Tuesday 13 March 1917 – We Lost 406
Fresh from his success in securing the fall of Baghdad, regional British Commander-in-Chief ‘Sir’ Frederick Stanley Maude barely pauses before launching an offensive further north to consolidate the new Anglo-Indian position at Baghdad, at present threatened by some 10,000 troops to the north of the city. Thus the Samarrah Offensive – incorporating the Battle of Istabulat – will be launched with 45,000 frontline troops and run for approximately six weeks before operations are effectively called off until the autumn. Maude determines that no further significant offensive can be considered until his Anglo-Indian force has seized control of the Samarrah railway, some 130km north of Baghdad. In planning to capture Samarrah Maude devises a four-pronged plan: to initiate a series of small-scale attacks up the River Tigris; to prevent deliberate Turkish flooding of the plains around the Euphrates River.
Operations begin today with a successful raid on Turkish lines a little north of the city, forcing a Turkish 35km retreat to the junction of the rivers Tigris and Adhaim.
Today’s losses include:
- The great grand nephew of the 1st Rajah of Sarawak
- A military Chaplain
- A police officer
- An Australian Rules footballers
- Families that will two, three and four sons in the Great War
Today’s highlighted casualties include:
- Chaplain the Reverend Vincent Coke Boddington (attached Royal Army Medical Corps) dies at age 30 at home.
- Second Lieutenant Henry William Hutchinson (Leicestershire Regiment) is killed in action at age 19. He is the son of ‘Sir’ Sydney Hutchinson Kt and he is an Exhibitioner of New College, Oxford.
- Second Lieutenant Frederick Robert Richmond (Durham Light Infantry) is killed in action. His brother was killed in August 1916.
- Sergeant John Henry Brown (Royal Field Artillery) is killed at age 27. His brother will die of wounds in less than two months.
- Sergeant Edward Harrison (Australian Infantry) dies of wounds at age 32. He is a policeman and Australian Rules Footballer who played 7 games for South Melbourne.
- Corporal D McCheyne (Cameron Highlanders) is killed at age 22. He is the second of four brothers who are killed in the war.
- Private John William Edwards (Norfolk Regiment) dies of wounds received in action at age 29. His brother will be killed in December of this year.
- Private Percy Edward Trussler (Royal Field Artillery) is killed at age 24. He is the middle of three brothers who will lose their lives in the Great War.
- Private William Brooke (Eastern Ontario Regiment) is killed at age 23. He is the great grand nephew of His Excellency ‘Sir’ James Brooke KCB 1st Rajah of Sarawak.