Tuesday 22 September 1914 – We Lost 1,582

by greatwarliveslost

HMS Aboukir

HMS Aboukir

While patrolling the Broad Fourteens, latitude 52.18 north, longitude 3.41 east, off the Dutch coast, the cruiser HMS Aboukir is torpedoed by the submarine U9. The two cruisers in company, HMS Hogue and HMS Cressy, are ordered to close to their sinking sister ship to pick up survivors.  As they stop, they too are torpedoed by U9. All three Bacchante class cruisers go to the bottom, taking 1,459 men with them while 837 are rescued.  The ships lost are insignificant, as they are obsolete; though the event is made more tragic by the fact that the majority of the crews are naval reservists. The Hogue is sunk by two torpedoes fired from a range of only three hundred yards, so close that the submarine has to execute swift maneuvers to avoid a collision with the sinking ship.

SMS Emden bombs the harbor at Madras. She hits four storage tanks containing 346,000 gallons of kerosene.  Moored at a buoy in the harbor is SS Chupra (Captain W C Morrison). A stray shell hits the bunker hatch on the boat deck at the starboard side and explodes. Cadet Joseph Saul Fletcher, age 17 receives many wounds and dies almost instantly.  This is the only fatal casualty inflicted by Emden on a Merchant Mariner during her cruise. Sub Lieutenant Bonstead of the Fort St. George battery rallies his men and manages to organize the firing of nine shells from her elderly guns, none of which find their target. The material effect of Emden’s bombardment is little when compared to the psychological. For days afterwards the trains going inland are crowded with people anxious to place themselves out of range of the shells of the “mystery ship” not only at Madras but also all along the coast.

Private George Ward (Berkshire Regiment) reports back to his battalion, having left eight days earlier claiming to be wounded. He has not been wounded and is court martialed for cowardice. Ward is shot on the recommendation of his corps commander, General ‘Sir’ Douglas Haig, to act as an example to others. Ward’s execution is in fact botched. As he is being taken out to be shot he breaks away from the guard and is shot in the back. He is then brought back on a stretcher and shot in the head by the sergeant of the guard to “finish him off”.

The Royal Naval Air Service carries out the first two British air raids of the war against German soil.  Two aircraft each set out to attack the Zeppelin sheds at Dusseldorf and Cologne. Only Lieutenant Charles Herbert Collet reaches his target, the Dusseldorf airship shed. He drops four bombs, only one of which explodes, inflicting little damage. He later states that “the surprise was complete and numerous Germans in the vicinity ran in all directions”.  All four return safely to their base.  Collet will later be killed on 19 August 1915 while serving at Gallipoli.

Lieutenant Gilbert William Mapplebeck (Royal Flying Corps), exchanges shots with an Albatross two-seater while on a kite balloon bombing mission.  He is wounded in the leg thus becoming the first Royal Flying Corps pilot to be wounded by fire from an enemy aircraft in the Great War.  He will be accidentally killed in August 1915. The airship Beta flies over London to see if Zeppelins can locate targets in foggy weather conditions. The results are inconclusive.

Today’s casualties include:

  • A member of Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s last Antarctic expedition
  • Families that will lose sons
    • Multiple of examples of families that will lose two and three sons
    • Two families that will lose four sons
    • A family that will lose five sons
  • A man whose wife’s first husband was killed in the South African War
  • A Royal Marine whose son will be killed as a 14-year old bugler in the Royal Marines
  • Thirteen young naval Midshipmen
  • Brothers who are killed on the same day, one at sea in the Naval battle and one in the Army on the Western Front
  • Son of a Justice of the Peace
  • Two men whose sons will be born after their fathers deaths
  • Grandson of a Victoria Cross winner
  • Son of clergy
  • A Naval Chaplain
  • Son of a former Member of Parliament
  • Grandson of the 8th Earl of Shaftesbury
  • Son of an Admiral and a son of a General
  • A holder of the Royal Humane Society Medal for Life Saving

Today’s casualties of the day

Lieutenant Oscar William Tottie serving on HMS Aboukir is killed in the sinking at age 22.  His brother Lieutenant Eric Harold Tottie is killed in action as a Lieutenant in the Northumberland Fusiliers during the Battle of the Aisne in France at age 19. These two brothers die on the same day but in very different places. They are sons of W H and Mary Barron Tottie (nee Blake, grand-daughter of Commodore Blake, U S Navy) of Sherlocks, Ascot, Berkshire.

HMS Aboukir casualties include:

  • Lieutenant Commander Thomas Edmund Harrisonis killed at age 34. His brother will be killed in the explosion of HMS Natal in December 1915.  The Engineer Commander on HMS Aboukir is Alfred Everitt Everitt and he is killed.  He is the son of the Reverend William Everitt.
  • Midshipman Geoffrey George Gore-Browne dies at age 15; he is the grandson of Colonel H G Gore-Browne VC DL JP who won his Victoria Cross at Lucknow. He had been the Chief Cadet Captain at the Royal Naval College, Osborne earlier this year.
  • Midshipman Alan Diarmid Campbell Robertson is killed at age 15.
  • Midshipman Geoffrey Bruce Barchard is killed at age 15
  • Midshipman Herbert Lawson Riley is killed at age 15
  • Midshipman John Duncan Stubbs is killed at age 15.
  • Midshipman Anthony Victor George Allsopp age 15 the son of the late Honorable George Higginson Allsopp MP and Lady Mildred Allsopp, the third daughter of the 8th Earl of Shaftesbury.
  • Chaplain Edward Gleadall Uphill Robsonis killed at age 32.
  • Cook’s Mate 2nd Class Edward Milleris killed at age 20.  His brother will be killed in action in May 1918 while serving in the Bedfordshire Regiment.
  • Private James Prior (Royal Marines) becomes the first of five brothers to lose their lives in the Great War. A sixth brother was killed while serving in the Royal Marines in 1912 in the accidental explosion of a gun during exercises on HMS King Edward VII.
  • Leading Stoker John Robert Fendley is killed. His brother will die during the influenza outbreak three days after the Armistice while serving in the Army Cyclist Corps.
  • Stoker 1st Class Lenham Yates dies at age 21. His brother will be killed next March in France.
  • Able Seaman Charles Tulloch Finlayson is killed at age 36. His brother will be killed on the merchant ship Vineyard in November 1916.
  • Able Seaman William Pointer is killed at age 29. His brother will be lost in the sinking of Royal Edward next year.
  • Able Seaman Sidney Thomas Claw is killed at age 34. His nephew will be killed in the loss of HMS Clan McNaughton next February.

The Cressy’s casualties include:

  • Captain Robert Warren Johnson who is killed at age 47. He is the son of Vice Admiral John Ormsby Johnson.
  • Lieutenant Commander Walter Bousfield Watkins Grubb is lost at age 35. His only child a son will be born next year.
  • Lieutenant Commander Bernard Matheson Harvey is last seen helping his men to keep afloat. He was the son of the Honorable Augustus Harvey.
  • Midshipman Claude Phillipe Delmege is killed. He is the son of the Deputy Inspector General of the Royal Navy.
  • Midshipman John Aubrey Froudeis killed at age 16.  He is the only son of Ashley Froude CMG and the grandson of James Anthony Froude, late Regius Professor of Modern History Oxford University.
  • Midshipman Frank George Matthewsis also killed at age 16.  He is the son of Brigadier General F B Matthews CB DSO.
  • Midshipman Vernon Hector Crobyn is killed at age 16.
  • Stoker 1st Class Frank Herbert Browning age 21 is one of seven sons who serve, four of whom are killed.
  • Able Seaman Alfred Augustus Dunk age 32. He was awarded the Medal for life saving by the King at the wreck of ‘Delhi’.
  • Able Seaman Arthur Chestney is the first of three brothers who will be killed in the Great War.
  • Able Seaman Coulson Henry Crascall is killed at age 36. His brother will be killed in April 1917.
  • Seaman Robert John Ladd is killed at age 26. His brother will be killed next June serving in the East Kent Regiment.
  • Stoker 1st Class William Burgess is killed at age 18. He is the first of four sons of Thomas and Mary Ann Burgess who will die as a result of war service.
  • Able Seaman William James Frederick is killed. He is a holder of the Royal Humane Society’s Medal for life saving.
  • Leading Cook’s Mate Walter Charles Nelson Hall is killed at age 23. His brother will be killed in October 1916.

The casualties on HMS Hogue include:

  • Lieutenant Commander Henry Edward de Parny Rennick (HMS Hogue) who was a member of Captain Scott’s last expedition and during the voyage of the Terra Nova and was charge of tracking the depth soundings.
  • Midshipman Geoffrey Charles Harold is killed at age 15. His brother will be killed in 1918.
  • Midshipman Harold Henshaw Ward is killed at age 15.
  • Midshipman Cecil William Holt is killed at age 15. His brother will be killed in October 1917.
  • Petty Officer 1st Class George William Emptage is killed at age 39. His wife’s first husband was killed in the South African War.
  • Ship’s Chief Cook William Neill is killed at age 40. He is a holder of the Messina Medal.
  • Able Seaman Albert Edward Beaney is killed at age 35. His brother will be killed in 5 weeks when his ship HMS Falcon is shelled off the Belgian coast.
  • Private John Llewellyn Timmins (Royal Marine Light Infantry) is killed at age 45. His son will be killed on HMS Cardiff in November 1917 as a fourteen year old bugler.
  • Stoker 1st Class William Charles Harris is lost at age 27. His brother was killed five days before.

Others lost today include:

  • Lieutenant and Adjutant John Cusack Forsyth (Royal Field Artillery) is killed at age 31. He is the first of three brothers who are killed in the Great War.
  • Lieutenant Thomas Gilliat Meautys(West Yorkshire Regiment) dies of wounds at age 25.  He is the son of Thomas Arrowsmith Meautys JP and his only son will be born in April 1915 and will die on service shortly after the end of World War II at age 32. He has two brothers who will be killed in action in the Great War.
  • Private Charles Machin (Coldstream Guards) is killed at age 22. His is the first of three brothers who will be killed in the war.

photo – wikipedia.org