Great War Lives Lost

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

Wednesday 23 January 1918 We Lost 453

William Robert Gregory MC

Major William Robert Gregory MC (Connaught Rangers attached Royal Flying Corps) is killed when an Italian pilot mistakenly shoots him down near Grossa, Padua, Italy.  The only child of the late Right Honorable ‘Sir’ William Henry Gregory KCMG former Member of Parliament and sometime Governor of Ceylon and Lady Gregory was born on 20th May 1881 in County Galway, Ireland. An accomplished artist, he worked in the design studio of Jacques Émile Blanche, and had his own exhibition of paintings in Chelsea in 1914. The Abbey Theatre, in its earlier days, owed much to the scenes designed and painted by him, especially for Synge’s Deirdre of the Sorrows, William Butler Yeats’ Shadowy Waters, and his mother’s The Image.  He was a fine boxer, being chosen as light-weight boxer for Oxford against Cambridge, and in Paris as a candidate for the amateur championship of France, played cricket for his county club and for the Gentlemen of Ireland, and was well known in the hunting field and in point-to-point races. He was good enough at cricket to play once for the Ireland cricket team, taking 8/80 with his leg spin bowling in a first-class match against Scotland in 1912.  His bowling performance in that match remains the tenth best in all matches for Ireland and the fourth best in first-class cricket for Ireland. His bowling average of 10.22 is the second best for Ireland in first-class cricket.

Major Gregory joined the Connaught Rangers in 1915, and in January 1916, transferred to the Royal Flying Corps.  He went to France in the following August, and saw eleven months’ continuous active service in a Scout Squadron, being awarded the Military Cross for acts of bravery in the air and for ‘having invariably displayed the highest courage and skill, and the Legion of Honour for “many acts of conspicuous bravery.”  In the autumn of 1917 he was given command of a Scout Squadron in France, and in November, 1917, he took it to Italy.  Gregory’s death had a lasting effect on William Butler Yeats, and he became the subject of four poems by him; In Memory of Major Robert Gregory, An Irish Airman Foresees His Death, Shepherd and Goatherd, and Reprisals.

An Irish Airman Foresees His Death:

I know that I shall meet my fate
Somewhere among the clouds above;
Those that I fight I do not hate,
Those that I guard I do not love;
My county is Kiltartan Cross,
My countrymen Kiltartan’s poor,
No likely end could bring them loss
Or leave them happier than before.
Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,
Nor public men, nor cheering crowds,
A lonely impulse of delight
Drove to this tumult in the clouds;
I balanced all, brought all to mind,
The years to come seemed waste of breath,
A waste of breath the years behind
In balance with this life, this death.


While on an offensive patrol, Flight Lieutenant (Acting Flight Commander) Wilfred Austin Curtis (Royal Naval Air Service) follows three two-seater enemy machines and an enemy scout through the clouds.  Five other scouts then join the enemy.  He dives and fires into an enemy two-seater from about forty feet behind.  The enemy machine falls over on its side and starts to spin, and is observed by another pilot to break up in the air while spinning down.   The two aircraft lost in air combat cause one fatality and one prisoner.

S S Birkhall (Master Niel Hugh Mackinnon) is sunk by a German submarine four miles south east of Cape Doro. The master and one other crew member are killed.

Today’s losses include:

  • A Military Chaplain
  • A man whose has two brothers who will die in the Great War
  • A man shot down by an Allied pilot
  • The son of a former Member of Parliament
  • An artist
  • An Ireland International Cricket player
  • A man honoured by with four William Butler Yeats poems

 Today’s highlighted casualties include:

  • Chaplain James Leitch Cappell (attached Royal Scots) dies on active service at age 41.
  • Second Lieutenant Ronald Terence Bloor (South Staffordshire Regiment) is killed at age 20. His two brothers will die in the Great War one in August 1914 the other in November of this year.

Tuesday 22 January 1918 We Lost 241

Kenneth Ferguson Arnold Wallis

80 Squadron arrives in France.  It is equipped with Sopwith Camels and is destined to spend much of its operational life carrying out the dangerous tasks of strafing and low bombing.  As a headquarters unit it will be constantly moved about the front, taking part in nearly every great battle of 1918.  For this it will pay dearly in casualties.

The Royal Naval Air Service aircraft at Mudros are most commonly occupied with routine anti-submarine patrols and reconnaissance.  However on this day all available aircraft of 2 (Naval) Wing are hurriedly drawn to the island, including several Greek pilots and their aircraft and attacks are commenced on the Goeben and Breslau.  Two Sopwith Baby seaplanes allotted to this work are attacked by enemy seaplanes and one Royal Naval Air Service crew is shot down in flames.  One British airplane drops a bomb on Goeben making a direct hit amidships, and volume of steam and smoke appear directly afterwards from the ship.  In a raid tonight three small airplanes drop more bombs on the Goeben doing minor damage.  One pilot on his return flight lands midway between Lemnos and Imbros, owing to engine trouble.  On gliding to the surface six shots are fired at his machine, apparently by a submarine, when at a height of approximately six hundred feet, though he is not attacked when in the water.

Flight Commander Guy William Price DSC (Royal Naval Air Service) will be awarded a bar to the Distinguished Service Cross for consistency and determination in attacking enemy aircraft, often in superior numbers. Today, when on offensive patrol, he observes seven Albatross scouts.  He dives and fires into one of the enemy aircraft, which stalls, side slips, and eventually falls over on its back, disappearing through a thick back of clouds and is observed by other of our machines to fall completely out of control.  He will be killed while strafing enemy positions on 18 February at age 22 as a 12-victory ace. Two British aircraft are lost behind enemy lines on the Western Front.  In the first both pilot and observer die of wounds received, while in the second the pilot is taken prisoner.

 Today’s highlighted casualties include:

  • Lieutenant Kenneth Ferguson Arnold Wallis (HMS Vincent, Royal Navy) dies at home at age 26. He fought at Jutland and was Captain Cadet at Osborne and Dartmouth where he won the first prize in the Cadets bayonet competition at the Royal Navy & Marines Tournament in 1911.

Monday 21 January 1918 We Lost 222

John Tyssil Davies

Air fighting remains light and the only British casualty of the day is one pilot and his observer taken prisoner.

Father and son both named Andrew Wilson and both serving as sailors on in the Newfoundland Mercantile Marine are killed when S S Beverley is sunk.

Today’s losses include:

  • A father and son killed together
  • The brother of a member of the clergy
  • The son of a member of the clergy
  • A man whose brother was killed in April 1917

 Today’s highlighted casualties include:

  • Lieutenant John Tyssil Davies (HMS Hindustan, Royal Navy) dies after an operation at age 39 at Chatham. He is the brother of the Reverend Latimer, Curate of Oystermouth Parish Church.
  • Second Lieutenant John Claud Parry Crosby (Liverpool Regiment) is killed at age 37. He is the son of the Reverend John Hawke Crosby of Ely.
  • Private William Henry Barnard (Australian Infantry) is killed at age 27. His brother was killed last April.

Sunday 20 January 1918 We Lost 617

Harry Beauchamp Duff

During the war, the Mesopotamian Campaign was under the responsibility of the Indian Army until the disaster surrounding the surrender at Kut. The campaign started well with the landing in Basra in November 1914, but the attack on Baghdad by 9,000 troops of the 6th Indian Division commanded by General Townshend in 1915 ended in catastrophe when the remnants of the British invasion force were surrounded in Kut El Amara, and three attempts to relieve the trapped British and Indian troops also ended in failure, at the cost of 23,000 lives. The surrender on 29 April 1916 has been described as one of the worst military disasters of the British Army.  Consequently the Commander in Chief India, General ‘Sir’ Harry Beauchamp Duff was relieved of command on 1 October 1916. In 1917, the Mesopotamia Commission of Enquiry was damning in its conclusions. While General Townshend was exonerated, the Commission was harsh towards the Government of India and Duff together with the Viceroy, Lord Hardinge. Both were found to have showed little desire to help and some desire actually to obstruct the energetic prosecution of the war. General Nixon, the Commander-in-Chief of the Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force, was also held responsible for the failed campaign. Unable to live with the shame, Duff committed suicide today.

Air fighting on the Western Front is light and the only British casualty of the day is a wounded pilot.

Goeben and Breslau leave the Dardanelles to attack Imbros sinking the monitors Raglan (6,150 tons) and M28 (540 tons).  One hundred twenty-seven sailors are killed including

  • Lieutenant H L Bacon (HMS Raglan) whose brother will die on service in 1920. They are both sons of the Reverend Dr. Bacon DD.

While heading for Mudros, Breslau strikes four mines in quick succession to the northwest of Rabbit Island and sinks.  Five Turkish destroyers endeavor to reach the point, but are driven off by two British destroyers.  Goeben also strikes two mines, and then another trying to re-enter the Dardanelles, and finally runs aground off Nagara Point.

The escort ship HMS Mechanician is torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine eight miles west of St Catherine’s Point.  The armed boarding steamer HMS Louvain is torpedoed and sunk by another German submarine in the Eastern Mediterranean, killing seven officers and two hundred seventeen men.

  • Stoker Petty Officer Arthur Farrar (HMS Louvain) age 33 is drowned while leaving the ship. His brother was killed in action in April 1917.
  • Trimmers and brothers from Malta Gaetano age 36 and Francesco Carabott (HMS Louvian Mercantile Marine Reserve) are killed also.

British mines sink two German submarines, UB-22 and U-95.

Today’s losses include:

  • A General who commits suicide
  • A man whose brother will died on service in 1920
  • The son of a member of the clergy
  • Brothers killed together

Saturday 19 January 1918 We Lost 262

Gordon Stachey Shephard

Flight Sub Lieutenant E G Johnstone (Royal Naval Air Service) will be awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for the pluck and determination shown by him in engaging enemy aircraft.  On this day he attacks five Albatross scouts, and engages one, nose on, opening fire at 75 yards range.  The enemy aircraft turns on its side and spins. He follows and engages the enemy again at 80 yards range. The enemy aircraft goes down completely out of control.  Later in the day, in a general engagement with fourteen Albatross scouts, he follows one down to 8,000 feet, firing all the time.  This machine is confirmed by other pilots of the patrol to fall completely out of control.

The 68, 69 and 71 (Australian) Squadrons are re-designated 2, 3 and 4 Squadrons, Australian Flying Corps.

British losses in the air for the day are four aircraft the pilots of three are killed while the fourth is taken prisoner.

The submarine H10 (Lieutenant Martin Huntly Collier age 25) does not return from a North Sea patrol and it is believed she struck a mine.

  • Sub Lieutenant Derrick Ives dies at age 21. His brother died of pneumonia on service in December 1914.
  • Artificer Harry Pearson is also lost at age 31. His brother was killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.
  • Stoker 1st Class Patrick Murphy is lost age age 26. His brother was killed in the sinking of HMS Monmouth in November 1914.

Today’s losses include:

  • Multiple families that will lose two son in the Great War
  • A General
  • A member of the Royal Cruising Club
  • A member of the Gloucester Journal and Citizen

 Today’s highlighted casualties include:

  • Brigadier General Gordon Strachey Shephard DSO MC (1st Royal Flying Corps Brigade, 1st Army) dies of injuries received in a flying accident on the edge of Auchel aerodrome at age 32. He was the model used by Erskine Childers for his hero Carruthers in the novel The Riddle of the Sands.  He is the son of ‘Sir’ Horatio Shephard. He was educated at Summerfields and Eton and, after passing through Sandhurst, obtained a commission in the Royal Fusiliers in 1905. Before the war he did a great deal of yachting. He became a member of the Royal Cruising Club, and made some remarkable cruises in a small sailing yacht, on two occasions gaining the challenge cup of the club. In July, 1912, he joined the Royal Flying Corps, and flew over to France with the first five squadrons on 13th August 1914. He received the Legion of Honour from General Joffre for good reconnaissance work during the retreat from Mons, and in January 1915, he won the Military Cross.
  • Captain Evelyn Horace Guy Sharples (Royal Flying Corps) is accidentally killed at age 19. He is the only surviving son of the late Reverend Henry Milner Sharples of Finghall Rectory, Yorkshire whose other son was killed on HMS Hampshire.
  • Lieutenant Humphry Walter Smith (Royal Navy) is killed in the Persian Gulf. His brother was killed last October and they are sons of the Reverend Walter Edward Smith Vicar of Andover.
  • Second Lieutenant Eric Godwin Chance (Royal Flying Corps) is killed in Italy at age 19. He was a member of the Gloucester Journal and Citizen.

Friday 18 January 1918 We Lost 220

Cap badge of the Lincolnshire Regiment

The submarine H6 is stranded on Schiermonnikoog.  The Dutch will intern and later acquire it.

The sloop HMS Campanula (Commander P L Goddard) sinks the German submarine UB66 off Cap Bon.

H M trawler and minesweeper Gambri (Skipper Albert Edward Sayers DSC) is sunk by a mine in the English Channel off the south east coast of the Isle of Wight.  Twenty-one crew members including the skipper are killed.

British air losses for the day are two aircraft lost both pilots being killed.

Today’s losses include:

  • Multiple sons of members of the clergy
  • A family that will lose four sons in the Great War

 Today’s highlighted casualties include

  • Captain Clement Gawler Mead MC (Alberta Regiment) is killed at age 38. He is the son of the Reverend Richard Gawler Mead Rector of Balcombe.
  • Lieutenant Gorham Vinton Stevens (Lincolnshire Regiment) is killed in action at age 30. He is the son of the Reverend Lorenzo and attended Dover College.
  • Lance Corporal Frank Ernest Williams (Royal West Kent Regiment) is killed at age 21 in Palestine. He is the third of four brothers who will lose their lives in the Great War. .

Thursday 17 January 1918 We Lost 242

S S KIngsdyke

Lieutenant Len M.S Potts and Lieutenant Fred Hancock claim an Albatros DIII OOC near El Lubban. Lieutenant Potts brother Lieutenant Jack Diamond Sumner Potts (Australian Flying Corps) was killed less than two weeks ago when his aircraft collided with an enemy aircraft which had attacked an RE8 of 113th Squadron.  The Potts brothers were from the Hawkesbury area in north western Sydney, their father was the Dean of the Hawkesbury Agricultural College for many years.

The steamer Kingsdyke (Master John Hutton) is torpedoed and sunk en route from Rouen to Cardiff in the English Channel. Sixteen are killed including her master.

Today’s highlighted casualties include:

  • Sapper Edwin Leonard Bowden (New Zealand Engineers) is accidentally killed in Belgium.

Wednesday 16 January 1918 We Lost 242

Cap badge of the Highland Light Infantry

Second Lieutenant Alan Arnett McLeod (General List attached Royal Flying Corps) crosses the lines at La Bassee, and observes a group of men around an anti-aircraft gun, descends to within 50 feet from the ground and fires 150 rounds; one man standing near the gun falls while the other men take cover.  McLeod will be awarded the Victoria Cross for actions performed in March of this year and will die of the Spanish influenza in November after returned to his native Canada.

Today’s losses include:

  • The son of a member of the clergy
  • A family that will lose four sons in the Great War

 Today’s highlighted casualties include:

  • Second Lieutenant Arthur Charlewood Turner (Rifle Brigade) is killed at age 37. He is the son of the Right Reverend Charles Henry Turner DD Bishop Suffragan of Islington.
  • Private T J Roseburgh (Highland Light Infantry) is accidentally killed at age 19. He has four brothers who served in the Great War.

Tuesday 15 January 1918 We Lost 260

The Seaplane Defense Squadron based at St Pol becomes 13 (Naval) Squadron.

Brigadier General Arthur Anthony Howell CMG (London Regiment) dies at Blackdown Camp in England.

Today’s losses include:

  • A General
  • The son of a member of the clergy
  • A family that will lose two sons in the Great War
  • A man whose son will die on service in December 1941

 Today’s highlighted casualties include:

  • Captain John Reginald Philpott MC (Royal Flying Corps) dies of dysentery as a prisoner of war after arriving in Mesopotamia in January 1917 at age 24. He is the son of the Reverend Canon John Nigel Philpott Rector of Southchurch.
  • Commander Sandford Grant Radcliffe Nevile (Royal Navy) dies of injuries received in a rail accident at home at age 44. His brother was killed in June 1915.
  • Squadron Sergeant Major William Gass Halliday (Dragoon Guards) is killed at age 39. His son will die on service in December 1941.
  • Airman 1st Class Albert Edward Bainbridge (Royal Flying Corps) is killed at age 22. His brother will die of wounds in November 1918.

Monday 14 January 1918 We Lost 204

Submarine G8

British air forces bomb Karlsruhe, Thionville and the Metz area. In broad daylight a successful air raid is carried out on the railway station and nunitons factories in the Rhine Valley one and a quarter tons of bombs are dropped. There is also a raid on the steelworks of Thionville midway between Metz and Luxemburg and also bombs are dropped on the two large railway junctions near Metz. The 6th (Naval) Squadron arrives at Petite Synthe Dunkirk as a day-bomber unit on this day. It has been reformed at Dover at the end of last year from personnel of the Walmer Defense Flight and #11 Squadron Royal Naval Air Service.  The 17th (Naval) Squadron is formed to replace the Seaplane Base at Dunkirk.

British ground forces raid Lens.

Yarmouth is bombarded from the sea.  Fire is opened at 22:55 and lasts about five minutes, some twenty shells falling into the town.  Six civilians are killed and seven injured.

The submarine G8 (Lieutenant John Francis Tryon) fails to return from a North Sea patrol and it is believed that she falls victim to a mine or ran aground. Her crew of 32 is lost including Able Seaman John Short age 22 whose brother will be killed next August.

Today’s losses include:

  • A Baronet
  • Multiple sons of members of the clergy
  • A Military Chaplain
  • A Nottinghamshire cricket player

 Today’s highlighted casualties include:

  • Captain ‘Sir’ Ralph Henry Sacheverel Wilmot (Coldstream Guards) the 6th Baronet dies at home of an illness contracted at the front at age 42. He is the son of the Reverend A A Wilmot.
  • Chaplain the Reverend Harvey Staunton dies in Zrzizeh, Mesopotamia at age 45. He is the son of the Reverend Francis Staunton and he played cricket for Nottinghamshire from 1903-5.