Thursday 17 June 1915 – We Lost 324
Flight Sub Lieutenant Reginald Alexander John Warneford VC takes an American journalist, Henry Needham, for a flight from Buc aerodrome, near Paris. At 2,000 feet the aircraft goes into a spin, and in coming out of the spin, its tail breaks off. Falling to about 200 feet, the plane turns upside down and to the horror of the onlookers, Warneford and Needham are thrown out and fall to the ground. Needham is killed instantly Warneford dies an hour later in hospital.
An attack is planned on the enemy trenches in front of the hamlet of Rue d’Ouvert by the North Lancashire Regiment. A day long bombardment intensifies at 17:30 and the assault on the German positions is launched at 18:00. The first enemy line of trenches is quickly occupied but the attack on the main enemy trench line proves more difficult due to uncut wire, rifle and shell fire and heavy machine gun fire. Finally the third line is reached and held for some time. The enemy counter-attacks at midnight and forces a withdrawal. Four officers and nineteen other ranks of the North Lancashire Regiment are killed or die of wounds including Private Alfred Pye who dies from bayonet wounds received in the attack. Known in the boxing world as ‘Battling Pye the Preston flyweight is had 15 wins, 2 draws and 5 defeats.
Today’s losses include:
- A Victoria Cross winner
- The son and heir to the last Baron Knaresborough
- A son of the 12th Earl of Meath
- A son of a member of the clergy
- A flyweight boxer
Today’s highlighted casualty is:
- Captain ‘the Honorable” Ernest William Maitland Molyneux Brabazon DSO (Coldstream Guards & Staff Captain 4th Guards Brigade) one of three brothers of Lord Ardee serving in the Army is killed in action at age 31. They are also sons of the 12th Earl of Meath. The Lord also serves in the Irish Guards.
- Captain ‘the Honorable’ Claude Henry Meysey Meysey-Thompson (Rifle Brigade) dies of wounds received in action on 6th He is the son and heir of the 1st and last Baron Knaresborough and dies at age 28.
- Lieutenant Charles Loaring Clark (Toronto Regiment) is killed at age 21. He is the son of the Reverend W J Loaring Clark DD and a postulant for Holy Orders at the University of the South.