Wednesday 23 June 1915 – We Lost 175
The British submarine C24 torpedoes and sinks the German U-40 off Aberdeen. The British submarine under the command of Lieutenant Taylor is being towed by the trawler Taranaki under the command of Lieutenant Commander Edwards.
The British continue their attack on Bukoba, on Lake Victoria Nyanza in the morning. By 13:00 the German field gun has been silenced and the Germans are retreating through the banana plantations south of Bukoba. The British rush in and an Australian member of the unit, Lieutenant Wilbur Taylor Dartnell, climbs to the top of the town hall and removes the German Imperial Ensign from the flagpole of the small fort as a symbolic gesture of victory, and runs up the Union Jack. Sappers blow up the wireless station and the German arsenal. Bukoma fort and the wireless station are destroyed and the British capture rifles and 32,000 rounds of ammunition. The British now have only to bury their eight or ten dead, tend to their wounded and depart, but Colonel Driscoll asks permission for the troops to loot the town and General Stewart gives his consent, adding that there must be no violence or drunkenness. Due to their status as an ‘irregular’ unit, the Frontiersmen are granted permission to loot the town. This predictably turns into a disaster, with the 25th robbing and burning much of the town with such ferocity that the incident becomes known as the “Sack of Bukoba”. It will later be claimed by an embarrassed high command that no looting had taken place. The aim of the raid, the destruction of the wireless station, turns out to be counterproductive for the British as it deprives them of the possibility of intercepting German transmissions. Bukoba is abandoned.
The Munitions Bill is introduced by Mr. Lloyd George.
Today’s losses include:
- An Australian rules footballer
- An Army Chaplain
- A man whose brother will be killed later in the Great War
- The first of four brothers from Australia who will lose their lives in the Great War
Today’s highlighted casualties are:
- Captain Louis Gordon Holmes (Australian Infantry) who played one match for St Kilda in Australian rules footballer dies of wounds at age 22 on Gallipoli.
- Chaplain the Reverend Richard Ussher Greer (attached Irish Rifles) dies of a brain hemorrhage at age 47 at home.
- Private Absolom Hall (Royal Marine Light Infantry, Royal Naval Division) is killed in action on Gallipoli at age 20. His brother will be killed in November 1917.
- Trooper William Keid (Australian Light Horse) dies of wounds when he is shot in the pelvis at age 29. He is the first of four brothers from Australia who will be killed.