Wednesday 22 December 1915 – We Lost 195
Private William Young (East Lancashire Regiment) has only been back in the trenches a very short time when he performs the deeds for which he will be awarded the Victoria Cross near a position nicknamed “Little Z,” east of Foncquevillers, France. Conditions are dreadful – wet December weather has made the trenches virtually a frozen swamp, the situation requiring platoon reliefs every twenty-four hours. As dawn breaks this morning Young looks out over No-Man’s land and sees a wounded NCO, a Sergeant Allan, lying in front of the wire. Allan has apparently only made it back that far from a patrol the night before. On his own initiative Young goes through the wire, dodging heavy enemy fire, and goes to Allan’s aid. Allan orders Young back to the line without him, but Young ignores the order. As he is pulling Allan to safety, he is hit twice, one bullet shattering his jaw and the other lodging in his chest. Despite the wounds, Young, later joined by a Private Green, manages to get Allan to safety. On his own, he now walks the nearly half-mile back to the dressing station in Foncquevillers to have his wounds tended to. Private Young will die of heart failure at age 40 after an operation next August.
Lieutenant Commander Kenneth James Duff-Dunbar performs actions in attacking and torpedoing a German auxiliary vessel on this day that will result in him being awarded the DSO. The enemy ship is protected by a screen consisting of a torpedo boat, a small sloop, four trawlers and several tugs and small craft. He will be killed in August 1916 when his submarine is sunk through unknown causes.
Today’s losses include:
- A Victoria Cross winner
- A man whose brother was killed last May
Today’s highlighted casualties include:
- Second Lieutenant Alfred Victor Smith VC (East Lancashire Regiment) is killed at Cape Helles, Gallipoli at age 24. He is in the act of throwing a grenade when it slips from his hand and falls to the bottom of the trench, close to several of our officers and men. He immediately shouts out a warning, and jumps clear and into safety, but seeing that the officers and men are unable to get into cover and knowing well that the grenade is due to explode, he returns without any hesitation and throws himself down on it. He is instantly killed by the explosion. For this act he will be awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross.
- Second Lieutenant Horace Martin Capon Ledger (India Army Reserve of Officers attached French Seaplane Flight) is killed by Arabs in Palestine at age 31. His brother was killed last May.