Sunday 19 December 1915 – We Lost 514
The final evacuation of Anazc begins after dark with 4,100 men leaving their posts by nightfall. In order to deceive the Turks it is decided to hold all the front line posts, however lightly, until the last possible moment which at Anzac Cove was 01:30 after which the front is gradually uncovered.
Captain Malcolm McBean Bell-Irving (Royal Flying Corps) successfully engages three hostile aircraft between Lille and Ypres. The first he drives off, the second he sends to the ground in flames, and the third nose-dives and disappears. He is then attacked by three other hostile machines from above, but he flies off towards Ypres, and a machine he sees in that direction. He overhauls it and gets to within one hundred yards when he is wounded by a shell and has to return.
Lieutenant Norman Gordon-Smith and his gunner Second Lieutenant Duncan Flower Cunningham-Reid (Royal Flying Corps) are shot down and killed over Oostkampe-Bruges. They were on a sixty mile trek to protect a reconnaissance machine and fought for half an hour enabling the reconnaissance aircraft to successfully return to base. Gordon-Smith’s brother will be killed in 1918 and Cunningham-Reid is the brother of Alec Straatford Cunningham-Reid a seven victory ace.
Today’s losses include:
- The brother of a 7-victory ace
- A member of the Wayside Football Club
- Multiple families that will two sons in the Great War
- The third son to die of a family that will lose four sons in the Great War
Today’s highlighted casualties include:
- Colonel Ernest Octavius Wight (49th (West Riding) Division Assistant Director of Medical services, Royal Army Medical Corps) dies on active service at age 57. He was awarded the Royal Humane Society’s bronze medal for life saving from drowning.
- Captain Henry Colver (York and Lancaster Regiment) is killed at age 23. His brother was killed in June of this year.
- Lieutenant Charles James Williams (Bedfordshire Regiment) is killed at age 28. His brother will be killed in October 1918.
- Lieutenant Albert Butler Heukensfeldt Clayton-Smith (King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry) is killed at age 34. His brother will be killed in July 1917.
- Private Alexander Cunningham (Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders) is killed in action at age 20. He is a member of the Wayside Football Club.
- Private Charles Craig (Royal Scots Fusiliers) is killed in action on Gallipoli at age 19. His brother will be killed in April 1918.
- Private John McClelland (Gordon Highlanders) is killed at age 28. He is the third of four brothers who are killed in the Great War.
- Private Harold Percy Saxton (Lancashire Fusiliers) dies of wounds. His brother will be killed next June.