Thursday 13 January 1916 – We Lost 410

by greatwarliveslost

Chatta Singh

Chatta Singh

General Fenton John Aylmer VC KCB attacks Wadi, Mesopotamia.  The Wadi is a steep valley of a stream that runs from the north into the River Tigris, some six miles upstream towards Kut-al-Amara from Sheikh Sa’ad.  The advance is delayed to allow the morning mist to clear.  It takes much longer than anticipated for the artillery accompanying the flanking force to cross the steep-sided Wadi and it is not until 13:00 that it is all in position.  There is little Turkish opposition in this area, but the advancing infantry are so few in number for the distance to be covered that in many places they advance beyond the Turkish posts, to be shot down from the rear. The delay has seriously affected the chances of success, as small-arms and artillery fire from the alerted Turks begins to halt the British infantry moves.  The Turkish units also begin to wheel around from a north-south position to an east-west one, to keep facing the flanking maneuver of the British. The frontal attack by the 28th Brigade is completely repulsed, with heavy casualties. As dusk begins to fall, it becomes clear that the attempt has failed. No British troops have gotten as far around the Turkish flank as to reach the river, and the mouth of the Hanna Defile is still held – indeed strongly entrenched – by the enemy.  The Wadi itself is now in British hands, but the relieving force is no nearer to Kut, and the strengthening Turkish forces are holding on to their forward positions in what is to prove to be a most difficult obstacle at the Hanna. More than two hundred British and Indian troops are killed and one thousand four hundred wounded.

Among those killed in the above action are:

  • Lieutenant Colonel Charles Walter Tribe CMG (commanding 41st Dogras) killed at age 47. He is the son of the Venerable Archdeacon Tribe.
  • Lieutenant Colonel William Beadon (commanding 51st Sikh Field Force) is killed at age 49. He is the son of General E M Beadon.
  • Major James Scholfield Fraser (acting commander 1/5th East Kent Regiment) is killed at age 38.
  • Lieutenant Irvin John Hughes (Gurkha Rifles) is killed at age 22. He is the son of Major General Charles Frederick Hughes CB.
  • Lieutenant Reginald Courtenay Hulton Woodhouse (Punjabis) is killed. He is the son of the Reverend Reginald Illingworth Woodhouse Rector of Merstham and his cousin was killed in July 1915.
  • Lance Corporal Joseph Edward Hinder (Gloucestershire Regiment) is killed at age 25. His brother was killed last October.
  • Private T Cranston (Black Watch) is killed at age 24. He is a football player for the Clyde Football Club.

Sepoy Chatta Singh (Bhopal Infantry) will be awarded the Victoria Cross for most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty at Wadi for leaving cover to assist his commanding officer that is lying wounded and helpless in the open.  Sepoy Chatta Singh binds up the officer’s wounds and then digs cover for him with his entrenching tool, being exposed all the time to very heavy rifle fire.  For five hours until nightfall he remains beside the wounded officer, shielding him with is own body on his exposed side.  He then, under cover of darkness, goes back for assistance and brings the officer to safety.

Today’s losses include:

  • Multiple battalion commanders
  • Multiple sons of members of the clergy
  • Multiple sons of Generals
  • A man whose brother has been previously killed in the Great War
  • A Victoria Cross winner
  • A Clyde Football Club player
  • A man whose cousin was previously killed

Today’s highlighted casualties include:

  • Major Herbert Augustine Carter VC (Indian Grenadiers attached Pathans) dies on service from the effects of exhaustion after effecting the relief of Mwele Mdogo, British East Africa. While suffering from fever he led a forced march of two days under intense heat to reach the fort in time. He dies at age 41. He was awarded the Victoria Cross during the Somaliland Campaign for actions performed at Jidballi on 19th December 1903.  He is the son of the late Reverend Conway R. D. Carter Vicar of Erth.
  • Gunner John Albert Brennan (Canadian Machine Gun Corps) is killed. He is a former member of the Cobalt Police Force.