Saturday 20 March 1915 – We Lost 176
A violent storm hits the Dardanelles.
Winston Churchill informs de Robeck that two more Formidable Class Battleships HMS London and HMS Implacable (both 1899) and two improved Formidables, HMS Queen and HMS Prince of Wales (1902) are on their way to join him.
At 10:30 four enemy aircraft are seen flying towards Dover, one unsuccessfully aims six bombs at a small coaster in the Downs at 11:05. At 11:25 an unidentified biplane appears out of the mist over Thameshaven and is promptly attacked by a six-pounder anti-aircraft gun and brought down with a damaged wing. The gunners jubilation at the first ‘success’ by British ground defenses is abruptly silenced by the discovery that the victim is a Royal Flying Corps Gunbus. The two officers on board are unhurt.
General Botha defeats German forces at Reit on the Swakop, in German South West Africa.
Today’s losses include:
- A distant cousin of the diarist Samuel Pepys
- Two men who will have brothers lost in the Great War
Today’s highlighted casualties are
Lieutenant Samuel Pepys Cockerell (Royal Flying Corps) dies of smallpox in Egypt at age 34. He is a former commercial attaché to Spain and Portugal and a distant cousin of the diarist Samuel Pepys.
- Second Lieutenant Walter George Fletcher (Welsh Fusiliers) is killed by a sniper when shot in the head at age 27. He is a German interpreter and one night he crawled out into No Man’s Land and retrieved a captured French flag which the Germans were flying from a tree in their lines. It is sent to Eton. His brother was killed in October 1914.
- Stoker 1st Class George Hawkes (HMS Cyclops II) dies on service. His brother will be killed serving on HMS in HMS Gaillardia in March 1918.