With stalemate the most common news from the western front in 1915, Canadians looked for reassurance from their powerful ally in the east. The mobility of armies that still existed in the east meant there was more opportunity for rapid progress. Unfortunately for Waterloo residents, the news coming from this campaign was becoming ever more dire. Although Canadians were told that the Russians fought with great valour, their armies still relied too heavily on numbers rather than modern weaponry. The eastern campaign had become one of steady Russian retreat.
On August 12, the Ayr News reported disaster on the eastern front. Warsaw, the third largest city in the Russian Empire, had fallen to the Germans and the Russian army was forced to withdraw behind the Vistula River, destroying the bridges behind them as they crossed. Although undoubtedly a serious setback to the Entente, area residents were not ready to give up on their Russian allies. Even as they retreated from the ‘jewel of Poland,’ the Ayr News applauded the Russians’ “steadiness” and “fierce counter-attacks” that allowed their safe retreat to higher ground, from which they would renew their efforts against the enemy.
Berlin Daily Telegraph, July 31, 1915.
Ayr News, August 12, 1915.