Wednesday 3 February 1915 – We Lost 428
The Turkish advance across the Sinai desert reaches the Suez Canal opposite Tussum. This is one of the strongest sectors of the British defenses and includes some twelve infantry companies. Three British posts containing six companies in all are deployed on the East bank of the canal. The West bank is held by six additional companies. The Turkish attack on the Canal commences at 04:00 with Turkish infantry dragging rafts and pontoons into the canal. They are immediately engaged by extremely heavy fire from Indian machine gunners and HMS Hardinge, but they continue to press home the attack, some crossing the canal and reaching the west bank. Here they are met by a bayonet charge which kills most of the 60 Turks who have succeeded in crossing the canal while others are taken prisoner. The attack is renewed at dawn with additional diversions launched at Kantara and near Ismailia. Shelling from British ships and continued staunch resistance by troops in the defensive positions causes the attack to be halted in the early afternoon after suffering some one hundred ninety-two dead, three hundred seventy-one wounded and seven hundred twenty-seven prisoners. The British losses are thirty-two killed and one hundred thirty-two wounded. The entire Turkish force now withdraws, unmolested by the British who do not follow them in any force, back across the Sinai towards Beersheba. El Yuzbashi Alli Effendi Zaka (Egyptian Army) is awarded the Military Cross for gallantry and ability as Captain of the 5th Battery of Artillery in the action at Tussum, while El Mulazim Awal (Medical Corps Egyptian Army attached 5th Battery Artillery) is also awarded the Military Cross for gallantry and devotion to duty in attending the wounded under heavy fire during the same action.
The Armed Merchant Cruiser HMS Clan McNaughton (Captain Robert Jeffreys, Royal Navy) is lost in the North Atlantic. It is unknown whether she has foundered in bad weather or has struck a mine. Her entire crew of two hundred sixty-one is killed.
Those lost on Clan McNaughton include:
- Lieutenant Commander Arthur Leyborne-Popham the son of the late Reverend Edward Leyborne-Popham Vicar of Hemyoek is among those killed at age 37.
- Lieutenant Frederick George Lewis (Royal Naval Reserve) is killed at age 26. He holds a Master’s Certificate in Mercantile Marine and was specially commended for safe navigation of Prize Vessels.
- Midshipman John Hamilton Auld (Royal Naval Reserve) is killed at age 20. He is the son of the late Hugh Auld, a writer to the Signet Edinburgh.
- Seaman Leonard Apl (Royal Naval Reserve) is killed at age 19. His brother will be killed in May 1916.
- Boy Frederick Edward Johnson is killed at age 17. His brother will be killed in May 1917.
- Boy William Henry Claw is killed at age 17 his uncle was killed on HMS Amphion last September.
Colonel J C G Kemp and five hundred rebels surrender at Upington.
John Chilembwe is killed and his uprising suppressed. Soon twenty of his followers will be hanged and another 400 imprisoned.
Today’s losses include:
- A Great War Poet
- A man whose wife will lose two brothers in the Great War
- Multiple sons of members of the clergy
- The son of writer to the Signet Edinburgh
- Multiple families that will lose another on in the war
- A boy whose uncle was killed on HMS Amphion in September 1914
Today’s highlighted casualty is
Sergeant Frank Smith Brown (Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry) is killed at age 21. He is the son of the Reverend S Gorley Brown and is a poet known as ‘The Poet of the Pats’ and is also the author of Contingent Ditties and other poems. In addition he is the District Scoutmaster for the City of Quebec.
- Captain Reinfred Tatton Arundell (Rajput Light Infantry) is killed at age 41 in defense of the Suez. He is the son of the Reverend Wilbrahm Harris Aundell. He served in Tibet 1903-4.
- Captain Oriel William Erskine Bannerman (Lancers, Indian Army) dies of wounds at age 38. His wife has two brothers who will also be killed in the Great War.
- Lieutenant Robert Hamilton MacLagan Wedderburn (Cameronians) is killed in action at age 21. He is the son of the Reverend L C Wedderburn.
- Sergeant Ronald Sweyn Skinner (London Regiment) is killed at age 26. He is the son of the Reverend Frederick William Skinner Vicar of Tibenham.
- Private William Scotton (Middlesex Regiment) is executed for desertion at age 19. His brother will be killed in September 1916.