Sunday 25 April 1915 – We Lost 2,508
Lieutenant Joseph Rupert Balfe (Australian Imperial Forces) is killed at age 25. He is the son of Major Matthew Balfe JP. He played Australian Rules football for VFA Club Brunswick while enjoying athletics at University High. He played in a Grand Final with Brunswick against Footscray, along with his two brothers, Harold and Stan. Balfe, a wingman, broke his arm during the match and that turned the game, with Footscray winning by 24 points. When at Melbourne University, he played football with the VFL/AFL side University, but due to studies he was limited. He played on 1 game in season 1909-1910, making his debut in 1909, but in 1911 he came back, and allowed for 6 more games, before ending a football career for athletics. He had always been a great athlete and especially field athletics. He was a High School champion athlete, winning the 100,200 and 400 yards handicaps, long jump, high jump and 120 yards hurdles. In 1913 he was runner-up in the Victorian long jump. Balfe had a strong friendship with Robert Menzies, who went on to become the Prime Minister of Australia from 1939-1941, 1949-1966. Menzie wrote a poem for his late friend which will appear in several local newspapers on 16th July 1915.
His was the call that came from far away;
An Empire’s message flashing o’er the seas.
The call to arms! The blood of chivarly
Pulsed quicker in his veins; he could not stay.
Let others wait; for him the glorious day
Of tyrants tumbled and a world set free
Had dawned in clouds of thunder; with a glee
Born not of insensate madness for the fray,
But rather of a spirit noble, brave,
And kindled by a heart that wept at wrong.
He went. The storms of battle round him rave,
And screaming fury o’er him chants its song.
Sleep gallant soul! Though gone thy living breath,
Thou liv’st for aye, for thou has conquered death.
Chaplain the Reverend William Joseph Finn is killed at age 39 becoming the first Chaplain to be killed in the War. As the boats draw near to the beach the hail of machine gun and rifle fire, together with shrapnel, takes its toll. Father Finn, in the same boat as the Commanding Officer of the Dublin Fusiliers, leaps over the side to go to the assistance of wounded and dying men. His clothes are ripped with bullets and he is hit. Despite the pain he endures, he is seen crawling about the beach talking quietly to the men of the Fusiliers and trying to give absolution to those close to death. This was not without the greatest difficulty, as one account states, as he had to hold his wounded right arm up with his left. He suffers from loss of blood and eventually exhaustion, and eye witness accounts attest that within a short time he is killed by shrapnel.
O the boys are all in tears
In the Dublin Fusiliers –
They have lost the friend of years
On the Western Front 15,000 British and Indian troops are ordered into action. Yellow flags, issued to the advancing troops so that they can show their position to the British artillery, also serve as guidance for the German gunners. As Indian troops in the center of the attack begin to falter, some seeking shelter in the shell holes, the Germans release gas, making any further advance impossible. French colonial troops from Senegal, are ordered to make a diversionary attack on the British flank, but are so terrified by the gas that they shoot their own officers (who have orders to shoot them if they turn away from the line of advance) and hurry back through the French lines to the supply dumps and casualty stations in the rear, where for several hours they loot the stores and rape nurses. A British cavalry brigade is summoned by the French to restore order, and does so. Although 2,000 Canadians are killed in these attacks, the Germans experience considerable difficulties in combining a gas attack with an infantry advance. The Germans retake Lizerne and the British are repulsed at St Julien.
Captain Francis Alexander Caron Scrimger (Canadian Army Medical Corps attached Montreal Regiment) is awarded the Victoria Cross when on this afternoon in the neighborhood of Ypres while in charge of an advanced dressing station in some farm buildings, which are heavily shelled by the enemy, he directs under heavy fire the removal of the wounded and he himself carries a severely wounded officer out of a stable in search of a place of greater safety. When he is unable alone to carry this officer further he remains with him under fire till help can be obtained. During the very heavy fighting of this and the previous three days Captain Scrimger displays continuously day and night the greatest devotion to duty among the wounded at the front.
Today’s losses include:
- Three battalion commanders
- The grandson of Peter Lalor the leader of the 1854 Eureka Stockade Revolt
- A member of the New South Wales Legislature
- The son of the Clerk of the Legislative Council of Queensland
- Father of a future Member of Parliament and a Baronet
- Son of a member of the British House of Commons and a Baronet
- Son of the Coroner for the North Riding of Yorkshire
- Son of the 6th Viscount Lifford
- An Olympic Gold medalist in the 1908 eight oar team
- An Olympic Bronze medalist in the 1908 coxed fours
- Son of a member of the King’s Body Guard for Scotland
- Son of a member of the Society of Writers to Her Majesty’s Signet
- The Honorary Secretary of the Amateur Rowing Association
- Son of the Post Master of Jamaica
- A man whose father will be killed in June of this year
- A man whose father will be killed when his ship in sunk in April 1918
- One son of a family that will two more sons
- Multiple families that will lose a total of two sons
- Brothers killed together
- Father and son killed together
- Multiple sons of clergy
- Multiple Australian Rules football players
- An England International Rugby football player
- A well known Rugby football players
- A man whose son will be killed in the Second World War
- The son of a Surgeon General
- Multiple sons of Justices of the Peace
Today’s highlighted casualties are:
- Lieutenant Colonel Lancelot Fox Clarke DSO (commanding 12th Australian Infantry) is killed at Russell’s Top, near the Nek at age 56.
- Major Sydney Beresford Robertson is killed on Baby 700 at age 29. He is the son of the Reverend Joseph Robertson.
- Major Blair Inskip Swannell is killed in action at age 39. He is an English International rugby football player who immigrated to Australia before the Great War. He was twice a British Lions tourist and capped in all four Test in 1904. After he immigrated to Australia he was capped by his new country within 12 months.
- Captain Joseph Peter Lalor is killed in action on Baby 700 at age 30. He is a grandson of Peter Lalor, the leader of the 1854 Eureka Stockade revolt, who lost an arm as the result of the fighting there. He joined the Royal Navy as a boy and deserted. He then served in the French Foreign Legion prior to joining the Australian Infantry in 1909. His son Peter, who also attended Xavier College will be killed in action in Italy in the September 1943.
- Captain William Richard Annear is killed at age 40 at Plugge’s Plateau becoming the first Anzac officer to be killed on Gallipoli.
- Lieutenant Penistan James Patterson is killed on Baby 700 at age 20. He is the son of the Reverend James Patterson.
- Lieutenant Joseph William Costin (Machine Gun Officer) is killed in action at age 23. He is the only son of the Clerk of the Legislative Council of Queensland. He is killed while holding his isolated position on the crest of Lone Pine when a shell destroys one of his machine gun positions.
- Second Lieutenant George Edward Eccleston Kelly is killed in action in the central Anzac sector of Gallipoli at age 40. He is the son of Reverend Richard H Kelly and had fought in the South African War.
- Also killed today is the member of the New South Wales legislature for Willoughby since 1913, Sergeant Edward Rennix Larkin. The 35-year old is killed in a hail of machine gun fire. He represented New South Wales and Australia at rugby union and played one Test for Australia versus New Zealand in 1903. Also killed today is his brother Private Martin Joseph Larkin who is two years older.
- Sergeant William Wallace Bentley Allen (Australian Infantry) is killed. His brother will be killed in September 1917.
- Corporal Arthur Mueller ‘Joe’ Pearce an Australian rules footballer who played with Melbourne in the Victoria Football League is killed. He is known during his playing career as Joe Pearce, possibly to avoid any Anti-German prejudice that came with the name Mueller. Pearce was a regular for Melbourne from 1904 to 1913 and represented Victoria at the 1908 Melbourne Carnival. In 1914 he enlisted in the military and was killed the at the Gallipoli landing.
- Corporal Charles Keith Jago Rooke (Australian Infantry) is killed. He is the son of Canon Rooke.
- Private Thomas Andrew Gillison is killed in action. He is the second cousin of Chaplain Andrew Gillison who will die of wounds received attempting to rescue a wounded man in August 1915.
- Private Harry Hodgman is killed in action. His brother will be killed in June 1917.
- Private Joseph Alan Cordner is killed in action at age 24. He is an Australian Rules Football Player who scored two goals while playing in 23 games for Geelong and Collingwood from 1911 to 1914.
- Private Claude Terrell Crowl is also killed. He played 3 games for St Kilda in 1911 and died at age 22. His cousin will be killed in just over two months also serving on Gallipoli.
- Brothers Frank age 24 and Frederick Adcock age 21 are killed during the Gallipoli landing.
- Private John Albert Handcock is killed at age 24. His brother will die of pneumonia the day before the Armistice is signed.
- Private Charles Fincher an Australian Rules Footballer is killed at age 23. He played in 9 games for South Melbourne in 1913 scoring 5 goals.
- Private Fenley John McDonald an Australian Rules Footballer is killed at age 23. He played 11 games scoring 4 goals from 1911 to 1913.
- Private Donald Veitch age 38 and his son Private Arthur Wilson Veitch age 19 are both killed.
- Private Ernest Alfred Hearle is killed at age 20. His brother will be killed in May 1917.
- Private James Munro (Australian Infantry) is killed on Gallipoli at age 25. His brother will be killed in July 1916.
- Lieutenant Colonel Douglas Everard MacBean Stewart (commanding Canterbury Regiment) is killed at the Nek at age 37. He is a holder of the Humane Society Medal.
- Private John Nathaniel Williams (Auckland Regiment) is killed in action at age 35. He is the son of Colonel ‘Sir’ Robert Williams a member of the British House of Commons (1st Baronet). He is among the first seven New Zealanders to reach the firing line and had been recommended for a commission.
- Private William Stanley Primrose (Auckland Regiment) is killed at age 38. His brother will be killed in July of this year.
- Private Robert Hargreaves (Auckland Infantry) is killed on Gallipoli at age 35. He is a prominent Gisborne footballer.
British regimental casualties on Gallipoli
- Major Charles Davies Vaughan DSO (Border Regiment) killed at age 47. His brother will die on service in December 1918.
- Captain George Malcolm Dunlop (Royal Dublin Fusiliers) is killed in action at age 26. He is the son of Archbishop Dunlop and had a brother killed in action in the first month of the Great War.
- Captain Thomas Bowyer-Lane Maunsell (Lancashire Fusiliers) is killed at age 33. His brother was killed last February and they are sons of Surgeon General Thomas Maunsell.
- Captain Aubrey Jocelyn Nugent Thomas (Lancashire Fusiliers) is killed at age 29. He is the son of Jocelyn H W Thomas JP.
- Lieutenant Alwyne Morton Francis Worsley Porter (Lancashire Fusiliers) is killed climbing a cliff to capture a machine gun during the landing at age 24. He is the eldest son of J Francis Porter MD JP HM Coroner for the North Riding of Yorkshire. Lieutenant Porter was gazetted to the Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers in 1913 and joined his Regiment at Multan, India, in March of that year. The Regiment returned to England in January 1915 and in March sailed from Avonmouth for the Dardanelles.
- Lieutenant Alastair Roderick MacLeod (Royal Horse Artillery) is killed age 23. He is the son of S J Fraser MacLeod KC and at Le Gheir on 26th October 1914 while serving as an observer he was captured by the 104th Saxon Regiment which was overrun four hours later making it possible for him to rejoin his regiment.
- Private Samual Mallaghan (Dublin Fusiliers) is killed at age 21. His brother will be killed serving in the same regiment in five days.
- Boy 1st Class George Hughes Hillam (HMS Cornwallis, Royal Navy) is killed in action serving on his ship the Dardanelles at age 16. His father will be killed serving as skipper of H M Trawler Numitor when his ship is sunk by a mine in April 1918.
Also lost today
- Lieutenant Colonel Russell Lambert Boyle (commanding Alberta Regiment) is killed while serving on the Western Front.
- Major Charles Francis Hawkins (Royal Field Artillery) is killed at age 35. He is the son of the Reverend William Webster Hawkins Rector of Hinderclay.
- Major Kenneth Wyndham Arbuthnot (Seaforth Highlanders) is killed at age 40. He is the father of ‘Sir’ John Sinclair Weymss Arbuthnot MP, the 1st Baronet and he served in Chtral 1895, Nile 1898 Battle of Khartoum and South Africa 1900-2.
- Major Harold Carey Matthews (Yorkshire Regiment) is killed at age 36. He is the son of F W W Matthews JP and a veteran of the South African War.
- Captain Hugh Maitland Spencer (Seaforth Highlanders) dies at home at age 33. He is the son of Frederick Spencer JP DL and is a veteran of the South Africa War.
- Captain Grahame Hardie Wade (Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders) is killed at age 41. He is the son of the Reverend George Wade.
- Captain Edward John McNeill Penrose (Royal Irish Fusiliers) is killed at age 27. He is the son of the Reverend John Trevenen Penrose Rector of Petworth.
- Captain Geoffrey Carew Barber (Yorkshire Regiment) is killed at age 24. His brother will be killed on HMS Bulldog in April 1916.
- Captain Grahame Hardie Wade (Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders) is killed age 41. He is the son of the Reverend George Wade.
- Captain the Honorable Archibald Rodney Hewitt DSO (East Surrey Regiment) is killed in action at age 32. He is the second son of the 6th Viscount Lifford.
- Lieutenant William Keay Falconer (Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders) is killed in action at age 20. He is the son of William Keay Falconer JP.
- Lieutenant Donald Perceval Lynden-Bell (Royal Irish Fusiliers) is killed in action at age 19. He is the son of Colonel Charles Lynden-Bell JP.
- Lieutenant Geoffrey Barron Taylor (Central Ontario Regiment) is killed at age 25. He was the stroke of the Canadian boat which won the bronze medal in the coxless fours at the 1908 coxless fours and in the eights.
- Lieutenant William Noel Lawson Boyd (Seaforth Highlanders) is killed in action at the second battle of Ypres. He is the son of William Lawson Boyd, The King’s Body Guard for Scotland (Royal Company of Archers) and grandson of ‘Sir’ John Boyd while his mother is a member of the Society of Writers to Her Majesty’s Signet. His brother died of wounds in October 1914.
- Lieutenant Gilchrist Stanley MacLagan (Warwickshire Regiment) is killed in action on the Western Front at age 35. He is a holder of an Olympic Gold medal for rowing won as a member of the 1908 eight-oared shell with coxswain team. He is Honorary Secretary of the Amateur Rowing Association.
- Lieutenant Euan Lucie-Smith (Warwickshire Regiment) is killed in action at age 25. He was the son of the Post Master General of Jamaica.
- Lieutenant Cedric Hugh Crowley (Royal Warwickshire Regiment) is killed in action at age 23. He is the son of the Reverend Cedric Edwin Crowley Rector of Chilbolton.
- Second Lieutenant William Alan Copeland (Royal Scots) is killed in action at age 18. His father will be killed serving as a Major in the 69th Punjabis in June 1915.
- Second Lieutenant Arthur Ian Douglas Cameron (Seaforth Highlanders) dies of wounds at age 21. He is the son of the Reverend Angus Cameron.
- Second Lieutenant Hugh Bertram Neely (Suffolk Regiment) is killed at age 26. His brother will be killed in June 1916 in Mesopotamia.
- Second Lieutenant Francis Stuart Verschoyle (Royal Engineers) is killed in action at Hill 60 at age 19. His brother William Arthur will be killed serving in the Irish Fusiliers in April 1917.
- Second Lieutenant Thomas William Callinan (Durham Light Infantry) is killed at age 31. He is the son of the late Reverend Thomas Callinan Vicar of Beartpart and is well known in Rugby football.
- Private Frederick Darts (King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry) is killed. His brother will be killed in July of next year.
- Private W B Hodges (Central Ontario Regiment) is killed at age 20. His brother will die of gassing in two days.
- Private William Wilkshire (Warwickshire Regiment) is killed at age 33. His younger brother will be killed in April 1917.
- Private Douglas MacKay (Seaforth Highlanders) is killed at age 22. He is the middle of three brothers who will lose their lives in the Great War.
- Private George Ford (Devonshire Regiment) dies of wounds at age 32. His brother will be killed in May 1917.
- Private Albert Harry Gent (East Surrey Regiment) is killed at age 21. His brother will die of pneumonia in October 1917.