Tuesday 11 July 1916 – We Lost 1,003

4th South African Inf

cap badge of the 4th South African Infantry

At 05:00 Brigadier Evans (115th Brigade) takes over the command of all the troops in Mametz Wood establishing his HQ on the junction of the central ride with the first cross ride. He brings up into the Wood the 16th Welsh Regiment and the remaining companies of the 11th South Wales Borderers to replace some of the tired units of 113thk Brigade and 114th Brigade. He expects to complete the capture of the Wood with the remaining tired troops at his disposal.

An attack is planned for 15:00 with the 16th Welsh Regiment, 17th Royal Welsh Fusiliers and 11th South Wales Borderers taking the lead. The center left is expected to meet with the greatest difficulties. Evans has planned the attack without artillery support but at 14:45 an artillery barrage is opened up and the barrage cannot be stopped and Evans’ infantry units began to suffer from the drop shorts of 18-pounders firing on the limit of their range. This bombardment carries on until 15:30.

As soon as the bombardment stops the battalions move in to action. The 11th South Wales Borderers reach the northeast corner of the Wood by 17:40 but the other two attacking units have much less luck and are held up. The attack is not a success though there is fierce fighting throughout the rest of the day. By 21:20 all the troops are back in their starting positions. The German reaction to the attack that they have halted is to realise that to continue to defend the Wood is fruitless and costly and at 20:00 orders are issued for their withdrawal. The evacuation begins as darkness falls leaving only a few patrols within the boundary of the Wood.

In Trones Wood the 30th Division 89th Brigade relieves 90th Brigade in the line at 01:00. At 03.30 the King’s Liverpool Regiment begins to bomb its way along Maltz Horn Trench. The Bedfordshire Regiment meanwhile begins an advance on the wood itself from the south west. The Bedford’s two right hand companies occupied the south east edge of the wood under MG fire while the two left hand companies enter the wood between Trones Alley and the railway. At noon the Germans have cleared the north end of the wood again. At 22.30 The King’s Liverpool Regiment attacks from the sunken road near La Briqueterie, reaching the south east edge of the wood where they dig in and put up barbed wire.

  • Second Lieutenant James McCosh Sproat MC (Liverpool Regiment) is killed at age 20 by shell in Trones Wood. His brother was killed ten days previously on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.
  • Private Ellis Mather (Liverpool Regiment) is killed in action at age 25. He has two brothers who will also be killed in the Great War.
  • Private Isaac William Glover (Bedfordshire Regiment) is killed in action at age 19. His brother was killed in the first month of the war.

S S Calypso (Master C C Smith) goes missing fifteen miles west of Listafjord, Norway while carrying general cargo from London to Christiania. Her crew of 30 includes men from Holland, Russia, America, Sweden, Denmark, Gibraltar, Iceland as well as England is lost completely. The trawler Era (Skipper George Noel) is sunk by submarine gunfire off Aberdeen and her crew of twelve is taken prisoner. Her skipper will die of his wounds as a prisoner of war in two days.

Today’s losses include:

  • A battalion commander
  • Multiple families that will lose two and three sons in the Great War
  • Multiple sons of members of the clergy
  • Multiple sons of Justices of the Peace
  • The grandson of a General
  • A man whose son was previously killed in October 1915
  • A grandson of the 1st Baron Aberdare of Duffryn
  • An Assistant School Master at Walverhampton Orphanage
  • Two brothers killed by the same sniper today who will have a third brother killed on Christmas day of this year
  • A professional rugby footballer

 Today’s highlighted casualties include:

  • Lieutenant Colonel Frank Aubrey Jones CMG DSO (commanding 4th South African Infantry) is killed at age 42 as he is emerging from his dugout in Bernafay Wood.
  • Captain Stuarat Erskine Birrell (Somerset Light Infantry) is killed. He is the son of the Reverend Erskine Alexander Birrell Vicar of Kindford.
  • Captain Henry Cooke Lowry (Army Veterinary Corps) dies on service in Mesopotamia at age 32. He is the only son of the late James Lowry JP.
  • Captain Edward Augustine Bell (Royal Army Medical Corps) drowns at age 38. He is the son of William Bell JP and grandson of Major General Arthur Butcher Royal Marines Light Infantry.
  • Lieutenant Colonel Charles Monk (Royal Army Medical Corps) dies on service at home. His son was killed in October 1915.
  • Captain Talbot Ronald Arthur Herbert Noyes (Northumberland Fusiliers) is killed at age 30. He is the son of the Reverend Frederick Robert Halsey Herbert Noyes Rector of Crichel Dorset.
  • Lieutenant James Frederick Venmore MC (Welsh Regiment) is killed at age 28. He is the son of James Venmore JP.
  • Lieutenant Henry Branfill Russell (Essex Regiment) is killed at age 21. He is the grandson of Henry Austin Bruce 1st Baron Aberdare of Duffryn.
  • Lieutenant Robert Bowness Gibson (South Staffordshire Regiment) is killed at age 21. He is the son of the Reverend Thomas Gibson Rector of Cranham.
  • Second Lieutenant John Critchley (Warwickshire Regiment) is killed in action at age 21. He is the Assistant School Master at Wolverhampton Orphanage where he grew up.
  • Second Lieutenant Francis Saxon Snell (Berkshire Regiment) is killed at age 29. He is a co-founder of the New Tory Club at Oxford.
  • Second Lieutenant Walter Tessier Newlyn (Welsh Regiment) is killed at age 32. He is the son Henry Newlyn JP.
  • Second Lieutenant William Young Drummond (Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders) is killed at age 22. He is a divinity student and he has a brother who will die of wounds in July 1918.
  • Lance Corporal Alexander Ernest Burchardt-Ashton (Royal Fusiliers attached Durham Light Infantry) is killed in action at age 27. As a Lieutenant in the Dragoon Guards attached Royal Flying Corps in May 1912 while landing too fast he accidentally ran into a crowd at Larkhill killing a 15-year old boy.
  • Lance Corporal Harry Hardwidge and his brother Corporal Thomas Hardwidge both serving with the Welsh Regiment are killed by the same sniper and they are buried in adjacent graves in Flatiron Copse Cemetery Mametz. A third brother will be killed on Christmas Day this year.
  • Lance Corporal Leonard Lovell (Alberta Regiment) is killed at age 34. He is the member of the Calgary Cricket Club. His brother was killed last January.
  • Privates and brothers Frederick and William Arthur Phillips (Welsh Fusiliers) are killed together on the Somme. Private Herbert Leslie Benjamin (Warwickshire Regiment) is killed at age 19. His brother will be killed in three days serving in the Northamptonshire Regiment.
  • Private Frank Handscombe (Bedfordshire Regiment) is killed at age 32. His brother will be killed next April.
  • Private Graham Walker Cook (Wellington Regiment) is killed at age 22. He is a professional Rugby League footballer for Wellington and New Zealand.
  • Private Richard George Phillips (Welsh Regiment) is killed. His brother will be killed next July.