Wednesday 7 October 1914 – We Lost 68
The 7th Division disembarks at Zeebrugge while Sixth Squadron Royal Flying Corps proceeds to Ostend. Lieutenant Joseph Leslie Dent (South Staffordshire Regiment) locates an enemy trench by daring scouting at night subsequently rushing it with two sections and driving the enemy away. He will be killed in April 1917.
The Admiralty sends the following message to Admiral Cradock, “It appears that Scharnhorst and Gneisenau are working across to South America. You must be prepared to meet them in company, possibly with a ‘Dresden’ scouting for them. Canopus should accompany Glasgow, Monmouth and Otranto, the ships to search and protect trade in combination. If you propose Good Hope to go, leave Monmouth on the east coast.”
At approximately 05:30 an expedition under the command of Brigadier General Edmund Howard Gorges sets off towards Yabassi on the Wuri River. Lieutenant Commander Bertram Thomas Carlyle Ogilvy Freeman-Mitford, Captain of HMS Challenger, commands a naval contingent of one hundred seaman and marines with two six-inch naval guns and one twelve-pound field gun. Commander Freeman-Mitford’s brother will be killed in May 1915 serving in the Hussars and his son will be killed in Burma in March 1945. The soldiers under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Edward Vaughan of the West Africa Regiment, include six companies of the 1st Nigeria Regiment, the Pioneer Company of the Gold Coast Regiment and about six hundred carriers. There is also a battery of four mountain guns. This little expedition is stowed into a variety of river craft that includes a dredger, six steam launches of various sizes, a steam tug, a stern wheeler, eight surf boats, eight steel lighters, two one-hundred foot motor launches, a motor pinnace and HMS Cumberland’s picket boat. One of the six inch guns is mounted on the dredger and the other on one of the steel lighters, which the sailors mockingly christen Dreadnought. The two become, in effect, river monitors. As the flotilla sails up the Wuri, nothing is seen for miles on the river’s banks but tangles of dense bush and tall elephant grass. Then just at sunset at a place called Nsake Hill, about ten miles below Yabassi, the flotilla is fired upon. The British mountain guns quickly silence the fire and a company from the West Africa Regiment is landed and occupies Nsake; other troops are put ashore on the opposite bank and the flotilla anchors for the night in midstream.
Four hundred eighty Germans with 6 machine guns attack Gazi but are beaten off by 850 British who also have 6 machine guns. The British suffer 10 casualties.
Today’s losses include:
- Son of a Baronet
- Son of a Justice of the Peace
- Son-in-law of clergy
- An original officer of the Irish Guards when formed in 1900
- A man whose second child will be born Christmas Eve
Today’s highlighted casualty is
Lieutenant George Brooke (Irish Guards) dies of wounds received two days prior at age 37. He is the son of ‘Sir’ George Brooke, the 1st Baronet. He is an original officer of the Irish Guards when the Regiment was raised in 1900 and a great nephew of ‘Sir’ Charles Shakerley Baronet. He is the son-in-law of the Right Honorable Lord Arthur Hill PC.
- Captain Reginald John Petty Devenish Aldridge (Sussex Regiment) is killed by a bursting shell at age 37. He is the son of Reginald Aldridge JP and the son-in-law of the Reverend J Padmore Noble Vicar of Childs Ercall Market Drayton. His second child and only son will be born on 24 December.
- Second Lieutenant William Robert Launcelot Calrow (North Lancashire Regiment) is killed at age 19. He is the great grandson of William Calrow JP DL.