Thursday 17 September 1914 – We Lost 239
Captain Lightly Harold Birt (Berkshire Regiment) holds his position at Metz Farm earning him the Distinguished Service Order. He will be killed in January 1915.
The Cameroon Expeditionary Force anchors at Lagos, Nigeria where it will remain for forty-eight hours to embark two infantry battalions, two batteries of artillery with ten 2.95 guns, a carrier corps and other personnel. Fifty-seven Nigerian police repel a German force at Takum.
Australian troops force the final surrender of the island of New Guinea as the Australian Prime Minister says his nation will support Britain “to the last man and the last shilling.”
Today’s casualties include:
- A man killed under the protection of a white flag
- A battalion commander
- Sons of Generals
- Son of the commander of the Sultan of Morocco’s Army
- England Rugby International who played for Blackheath Football Club
- Grandson of the 4th Baron de Robeck
- First son of a family that will lose two sons
Today’s highlighted casualty is
Captain John Ardkeen Savage (Northamptonshire Regiment) a veteran of the South African War is killed the day after his 31st birthday. While attacking a German trench amid a torrential rain, word comes down that the Germans are showing a white flag. An hour later it is reported that they are laying down their arms and have hoisted a white flag over their trench. On this Captain Savage goes out of his trench and laying down his sword and revolver advances unarmed towards the German positions about eight yards away. He is followed by his subaltern Lieutenant John Henry Stephen Dimmer of the King’s Royal Rifle Corps. The German officer in command meets the two in the middle and they are seen to salute. After a short conversation all turn to return to their own trenches. Just as Captain Savage reaches his own, Lieutenant Dimmer looks around and sees that the Germans are taking aim to fire and calls out to warn Captain Savage while throwing himself on the ground. As Captain Savage does the same the scabbard of his sword catches on the ground and he is killed by the enemy fire. He is the son of the Reverend Canon Francis Forbes Savage grandson of Captain John Morris Savage who was killed in the Crimea and great grandson of General ‘Sir’ John Boscawen Savage KCB who fought at Copenhagen and the Nile. His brother Raymond will be the Military Secretary of Field Marshall Allenby and will author the book Allenby of Armageddon A Record of the Career and Campaigns of Field Marshall Viscount Allenby and dedicate it To The Honored Memory of My Brother John Ardkeen Savage.
- Lieutenant Colonel Dawson Warrencommanding officer of the 1st West Surrey Regiment is killed at age 49. He is the only son of Major General Dawson Warren CB and he served in Burma 1885-7. The man who will succeed him in command of the battalion will be killed in four days.
- Captain Andrew De Vere MacLean(East Surrey Regiment) is killed at age 31. He is the son of Kaid ‘Sir’ Harry Aubrey de MacLean KCMG the commander of the Sultan of Morocco’s Army. He served in the South African War and is the son-in-law of Major General Maclachlan.
- Captain and Adjutant Charles Edward Wilson(Royal West Surrey Regiment) is killed at age 43. He is a rugby player for Blackheath FC who won a cap for England in the 1898 Home Nations Championship. He is the son of the late Major General F E G Wilson CB and he served in the South African War.
- Lieutenant Thomas de Burgh (Lancers, Indian Army) is killed at age 26. He is the grandson of Major John Henry Edard Foot 4th Baron de Robeck.
- Second Lieutenant Cosmo George Gordon(Northamptonshire Regiment) dies of wounds at age 20. He is the son of Major General C G Gordon.
- Private James E Smitheringale (Northamptonshire Regiment) is killed. His brother will die of wounds in November 1917.