Tuesday 14 November 1916 – We Lost 1,440
Beaucourt is captured.
The steamship Polpedn, of London, is torpedoed in the English Channel by UB-38, and rapidly begins to sink. The crew has just time to get into the starboard lifeboat and cut the painter, the steamer’s bridge-deck being then level with the water line, when the lifeline is found to be fastly coiled aound Second Officer Peter Thomson’s leg. Realising the danger of the boat being capsized, Mr. Thomson at once jumps overboard, thus freeing the boat, and allowing her to be pushed away as the vessel founders. While under water Mr. Thomson manages to free his leg from the lifeline, and he is afterwards picked up by those in the boat. Mr. Thomson ran the greatest possible risk of losing his life and by his self-sacrifice undoubtedly prevents serious loss of life. For his actions he will be awarded the Albert Medal.
Lance Sergeant Hector Hugh Munro (Royal Fusiliers) the author ‘Saki’, a special correspondent and journalist is killed in action at Beaumont Hamel by a sniper at age 45. He wrote witty, mischeievous and sometimes macrbre stories satirizing Edwardian society and culture. He wrote a full length play The Watched Pot , two one act plays, a historical study The Rise of the Russian Empire, a short novel The Unbearable Bassington among many publications. In 1914 he lied about his age to enlist. His last words were “put out that bloody cigarette”. After his death his sister destroyed most of his papers. He was homosexual but due to law that side of his life was kept secret.
Today’s losses include:
- A special correspondent and journalist
- Multiple families that will two and three sons in the Great War
- A Military Chaplain
- Multiple sons of members of the clergy
- A cricket player at Durham School
- Hemel Hempstead Swimming Club member
- A family that will lose five sons in the Great War
- The brother of a Justice of the Peace
- A man whose son will be killed in the Second World War
- A man whose father has been previously killed in the Great War
- A 17-year old
Today’s highlighted casualties include:
- Major George Matson Nicholas DSO (Australian Infantry) is killed at age 29. His brother will be killed next October. Last month he married to Australian artist Hilda Rix Nicholas. This is a charcoal study of him done by his wife.
- Surgeon Godfrey Alan Walker (Royal Naval Division) is killed by a bursting shell while attending the wounded at age 28. His brother was killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.
- Chaplain the Reverend Ernest Wilberforce Trevor attached Rifle Brigade is killed at age 30 when his forward dressing station is shelled. He is the son of the Reverend George Wilberforce Trevor Rector of Beeford. He played cricket while at Durham School.
- Second Lieutenant Frederic James Larken (Northumberland Fusiliers) is killed at age 38. His brother will be killed in September 1918.
- Second Lieutenant William Morrison Stewart (Australian Infantry) is killed at age 30 less than six months after his brother was killed serving in the Quebec Regiment.
- Second Lieutenant William Donald Wilkinson (Essex Regiment) is killed on the Somme. He was a member of the Hemel Hempstead Swimming Club.
- Second Lieutenant Frank Collett Reeve Beechey (East Yorkshire Regiment) dies of wounds at age 30. He is the second of five brothers to lose his life in the Great War. They are sons of the Reverend Prince William Beechey Rector of Freisthorpe.
- Able Seaman Walter Hunt (Hood Battalion Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve) is killed at age 18. His brother was killed in May 1915.
- Private Edward Duncan Righton (Royal Fusiliers) is killed in action at age 20. His older brother was killed serving in the same regiment in August of this year.
- Private J Harris (Sussex Regiment) is killed. He is the brother of Epping Council Chairman E Harris JP.
- Private John Swanson (Seaforth Highlanders) is killed in action at Ancre at age 21. His brother will be killed in April 1917.
- Private Don Sutherland (Seaforth Highlanders) is killed in action at Beaumont Hamel. His brother will be killed in April 1917.
- Private Don Gow (Seaforth Highlanders) dies of wounds. His brother will be killed in April
- Private James William Saxton (Berkshire Regiment) is killed at age 33. He is the last of three brothers who will lose their lives in the Great War.
- Private James M Leslie (Seaforth Highlanders) is killed at age 32. His son will lose his life on service in the Second World War.
- Able Seaman Alexander Ramsay (Drake Battalion Royal Naval Division) dies of wounds at age 18. His brother will be killed in April 1917.
- Private George Colclough (North Lancashire Regiment) is killed at age 17one week short of a year after his father was killed in action.