Thursday 11 March 1915 – We Lost 892
A British attack shortly after midday at Neuve Chapelle takes place five minutes after the supporting artillery fire has stopped, leading to heavy casualties. General Haig orders a frontal attack, and almost all those who take part in it are killed. This evening he gives the order for a renewed advance on the following day. Some British forces do make progress occupying the village of l’Epinette.
Captain John William Mapplebeck (Liverpool Regiment attached Royal Flying Corps) and Lieutenant Alastair St John Munro Warrand (Black Watch attached) carryout the first night bombing raid of the Great War. Each aircraft carries two 100-lb bombs on carriers designed and built by the squadron. Preparations include fitting the cockpits with electric lights and, to direct the crews, two signaling lamps are placed on the ground, five miles apart. They depart for Lille at 04:45. Both aircraft are shot down and though Captain Mapplebeck is able to make it back to the British lines, Lieutenant Warrand will die of his wounds in eight days.
With intelligence concerning Turkish ammunition shortages Churchill and the Admiralty order Admiral Carden to shift from his methodical bombardment of the Dardanelles forts to an attack to obtain victory. The results to be gained are enough to justify loss of ships and men if success cannot be obtained without. Efforts to sweep the Kephez minefields at night with trawler minesweepers continue to be unsuccessful when the warships are unable to knock out the searchlights which expose the trawlers to the deadly fire of the batteries protecting the minefields. Carden and his staff concludes that the only method to succeed will be a daylight attack to silence the forts at the Narrows as well as the batteries protecting the Kephez minefields. The trawlers can then clear a channel at night and permit the fleet to destroy the Narrows forts at short range the following day. This, in turn, will permit the trawlers to sweep the Narrows minefields and open the way into the Sea of Marmara.
British Cavalry make a reconnaissance to Nakaila, west of Basra.
The Armed Merchant Cruiser HMS Bayano (Commander Henry Cecil Carr) is sunk by the submarine U27 ten miles west of Corsewell Point off the River Clyde. There are one hundred ninety-five casualties including her commanding officer along with twenty-six survivors.
Britain announces a blockade of German ports.
Third Squadron Royal Naval Air Service sails for the Dardanelles.
Captain Trevor Howard Beves (Border Regiment) is awarded the Military Cross for conspicuous gallantry and exceptionally good work performed at Neuve Chapelle. He leads his men with great ability in the attack and is wounded twice. Captain Beves will be killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.
Today’s losses include:
- The son of the Duke of Stacpoole
- The 3rd Baron Brabourne
- The son of the 2nd Baron Penrhyn
- Multiple families that will lose another son in the Great War
- A family that will lose two more sons in the Great War
- The son of a Baronet
- An International Cricket player
- A man who was awarded the Military Cross in the first class in January 1915
- A son of a Justice of the Peace
- A man whose father was killed in the South African War
- A son of a member of the clergy
- A brother of a man who will be awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously in the war
- The Captain of the 1st football eleven at Leys School Cambridge
Today’s highlighted casualties are
Major Charles Ernest Higginbotham (Northamptonshire Regiment) is killed at age 48. He played three cricket matches for the Straits Settlements against Hong Kong between 1890 and 1891 and two first class matches and served in the South African War.
- Captain Rupert Auriol Conant Murray (Seaforth Highlanders) is killed in action at age 32. His brother was killed on 30 November 1914. He is the son-in-law of ‘Sir’ Henry Edwrd Dering 10th Baronet
- Captain John Rowley Lunell Heyland (Gurkha Rifles) is killed at age 28. He was awarded the Military Cross in the first group awarded that award. His brother will be killed in May of this year.
- Captain Wyndham Wentworth Knatchbull-Hugessen (Grenadier Guards), 3rd Baron Brabourne is killed in action at age 29. His cousin once removed the 6th Baron will be killed serving as Lieutenant Norton Cecil Michael Knatchbull on 15th September 1943 while serving in the Grenadier Guards.
- Captain ‘the Honorable’ George Henry Douglas-Pennant (Grenadier Guards) at age 38. He is the second and last surviving son of the 2nd Baron Penrhyn to be killed in the Great War.
- Lieutenant Archibald Charles Edward Alexander (Royal Scots Fusiliers) is killed in action at age 26. He is the son of W R E Alexander JP.
- Second Lieutenant Henry Scott Turner (Black Watch) dies of pneumonia at age 18. He is the son of Major Scott Turner (Black Watch) who was killed in the South African War.
- Second Lieutenant Roderick Algernon Anthony De Stacpoole (Royal Field Artillery attached Royal Horse Artillery) is killed in action at age 19. He is the son of the 4th Duke and Duchess of Stacpoole and has a brother who was killed in September 1914 and a nephew who will be killed in 1944.
- Second Lieutenant Robert Sanderson Paterson (Royal Field Artillery attached Royal Horse Artillery) is killed at age 21. He is the son of the Very Reverend W P Paterson DD Professor of Divinity at University of Edinburgh.
- Sergeant George Reay (Royal Field Artillery) is killed in action at age 26. His brother will be killed in February of next year.
- Private Archibald Ware (Wiltshire Regiment) is the first of three brothers to lose his life in the Great War. The other two will lose their lives in 1916 the first Corporal Sidney William Ware will die of wounds in April of that year less than two weeks after performing deeds that will win him the Victoria Cross.
- Private William Fane Dalzell Dalrymple-Sewell (Seaforth Highlanders) is killed by a shell in front of Bois de Blez at age 18. He is the grandson of Colonel Henry Fane Haylell Sewell, great grandson of General ‘Sir’ William Henry Sewell and great great grandson of ‘Sir’ Thomas Sewell.
- Private John Leslie Elmslie (Honorable Artillery Company) is killed at age 18. He was the best swimmer and Captain of the 1st football eleven at Leys School Cambridge.