Thursday 26 October 1916 – We Lost 553


The torpedo boat HMS Flirt (Lieutenant Richard Pinder Kellett, killed) is serving as duty destroyer in the Dover Patrol supporting drifters in the Center of the English Channel.  Two German torpedo boat flotillas attempt to disrupt cross channel supply routes and Flirt sights a group of enemy vessels, but Lieutenant Kellett does not report them as he believes they are British destroyers returning from Dunkirk. At about 22:00 the Germans open fire on a group of the drifters sinking Spotless Prince (Skipper Henry Collins, killed), Datum (Skipper James Frederick Howlett, killed) and Gleaner of the Sea (Skipper Robert George Hurren DSC, killed) and damaging Waveney II.  Flirt hears the gunfire and proceeds to investigate and finds the Waveney II in a sinking condition. As she stops to pick up survivors she is illuminated by searchlights and raked by gunfire from the Germans sinking very quickly. There are only four survivors of her crew of eighty-four.  The trawlers lose a total of thirty-four crew members in the action.

Today’s losses include:

  • The grandson of a General
  • The son of a Baronet
  • The grandson of the late Postmaster-General
  • Multiple sons of members of the clergy
  • The last victim of Oswald Boelcke
  • Multiple families that will lose two sons in the Great War
  • The late Assistant Master at Cockfield Council School

Today’s highlighted casualties include:

  • Captain Lawrence Hope King-Harman (Royal Horse Artillery attached Royal Flying Corps) is accidentally killed at age 27 in Mesopotamia. He is the son of ‘Sir’ Charles Anthony King-Harman KCMG and grandson of General ‘Sir’ Robert Biddulph GCB GCMG. He served in the Mohmand Campaign of 1908.
  • Lieutenant John Henry Harford (South Wales Borderers) is killed during a night patrol while lying in a shell-hole close to the German trench attempting to locate the wire. The enemy sends up Very lights and, in trying to confirm his work, he shows himself and is shot dead by a German sniper. He is the son of the 1st Baronet and grandson of the Right Honorable St. John Raikes, late Postmaster-General.
  • Second Lieutenant Robert Donald Neil (Royal Scots Fusiliers) is killed in action at age 22. He is the son of the Reverend James Raikes.
  • Lieutenant John Cedric Jervis (Royal Flying Corps) is killed at age 26 when he is shot down becoming the last victim of Oswald Boelcke. He is the son of the Reverend John Jervis Vicar of Snitterield and has a brother who will be killed in July 1918 in Mozambique.
  • Sergeant Henry Gray (Cameron Highlanders of Canada) is killed. His brother will be killed next April.
  • Lance Corporal George William Andrews (West Surrey Regiment) is killed at age 20. His brother will die of wounds in March 1918.
  • Private Norman Wilson Chambers (Durham Light Infantry) is killed at age 30. He is the late Assistant Master at Cockfield Council School.
  • Private Fred Dimbleby (Warwickshire Regiment) is killed at age 19. His brother was killed last July.