Wednesday 19 July 1916 – We Lost 2,716
In preparation for the Battle of Fromelles a seven-hour artillery barrage begins on the bright summer day at 11:00. At 18:00 with two and a half hours of daylight remaining the Australian 5th Division advances. The 15th Australian Brigade fares badly, line after line being met by heavy fire as they emerge from the remains of an old orchard. The 8th and 14th Brigades capture approximately 1,000 yards of the enemy’s front trenches but because of the heavy losses suffered by the 15th Brigade the right flank of the 14th Brigade is exposed to intense fire from the ‘Sugar Loaf”. Later this evening the 7th Bavarian Divison mounts counterattacks. By 08:00 tomorrow the entire attacking force has been withdrawn the Australians suffering 5.533 casualties while the British suffer 1,547 killed, wounded, missing or prisoners. There is no evidence that the attack had the slightest effect on the enemy’s ability to move reserves to the Somme. 5th Australian Division was so badly damaged that it was unable to take part in serious fighting until the spring of 1917. 61st (2nd South Midland) Division, while not suffering as badly in terms of casualties, has not inspired confidence and it will not used again until the same time.
- Captain Hugh McDonald Plowman (Australian Infantry) is killed at age 27. He is an adapt cricketer and Australian Rules Footballer who played 26 games for St Kilda 1910-12 scoring 1 goal.
- Lieutenant Richard Horace Maconochie Gibbs MC (Australian Infantry) an Australian Rules Footballer and third year medical student is killed at age 23. He scored 3 goals in 35 games from 1912 to 1914.
- Corporal Thornton Gainsborough Clarke (Australian Infantry) is killed at age 24. He played four games for Fitzroy in the Victorian Football League in 1911.
- Another Australian Rules Footballer Private William Joseph Landy (Australian Infantry) is killed at age 19. He scored 1 goal in 2 games for Geelong in 1915.
- Private George Roy Reginald Yendle (Australian Infantry) is killed in action at Fromelles. He is killed at age 16 and has a brother who will be killed in September 1917.
- Private Thomas Lippett Russell (Australian Infantry) is killed at age 23. His twin will be killed in less than a month.
Brigadier General Edward Walter Clervaux Chaytor commanding officer New Zealand Mounted Rifle Brigade is wounded while flying in a BE2c over Bir Bayud-Bir Gameil in Palestine.
Today’s losses include:
- Multiple families that will lose two, three and four sons in the Great War
- The son of a Baronet
- Multiple Australian Rules footballers
- A man whose twin brother will be killed later in the Great War
- A battalion commander
- A man whose daughter will be born in three months
- A man whose father was killed in January 1915
- A grandson of the 3rd Baron Stratheden
- Multiple sons of members of the clergy
- The son of the Vice Consul in Angola
Today’s highlighted casualties include:
- Lieutenant Colonel John Henry Beer (Warwickshire Regiment commanding 2nd/4th Berkshire Regiment) is killed at age 36. He is a veteran of the South African War. Captain John Arthur Higgon (Welsh Fusiliers) is killed at age 42. His brother was killed in September 1915 on Gallipoli.
- Captain William Thomas Wyllie (Durham Light Infantry and Brigade Major 13th Infantry Brigade) is killed at age 34. His brother was killed in November 1914 and they are sons of the artist in oils and water colors of maritime themes.
- Captain Aubrey Evan Coulton (Warwickshire Regiment) is killed at age 26. His daughter will be born in September.
- Lieutenant William Charles Newborough (Welsh Guards) dies of pneumonia at age 43. He is the son of the late ‘Honorable’ Thomas John Newborough.
- Lieutenant Donald Campbell (Coldstream Guards) is killed in action at age 20. He is the son of Captain “the Honorable” John B Campbell (Coldstream Guards) who was killed in action in January 1915 and the grandson of the 3rd Baron Stratheden of Cupar and Campbell of St Andrews.
- Lieutenant Francis Christopher Dallas Williams (East Surrey Regiment attached Royal Berkshire Regiment) is killed at age 21. He is the son of the late Reverend Edward Osborne Williams.
- Second Lieutenant Percy Oliver James Day (King’s Royal Rifle Corps) is killed at age 29. His brother was killed on the 1st of this month.
- Second Lieutenant Eric Ronald Ratcliff-Gaylard (Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry) is killed in action at age 21. His brother was killed on Gallipoli in May 1915.
- Second Lieutenant John William Hugo Fussell (Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry) is killed at age 19. He is the son of John Walter Hugo Fussell Vice Consul of Benguella, Angola.
- Lance Sergeant Henry Bowyer Smyth (Australian Infantry) is killed at age 24. He is the son of ‘Sir’ William Bowyer Smyth 11th
- Sergeant Samuel Yerrell (Northamptonshire Regiment) is killed at age 22. His brother died of wounds in April 1915.
- Sergeant Harry Martin (Highland Light Infantry) dies of illness at age 30 in Mesopotamia. His brother died of wounds in May 1915.
- Corporal Frank Coulson Baxter (Suffolk Regiment) is killed in action at age 27. His brother will be killed in August 1917.
- Corporal John Shaw (Suffolk Regiment) is killed at age 24. His brother will die of wounds next May.
- Corporal Stanley Francis Raphael (South African Infantry) is killed at age 25. His brother was killed yesterday.
- Lance Corporal Ralph Eric Harris (South African Infantry) is killed. His half-brother was killed commanding the 5th Australian Light Horse on Gallipoli in 1915.
- Lance Corporal George Frederick Foord (Sussex Regiment) dies of wounds at age 21. His brother will be killed in September 1917.
- Lance Corporal Duncan Thomson (King’s Own Scottish Borderers) is killed. His brother will be killed next March.
- Private Frederick George Souls (Cheshire Regiment) is killed in action at age 30. His four brothers are all killed in the Great War.
- Private Edward Grantham (Royal Sussex Regiment) dies of wounds on the Somme at age 26. He is the son of the Reverend Herbert Grantham.
- Private Albert Beesley (Warwickshire Regiment) is killed at age 19. His brother was killed in May 1916.
- Private Walter Brand (Suffolk Regiment) is killed at age 36. The bullets that killed him perforates the photograph of his two children which he had carried with him at all times. His brother will be killed next February.
- Private James Arthur Hollands (Berkshire Regiment) is killed at age 18. His brother was killed in September 1915.
- Private Thomas Huxley Langston (South Africa Infantry) is killed at age 20. His brother was killed in May in German East Africa.
- Private Charles Good (Munster Fusiliers) is killed. His brother was killed on Gallipoli last August.
- Private Ernest Bailey (Norfolk Regiment) is killed at age 21. His two brothers were killed together 18 days ago serving in the same regiment.
- Private James Dolan (Cheshire Regiment) is killed. He is the third brother do be killed in the war the day after his brother became the second.
- Private James Howard Telfer (Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry) is killed in action at age 26. His brother will be killed next April.