Great War Lives Lost

We died 100 years ago in the War to end all War

Tuesday 21 May 1918 We Lost 438

Lieutenant Harold William Medlicott (Royal Air Force) and Captain J S Walter MC (Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment) are both shot to death attempting to escape from Bad Colberg Prisoner of War Camp in Germany.  It is said that Lieutenant Medlicott held the record for attempted escapes during the war. He succeeded in escaping, with only one exception, from every camp where he was confined, but was in each case recaptured. The final time he escapes Captain Walter will accompany him. Both are recaptured, but on being conveyed back to camp under escort they reportedly make a dash for liberty, without success. Captain Walter had been captured in the autumn of 1917 having been awarded the Military Cross for his actions in the battle of the Somme. Lieutenant Medlicott was captured on 10th November 1915 one month after his brother had been killed in action. His capture took place while he was on a special assignment in a blinding snowstorm which caused engine trouble which compelled him to force land behind German lines. He is a 5-victory ace.

Captain William Henry Hubbard (Royal Air Force) brings down a Fokker Tri-plane while flying Sopwith Camel D.1841 at 18:30 southwest of Maubourdine on an offensive patrol at 10,000 feet.  He then sights three more enemy Tri-planes at 8,000 feet and dives on them, firing two hundred rounds from one hundred yards one target spins out of control and is seen by another pilot to crash just north of a canal.

 Today’s losses include:

  • The man who held the record for most successful escapes from German prisoner of war camps, while attempting yet another escape
  • Multiple sons of members of the clergy
  • A man whose brother was also killed in the Great War
  • A 5-victory ace

Today’s highlighted casualties include:

  • Second Lieutenant Leonard Charles Hornabrook (Leicestershire Regiment) is killed in action at age 22. He is the son of the Venerable Archdeacon Charles Soward Hornabrook.
  • Private Francis George Grahame (Lincolnshire Regiment) is killed at age 35. He is the son of the Reverend David Francis Alexander Grahame.

Monday 20 May 1918 We Lost 588

John Smith Davidson Baigrie

Etaples Hospitals suffer serious damaged during an enemy air raid.

  • Trooper Cecil Percival King (Life Guards) dies of wounds received during the air raid on Etaples at age 23. He won many prizes as a long distance swimmer.
  • Sapper Norman Sharples (Royal Engineers) dies of wounds received in the same air raid at age 22. His brother was killed in August 1917.

Today’s losses include:

  • A long distance swinner
  • Multiple families that will lose two sons in the Great War
  • A Deputy Assistant Scout Master

Today’s highlighted casualties include:

  • Private John Smith Davidson Baigrie (Highland Light Infantry) is killed in action at age 18. He is the Deputy Assistant Scout Master of the 8th Midlothian Troop of the Boy Scouts and his brother was killed in November 1917.

Sunday 19 May 1918 We Lost 636

Edmund William Furse

Three Gothas are shot down during a raid on England and a fourth crashes through bad flying.

S S Snowden (Master John Lewis Owen) is sunk eighty-four miles from Malta carrying coal to England. Her master is killed at age 29 along with one other crew member.

Today’s losses include:

  • A battalion commander
  • An Artillery brigade commander
  • Multiple families that will lose two sons in the Great War
  • The grandson of a general
  • A man whose brother will die on service in the Second World War
  • The son of a member of the clergy

Today’s highlighted casualties include:

  • Lieutenant Colonel Michael Frederic Beauchamp Dennis DSO (commanding 7th/8th King’s Own Scottish Borderers) is killed at age 37. Grandson of General ‘Sir’ John Dennis
  • Lieutenant Colonel Edmund William Furse Chevalier of the Legion of Honor (commanding 88th Brigade Royal Field Artillery) is killed in action at age 41. His younger brother was killed in 1914.
  • Surgeon Lieutenant Alfred Leslie Pearce-Gould (Royal Navy attached Royal Marines) is killed in action at age 31. He is the son of ‘Sir’ Alfred Pearce-Gould and a brother will die during World War II as a Surgeon Rear-Admiral.
  • Sub Lieutenant Mervyn Henry Wollaston Trendell (Royal Air Force) dies of injuries at age 18. He is the son of the Reverend G J W Trendell.
  • Trooper T de Renzy (Life Guards) dies of wounds received in action at age 24. His brother was killed in action in September 1917.
  • Private Henry Gorey (Labour Corps) dies of gassing 8 days prior at age 39. His brother will die of gassing received in the same battle in September 1918.
  • Private John James Dawson (1st Canadian General Hospital, Canadian Army Medical Corps) is killed at Etaples during an enemy air raid at age 18. On 2nd January 1913, his thirteenth birthday, he saved two other boys from drowning in the St Lawrence River near Montreal.
  • Private John Robert Parker (Northamptonshire Regiment) dies of wounds at age 32. His brother died of wounds in April 1917 at Gaza.

Saturday 18 May 1918 We Lost 416

G E A A F Hamilton

Today’s losses include:

  • Viscount Glentworth
  • The son of the 4th Earl of Limerick
  • The son of a Baronet
  • The great grandson of the late Duke of Cambridge
  • A Rhodes Scholar
  • A man whose brother was also killed in the Great War

Today’s highlighted casualties include:

  • Captain Percy Spurgeon (Army Service Corps attached West Surrey Regiment) dies of wounds at home at age 27. He is the only surviving son of ‘Sir’ Arthur Spurgeon.
  • Captain Edmond William Claude Gerard De Vere Pery (Royal Air Force) is accidentally killed in France at age 24. He is the Viscount Glentworth and son of the 4th Earl of Limerick.
  • Second Lieutenant George Edward Archibald FitzGeorge Hamilton (Grenadier Guards) is also killed in action today. He is the only son of ‘Sir’ Archibald Hamilton the Baronet and a great grandson of the late Duke of Cambridge. He is 19 years old.
  • Second Lieutenant William Alexander Fleet (Grenadier Guards) is killed in action at age 34. He is the son of the late superintendent of Culver Military Academy, Indiana, USA, a Rhodes Scholar at Magdalen College Oxford and instructor in Classics at Princeton.
  • Private Maurice Lumb (East Yorkshire Regiment) is killed in action at age 19. His brother was killed in October 1917.

Friday 17 May 1918 We Lost 397

Captain Allan Hepburn and his observer Second Lieutenant G W Lambert shoot down an Albatros DV east of Middelkerke.

Today’s losses include:

  • A man whose brother was killed last June
  • The son of a member of the clergy
  • The great grandson of a member of the clergy

Today’s highlighted casualties include:

  • Second Lieutenant Eric Percy Johnstone Touche (Royal Air Force) is accidentally killed flying at age 21. He is the great grandson of the Reverend John Edward Touche.
  • Corporal Maurice Given MM (Sherwood Foresters) is killed at age 25. He is the son of the Reverend James Given Vicar of Chapel en le Frith.
  • Private Benjamin Clarence Strong (East Surrey Regiment) is killed in action at age 22. His brother was killed in July 1917.

Thursday 16 May 1918 We Lost 433

Henry Denne Hirst

German ace Otto Kissenberth shoots down an SE5A piloted by Lieutenant S B Reece (Royal Air Force).  The significant point of this victory is that the German pilot is flying a captured Sopwith Camel.  This is the only case of a Camel being used to shoot down a British pilot in the Great War.  Lieutenant Reece is alright and continues to fly with his squadron for five more days when he will be shot down and captured.

Today’s losses include:

  • A battalion commander
  • Multiple sons of members of the clergy
  • An 11-victory ace
  • A man whose son will be born next month
  • A man whose brother will also lose his life in the Great War

Today’s highlighted casualties include:

  • Lieutenant Colonel Henry Denne Hirst (commanding 3rd East Kent Regiment) dies on service at home at age 53. He is the son of the Reverend Thomas Hirst Rector of Bishopsbourne.
  • Major James Ingleby Harrison (Royal Air Force) is killed at age 36. He is the son of the late Reverend J J Harrison Chaplin Royal Navy.
  • Captain Trevor Durrant (Royal Air Force) is killed in action at age 25 while fighting several Fokkers northeast of Albert. He is an 11-victory ace. The only Ripman to die in the service of his country in the Great War,
  • Second Liue Second Lieutenant H A Ripman (Royal Garrison Artillery) dies of wounds received in action at age 38. His son will be born on 6th
  • Second Lieutenant Dudley Hugo Heynes (Royal Field Artillery) is killed at age 32. He is the son of the Reverend George Hugo Heynes.
  • Private Leonard A Gray (Bedfordshire Regiment) is killed in action at age 19. His brother was killed in November 1914.

Wednesday 15 May 1918 We Lost 462

David Emmett Coyne

Eighteen members of the Royal Air Force are killed on the Western Front today.

  • Captain William Geoffrey Chambers (Lincolnshire Regiment attached) is killed along with his American observer, Lieutenant R J Burky when their DH9 is shot down this morning. He is the grandson of ‘Sir’ Thomas Chambers MP and nephew of both Lady Southwark and Lady Roxburgh.
  • Captain Charles George Douglas Napier (Royal Air Force) a nine-victory ace is killed in an action near Lamotte.
  • Captain John Vincent Aspinall (Royal Air Force) is shot down and killed.
  • Lieutenant Frederick Vincent Hall (Lincolnshire Regiment attached Royal Air Force) a seven-victory ace is killed in a collision with another Camel at age 20. He was awarded a medal by the citizens of Dunkerque for bravery in defending the town from hostile aircraft on 2nd May 1917.
  • Lieutenant John Basil Robert Langley (Royal Air Force) is accidentally killed in England at age 29. He is the son in law of ‘Sir’ Oliver Lodge the son of the Reverend John Langley and leaves a three-week-old son.
  • Lieutenant Cecil Martin Sankey MC (East Kent Regiment attached Royal Air Force) is accidentally killed in England at age 21. He was awarded the Military Cross for gallantry in leading his men at Loos on 27th January 1917.
  • Lieutenant Geoffrey Wilson (Royal Air Force) is killed at age 23. He is the son of Dr Henry Wilson JP.
  • Lieutenant Herbert Whiteley Sellars MC and his observer Lieutenant Charles Robson shoot down two enemy aircraft including 16-victory ace Ludwig Hanstein who is killed. Lieutenant Sellars an eight-victory ace is killed when their Bristol F2b is shot down over Bouchou later in the day at age 21. His brother will be killed later in the Great War

At Vaire-Sous-Corbie at 21:30 Sergeant David Emmett Coyne (Australian Infantry) is instructing a platoon post in the support line. Being doubtful as to the quality of some Mills Grenades in the trench, he decides to test some by throwing one over the parapet. He does this but by some mischance or other the grenade falls back into the trench among a Lewis Gun team. Coyne cries “Go for your lives boys, the bomb is in the trench” and endeavors to find the bomb in order to throw it out of the trench. Due to the darkness he cannot put his hand on the bomb, which has rolled some little distance away. Realizing the danger to those around him who have not gotten clear of the trench, he throws himself on top of the bomb which explodes, inflicting on him injuries from which he will die. His last words to the men around him are “I layed on the bomb. I thought you didn’t have time to get out.” For this act he will be awarded a posthumous Albert Medal in Gold the only award of its type presented to a member of the Australian Infantry in the war.

Today’s losses include:

  • 16, 9 and 7 victory aces
  • The grandson of a Member of Parliament
  • Multiple sons of members of the clergy
  • Multiple families that will lose two and three sons in the Great War
  • A man whose son was born three weeks previously
  • The son of a Justice of the Peace
  • An Albert Medal winner
  • An Artillery Brigade commander
  • A man whose two sons were previously killed

Today’s highlighted casualties include:

  • Lieutenant Colonel Edward Thesiger Frankland Hood DSO (commanding 38th Brigade Royal Field Artillery) is killed at age 36. He is the middle of three brothers who will lose their lives in the Great War.
  • Private William Penrhyn Bodington Draper (Lancaster Regiment) dies of wounds at home at age 24. He is the last of all three sons of the Reverend William Henry Draper who lose their lives in the Great War.
  • Private George Alfred Smith (Royal Defence Corps) dies at home at age 54. His two sons have already been killed in the Great War.
  • Private James Wright (King’s Royal Rifle Corps attached London Regiment) dies of wounds. His brother will die of wounds in June.

Tuesday 14 May 1918 We Lost 457

HMS Phoenix

The destroyer HMS Phoenix (Lieutenant Richard Harter) becomes the only British warship to be sunk by the Austrian Navy in the Great War.  She is torpedoed by U-27 with the loss of two crew members.

  • ERA4 Charles Arthur Freeman age 28
  • Leading Stoker Thomas Roland Courtney

Corporal Robert Reginald Chapman DCM (Australian Infantry) is killed in action at age 30.

Monday 13 May 1918 We Lost 399

HMT Balfour

The armed trawler HMT Balfour is escorting the Lancs & Yorks Railway owned steamer Nidd to Dieppe. At 21:45 the master of the Nidd suddenly feels a large shock from beneath and immediately wonders what he has hit. A few minutes later a lookout shouts “submarine astern about 400 yards”.  It is obvious that the submarine has been forced to surface by the collision with Nidd’s keel.  The Captain orders the engine to full ahead and passes word to the gunners to fire at will. Their firsts shot appear to hit the submarine. On the Balfour the Captain puts his ship hard to starboard to enable an attack on the submarine. Men rush to their quarters, guns are manned and depth charges brought to the ready.  In fact so much attention is paid to the submarine that no thought is given to where the steamer Nidd is.  By the time a member of the Nidd’s crew first notices the approaching Balfour there is not enough time to take evasive action.  A moment later the Nidd’s bows are embedded in the port side of the Balfour and she is pushed through the water by Nidd. The steamer recoils but her master puts the engines ahead to plug the hole and allow the men of the Balfour to climb about the Nidd.  The Balfour sinks quickly with no loss of life.

H M Trawler Loch Naver (Skipper Edmund Artis Butler, Royal Naval Reserve) is sunk by a mine near Mandili Point in the Aegean Sea.  Her skipper is killed at age 45.

Today’s losses include:

  • The son of a Count
  • Multiple families that will lose two sons in the Great War

Today’s highlighted casualties include:

  • Major Gerald Robert Spencer (Royal Defence Corps) dies in England at age 63. He is the son of the Honorable Robert and Lady Spencer.  He retired twenty years prior but rejoined at the outbreak of the war.
  • Lieutenant Louis Paul Bryant D’Etchegoyen (Royal Air Force) is killed at age 21. His is the son of Count Paul D’Etchegoyen of Mayenne, France.
  • Private Alexander Redford McIntosh (Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders) dies of wounds received in action at age 31. His brother will die of influenza in 1919.
  • Private Eldred Waite (Labour Corps) dies of wounds at age 37. His younger brother was killed in November 1914.

Sunday 12 May 1918 We Lost 377

Edward Stanley Ashcroft

At a point approximately midway between Guernsey and Portland Bill the German submarine UB-72 is observed at 04:30 while on patrol by the British submarine D4.  The German is traveling on the surface in a southerly direction some two miles away. At 04:50 Lieutenant Claud Barry of the D4 fires a torpedo and after lowering periscope for a few moments he releases a second torpedo. Ten seconds later the crew of the D4 hears an explosion and feels a violent concussion. Barry brings his boat to the surface and heads towards three men swimming in a batch of oil. He succeeds in picking up these men who are the only survivors of UB-72’s crew of three officers and thirty-one men.

Today’s losses include:

  • A 7-victory ace
  • Multiple families that will lose two and three sons in the Great War
  • A man who has a brother and step-brother killed in the Great War

Today’s highlighted casualties include:

  • Lieutenant Edward Stanley Ashcroft (Liverpool Regiment) dies of wounds as a prisoner in the hands of the Germans received 29th His brothers were killed in March of this year and April 1917.
  • Lieutenant Henry Eric Dolan (Royal Air Force) is killed in action near Wulverghem at age 21 when his SE5a is shot down by German ace Raven von Barnekow. He is a seven-victory ace.
  • Private Miles Gill (Northumberland Fusiliers) is killed in Salonika at age 42. His brother was killed last October while his step-brother was killed in September 1915.
  • Private William George Russell (London Regiment) dies as a prisoner of war in Poland at age 22. His brother will be killed one week before the Armistice is signed.