Tuesday 15 August 1916 – We Lost 579

by greatwarliveslost

Robert Harold Beckh

Robert Harold Beckh

While carrying out anti-submarine exercises off Harwich in the North Sea, E41 (Lieutenant A Winser) acting as a target begins a surface passage of 12 knots when the submarine E4’s (Lieutenant Commander Julian T Tenison) periscope appears 50 yards off her starboard bow on a collision course.  E41 stops her engines but not before E4 collides forward of the bridge. E41 begins to take on water through the forward battery compartment and begins to sink by the bow. In less than two minutes the conning tower is under water.  HMS Firedrake which has been monitoring the exercise takes less than two minutes to reach the scene of the collision and picks up survivors from E41. There are no survivors from E4 a total of 32 casualties on board that boat with 16 killed on E41. Both submarines will eventually be located, salvaged and returned to service.

Today’s losses include:

  • A Great War Poet
  • Multiple families that will lose two and three sons in the Great War
  • The son of the Inspector of Constabulary Jamaica
  • The father of the future Baroness Lucy Faithful who will become a social worker and children’s campaigner
  • Multiple sons of members of the clergy
  • Two members of the Aylesbury United Football Club

 Today’s highlighted casualties include:

Second Lieutenant Robert Harold Beckh (East Yorkshire Regiment) is killed by machine gun fire while on patrol in the Robecq area at age 22.  He was educated at Haileybury, Jesus College Cambridge and was one of the Great War Poets.  He published a collection of poems ‘Swallows in Storm and Sunlight’.

The Song of Sheffield

Shells, Shells, Shells!
The song of the city of steel;
Hammer and turn, and file,
Furnace, and lathe and wheel.
Tireless machinery,
Man’s ingenuity,
Making a way for the martial devil’s meal.

Shells, Shells, Shells,
Out of the furnace blaze;
Roll, Roll, Roll,
Into the workshop’s maze.
Ruthless machinery
Boring eternally
Boring a hole for the shattering charge that stays.

Shells, Shells, Shells!
The song of the city of steel;
List to the devil’s mirth,
Hark to their laughter’s peal:
Sheffield’s machinery
Crushing humanity
Neath devil-ridden death’s impassive heel.

  • Captain Francis Hastings Thomas DSC (HMS Talbot Royal Marines Light Infantry) is killed in Africa at age 31. He is the first of three sons of Herbert T Thomas Inspector of Constabulary Jamaica who will be killed in the Great War and a fourth son will be killed in the crash of the airship R-38 in 1921.
  • Captain Sidney Leigh Faithfull (Royal Engineers) dies as a result of gas poisoning at age 40 along with two of his men at Arras, while inspecting a tunnel and listening for signs of the enemy. He is the father of Baroness Lucy Faithfull who will become a social worker and children’s campaigner.
  • Lieutenant Theodore Newman Hall (Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry) is killed at age 21. He is the son of the Reverend William Aidan Newman Hall.
  • Second Lieutenant Robert Walter Theodore Gordon Scott (Seaforth Highlanders) dies of wounds at London at age 21. He is the son of the Reverend Dr. Robert Scott DD.
  • Second Lieutenant N L Collins (Royal Sussex Regiment) is killed at 22. He is the son of the Reverend Canon Percy H Collins.
  • Second Lieutenant Robert Walter Theodore Scott (Seaforth Highlanders) is killed at age 21. He was a Senior Classical Scholar at Oriel College Oxford and son of the Reverend Dr Robert Scott.
  • Two members of the Aylesbury United Football Club are killed today serving in the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry. Sergeant Rollo James Price is killed at age 25 and Private George Dayman Drewitt is killed at age 28. His brother will be killed in October.
  • Private George Rupert Underhill (Worcestershire Regiment) is killed in action at age 24. His brother will be killed in October 1917.
  • Private Herbert Reginald Spencer Harris (Australian Infantry) is killed at age 31. His brother will be killed next month serving in the Manitoba Regiment.
  • Private Victor Joseph Firth (Australian Infantry) is killed. His brother will be killed in February 1917.
  • Private Joseph Nicholls (South Staffordshire Regiment) is killed at age 28. His two brothers will be killed in 1918.
  • Private William Keen (Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry) is killed at age 28. His brother was killed in May 1915.