Sunday 8 October 1916 – We Lost 1,627
Sergeant Leslie Coulson (London Regiment) dies of wounds received in action at age 27. He had been a Reuters correspondent and Fleet Street journalist before the war. He was wounded at Gallipoli. Next year his work “From an Outpost and Other Poems” will be published selling over 10,000 copies in less than twelve months.
I watch the white dawn gleam,
To the thunder of hidden guns.
I hear the hot shells scream
Through skies as sweet as a dream
Where the silver dawnbreak runs.
And stabbing of light
Scorches the virginal white.
But I feel in my being the old, high, sanctified thrill,
And I thank the gods that dawn is beautiful still.
From death that hurtles by
I crouch in the trench day-long
But up to a cloudless sky
From the ground where our dead men lie
A brown lark soars in song.
Through the tortured air,
Rent by the shrapnel’s flare,
Over the troubless dead he carols his fill,
And i thank the gods that the birds are beautiful still.
Where the parapet is low
And level with the eye
Poppies and cornflowers glow
And the corn sways to and fro
In a pattern against the sky.
The gold stalks hide
Bodies of men who died
Charging at dawn through the dew to be killed or to kill.
I thank the gods that the flowers are beautiful still.
When night falls dark we creep
In silence to our dead.
We dig a few feet deep
And leave them there to sleep –
But blood at night is red,
Yea, even at night,
And a dead man’s face is white.
And I dry my hands, that are also trained to kill,
And I look at the stars – for the stars are beautiful still.
Today’s losses include:
- A Battalion Commander
- Multiple sons of members of the clergy
- An Assistant Master at Victoria Boys School
- Multiple families that will lose two and three sons in the Great War
- A man’s whose daughter will be born in a month
- A family that will lose four sons in the Great War
Today’s highlighted casualties include:
- Lieutenant Colonel R McD Thomson (commanding 43rd Manitoba Regiment) is killed in action.
- Captain Norman Grant Murray (Alberta Regiment) is killed at age 38. He is the son of the late Reverend Robert Murray and a veteran of the South African War.
- Captain Christopher Carrington (New Zealand Artillery) is killed in action at age 22. He is the son of the Reverend C W Carrington Deanof Christchurch.
- Lance Corporal Thomas Martin Blaber (London Regiment attached 138th Machine Gun Corps) is killed at age 26 at Warlencourt while assisting wounded men lying between the trenches. He is the Assistant Master at Victoria Boys School.
- Lance Corporal Charles Haynes (Warwickshire Regiment) is killed at age 25. He is one of four brothers who are killed in the Great War.
- Lance Corporal George Clarke Duff (Central Ontario Regiment) is killed at age 23. He is the son of the late Honorable James Duff.
- Private James Brooke Ormerod (Cheshire Regiment) is killed in action at age 30. His brother will be killed in April 1917.
- Private Archibald Ferguson (48th Highlanders of Canada) is killed in action at age 33 on the Somme. His only daughter will be born in one month.
- Private S C Hosking (London Regiment) is killed in action at age 25. He is the third of three brothers, all killed in 1916, the most recent one being his twin who was killed less than one month ago.
- Private Thomas Chandler (Royal Fusiliers) is killed in action on the Somme at age 24. He was admitted to hospital suffering from frost bitten feet on 26th November 1915 while serving at Gallipoli. His brother was killed in August 1916.
- Private John Gray (Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders) dies of wounds received in action at age 21. He is the second of three brothers who will die in an eight-month period during the Great War, the first being killed just two weeks prior.