Wednesday 3 March 1915 – We Lost 197
Turkish forces are located in strength at Ghadir, west of Ahwaz, in the Persian Gulf. A heavy Turkish attack forces a British retirement but it is repulsed.
Brigadier General Gorges leads a sizeable force up the railway into the Bare district finding the Germans entrenched astride the main road near the town of Paro. The British attack but are met by sustained and well directed fire from concealed machine guns. Gorges’ troops, mostly from Sierra Leone, are unable to stand the strain, Temporary Lieutenant Colonel George Pope Newstead (Suffolk commanding Sierra Leone WAFF) in a supreme effort to sustain the fight, is mortally wounded. The British lose eight European officers and NCO’s and 140 African ranks. These are severe casualties given the number engaged and Gorges beats a retreat. Unknown to him, the Germans also have lost heavily and they too have to retreat. The British halt and dig in at Bare.
The King’s Royal Rifle Corps attack out of their trenches
Today’s losses include:
- A Rhodes scholar
- The grandson of a member of the clergy
- Two First Class Rugby players
- An England Rugby International
- A Harrow School Master
- A family that will lose three more sons in the Great War
- The son of a General
- The father of a Brigadier who will die on service in 1945
Today’s highlighted casualties are
Captain Ronald Owen Lagden (King’s Royal Rifle Corps) is killed at age 25. He is the son of ‘Sir’ Godfrey Yeatman Lagden KCMG, the grandson of the 1st Bishop of Pretoria and he played first class rugby from 1909-12. He was capped once for England, in the final match of their 1911 Five Nations Championship campaign, a Calcutta Cup match against Scotland at Twickenham. Lagden, a number eight, kicked two conversions in the 13 to 8 win. Captain Lagden was one of 300 soldiers that venture over the trench walls in an attack on the Germans when he is killed. He is a Rhodes Scholar and the Harrow School Master from 1912-14.
- Captain Robert Francis Loder-Symonds (Cheshire Regiment) is accidentally killed. His is one of four brothers killed in the service of their country during the Great War. His son will die on service in 1945 as a Brigadier at age 32.
- Captain James Gerald Willoughby (Light Cavalry, Indian Army) is killed in Mesopotamia at age 31. He is the only son of the late Major General James formerly Honorary Colonel of his son’s Regiment.