Monday 17 May 1915 – We Lost 652
The advance on Aubers Ridge hesitates. This is brought about by a lack of clarity about the troops positions as a persistent mist falls over the battlefield.
Using a makeshift landing strip near Cape Helles a raid is made at Bashi Liman which is highly disruptive and successful. After dropping their bombs Flight Commander R L G Marix and Commander C R Samson (Royal Naval Air Service) fly on to find large enemy reinforcements massing to attack Anzac forces. The intelligence gathered will be vital to the subsequent resistance.
LZ38 crosses the English coast near Margate at 01:35 and shortly afterwards drops about twenty bombs on Ramsgate. She then flies out to sea and approaches Dover at 02:25. After being picked up by searchlights and fired on by anti aircraft guns she drops thirty three bombs northeast of the town and makes off towards the Goodwins. This is the first searchlight illumination of a Zeppelin over Britain and a defending pilot actually sees one for the first time. Redford H Mulock, a Canadian, spots the airship upon reaching five hundred feet. Following the now standard practice the Admiralty notifies the Royal Naval Air Service in France of the raid, and nine assorted aircraft of #1 Squadron from Dunkirk and Furnes take off to intercept the airship on its homeward journey. Several pilots instead find LZ39 returning from an abortive raid on Calais, and at 03:55 Squadron Commander Spenser Gray and Flight Sub Lieutenant Reginald A J Warneford make spirited attacks. At 04:05 Flight Lieutenant Arthur Wellesley Bigsworth manages to get above the Zeppelin at 10,000 feet, over Ostend and drops four twenty pound bombs on its back. Smoke emerges, and hits are later confirmed via naval intelligence sources. One crewman is killed and several injured, five gas cells ruptured and the rear starboard propeller lost.
The Steam trawler Mauritius (Skipper Andrew Summer) goes missing with a crew of nine. Losses in this event include the skipper and his 17-year old son Harry Andrew Summer.
Today’s losses include:
- The only condemned soldier who is hanged on the Western Front
- A man whose son will be killed in the Second World War
- A battalion commander
- Multiple sons of members clergy
- A grandson of a member of the clergy
- A Justice of the Peace for the East Riding of Yorkshire
- Multiple sons of Justices of the Peace
- A Victoria Cross holder
- The son of a Baronet
- Two brothers killed together
- A man whose only son will be born next month
- The son of a Justice of the High Court of Australia
- The son of the 5th Baron Bolton
- A son of the Headmaster of Uppingham School
- Multiple families that will lose two sons in the Great War
- Multiple families that will lose three sons of the Great War
- Multiple families that will lose four sons in the Great War
Today’s highlighted casualties are:
- Lieutenant Colonel Robie Fitzgerald Uniacke (Inniskilling Fusiliers attached General Staff as Assistant Adjutant and Quartermaster General is killed at age 45. He is the son of the Reverend Robert Fitzgerald Uniacke Vicar of Tandridge and author of the Bohemian Camapaign of 1866.
- Lieutenant Colonel Philip Charles Lytton Routledge (commanding 2nd South Staffordshire Regiment) is killed while leading his Regiment in an attack on the German trenches. He has cleared two trenches and is leading his men into a third when he is hit in the temple and is killed instantly at age 41. He is the fourth son of the late Edmund Routledge JP Publisher. Colonel Routledge was gazetted to the South Staffordshire Regiment, in 1895. He served with his Regiment in India and after the South African War was stationed at Pretoria. He returned with the Battalion to England in 1911. He went to France with the original Expeditionary Force in August 1914 and was through the Retreat from Mons and present at the actions of Landrecies, Le Cateau, and Givenchy. On 18th February 1915 he had the brevet rank of Lieutenant-Colonel bestowed upon him for distinguished service in the field and was mentioned in ‘Sir’ John French’s despatches.
- Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Robinson Pease (Royal Garrison Artillery) dies at the Grove House, Lymington, Hants, of pneumonia following influenza at age 42. He is JP for the East Riding of Yorkshire. Lieutenant Colonel Pease had served for many years in the East York Artillery Militia. He was on the Reserve of Officers and held the rank of Captain in the Army. On the outbreak of the War he was put in command of the Fort at Gosport.
- Major John MacKenzie VC (Bedfordshire Regiment) is killed at age 45. He was awarded the Victoria Cross for actions versus the Ashanti on 6th June 1900.
- Major Charles Herbert Villiers-Stuart (Punjabis) is killed on Gallipoli at age 40. He served on the North West Frontier in1897-8 and Waziristan 1901-2 and his only son will be born next month.
- Captain Donald Kenworthy (Somerset Light Infantry) is killed at age 27. His brother was killed last month.
- Captain David Ferguson Mackenzie (Cameron Highlanders) is killed. He is the son of J Tolmie MacKenzie JP.
- Captain Harold Edwards Huntriss (Bedfordshire Regiment) is killed at age 24. His two brothers will also be killed in the Great War.
- Lieutenant William Spens (Highland Light Infantry) killed in action at age 40. He is the son of the Honorable Mary Spens.
- Lieutenant Brian Crossley (Highland Light Infantry) is killed at age 29. He is the third son of ‘Sir’ William Crossley the 1st
- Lieutenant Herbert Sarif Roy Montesole (Sussex Regiment attached Yorkshire Regiment) is killed at age 22. His brother will be killed in March 1916.
- Lieutenant John Stanser Rich (Liverpool) is killed at age 19. He is the son of Honorable Mr. Justice George Edward Rich Puisine of the High Court of Australia.
- Lieutenant William Percy Orde-Powlett (Yorkshire Regiment) is killed in action at age 21. He is the son of Lieutenant Colonel William George Algay Orde-Powlett the 5th Baron Bolton.
- Lieutenant William Spens (Highland Light Infantry) is killed at age 40. He is the son of the Honorable Mary Catherine Borthwick Spens. Lieutenant Michael Lloyd Braithwaite (Royal Field Artillery attached Royal Flying Corps) is accidentally killed at age 34 when he is tossed from his plane while landing. He is the son of the late Reverend John Masterman Braithwaite who will lose another son in July.
- Second Lieutenant Robert James Noel Stuart (Scots Fusiliers) is killed at age 28. He is the grandson of the Reverend the Honorable Andrew Godfrey Stuart.
- Second Lieutenant Arthur Henry Plummer (Liverpool Regiment) is killed at age 23. His is the first of three sons of the Reverend Canon Francis Bowes Plummer to be killed in the Great War.
- Second Lieutenant Robert James Noel Stuart (Scots Fusiliers) is killed at age 28. He is the grandson of the Reverend Honorable Andrew Godfrey Stuart.
- Second Lieutenant Christopher Wakefield Selwyn (Leicestershire Regiment) is killed in action at age 26. He is the son of the late Canon Edward Carus Selwyn for twenty years Headmaster of Uppingham School, who will lose another son in one year and one day and a third in October 1918.
- Sergeants and brothers William and James Neil (Highland Light Infantry) are killed together. James was 33 years old and they have two other brothers who will lose their lives in the Great War the first later this year and the second after the Armistice in 1919.
- Lance Corporal Donald Clark Melven (Cameron Highlanders) is killed in action. His son will be killed as a Captain in the Cameron Highlanders in December 1942 while his brother will be killed in July 1916.
- Lance Corporal Frederick James Braund (Devonshire Regiment) is killed at age 22. His brother was killed in December 1914.
- Private Ernest Charles Hodsen (Bedfordshire Regiment) is killed at age 20. His brother will be killed in August 1918.
- Private Robert McClelland (Gordon Highlanders) is killed at age 23. He is the first of four brothers who are killed in the Great War, three of them this year.
- Private Stanley Jeffs (Bedfordshire Regiment) is killed. His brother will die of wounds next May.
- The only condemned soldier hanged on the Western Front during the Great War Corporal Alexander Chisholm (Royal Engineers) is executed at age 31 for the murder of Lance Corporal Robert Lewis earlier in the month. After arguing about work assignments Chisholm shot Lewis with his rifle on 4th May and Lewis died the next day. All other condemned soldiers were shot.