Friday 16 October 1914 – We Lost 58

by greatwarliveslost

The First battle of Ypres begins. It will last until 22 November.  The Somerset Light Infantry occupies the village of Erquinghem-Lys, approximately 1.5 kilometers west of Armentieres.  German forces had captured it earlier in the month.  The Germans attempt to advance but as the Allied line is now complete the war of maneuver is over and the Battle of the Yser begins.  The Battle of the Yser is part of a general German attack that stretches from the sea to La Bassee. Givenchy is recaptured and held.

John French’s GHQ for the first time includes Rawlinson’s Corps. The forward movement of III Corps and Cavalry Corps to the Lys will continue and 7th Division will fan out of Ypres and take up a line from Zandvoorde, through Gheluvelt to Zonnebeke.  The weather is very poor, with heavy rain and fog. In the many places the fields are inundated with streams and ditches rising and little practical progress is made.

At 17:00 a convoy of forty-five ships, including fourteen troopships of the Indian Expeditionary Force ‘B’ leaves Bombay harbor bound for Africa escorted by the battleship HMS Goliath. Most of the sepoys are soon sick.  The transports are badly overcrowded and any physical exercise is difficult; this is particularly true on board the small Assouan, 1,900 tons, which carries the Palamcottah Light Infantry. Many of the Indian units are not provided with their accustomed food, their digestions are upset and their religious scruples outraged. One officer declares the slow two-week voyage to Mombasa to be “a hell on crowded ships in tropical heat”.  Not surprisingly the troops are dispirited and discouraged. Major General Aitken and his staff travel in the Karmala, a converted P & O liner, and are somewhat more comfortable. On the same day Force “D” leaves Bombay bound for the Persian Gulf to be in place if Turkey enters the war.

The general attack on Tsing-tau begins from the sea by a combined British and Japanese force, assisted by airplanes.  The forts are damaged.  Casualties to the Allied forces are only three, all British.

The first Canadian Contingent (31,200 officers and men) arrives in Britain.

The New Zealand Expeditionary Forces leave Wellington with 8,250 men consisting of one mounted rifle brigade (three regiments) and one infantry brigade (four battalions) with their supply columns and a divisional headquarters in ten ships. They are bound for Albany at the southwestern extremity of Western Australia to join twenty-six transports there assembled for the 20,000 man Australian Army. This includes one infantry division (three infantry brigades plus field artillery) and one brigade of light horse as well as support troops.  This force is destined to join what will become the ANZAC force on Gallipoli.

The 17th (Duke of Cambridge’s Own) Lancers depart Sialkote, India for France aboard the transports SS Leicestershire and Islanda with 16 officers, 4 warrant officers, 533 other ranks and 619 horses.

After being quiet for almost three weeks SMS Emden strikes three times on this day. Her first victim is the Clan Grant (Captain Norman Leslie) carrying 4,000 tons of valuable mixed cargo from England to Calcutta via Madras. Victim number two is the dredger Ponrabbel.  Captain Edwin Gore and his men can hardly wait to become prisoners.  The final victim of the day is the Benmohr (Captain J D Sarchet) carrying a full cargo of 6,700 tons of valuable piece goods, including a large and elegant motor boat, from London to Penang and Japan.

Today’s losses include:

  • A Baronet
  • Son-in-law of the Earl of Lonsdale
  • A family that will suffer the loss of two sons


Cap Badge of the Life Guards

Cap Badge of the Life Guards

Today’s highlighted casualty is

Second Lieutenant Eric Dennys Murray (Hussars) is killed at Le Bizet at age 21.  He is the son of ‘Sir’ George Sheppard and Lady Murray. Hearing that Lieutenant Murray has been shot, Sergeant David Brunton sends information to the Squadron Commander and then gallops off with the patrol towards the village. On dismounting he calls for a volunteer to help him, and Private Walter Alfred Jerome at once dismounts. Having sent his horse and that of Jerome back to the inn with the rest of the patrol, Sergeant Brunton and Jerome crawl into the road to Lieutenant Murray, but as they raise him the reports of rifles rang out from point-blank range, and they are obliged to rush to cover. After waiting a short time they make a second attempt to carry away Lieutenant Murray. Upon going out they are again fired upon, but they quickly bring the officer under cover. To their dismay, however, they find he is dead, being wounded in the head, the left hand, and the region of the heart. Both men will be awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for their efforts.

  • Lieutenant and Baronet ‘Sir’ Robert George Vivian Duff (Life Guards) is killed at age 37. He is the only son of ‘Sir’ Charles Garden Assheton-Smith Duff, the 1st He succeeded to the title and estate of his father three weeks after the death of his father. He is the son-in-law of the 4th Earl of Lonsdale.
  • Private James Nixon(King’s Own Scottish Borderers) is killed at age 23. His brother will be killed in April 1915.

photo from