Saturday 10 March 1917 – We Lost 463

by greatwarliveslost

Archibald Bisset Smith VC

Archibald Bisset Smith VC

Recognizing his difficulties along the Diyala Maude orders the bulk of his forces to cross to the west bank by pontoon bridge several kilometers downstream, aiming to outflank the Turks and move directly on Baghdad. The Turkish commander is made aware of British intentions by the newly-arrived German Army Air Service and he consequently dispatches the majority of his force across the Tigris to meet the British, leaving a sole regiment to defend the Diyala position.  This is promptly taken by the British this morning. The Turkish commander decides to retire from his position at Tel Aswad to instead protect the Baghdad-Berlin railway. Sandstorms end operations for the day and by the time the weather has settled the Turks have decided upon a general retreat from Baghdad itself, discounting German recommendations for a counter-attack.  As a result by 20:00 the evacuation of Baghdad is underway.

In the Atlantic Ocean, S S Otaki, whose armament consists of one 4.7 inch gun, commanded by Lieutenant Archibald Bisset Smith, sights the German raider Moewe who is armed with four 5.9 inch, one 4.1 inch and two 22-pounded guns. The raider calls on Otaki to stop, but Lieutenant Smith refuses to do so and a duel ensues, during which Otaki secures a number of hits and causes considerable damage, but she herself sustains much damage and is put on fire.  The 38-year old Lieutenant Smith orders his crew to abandon ship, but he himself stays on board and goes down with his ship.  In 1919 he will posthumously be promoted to a Temporary Lieutenant in the Royal Naval Reserve and awarded the Victoria Cross which he could not have been awarded as a civilian Master.

The submarine G-13 (Lieutenant Commander George Fagan Bradshaw) sinks the German submarine UC43 off Muckel Flugga.

The Royal Berkshire Regiment is in the forward firing line at Irles near Albert in the Somme sector.  At 05:15 they attack Grevillers Trench in conjunction with the 1st King’s Royal Rifle Corps. The trench is captured as is Bailleul Village and a line of posts is established in front to facilitate the digging of a new assembly trench for a future attack. One hundred prisoners are taken along with three machine guns and two light trench mortars.

Today’s losses include:

  • A Victoria Cross winner
  • The grandson of an Alderman and Justice of the Peace
  • The grandson of a Baronet
  • Multiple families that will lose two sons in the Great War
  • A former Scoutmaster

Today’s highlighted casualties include:

  • Captain John Douglas Barford Warwick (Hunts Cyclists attached Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry) is killed at age 23. He is the grandson of the late Alderman William Warwick JP.
  • Second Lieutenant Leslie Yorath Sanders (Royal Garrison Artillery attached Royal Engineers) is killed at age 23. He is the son of ‘Sir’ Charles J O Sanders KBE.
  • Second Lieutenant Vernon Savile Beevor (Essex Regiment) is killed at age 19. He is the grandson of ‘Sir’ Thomas Beevor 4th
  • Corporal Robert John Ridgway (Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry) is killed at age 21. His brother was killed in May 1915.
  • Lance Corporal Henry Mansell Chambers (Royal Fusiliers) dies of wounds received in action while laying out wires. He is a former scoutmaster and his brother was killed in action in July 1916.
  • Private Thomas William Dent (North Lancashire Regiment) is killed at age 40. His brother was killed in January 1915.
  • Private Stanley Allcock (Sherwood Foresters) dies of wounds. His brother was killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.