Tuesday 27 October 1914 – We Lost 568
The Germans take Neuve Chapelle.
Gas is first used by the Germans when they fire a prototype of modern tear gas from artillery near Ypres.
A German wireless message is intercepted giving 05:30 two days later as the time and date for an attack on the Ypres sector.
Louis Botha is at Commissie Drift, near Rustenburg, South Africa and defeats the rebel Beyers.
A BE2a of 6 Squadron is shot down while on a reconnaisance patrol over Lille. The crew Lieutenant K Rawson-Shaw and Lieutenant H G L Mayne are taken prisoner becoming the first crew lost by this squadron.
At 09:00 the Second Battle Squadron is in line ahead formation twenty miles north-east of Tory Island when the battle ship HMS Audacious, third in line and in the process of turning starboard, strikes a mine. The mine explodes on the port side aft and the rolling of the ship causes a boat stowed on the quarter deck to break loose from its lashings, and as it thrashes back and forth it knocks the tops off the ventilators on the deck. As a result more and more water finds its way below, helped by a fractured waste pipe in the captain’s quarters below. This extra flooding is outside of the area of subdivision enclosed by armored citadel and so it is virtually impossible to control. Attempts to take her in tow by the liner Olympic and the collier Thornhill, meet with no success as she is almost unmanageable in the heavy swells. The crew is finally taken off by the Olympic and at 21:00 twelve hours after being mined she is shaken by an internal explosion and sinks. Despite the fact that the Olympic, packed with British and American passengers, has seen the Audacious in critical condition the decision is made to ban all mention of the incident from the newspapers and it remains an official secret until after the war. For four years the name Audacious appears in all official returns, even the most secret lists of day to day strength. Since virtually everyone in the Grand Fleet knows the truth, the only effect of this is to discredit the Admiralty. For a time the newspapers content themselves with using phrases such as ‘the audacious sinking of this ship”, and “another audacious loss”, etc.
Today’s losses include:
- Prince Maurice of Battenberg a Grandson of Queen Victoria
- A nephew of the Irish Unionist politician, barrister and judge Edward Carson
- Brother of a future Member of Parliament
- Brother of the Captain of HMS Hood who will be killed when his ship is sunk by the Bismarck in 1941
- Son of a man who died on service during the Ashanti War in 1896
- A Battalion commander
- The son of an Admiral
- The great grandson of a General
- The uncle of a man killed in the Second World War
- A man married to the grand-daughter of a Baronet
- The grandson of a man who fought the French in the West Indies in 1804
- A man whose great great grandfather was killed at Quatre Bras
- Son of clergy
- Multiple examples of families that will lose two and three sons
Today’s highlighted casualty is
Prince Maurice Victor Donald Battenberg KCVO a Lieutenant in the King’s Royal Rifle Corps and a grandson, like the King, the Kaiser and the Tsar, of Queen Victoria dies of wounds at age 23. He is the youngest grandson and names Victor to honor the late queen and Donald to Honor Scotland. His mother is the 5th daughter and youngest child of Victoria and Albert the Prince Consort. His father died of malaria at age 38 contracted while fighting in the Gold Coast in the Ashanti War in 1896. He is leading his battalion across an open space when a shell explodes near him. Wishing his men good bye, he is taken by stretcher towards a field dressing station but dies before reaching it.
- Major Matthew Perceval BuckleDSO (commanding 1st Royal West Kent Regiment) is killed at age 45. He is the son of Admiral C E Buckle and he served in the South African War where he was wounded.
- Captain Walter Neave Wells (East Kent Regiment) is killed at age 32. He is the son of ‘Sir’ Richard Wells KCB and he served in the South African War.
- Captain Henry Ouseley Davis (Irish Rifles) is killed by shrapnel at age 30. He is the great grandson of Major General ‘Sir’ Ralph Ouseley.
- Captain Edward Spread Mulcahy Morgan (Irish Rifles) dies of wounds. His brother will be killed in September 1916 and their nephew will be killed serving in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve ion 4 January 1945.
- Captain Frederick William Stoddart (Wiltshire Regiment) is killed at age 43. His wife is the granddaughter of ‘Sir’ Robert Williams Baronet.
- Lieutenant Alec Arthur Crichton Maitland-Addison(Cheshire Regiment) is killed in action at age 28. He will have two brothers killed later in the Great War.
- Lieutenant Christopher Leather (Northumberland Fusiliers) is killed in action at age 31. He is the first of three brothers to lose their lives in the Great War.
- Lieutenant Victor Harriott Hardy (York and Lancs Regiment) is killed at age 27. His grandfather was one of a small body of Englishmen who held the Fort of Roseau Dominica West Indies in 1804 when the French landed until relived by the British fleet under Nelson.
- Lieutenant Francis Edward Robinson (South Staffordshire Regiment) is killed at age 19 leading an attack. He is the nephew of ‘Sir’ Edward Carson the Irish Unionist Politician, barrister and judge who represented the Marquess of Queensberry in his libel case with Oscar Wilde and who defended George Archer-Shee in 1911.
- Lieutenant Edmund Swetenham (Durham Light Infantry) becomes the second of only two Swetenham’s to be killed in the war at age 24. His cousin was killed less than two months ago.
- Second Lieutenant Robert Francis McLean Gee (Wiltshire Regiment) dies of wounds in England at age 20. He is the great great grandson of Captain William Buckley Royal Scots who was killed at Quatre Bras.
- Second Lieutenant Owen William Eugene Herbert(Royal Field Artillery) is killed in action at age 21. He is the brother of Alan Patrick Herbert a Member of Parliament for the University of Oxford for fifteen years from 1935 to 1950. Another brother, Captain Sidney Jasper Herbert (Royal Navy) will be the Captain of HMS Hood and is killed when that ship is sunk by the Bismark on 24 May 1941.
- Sergeant Frank Goodman Line (Border Regiment) is killed at age 25. His brother will be killed next May.
- Lance Sergeant Sidney Barnard Thompson (Lancers) is killed at age 34. His brother will be killed tomorrow.
- Private William Campbell(Black Watch) is killed at age 30. His younger brother will die of dysentery while serving at Salonica in 1917.
- Private Ernest Condick (Devonshire Regiment) is killed at age 26. In 1916 his two brothers will both be killed serving in the same regiment.
- Private George Edwin Swain (South Staffordshire Regiment) is killed at age 21. His brother Henry William will also be killed in the war.
- Rifleman Frederick McCracken (Irish Rifles) is killed. His brother will be killed in the explosion of HMS Vanguard in July 1917.
- Lieutenant General ‘Sir’ William Edmund FranklynKCB (3rd Division) dies at home at age 58. He is the son of the Reverend J E Franklyn.