Thursday 22 April 1915 – We Lost 548
At 17:00 hours on a ‘glorious spring day’ the Germans begin a furious bombardment of Ypres with heavy artillery. What follows staggers the imagination. As seen by the Canadians, who stand to the right of the main attack, an area of the line manned by Algerians, two greenish-yellow clouds form on the ground and spread laterally to form a terrifying single cloud of bluish white mist. Blown by a light wind, the cloud moves down on the Algerian trenches. The Canadians notice a peculiar odor, smarting eyes, a tingling sensation of the nose and throat, and hear a dull, confused murmuring underlying everything. Soon, Algerian stragglers begins to drift toward the rear, followed by horses and men pouring down the road and finally mobs of Algerian infantry streaming across the fields, throwing away their rifles. As seen by the Germans, the effects of the attack are horrible, the dead lying on their backs with clenched fists, the whole field bleached to a yellow color. The Germans advance until dusk, when the assigned objectives for the day are reached. This gas attack finds the allied troops entirely unprepared; they have no respirators, no anti-gas measures of any description are at hand. The best that can be done at first is to cover the nose and mouth with a wet cloth – a handkerchief, piece of toweling, a cotton bandolier, or in privilege cases a gauze pad. This attack marks the beginning of the second battle of Ypres, which will not end until 25th May.
The bombardment of the forts at Smyrna is resumed.
Anglo-French forces land at Enos.
Chief Officer Alfred R Murley, HMT Cardiganshire is awarded the Distinguished Service Cross as he responds to the call for volunteers to man SS Jessie and for the next few weeks during the first landing operations at Gallipoli he does invaluable work in keeping up an unfailing supply of ammunition to the beaches.
The Admiralty suspends passenger traffic between England and Holland.
Today’s losses include:
- The first son lost of a family that will lose four sons
- The first son lost of a family that will lose three sons
- Multiple families that will lose two sons
- The son of a member of the clergy
Today’s highlighted casualties are
- Lieutenant Guy Melfort Drummond (Quebec Regiment) is killed in action at age 27. He is the son of the Honorable ‘Sir’ George Drummond KCMG.
- Private Robert T Sloan (Alberta Regiment) is killed in action. He is the first of four brothers to be killed in the Great War.
- Private Anton Leone Van Schepdael (Alberta Regiment) is killed in action at age 21. His brother will be killed in September 1918.
- Rifleman William Henry Philpott (Rifle Brigade) dies of wounds in Boulogne at age 35. His brother will be killed in July of this year.
- Private John St Claire Gunning (Manitoba Regiment) is killed at age 21. His brother will be killed in November 1917.
- Private Howard Crich (Sherwood Foresters) dies on service at home. He is the first of three Crich’s to lose their lives in the Great War, the three are brothers.
- Private Joseph Maxwell Boultbee (Alberta Regiment) is killed at age 25. His brother will be killed in March 1917 and they are sons of the Reverend Frederick Croxall Boultbee Rector of Hargrave.