Great War Lives Lost

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

Friday 7 August 1914 – We Lost 5 (plus one)

Kitchener appeals for the “First Hundred Thousand Recruits”.  As part of his appeal the poster “Your King and Country need you”, will be published in a few days.  The first of the ‘Service’ Battalions raised by Lord Kitchener is the 4th (Service) Battalion, South Wales Borderers under Lieutenant Colonel Franklin Macaulay Gillespie. Lieutenant Colonel Gillespie will be killed in action while directing the fire of a machine gun 9 August 1915 on Gallipoli at age 42.

An advance party of the BEF lands in France.

Troops of the Gold Coast Regiment cross the border into German East Africa in the first British offensive of the Great War.

Portugal informs Great Britain that it intends to honor its treaty obligations.

Today’s losses include 

  • The first person nominated for the Victoria Cross in 1854
  • The first soldier service in a colonial regiment to die
  • The first foreign national to die on service

Two deaths today are at opposite ends of the rankings in the Royal Navy

Retired Rear Admiral Charles Davis Lucas VC dies at age 80 and is not listed as a Great War victim in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission web site. On 21st June 1854 in the Baltic, Hecla, with two other ships, was bombarding Bomarsund, a fort in the Åland Islands off Finland. The fire was returned from the fort, and at the height of the action a live shell landed on Hecla’s upper deck, with its fuse still hissing. All hands were ordered to fling themselves flat on the deck, but Lucas with great presence of mind ran forward and hurled the shell into the sea, where it exploded with a tremendous roar before it hit the water. Thanks to Lucas’s action no one on board was killed or seriously wounded by the shell, and accordingly he was immediately promoted to lieutenant by his commanding officer. Soon afterwards he becomes the first person nominated for and is awarded the Victoria Cross.

Bombardment of Bomarsund

Bombardment of Bomarsund

Captain’s Cook Guiseppe Calleja a Maltese of HMS Glory dies at sea of apoplexy.

Private George Hamilton of the West African Regiment, West Africa Frontier Force dies on service.

Photo – wikipedia

Thursday 6 August 1914 – We lost 158

The cabinet in London authorizes the dispatch of four of the army’s six divisions to make up the British Expeditionary Forces (BEF) in France. Parliament sanctions an increase of 500,000 men of all ranks in the Regular Army.

 On her way back to Harwich HMS Amphion strikes one of the mines laid by Konigin Luise, off the Thames estuary. The first explosion breaks her back forward, killing members of the British crew and some of their German prisoners, and then a short time later, there is a second explosion and the ship sinks in twenty minutes. The total killed is one British officer and one hundred fifty ratings, together with eighteen German prisoners. There are one hundred seventy-seven survivors.

HMS Amphion

 Today’s losses include 

  • The first British officer killed in service in the Great War
  • The officer for whom the Gedge Award is created
  • The son of a member of the clergy
  • Two brothers killed together in the action
  • Families that will lose multiple sons in the Great War

The officer killed is Staff Paymaster Joseph Theodore Gedge, the first British Officer of all fighting services to be killed in the Great War. He is the son of the Reverend Edmund Gedge Vicar of Marden who will lose two others sons in the Great War. The Gedge Medal, named in his honor will be created in 1928 and is given annually to the Royal Navy officer who has passed the examination for the rank of Lieutenant at the first attempt and has obtained the highest aggregate score of the total maximum marks in these examinations during the calendar year.

Gedge medal

Stoker 1st Class Thomas Hamlin age 23 and his brother Leading Seaman Joseph Hamlin age 28 are both lost in the sinking. This is the first example of a family that will lose multiple sons and brothers in the same action in the Great War.

Leading Stoker Henry Copland is killed at age 29. His brother will be lost in the sinking of submarine D5 in November. Also lost on HMS Amphion is Able Seaman Victor James McKey who dies at age 21. His two brothers will be killed later in the war the first in October 1915 and the second in October 1917.

Photos, wikipedia & DNW