot down by the Russians, the Daleks had Erik oversee the construction of German Proto-Daleks. (COMIC: The Dalek Project)

On 7 May 1915, the RMS Lusitania was torpedoed by the German U-boat and sank, precipitating the entry of the United States of America into the war two years later. (AUDIO: The Sirens of Time)

In the summer of 1915, Joseph Watson was killed in France. John Watson considered the morale of those in London to be somewhat sapped by the falling of German bombs over London. Many had evacuated to the country, but Watson declined to. (PROSE: The Spirit Box [+]Loading...["The Spirit Box (novel)"])

In 1915, Wilfred Hollins was killed in the war. (AUDIO: Nightshade)

Twelve months into the war, James was killed by shrapnel. (PROSE: Front Line)

This year, the Forge ran one of at least two experiments they conducted for the war effort: trying to create vampire soldiers. On 4 October, Project: Twilight ended in disaster when 57 vampires escaped the Forge Alpha Facility. (AUDIO: Project: Twilight, PROSE: Project: Valhalla)

Tommy was killed by a German bullet, leaving the private as the sole survivor of his original group of six. A week later, the Seventh Doctor offered the private the opportunity to travel with him but the man declined. At that point, the war had been raging for 16 months. (PROSE: Front Line)

The Gallipoli campaign saw the British Empire send its army, mostly from the Australian and New Zealand Army Corp, to take the peninsula of Gallipoli before quickly moving on to Constantinople. (PROSE: Direct Action) Jack Harkness was present at Gallipoli during the campaign, wearing a battered coat which had sustained several holes as a result of gunfire. He was responsible for saving the life of Ata, an Ottoman soldier, while warding off a creature which fed on fear in times of war. While doing so, Jack was killed twice, first from a gunshot inflicted by Ata when he initially approached him, then again by Ottoman forces when they recovered Ata. (AUDIO: What Have I Done?) Ultimately, the terrain and the enemy turned out to be much more than the British had bargained for, and the ANZAC soldiers were slaughtered. (PROSE: Direct Action)

Winston Churchill was blamed for the Gallipoli disaster and in response, he went to serve as a Major on the Western Front, rather than sit out the war as a Member of Parliament. That year, he became the subject of a plot by the Count and Countess of the Players, who sought to kidnap him and send him as a political prisoner to Germany. The Second Doctor, Jeremy Carstairs and Lady Jennifer Buckingham intervened, and the Doctor took the fall to allow Churchill to flee captivity. (PROSE: Players)

At Christmas, soldiers from both sides tried to organise another truce. This effort was quelled by their superiors. Some of the soldiers involved were executed. (PROSE: Twice Upon a Time)


The Weeping Angels facing a tank in World War I. (COMIC: The Weeping Angels of Mons)

In 1916, the First Doctor and his granddaughter Susan Foreman were caught in a Zeppelin raid. (TV: Planet of Giants, AUDIO: The Alchemists)

On 1 July, the British Army began a massive offensive in the Somme. (AUDIO: Men of War) It was later called the First Battle of the Somme (COMIC: Time Bomb!) or simply the "Big Push". The attacks were happening simultaneously along miles of trenches. Jamie Colquhoun and his regiment took part in the offensive. (COMIC: The Weeping Angels of Mons) So did Captain Richard Hadleman and his Ninth battalion of the Norfolk Regiment. (PROSE: Human Nature)

The Tenth Doctor encountered the Weeping Angels in the town of St Michel. (COMIC: The Weeping Angels of Mons)

On 20 August, the New York Times reported that thousands had died in the Somme. A man who had been in the battle in July 1916, but was sent to 1892 by a Weeping Angel, died of a heart attack after he read the headline. (COMIC: The Weeping Angels of Mons)

The Battle of the Somme ended on 18 November, (AUDIO: Men of War) as the years' fighting on the Western Front gave way to a particularly harsh winter. (PROSE: Doctor Who and the War Games)

As the "endless war" continued, the Tsar went on holiday with his family away from the Winter Palace on the advice of "Grigori Rasputin", actually the Spy Master, who had posed as the Tsar's advisor to use the palace for his ill-fated plan to steal the Thirteenth Doctor's identity. (TV: The Power of the Doctor)

In December, on the Eastern Front, wounded Russian soldiers continued to flood back into St Petersburg. The Tsar's regime began to buckle under the strain of the conflict and workers demanding better conditions displayed revolutionary attitudes by singing "La Marseillaise". That month, Rasputin was murdered by aristocrats who feared he was exerting too much influence on Tsarina Alexandra. The Socialist Revolutionary Fighting Section managed to frame the assassination as an attack on the lower classes, creating further resentment towards the Tsarist regime. (PROSE: The Wages of Sin)


Corporal Edward Anderson rallies British and German soldiers against the Proto-Daleks in No Man's Land. (COMIC: The Dalek Project)

In 1917, George Newman fought on the Italian front. (AUDIO: Fiesta of the Damned)

The Eleventh Doctor arrived at Hellcombe Hall in 1917 where, with help from Corporal Edward Anderson and Lord Hellcombe, he learned about the Dalek Project. He managed to help the Allied and German armies defeat the Daleks and their robotic drones in No Man's Land in north east France before all witnesses to the Dalek plan could be exterminated. (COMIC: The Dalek Project)

In April, America joined the fight against Germany, hastening the end of the conflict the following year. (PROSE: The Time Traveller's Almanac)

The immortal Jack Harkness fought in the war in the British Army, (TV: Utopia, COMIC: The Forgotten) as did Tim Latimer, Hutchinson (TV: The Family of Blood) and Major Burton. (TV: Delta and the Bannermen) Solomon and the older members of his Hooverville fought in the American army during the war (TV: Evolution of the Daleks) as did Diagoras. (TV: Daleks in Manhattan) By 1917, most young men in England had been drafted. (PROSE: The Way Through the Woods) The android Edwin Bracewell had memories of the War implanted in his positronic brain. The Eleventh Doctor speculated that these were someone else's memories that had been stolen for the process. (TV: Victory of the Daleks)

This year, the Forge tried to brainwash soldiers into being more aggressive. The Seventh Doctor, travelling with Ace and Hex, was drawn to the Forge's experiments at Charnage Hospital and thwarted them. (AUDIO: No Man's Land)

A number of British and German soldiers were kidnapped by the War Lords for their War Games, fighting in a replica of the Western Front. The Second Doctor, believing the "1917 Zone" was the real conflict, called it "one of the worst wars in human history". The soldiers were eventually returned home to Earth by the Time Lords. (TV: The War Games)

The First Doctor witnessed the Battle of Passchendaele and considered it an awful event. (PROSE: Byzantium!)


In or by 1918, British Field Marshal Haig ordered that "Every position must be held to the last man." Tommy Brockless, who served in the 10th West Yorkshire Regiment, was executed in 1918 when, suffering from shell shock, he refused to return to the front lines. (TV: To the Last Man)

11 November 1918, Armistice Day, marked the end of the war. (AUDIO: The White Room) A million British soldiers had died during the war. (TV: To the Last Man)

Undated events[[edit]]

Sometime during the war, the American Army Air Corps had a base in Foggia, which the Ninth Doctor visited, ingratiated himself with the CO, and stole a Spad XIII. He was also present in a photograph taken by Josiah Rowe's grandfather of his fellow pilots. (PROSE: Have You Seen This Man?)

Aftermath and legacy[[edit]]

Formal end of the war[[edit]]

A conference was held at Versailles in 1919 for the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. (PROSE: Illegal Alien) Under the terms of the treaty, Germany lost all of her colonies, much of her European territory and was made to accept responsibility for the war. (PROSE: Just War)

Recriminations and the post-war climate[[edit]]

Main article: Between the wars

In the aftermath of the war, certain women over thirty in the United Kingdom gained the right to vote. (AUDIO: The Suffering) The "Kingdom of Iraq" was formed. (COMIC: A Wing and a Prayer) As Jack Harkness recalled, wounded soldiers returned home en masse to places such as Cardiff. (TV: To the Last Man)

After the war, an influenza pandemic raged across the world. The Ice Warriors had released the virus to weaken humanity and allow them to invade. The virus killed the Ice Warriors instead. (PROSE: Cold)

By 1930, the British very rarely spoke about the war. (AUDIO: Hall of the Ten Thousand)

The war was followed relatively quickly by the Second World War which began on 1 September 1939, (PROSE: Timewyrm: Exodus, AUDIO: Just War, Neverland, A Blind Eye) This war had its roots in the First World War and its aftermath, with Adolf Hitler's Nazi Party defying the Treaty of Versailles in order to regain much of Germany's lost territories such as the Rhineland. (PROSE: Players, Just War)

Tommy Brockless, a shell-shocked WWI soldier who had been put in the care of Torchwood and preserved in hibernation until the 21st century, was saddened about the Iraq War, since he had been told that World War I one was "The War to End All Wars." He was eventually returned to his original time period through the Cardiff Rift, completing a stable time loop that required him to survive until the 21st century. Unfortunately, once he returned to 1918, his memories reverted to their original state, and all his old fears of the battlefield returned. Brockless would be shot down by a British firing squad three weeks later for displaying cowardice. (TV: To the Last Man)

Remembrance and memory[[edit]]

When Ben Jackson told him about the First World War in November 1920, Jamie McCrimmon initially assumed that it was fought against aliens. (AUDIO: The Mouthless Dead)

In November 1930, Solomon was among many veterans of the Great War whom lived in Hooverville in Central Park. Recalling that the only reason they had got through it was because they stuck together, Solomon enforced a rule forbidding stealing and fighting, teaching the populace that, no matter how bad things got, they still needed to act like human beings since that was all they had. Meanwhile, Diagoras noted to Dalek Caan that he had been a soldier, recalling how he swore he would survive no matter what. (TV: Daleks in Manhattan)

Sarah Jane Smith likened Null-Space to photographs of No Man's Land in the First World War. (AUDIO: The Ghosts of N-Space)

The Tenth Doctor went on to describe the men who fought in the war as part of the "lost generation" because the war resulted in the deaths of so many soldiers, effectively decimating their generation. (COMIC: The Weeping Angels of Mons) While talking with Christina de Souza, he listed the First World War amongst the places he had been. (TV: Planet of the Dead)

After the end of the Great War, the town of St Michel instituted St Michel War Cemetery for war veterans, which an elderly Jamie Colquhoun attended in 2007 with his grandson and great-grandchildren. The Tenth Doctor and Gabby Gonzalez, fresh from their encounter with the young Jamie and the Weeping Angels in 1916, watched him from a distance. (COMIC: The Weeping Angels of Mons)

In 2017, some archaeologists came across the crashed Dalek saucer Survey Ship Sigma in France, one hundred years after it had crashed following the failure of the Dalek Project, and accidentally revived the surviving Daleks inside. The Eleventh Doctor arrived just in time to prevent a disaster and connected the saucer to a power line, overloading the Daleks. He saw this as him dealing with "unfinished business". (COMIC: The Dalek Project)

At an unknown time, the 1917 bombings of London were recreated in the mind of Sepulchre, as part of a series of living historical re-enactments of events taking place in the city throughout history. (AUDIO: Dead London)

Behind the scenes[[edit]]


  1. World War I. Retrieved on February 7, 2024.
  2. The Foggiani. National Museum of the United States Air Force. Retrieved on February 7, 2024.