Tuesday 28 March 1916 – We Lost 246

During a violent gale and snowstorm on this night the whaler of HMS Melpomene with a crew of six men is driven by the weather on to the mud about ¾ of a mile up the river above the Parkstone Jetty, Harwich.  Lieutenant Robert Arthur Startin on hearing that the whaler is missing sets out alone to search along the river.  After wading through deep mud at times up to his armpits for a distance of about 300 yards he eventually finds the whaler half full of water aground in the mud with her crew lying helpless in the boat having given up hope of being rescued.  He only succeeds in rousing them by beating them with his stick one man having to be forcibly dragged all the way to short by Lieutenant Startin and the coxswain of the boat.  After dragging him for about an hour a distance of about 40 or 50 yards has been covered when a light is seen moving inshore.  Lieutenant Startin orders the crew to remain where they are while he goes to the light which proves to be carried by a search party with a rope. This rope is taken backwards and forwards personally by Lieutenant Startin from the shore to the boat’s crew until each one has been rescued, this exhausting and dangerous task in the deep mud being performed under the most trying conditions.  All the crew is saved, though two afterwards will die from the effects of exposure.  Lieutenant Startin will be awarded the Albert Medal for his actions. He is the son of Admiral ‘Sir’ James Startin who lost a son on Gallipoli last year.

Also lost in the storm is the trawler H M Saxon Prince (Skipper Geroge Albert Rose) RNR sunk off Dover with a loss of all hands. A whaler from HMS Conquest founders in the storm while returning from shore leave. Thirty nine of crew are drowned including Able Seaman James O’Hara who drowns at age 39. His brother was lost at sea in September 1914.

The troopship Sarovia departs Alexandria, Egypt for Marseilles.

2nd Anzac Corps is formed in Egypt.

Today’s losses include:

  • The son of a General
  • A man whose brother was lost in September 1914
  • A man who had two brothers killed in the South African War

 Today’s highlighted casualties include:

  • Major Gerald Edgar Oliver Fortescue Lambart (Royal Scots Fusiliers) dies of wounds at age 30. He is the son of Brigadier General Edgar Alan Lambart CB.
  • Captain Percival St George Findlater (Army Service Corps) is killed at age 34. He is the son of ‘Sir’ William Huffington Findlater.