Thursday 13 May 1915 – We Lost 1,602
The Germans unleash a severe bombardment on the Western Front. At 04:00 the East Lancashire Regiment is holding trenches at a place called Mouse-trap Farm when they are seriously bombarded by German artillery. At times twelve six inch shells a minute burst along a fifty yard length of trench. At 07:30 in heavy rain, in the face of this heavy bombardment, the regiment launches an attack on the German trenches. The attack fails in the face of German machine gun fire, at times at a range of fifteen yards, and fierce hand to hand fighting. Over the next seven days of constant fighting this regiment will lose one hundred seventy men killed, two hundred four wounded and fifty two taken as prisoners of war.
Lance Sergeant Douglas Walter Belcher (London Rifle Brigade) is awarded the Victoria Cross for an action early on this morning, when in charge of a portion of an advanced breastwork south of the Wieltje-St Julien Road during a very fierce and continuous bombardment by the enemy, which frequently blew in the breastwork, Lance Sergeant Belcher with a mere handful of men elects to remain and endeavor to hold his position after the troops near him have been withdrawn. By his skill and great gallantry he maintains his position during the day, opening rapid fire on the enemy, who are only 150 to 200 yards distant, whenever he sees them collecting for an attack. There is little doubt that the bold front shown by this NCO prevents the enemy breaking through on the Wieltje Road and averts an attack on the flank of one of our divisions.
At Ypres when the line is broken beyond the right flank of the Dragoon Guards, Major George Harold Absell Ing comes out of his trench in the front, stands on the road in the open under heavy shell fire, stops the retirement of 40 men of another unit and turns them into his section of the defense.
Captain Alfred John Hamilton Bowen (Monmouthshire Regiment) though wounded in two places in the head before dawn refuses to leave his company and continues to command it with conspicuous ability. After the action is over and his battalion returns to La Brique he is found to be suffering from two other wounds and is immediately sent to the hospital. For his actions this day he will be awarded the Distinguished Service Order. Lieutenant Colonel Bowen will be killed in action on 2 March 1917 at age 31.
During the Second Battle of Ypres, Lieutenant Colonel Edmund Deacon (commanding Essex Yeomanry) is ordered to make a dismounted counter-attack – at all costs – against a position 1,000 yards to his front, which had been taken by the enemy. The Essex men advance with the Hussars on their left and the Royal Horse Guards on their right. They fix bayonets, and, with a resounding cheer, the Essex Yeomanry charge across 400 yards of unbroken ground and up a steep slope to capture the position known as Frezenberg Ridge. Major Charles William Henry Crichton (Hussars) shows conspicuous gallantry in collecting and rallying men who are retiring under heavy shell fire through his regiment’s position. During our counter-attack he continues to direct operations while he lays in the open under heavy shell fire with his leg shattered. In this fierce engagement five officers, including Lieutenant Colonel Deacon, and 46 men are killed, and 5 officers and 86 men wounded. Lieutenant Colonel Deacon is killed at age 43.
The battleship HMS Goliath (Captain Thomas Lawrie Shelford) is torpedoed and sunk in Morto Bay by the Turkish destroyer Muavenent. There are five hundred seventy casualties and one hundred eighty survivors.
Captain Julian Henry Francis Grenfell DSO (Dragoons) is wounded in the head by a shell splinter in the Ypres salient. He will die of these wounds in less than two weeks. Two weeks earlier he has written the poem “Into Battle” the last four stanzas of which read:
In dreary, doubtful, waiting hours,
Before the brazen frenzy starts,
The horses show him nobler powers;
O patient eyes, courageous hearts
And when the burning moments breaks,
And all things else are out of mind,
And only joy of battle takes
Him by the throat, and makes him blind,
Through joy and blindness he shall know,
Not caring much to know, but still
Nor lead nor steel shall reach him, so
That it be not the Destined Will.
The thundering line of battle stands,
And in the air death moans and sings;
But Day shall clasp him with strong hands,
And Night shall fold him in soft wings.
Today’s losses include:
- Four battalion commanders
- The heir to Lord Redesdale
- The son and heir to the 5th Marquess of Northampton
- The son of the 8th Baron Carbery
- The son of the Baron of Beaufort
- A son of the 1st Viscount of St Davids
- The grandson of the 3rd Earl of Norbury
- The son-in-law of the 4th Viscount Valencia
- The son-in-law of the 4th Marquess of Ormonde
- The son of a Baronet
- Multiple families that will lose two sons in the Great War
- Multiple families that will lose three sons in the Great War
- A man whose nephew will be killed in the Second World War
- A Great War poet
- A man whose grandfather fought at Waterloo
- An author and musician
- A former Aide de Camp to the Commander in Chief in Ireland
- The son of the late Vice Consul at Ghent Belgium
- A man whose brother died of wounds in the South African War
- Multiple sons of Justices of the Peace
- Multiple sons of members of the clergy
- A grandson of a member of the clergy
- A son of the judge of the Supreme Court of New Zealand
- The grandson of an Admiral
- The son of a General
- A Naval Chaplain
- Two brothers killed together
- An Assistant Scout Master
Today’s highlighted casualties are:
- Lieutenant Colonel George Algernon Egerton (commanding 19th Hussars) is killed in action at age 44. He is the son of ‘the Honorable’ Algernon Fulke Egerton and he is a South Africa War veteran.
- Lieutenant Colonel Eustace Robert Ambrose Shearman (commanding 10th Hussars) is killed at age 39. He is a veteran of the South African War.
- Lieutenant Colonel Colin McLean (commanding 6th Gordon Highlanders) is killed at age 41. He is a veteran of the South African War.
- Lieutenant Colonel “the Honorable” Percy Charles Evans-Freke (commanding Leicestershire Yeomanry) is killed by a sniper at age 43. He is the son of the 8th Baron Carbery. His brother died of wounds received at Bappisfontein, South Africa in June 1900.
- Major William Francis Martin (Leicestershire Yeomanry) is killed at age 39. He is the second son of the late Robert Trewen Martin JP for the County of Leicestershire, and the grandson of the Reverend E R Larken Rector of Burton by Lincoln. Major Martin served as a Lieutenant with the Leicestershire Yeomanry in the South African War and received the Queen’s Medal and four clasps. He went to the Front in November 1914 with the Leicestershire Yeomanry while attached to the Life Guards. He served in the trenches near Ypres during the winter and spring.
- Major Clement Bertram Ogilvy Freeman-Mitford DSO (Hussars) the heir to Lord Redesdale is killed in action at age 38. His nephew will be killed in 1945.
- Major William Robinson Campbell DSO (Hussars) is killed in action at age 35. He is the eldest son of ‘Sir’ Charles Ralph Campbell, 11th
- Captain and Adjutant Gerald Charles Stewart (Hussars) is killed in action at age 28. He is the son of ‘Sir’ Charles Stewart who had another son killed last month and the grandson of Hector 3rd Earl of Norbury. Captain Stewart was gazetted to the Hussars in 1907. He joined the Hussars at Rawalpindi in the autumn of 1907 and was appointed Adjutant in 1912. He took part with his Regiment in quelling riots at Johannesburg in 1913. On the outbreak of the War he went to the Front with the 7th Division in October 1914 and was twice wounded at the first Battle of Ypres.
- Captain Maurice Arthur De Tuyll (Hussars) is killed in action. He was born on 1 November 1888 and is the son of the late Baron and the Duchess of Beaufort.
- Captain George Dalton Leake (East Lancashire Regiment) is killed at age 35. His brother will be killed in three weeks on Gallipoli.
- Captain ‘the Honorable’ Colwyn Erasmus Arnold Philipps (Royal Horse Guards) is killed in action at age 26. He is the son of the Right Honorable 1st Viscount St Davids PC and his brother Captain Roland Erasmus Philipps will also fall in the Great War being killed in July 1916. He is a Great War Poet and has written the short story “The Sniper”.
There is a healing magic in the night,
The breeze blows cleaner than it did by day,
Forgot the fever of the fuller light,
And sorrow sinks insensibly away
As if some saint a cool white hand did lay
Upon the brow, and calm the restless brain.
The moon looks down with pale unpassioned ray –
Sufficient for the hour is its pain.
Be still and feel the night that hides away earth’s stain.
Be still and loose the sense of God in you,
Be still and send your soul into the all,
The vasty distance where the stars shine blue,
No longer antlike on the earth to call.
Released from time and sense of great or small
Float on the pinions of the Night-Queen’s wings;
Soar till the swift inevitable fall
Will drag you back into all the world’s small things;
Yet for an hour be one with all escaped things.
- Captain Geoffrey Vaux Salvin Bowlby (Royal Horse Guards) is killed at age 31 while leading a successful afternoon counter attack up the hill across open country near Gully Farm after part of the Brigade has been driven out of their trenches earlier in the day. He is the son of ‘the Honorable’ Mr. Geoffrey Bowlby and is the son-in-law of the 4th Viscount Valencia and his grandfather fought at Waterloo. He was previously the Aide-de-Camp to the Commander in Chief in Ireland.
- Captain & Adjutant Thomas Gordon Davson (Westminster Dragoons, Royal Horse Guards) an author and musician is killed in action at age 26. He is the son of ‘Sir’ Henry Katz Davson.
- Captain George Martin Chapman (Royal Army Medical Corps attached Dragoon Guards) is killed when he is blown up by a shell attending wounded. He is the son of the Honorable Frederick Revans Chapman Judge of the Supreme Court of New Zealand. He gained a Blue for football and a half Blue for Boxing while at Cambridge. He was also decorated with a French Gold Medal in December 1914 for saving life in rough seas off Boulogne.
- Captain Sylvester Cecil Rait Kerr (Royal Field Artillery) is killed in action at age 27. His brother was killed in November 1914. Captain Edward Brassey Egerton (Lancers) is killed in action at age 27. He is the son of Lady Mabelle and the son-in-law of the 4th Marquess of Ormonde.
- Captain Henry McLaren Lambert (Dragoons) is killed at age 36. He is the son of Edward Tiley Lambert JP.
- Lieutenant Elphinstone D’Oyly Aplin (Gloucestershire Regiment) dies of wounds at #3 Casualty Clearing Station received four days before when his platoon was cut off. He dies at age 22. His brother will be killed in March 1918 and they are grandsons of Admiral E D’O Alpin.
- Lieutenant Henry Rawlings Cowan (Wellington Infantry) dies of wounds at age 25. His brother will die of wounds in September 1916.
- Lieutenant Lord Spencer Douglas Compton (Royal Horse Guards and the Northamptonshire Yeomanry) at age 22. He is the son and heir of the 5th Marquess of Northampton KG.
- Second Lieutenant Geoffrey Hamilton Bagshawe (Dragoons) is killed at age 25. He is the grandson of W H G Bagshawe DL.
- Second Lieutenant F H B Bond (Royal Field Artillery) is killed at age 21. He is the son of Major General ‘Sir’ Francis G Bond KBE CB CMG.
- Second Lieutenant Harold Bramley (King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry) is killed in action at age 21. His older brother will be killed serving in the same regiment in February 1917 and they are sons of the Reverend Cyril Richard Bramley Vicar of Bonisthorpe.
- Sergeant Douglas Ledger (Essex Yeomanry) is killed at age 23. His brother will be killed in December.
- Corporal Otis Murrel Meister Meister (Quebec Regiment) is killed at age 25. His brother will die on service in August 1919.
- Corporal Albert A Claridge (London Regiment) is killed at age 32. He is the first of three brothers who will be killed over a two year period.
- Private Albert J Seymour (Central Ontario Regiment) dies of wounds as a prisoner of war at age 30. His brother will be killed in August 1918.
- Private Henry K Mann (Seaforth Highlanders) dies of wounds. His brother will be killed in July 1916.
- Rifleman Frederick Dye (West Yorkshire Regiment) is killed at age 19. He is the first of three brothers who will be kill in the Great War the next will be killed next month and the final in 1917.
- Trooper Theo Bennett Hallett (Royal Horse Guards) is killed at age 18. He is the son of the late George H Hallett HBM Vice Consul Ghent Belgium.
HMS Goliath casualties include:
- Captain Thomas Lawrie Shelford the son of Thomas Shelford CMG age 43.
- Chaplain the Reverend Ivor Morgan Lewis killed at age 26. He is the son of the Reverend David Lewis Rector of Llanbede who will lose another son in June 1917.
- Major Cyril Frederick Barber (Royal Marine Light Infantry) is killed at age 39. He is the son of Edward Barber, the Archdeacon of Chester.
- Lieutenant Herbert Walter Julian Orde DSC is killed at age 24 and is the son of ‘Sir’ Julian Walter Order. Lieutenant Orde was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his efforts on 28 November 1914 when a party of boats are attacked unexpectedly at the Dar es Salaam harbor entrance. Although wounded and under exceptionally heavy fire he brought his ship safely through the narrow channel.
- Brothers Seaman Richard Worth and Mark Hallow Wallis (Royal Naval Reserve) are both killed. Mark dies at age 31 while Richard is 28.
- Stoker Walter Lamacraft is killed at age 36. His brother will be killed in September.
- Stoker 1 William Thorne is killed age 32 three months after his brother was killed in action.
- Leading Seaman Charles Hewett is killed at age 27. His brother will be killed in November 1917.
- Able Seaman Walter Percy Hendon is killed at age 20. His twin will be killed in July 1916.
- Private Hugh Hubert Holland (London Regiment) is killed at age 20. He is an Assistant Scout Master of the 17th St Pancras (Holy Trinity) Troop.