Monday 1 January 1917 – We Lost 566
On this foggy and wintery day, four new Handley Page O/100 heavy bombers take off from England for delivery to the Royal Flying Corps in France. One machine, under the command of Flight Lieutenant H C Vereker, loses its way and is forced to land in enemy territory. It lands at the aerodrome of Flieger Abteilung (A) 208 at Chalandry. The amazed members of this unit find themselves in possession of not only a new bomber type but also the comprehensive performance documentation. This O/100 is subsequently flown and tested by the Germans until it is crashes at Johannisthal aerodrome on 22 August 1917.
Lieutenant W S Scott (Royal Flying Corps) lands a second agent behind the Bulgar lines while Captain G Murlis Green (Royal Flying Corps) forces down two Albatross two-seaters behind British lines. 53rd Squadron (BE2) arrives in France.
The German submarine UB-47 torpedoes the troopship Ivernia at 10:12, fifty-eight miles south-southeast from Cape Matapan in Greece. Within one hour the ship sinks and 85 troops and thirty-six of her crew drown. The survivors are picked up and landed at Suda Bay on Crete. HMS Racehorse and HMS Rifleman are escorting the troopship when she is lost. The Captain of Ivernia is William Turner who survived as he did when as Captain of RMS Lusitania he was also torpedoed in May 1915.
- Among the fatalities is Private Harry Rule (Army Service Corps) the uncle of Private Andrew Hill Rule MM who will be killed in September 1918.
Today’s losses include:
- The uncle of a man who will be killed in September 1918
- The brother of the Aide de camp to Lord Liverpool
- A military Chaplain
- A Constable of the Guildford Police Force
- Multiple families that will lose two and three sons in the Great War
- A man whose wife’s brother was previously killed in the Great War
- A family that will lose four sons in the Great War
- The son of a member of the clergy
Today’s highlighted casualties include:
- Second Lieutenant Ernest Creswell Helmore (Sherwood Foresters) dies of wounds at age 21. His brother is the Aide de Camp to Lord Liverpool.
- Chaplain Peter Grobel dies on service.
- Sergeant Henry John Gascoyne DCM (Coldstream Guards) is killed at age 35. His is a former Constable of the Guildford Police Force.
- Lance Corporal Henry Thomas Bolton (East Surrey Regiment) is killed at age 26. He is the middle of three brothers who are killed in the war. His wife’s brother was killed last December.
- Private Donald Sloan (Black Watch) is killed in action. He is the last of four brothers to be killed in the Great War.
- Private Albert Hewitt (Worcestershire Regiment) is killed in action at age 22 during the relief of Kut. His twin brother was killed last April.
- Private Edgar Frank Rivers (Gloucestershire Regiment) dies of wounds at age 19. His brother was killed in September 1915.
- Private Basil Penty (Australian Infantry) is killed at age 22. His brother was killed last July and they are sons of the Reverend Robert Penty Vicar of Taralga New South Wales.