Saturday 17 June 1916 – We Lost 457
While on a photographic reconnaissance over Houthulst Wood and when very seriously wounded in the head by fire from an anti-aircraft gun, and half blinded by blood, Captain Malcolm McBean Bell-Irving (Royal Flying Corps) steers for the nearest aerodrome and, feeling that he cannot last out, lands safely in a small field well within our lines. After giving orders for the safe delivery of his photographs he collapses. His pluck and skill no doubt saves both his life and that of his observer, Second Lieutenant Allan Wenman Smith. Lieutenant Smith will be accidentally killed in England next March. Captain Bell-Irving is the brother of ace Alan Duncan Bell-Irving and Richard Bell-Irving whose son will be killed in March 1945.
Today’s losses include:
- A grandson of the 2nd Viscount Hardinge of Lahore and King’s Newton
- The son of a member of the clergy
- Multiple families that will lose two, three and four sons in the Great War
Today’s highlighted casualties include:
- Major Patrick Robert Hardinge MC (Cameronians) dies of wounds at age 23. He is the grandson of the 2nd Viscount Hardinge of Lahore and King’s Newton.
- Second Lieutenant Alister McLean Thomson (Wellington Regiment) is killed at age 25. He is the son of the late Reverend Alexander Thomson.
- Second Lieutenant Vernon Robertson Lipp (Royal Fusiliers) is killed at age 26 less than 3 weeks after his brother died on service in India.
- Private Walter Ellis (Devonshire Regiment) is killed in Mesopotamia. His two brothers will be killed over the next few months the first next month.
- Private James Clayton (Gordon Highlanders) is killed at age 20. He is the third of four brothers who are killed in the Great War.