Thursday 30 December 1915 – We Lost 931
The cruiser HMS Natal is destroyed by an internal explosion in Cromarty Firth, on the west coast of Scotland. There are four hundred four casualties and two hundred ninety-nine survivors.
HMS Natal casualties include:
- Captain Eric Percy Coventry Back age 45 and the son of the Reverend Samuel Back.
- Chaplain the Reverend Algernon S Osborne Sweet is killed at age 28. He is the son of the Reverend A S O Sweet vicar of Cowlinge Suffolk.
- Lieutenant Commander George Basil Harrison is killed his brother was killed serving on HMS Aboukir in September 1914.
- Boatswain Thomas Daunt is killed at age 38. His son Chief Petty Officer James Daunt, HMS Glorious will be killed in action at age 37 when his ship is sunk 9th June 1940.
The S S Persia, a P & O liner, is torpedoed and sunk, seventy-one miles southeast by south of the coast of Crete, with the loss of three hundred thirty-four lives. She is a defensively armed passenger vessel, carrying two hundred and one passengers, three hundred seventeen crewmen, mail and a general cargo from Tilbury to Port Said, Aden and Bombay. She sinks in five minutes and among the dead are twenty-one British officers and one British NCO of the British and Indian Armies.
Among those lost on S S Persia:
- Lieutenant Colonel Henry Backhouse (commanding 1st/7th Cheshire Regiment age 42.
- Lieutenant Colonel Alfred Ralph Nethersole (commanding 83rd Wallajahbad Light Infantry) is lost.
- Major ‘the Honorable’ Edward Stuart St Aubyn (General Staff) serving as a King’s Messenger is also killed at age 57. His two sons will be killed in action the first in March 1918 the second in March 1942 serving in the Royal Navy. He is the son of the 1st Baron St Levan of St Michaels Mount and had served in Egypt 1882 and the South Africa War. His brother was killed in October 1914.
- Captain Arthur Freer Spreckley (Gurkha Rifles) drowns in the sinking of the Persia at age 27. Also lost with him are his wife Ada Blanch Celina Spreckley and their daughter. His two brothers will also be killed in the War.
- Captain Humphrey Richard Locke Lawrence (Sikh Pioneers) is killed at age 27. His brother will be killed in the Royal Flying Corps in January 1917 and they are sons of Major General William Alexander Lawrence.
- Lieutenant John Alexander Tower Robertson (Indian Army Reserve of Officers attached Gurkha Rifles) is killed at age 29. He is the only son of Alexander Tower Robertson JP.
- Regimental Sergeant Major Sinclair John Colley Baikie MSM (King’s Shropshire Light Infantry) is killed. His brother died of wounds last September.
- A father and son serving as Able Seamen on board are both lost Robert William Allen age 45 and his son William Robert Allen age 26 are both lost.
- Eleanor Velasco Thornton the model for Charles Sykes Spirit of Ecstasy which is used as the hood ornament on Rolls Royce cars also drowns. She is the secretary and mistress of John Walter Edward Scott-Montagu who survives the sinking.
S S Clan Macfarlane (Master James Whyte Swanston age 43) is sunk by a torpedo 66 miles south of Crete killed 52 including her Master. An enemy submarine fires a torpedo at the transport S S Ionic in the Mediterranean, but misses.
Five German mines are exploded north of Loos, causing some British casualties.
The 1st 4th and 1st/7th Royal Scots endure heavy shelling all day, two cook houses being destroyed. Casualties are placed at five killed, six wounded and one missing.
Today’s losses include:
- The model for Charles Sykes Spirit of Ecstasy the hood ornament on Rolls Royce cars
- Multiple battalion commanders
- Multiple sons of members of the clergy
- A Naval Chaplain
- Multiple families that will lose two and three sons in the Great War
- A King’s Messenger
- A man whose son will be killed in June 1940
- A man whose two sons will be killed in service of their King and Country
- The son of the 1st Baron St Levan of St Michaels Mount
- A soldier lost with his wife and daughter
- The son of a Major General
- The son of a Justice of the Peace
- A father and son killed together at sea
- A man whose brother-in-law will be killed
Today’s highlighted casualties include:
- Lieutenant Cecil Barton Hudson-Kinahan (Special List attached King’s African Rifles) dies at age 33 in Kenya. He is the son of ‘Sir’ Edward Hudson-Kinahan, the 1st Baronet who will have another son killed in April 1916 and a son-in-law who was killed in September 1914.
- Captain Gerald Thomas Fitzgerald (Durham Light Infantry) is killed in action at age 32. He is the son of the Honorable J D Fitzgerald, KC, was educated at Harrow and King’s College, Cambridge. He was also a barrister-at-Law, Member of the Inner Temple and Lincoln’s Inn.
- Captain Claude Lionel Garnett (Royal Garrison Artillery) is killed in action in Mesopotamia at age 31. His brother will be killed in June 1917 and they are sons of Canon Garnett Rector of Thetford.
- Lance Corporal Harry Ball (North Lancaster Regiment) is killed at age 21. His brother will be killed in September 1917.
- Lance Corporal W H Faulkner (Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry) is killed at age 19. He is a member of the 2nd Oxford Scouts.
- Private Maximilian Walton Nagel (Gloucestershire Regiment) is killed at age 21. He is the son of the late Reverend C N Nagel.
- Private Charles Edward Saxton (Royal Marines Royal Naval Division) dies of wounds on Malta at age 36. He is one of three brothers who will be killed in the Great War.