Sunday 1 October 1916 – We Lost 1,460

by greatwarliveslost

Donald Forrester Brown VC

Donald Forrester Brown VC

The Battle of Ancre Heights which will last until 11th November begins. Troops of the 26th Brigade (8th & 9th Royal Fusiliers) occupy Gird and the Gird support trenches in readiness for the next phase of the Battle of the Somme.

Eleven airships head for England, with only the two L-30’s permitted to attack London.  L-30 again reports having bombed targets when, in reality, she is not spotted at all over England.  L-31 approaches London from the Northeast, finally throttling her engines down in an attempt to float silently over the listening searchlight operators on the ground.  By 12:30 at least four defense planes are in the air when Mathy fires up his engines and attracts the searchlight beams.  As the guns on the ground opens fire, Mathy drops his entire bomb-load and turns west. L-31, now several tons lighter, rockets skyward and almost escapes. She has cleared the A.A. defenses when Second Lieutenant Wulstan J Tempest dives his BE2c under the airship firing a drum of Brock-Pomeroy ammunition into the ship’s keel. Suddenly, the Zeppelin turns a bright red inside, and a burst of red flames shoots out of her nose. L-31 plummets straight to the ground, nearly taking Tempest and his plane with her. As Tempest corkscrews his plane out of the way, the burning airship passes him and crashes at Potters Bar. Local villagers running into the field find a man lying on his back, half-imbedded in the ground. He is alive and unburned, but dies soon after.

The steamship Vanellus strikes a mine in Havre Roads, and the vessel, which is laden with petrol, immediately bursts into flames. Owing to the rapid spread of flames it is impossible to clear away the boats, and most of the crew jump overboard. Three lives are lost.  Although the engine-room telegraph is broken by the explosion Third Engineer Joseph Conolly remains at his post in the engine-room until everyone else had left the ship. He keeps the engines working astern, and thus makes it possible for a lifeboat to be lowered on the port side, and by this means a number of lives are saved.  Before finally leaving the ship he again goes below and stops the engines.  Mr. Conolly is badly burned in rendering the services.  For his actions on this day he will be awarded the Albert Medal.

CQMS Frank Stanley Bonathan (Middlesex Regiment) renders valuable assistance in organizing a minor operation and controlling ‘Grid’ Trench near Flers when under intense fire. For his efforts Sergeant Bonathan will be awarded the Military Cross. He will be killed in action on 28th April 1917.

Today’s losses include:

  • A battalion commander
  • Multiple sons of members of the clergy
  • A Rhodes scholar nominee
  • Multiple families that will lose two and three sons in the Great War
  • A holder of two life saving certificates

 Today’s highlighted casualties include:

  • Lieutenant Colonel William Donald Allan DSO (formerly commanding Central Ontario Regiment) dies of wounds in England at age 36.
  • Captain Richard Jefferys Nicolls (Sherwood Foresters) is killed at age 22. He is the son of the Reverend Edward Richard Jefferys Nicolls Rector of Trowell.
  • Captain Basil Alfred Capel Cure (Gloucestershire Regiment) is killed on Salonika at age 22. He is the son of the Reverend Edward Capel Cure Rector of Stower Provost.
  • Captain James Dalton Dinneen (Auckland Infantry) is killed at age 32. He was nominated for a Rhodes scholarship.
  • Lieutenant Stewart Simpson (Canadian Mounted Rifles) is killed at age 22. He is the son of the Reverend Canon James Simpson.
  • Second Lieutenant Frank Stedman Bulmer (London Regiment) is killed at age 20. His brother will be killed in March 1918.
  • Lance Corporal Reginald Groves (London Regiment) is killed. His brother will be killed in December 1917.
  • Lance Corporal Harry James Drewitt (Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry) is killed at age 28. His brother a footballer for the Aylesbury United Football Club was killed six weeks ago.
  • Private Arthur Latter (London Regiment) is killed at age 18. His oldest brother was killed last April and other brother will die on service in February 1919.
  • Private Frederick Norman Collisson (Australian Infantry) is killed at age 22. He is the son of the Reverend Reginald Kingsmill Collisson rector of Crafers South Australia.
  • Private Albert Victor Jinkerson (Sussex Regiment) is killed at age 18. He is the holder of two life saving certificates.
  • Sergeant Donald Forrester Brown VC (Otago Regiment) is killed at age 26. He was awarded his Victoria Cross for most conspicuous bravery and determination in an attack south-east of High Wood, France on 15th September of this year when the company to which he belonged had suffered very heavy casualties in officers and men from machine gun fire. At great personal risk this NCO advanced with a comrade and succeeded in reaching a point within 30 yards of the enemy guns. Four of the gun crew are killed and the gun captured. The advance of the company was continued until it was again held up by machine gun fire. Again Sergeant Brown and his comrade, with great gallantry, rushed the gun and killed the crew. After this second position had been won, the company came under very heavy shell fire, and the utter contempt for danger and coolness under fire of this NCO did much to keep up the spirit of his men. On a subsequent attack Sergeant Brown showed most conspicuous gallantry. He attacked, single handed, a machine gun which was holding up the attack, killed the gun crew, and captured the gun.