Sunday 20 August 1916 – We Lost 666
Bulgarian troops force their way across the Struma River at Orlyak against the French, but are then stopped by the British.
Temporary Captain Basil Hallam Radford (Kite balloon section, Royal Flying Corps) is killed on active service on the Western Front at age 27. He is a music hall star who made his first appearance at His Majesties Theatre in April 1901 and is considered a top ranked comedian. He was denied admittance to the army in August 1914 but was able to join later when restrictions were lowered. On this day his cable broke on his balloon and it started to drift towards No Man’s Land. His companion Second Lieutenant P B Moxon jumps to safety with a parachute but Radford is killed when he jumps and his parachute apparently gets caught in the rigging and in some way he slips out of the belt which attached him to it. He falls near Brigade Headquarters. He acted under the name Basil Hallam and created the character of Gilbert the Filbert for The Passing Show, the original revue of that title by Herman Finck, produced at the Palace Theatre, London, on 20th April 1914. He also recorded the title song for the HMV label. His brother was killed in September 1915.
Today’s losses include:
- Multiple families that will lose two sons in the Great War
- Multiple sons of members of the clergy
- The son of a General
Today’s highlighted casualties include:
- Major William Neville Pitt (Lincolnshire Regiment) dies of wounds at age 35. He is a veteran of the South African War and his brother was killed in October 1914.
- Captain Charles Albert Roy Follit (Welsh Fusiliers) is killed at age 19. His brother will be killed in October 1918.
- Lieutenant Geoffrey Stephen Walley (King’s Royal Rifle Corps) is killed at age 24. He is the son of the Reverend Stephen Cawley Walley Rector of Hardingham.
- Lieutenant Alan William Russell Cowan (Canadian Black Watch) is killed at age 29. He is the son of the Reverend Robert David Russell Cowan Vicar of Bushley.
- Second Lieutenant Nevill Lindsay Young (Sussex Regiment) is killed in action at age 19. He is the son of Major General J C Young (Colonel – Royal Sussex Regiment).
- Second Lieutenant Richard Clerke Brown (Royal Engineers) is killed at age 26. His brother was killed in October 1915.
- Lance Corporal Bert Charles Stimpson (Northamptonshire Regiment) is killed. His brother was killed in March 1915.
- Private Charlie Cleaver Gush (Royal Army Medical Corps) dies on service at age 31. His brother will die on service six days after the Armistice is signed.