Wednesday 20 December 1916 – We Lost 310
Captain Arthur Gerald Knight DSO MC (Royal Flying Corps) is shot down in flames and killed after bringing down his eighth German machine. He is flying a DH2 when he becomes the thirteen the victim of Manfred von Richthofen near Monchy au Bois. Knight and Alfred McKay were indirectly responsible for the death of the great German pilot Oswald Boelcke last month. While on patrol over the Somme trench lines, Knight and McKay’s DH2s were attacked by Germany’s leading ace (40 victories). A momentary lapse in concentration on the part of either Boelcke or his friend Erwin Bohme, resulted in a contact between their two machines as they dived in on the British pilots. Although Bohme’s machine escapes comparatively unscathed, Boelcke’s upper wing breaks away and he is killed in the ensuing crash. Captain Knight dies at age 21. Captain McKay will be killed in December of next year. Later this day another two men become the fourteenth victims of the Red Baron when their plane is shot down. Second Lieutenant Lionel George D’Arcy (Connaught Rangers attached Royal Flying Corps) and Sub Lieutenant Reginald Cuthbert Whiteside (Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve attached Royal Flying Corps) are shot down while on an offensive patrol on the 5th Army front. D’Arcy is the son of Hyacinth D’Arcy DL and is killed at age 28. Whiteside is the son of the Reverend W C Whiteside and is killed at age 21.
Today’s losses include:
- The 14th victim of the Red Baron
- A flying Ace
- Multiple sons of members of the clergy
- A family that will lose four sons in the Great War
Today’s highlighted casualties include:
- Lieutenant Robert Eric Odell (Black Watch) is killed at age 22. He is the son of the Reverend Robert William Odell Vicar of St Mathew’s Brighton.
- Second Lieutenant Nigel Felton Drummond (King’s Royal Rifle Corps) is killed at age 21. He is the grandson of the Reverend Arthur Hislop Drummond.
- Corporal Jack Ware (Royal Army Medical Corps) dies of disease at age 21. He is one of four brothers all of whom will lose their lives in the Great War.