Friday 4 August 1916 – We Lost 998
In the Battle of Romani though vastly outnumbered, Australian Light Horsemen fight a delaying action at close quarters as they relinquish ground slowly. At 02:30 after the moon has set, the Turks make a bayonet charge on Mount Meredith and the light horsemen evacuate the position at 03:00. The Australians are eventually forced back to a large east/west sand dune called Wellington Ridge at the southern edge of the Romani encampment. Having been held south of Romani, the Turks attempt a flanking maneuver to the west and concentrate 2,000 troops around another sand hill called Mount Royston, south-west of Romani. At dawn General Chauvel sends the 2nd Light Horse Brigade back into action in front of Mount Royston. The Turkish advance is at a standstill. After a long night march the Turkish troops now face a difficult day under the desert sun without a source of water and exposed to the British artillery.
Shortly after dawn the Turks succeed in forcing the Australians off Wellington Ridge which places them within 700 metres of the Romani camp but depleted, exhausted and exposed to shelling from the horse artillery, they ae unable to press the attack further. As soon as General Lawrence is certain a major attack is in progress, he instructs Chaytor’s brigades to advance from Hill 70 to counter-attack against the Turkish flank. The Turks at Mount Royston are checked to the north by the 3rd and 6th Light Horse Regiments, and are under constant bombardment from the horse artillery and the heavy artillery of the 52nd Division and when Chaytor’s force attacks from the west, they surrender on mass, at around 18:00.
- Lance Corporal Henrie Clarence Nicholas (Australian Light Horse) is killed at age 34. He is Councillor of the Hamilton Municipality Tasmania and a JP for the district. Lance-Corporal Nicholas was one of the first to volunteer when the War broke out and left Tasmania on 21st October 1914. He served in Egypt and then Gallipoli, returning to Egypt after the evacuation. He was killed instantly by a bullet while holding Meredith’s Ridge against immensely superior forces of Turks. Shortly after his return to Egypt from Gallipoli he was given a Commission in the 12th Lancers (his brother’s Regiment). The papers containing his discharge from his Troop got lost but arrived just before a threatened raid by the Turks on the Suez Canal. He decided to remain with his old battalion until the danger is over, and it is in the action which immediately follows that he is killed
- Private David Low (Australian Infantry) dies of wounds at home at age 29. He is an Australian rules footballerwho played with West Torrens in the South Australian Football League. Originally from Broken Hill, Low was a defender and debuted for West Torrens in 1910. He finished second in the 1911 Magarey Medal count and won the Medal the following season, becoming the first specialist defender to ever win it as well as the first from West Torrens. The Magarey Medal is an Australian Rules football honour awarded annually since 1898 to the fairest and most brilliant player in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL), as judged by field umpires. He was also Club Champion that season. During his career he was a regular South Australian interstate representative. Low enlisted in the army in 1915 and went on to serve in Africa and Europe.
- Corporal Alfred Norman Bradford (Australian Infantry) an Australian Rules Footballer with South Melbourne is killed at age 21. He scored 9 goals in 7 games in 1915.
- Lance Corporal Hugh Brinsmead (Australian Infantry) is killed at age 27. His brother will be killed in November of this year.
- Private Russell George Bosisto (Australian Infantry) is killed in action at the Battle of Poziers at age 22, though he is initially listed as missing in action. In January 1998 a farmer plowing a field uncovers the 80-year old body and he will be reburied 5th July 1998.
- Private Spenser Wendell Warne-Smith (Australian Infantry) killed in action at age 22. His younger brother will be killed in action in September 1918.
- Private William Brown (Australian Infantry) is killed at Pozieres at age 25. His brother was killed on Gallipoli in July of last year.
- Private Noel Lethbridge Tingcombe (Australian Infantry) is killed at age 18 less than a week after his brother died of wounds.
- Private Leslie Joseph Rogers (Australian Infantry) is killed at age 20. He is an Australian rules footballer who played for Essendon in the Victoria Football League in 1915.
- Trooper Richard Walters Crozier (Australian Light Horse) dies of wounds at Romani at age 24. His brother will be killed in March 1918.
Today’s losses include:
- Two Rhodes Scholars
- A Justice of the Peace
- A Councillor of the Hamilton Municipality Tasmania
- Multiple families that will lose two and three sons in the Great War
- A man whose remains will be unearthed and buried in a Commonwealth War Great Commission cemetery in 1998
- Multiple sons of members of the clergy
- A North Staffordshire Rugby Club footballer
- The uncle of a Baronet
Today’s highlighted casualties include:
- Two Rhodes Scholars are killed today. Captain Allan MacDougall (Royal Fusiliers) is killed in action at age 30. He was a 1909 Rhodes Scholar for New Zealand.
- Second Lieutenant Vere Karsdale Mason (Suffolk Regiment) is killed at age 22. He is the second Rhodes Scholar killed today.
- Captain J Everlyn Bryant (Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry) dies of wounds at age 34. He is the son of the Reverend J J Bryant.
- Captain Arthur Hyndman Percy Austin (Durham Light Infantry) is killed in action at age 38. He is the son of the late Reverend W G Austin.
- Second Lieutenant Charles Fifield Holtom (North Staffordshire) dies of wounds. He is a keen tennis and hockey player and member of the North Staffordshire Rugby Football Club.
- Second Lieutenant Norman Harry Blythe (Manchester Regiment) is killed at age 19 five days after his brother was killed.
- Corporal David Tait Kinnear (Royal Scots) is killed in action at age 27. His younger brother will be killed in July 1917.
- Corporal H Bailey (East Lancashire Regiment) is killed at age 28. His brother will be killed in March 1918.
- Lance Corporal Sidney Chandler (Hertfordshire Regiment) is killed in action by a sniper. His brother will be killed in October.
- Private William Arthur Lawson (Liverpool Regiment) is killed in action at age 28. His brother will die of wounds in August 1918.
- Private Albert Edward Farrier (Royal Fusiliers) is killed at age 19 at Ovilliers. His two brothers were killed in 1915.
- Private Albert Howell Curtis (Royal Fusiliers) is killed at age 23. He has two brothers who will be killed in the Great War.
- Private Percy Beauchamp Astley Cooper (East Kent Regiment) is killed at age 40. He is the uncle of ‘Sir’ Patrick Graham Astley Cooper the 6th Baronet and grandson of ‘Sir’ Astley Paston Cooper the 2nd
- Gunner George Vernon (Royal Field Artillery) is killed in Mesopotamia at age 24. His brother was killed last October.
- Private Frederick William Eastland (East Kent Regiment) is killed at age 31. His brother was killed last October.