Tuesday 20 April 1915 – We Lost 298
Lieutenant George Rowland Patrick Roupell (East Surrey Regiment) is awarded the Victoria Cross for most conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when he is commanding a company of his battalion in a front trench on Hill 60 which is subjected to a most severe bombardment throughout the day. Though wounded in several places, he remains at his post and leads his company in repelling a strong German assault. During a lull in the bombardment he has his wounds hurriedly dressed, and then insists in returning to his trench, which is again being subjected to a severe bombardment. Toward evening his company being dangerously weakened, he goes back to his headquarters, representing the situation to his commanding officer, and brings up reinforcements, passing backwards and forwards over ground swept by heavy fire. With these reinforcements he holds his position throughout the night and until his battalion is relieved the next morning. This young officer is one of the few survivors of his company, and shows magnificent example of courage, devotion to duty and tenacity, which undoubtedly inspired his men to hold out to the end.
Second Lieutenant Benjamin Handley Geary (East Surrey Regiment) is awarded the Victoria Cross for most conspicuous bravery and determination on Hill 60 near Ypres on this day and the following, when he holds the left crater with his platoon, some men of the Bedfordshire Regt and a few reinforcements who come up during the evening and night. The crater is first exposed to very heavy artillery fire, which breaks down the defenses and afterwards throughout the night to repeated bomb attacks, which fills it with dead and wounded. Each attack is, however, repulsed, mainly owing to the splendid personal gallantry and example of Second Lieutenant Geary. At one time he uses a rifle with great effect, at another he throws hand grenades and exposes himself with entire disregard to danger in order to see by the light of flares where the enemy is coming on. In the intervals between attacks he spends his whole time arranging for the ammunition supply and for reinforcements. He is severely wounded just before daylight tomorrow.
Second Lieutenant Geoffrey Harold Woolley (Queen Victoria’s Rifles) is awarded the Victoria Cross for most conspicuous bravery on Hill 60 during the night of 20/21 April. Although the only officer on the hill at the time and with very few men he successfully resists all attacks on his trench and continues throwing bombs and encourages his men till relieved. The trench during all this time is being heavily shelled and bombed and is subjected to heavy machine gun fire by the enemy.
Private Edward Dwyer (East Surrey Regiment) is awarded the Victoria Cross for most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty at Hill 60. When his trench is heavily attacked by German grenade throwers, he climbs on the parapet and although subject to a hail of bombs at close quarters succeeds in dispersing the enemy by the effective use of his hand grenades. Private Dwyer displays great gallantry earlier on this day in leaving his trench under heavy shell fire to bandage his wounded comrades.
A German patrol attacks the bridge at Milepost 218 on the Uganda Railway. It is guarded by elements of the 98th Indian Infantry from Hyderabad, who are inattentive and walking about unarmed when the German patrol strikes. Offering no resistance, they are quickly rounded up and disarmed by the Germans, who are then free to blow up the bridge at their leisure. When the patrol departs it carries off the sepoy’s rifles and ammunition, but leave its prisoners unharmed.
Union forces defeat the Germans at Kebus north of Keetmanshoop.
Anglo-French troops take Mandera, Cameroon.
Mr. Asquith at Newcastle denies that military operations have been hampered by lack of munitions.
Today’s losses include:
- The son of a Brigadier General
- The son of the 2nd Baron Playfair
- The son-in-law of the 9th Lord Belhaven and Stranton
- The son of a member of the clergy
- The son of a Justice of the Peace
- The son of the editor and proprietor of the Isle of Ely & Wisbech Advertiser
- A man whose second husband will die on service
Today’s highlighted casualties are:
- Captain Philip Cecil Wynter (East Surrey Regiment) is killed at age 35. His brother will be killed in November of this year.
- Captain ‘the Honorable’ Lyon George H Lyon Playfair (Royal Field Artillery) the son of Brigadier General Lord G J Playfair, the 2nd Baron CVO is killed in action at age 21.
- Captain Robert Borras Whiteside (Army Service Corps) dies on service at age 45. He is one of three son-in-laws of the 9th Lord Belhaven and Stranton to lose his life in the Great War.
- Second Lieutenant Ronald Marmaduke Dawnay Harvey (North Staffordshire Regiment) is killed at age 28. He is the son of the Reverend Frederick Mortimer Harvey Rector of Bolnhurst.
- Private Harold Arthur Fiske (Army Service Corps) dies at home at age 19. His brother will be killed in action in two years.
- Private Henry Thomas Stanford (Cambridgeshire Regiment) is killed at age 20. His brother will be killed in September 1917.
- Private Eric Frederick Gardiner (Honorable Artillery Company) dies of wounds at St Eloi at age 33. He is the son of Frederic John Gardiner JP the editor and proprietor of the Isle of Ely & Wisbech Advertiser.
- Private Frank Cousins (Bedfordshire Regiment) is killed at age 20. His brother will be killed in September 1917.
- Stoker George Thomas Illing (HMS Cove Royal Naval Reserve) dies of illness at age 20. His wife’s second husband will be buried in the same after he died of illness in March 1919.
- Private S W Wharton (South Staffordshire Regiment) is killed at age 24. His brother will die of wounds in July 1917.