Tuesday 6 July 1915 – We Lost 341
South African troops capture Namutoni, South West Africa.
British ships successfully run German shore batteries on the mouth of the Rufiji River German South West Africa.
Second Lieutenant Oliver D Filley (Royal Flying Corps) and his observer, Lieutenant Lambert Playfair, cooperate with artillery in the Passchendale area. On two occasions, although they are not in a special fighting machine, they attack German Aviatiks and, after driving them away, resume their artillery work. Finally, two hostile airplanes come up simultaneously, and although they have only five rounds of ammunition left, they at once proceed to attack. In this encounter the observer is killed in the act of firing, and the engine damaged, but Second Lieutenant Filley lands safely in our lines.
Today’s losses include:
- The son of the creator of Raffles The Amateur Cracksman
- A nephew of Arthur Conan Doyle
- The son of a Justice of the Peace
- A Scottish Rugby International
- A Rosslyn Park Rugby Football Club player
- Multiple men whose brothers will also be killed in the Great War
Today’s highlighted casualties are:
Second Lieutenant Arthur Oscar Hornung (Essex Regiment) the only child of the author Ernest William Hornung (creator of ‘Raffles, The Amateur Cracksman’) and his wife Constance (nee Doyle) is killed in action. He is the nephew of Arthur Conan Doyle. He attended Eton College where his inherited love of literature made him an eager reader of books at all times. A division Master recognized this one year when gave him a special prize for English work. A good cross-country runner, he was second in Junior and third in Senior Steeplechases. A few days after leaving Eton, thinking that the best chance to get to the front was in a reserve regiment, he joined the Essex Regiment as a Second Lieutenant. One night leading three others, he crept 200 yards to the barbed wire until they could hear the diggers, and then after a successful bomb throwing came back with his ear badly injured. Today while behind the parapet he is struck by a shell and dies in the trench without regaining consciousness. His parents are grief stricken at his loss, and his father, E.W. Hornung will write the following poem in his memory.
LAST POST by E.W. Hornung
(In memoriam verses to Oscar Hornung)
LAST summer, centuries ago,
I watched the postman’s lantern glow,
As night by night on leaden feet
He twinkled down our darkened street.
So welcome on his beaten track,
The bent man with the bulging sack!
But dread of every sleepless couch,
A whistling imp with leathern pouch!
And now I meet him in the way,
And earth is Heaven, night is Day,
For oh! there shines before his lamp
An envelope without a stamp!
Address in pencil; overhead,
The Censor’s triangle in red.
Indoors and up the stair I bound:
“One from the boy, still safe, still sound!
“Still merry in a dubious trench
They’ve taken over from the French;
Still making light of duty done;
Still full of Tommy, Fritz, and fun!
“Still finding War of games the cream,
And his platoon a priceless team –
Still running it by sportsman’s rule,
Just as he ran his house at school.
“Still wild about the ‘bombing stunt’
He makes his hobby at the front.
Still trustful of his wondrous luck –
‘Prepared to take on old man Kluck!'”
Awed only in the peaceful spells,
And only scornful of their shells,
His beaming eye yet found delight
In ruins lit by flares at night,
In clover field and hedgerow green,
Apart from cover or a screen,
In Nature spurting spick-and-span
For all the devilries of Man.
He said those weeks of blood and tears
Were worth his score of radiant years.
He said he had not lived before –
Our boy who never dreamt of War!
He gave us of his own dear glow,
Last summer, centuries ago.
Bronzed leaves still cling to every bough.
I don’t waylay the postman now.
Doubtless upon his nightly beat
He still comes twinkling down our street.
I am not there with straining eye –
A whistling imp could tell you why.
- Lieutenant James Leslie Chester (Liverpool Regiment) is killed at age 19. He is the only son of James Thomas Chester JP and had been the Captain of the cricket and football teams at Birkenhead School.
- Second Lieutenant Patrick Charles Bentley Blair (Rifle Brigade) is killed leading an attack on International Trench near Boesinghe at age 24. He is a Scottish Rugby International earning 5 caps, a Cambridge Blue and the son of the Reverend Charles Patrick Blair.
- Second Lieutenant George Francis Juckes (Rifle Brigade) is killed near Ypres at age 21. He played rugby for Blackheath and Rosslyn Park RFC and his brother was killed last May.
- Private John Heaton (Manchester Regiment) is killed in action at age 27 one month before his brother is also killed on Gallipoli.
- Private William Casey (East Lancashire Regiment) is killed in action at age 29. His brother will be killed in October 1916.
- Private Richard Thomas (Somerset Light Infantry) is killed at age 20. His brother will be killed in September 1916.
- Rifleman Percy Walter Buss (Rifle Brigade) is killed at age 26. His brother was killed last March.
- Private John William Barlow (Royal Army Medical Corps) is killed by a sniper at age 21. His brother will be killed in May 1917.