Sunday 8 April 1917 – We Lost 610
Baron von Richthofen shoots down two aircraft (his 38th and 39th victories) resulting in the death of three British officers and the capture of one. Second Lieutenants Keith Ingleby MacKenzie (Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders attached) and Guy Everingham (Royal Fusiliers attached) are killed when their BE2g is shot down while on artillery observation duty west of Vimy over the village of Farbus. At age 18 MacKenzie is the youngest victim of the Red Baron. Lieutenant Everingham is 22 and his brother was killed on Gallipoli in December 1915. Killed earlier today is Lieutenant Leonard Heath Cantle (Surrey Yeomanry attached) who dies at age 21.
Captain Francis Newton Allen Cromie CB DSO (Royal Navy) senior naval officer in the Baltic orders all remaining British submarines (E1, E8, E9, E19, C26, C27 and C35) to be towed out of Helsingfors (modern Helsinki) to sea. Explosives are placed against their pressure hulls and they are scuttled to avoid their falling into Bolshevik hands. All the crews return to England while Cromie proceeds to Petrograd where he will become the Naval Attaché.
The steamer Torrington is torpedoed and sunk 150 miles southwest of the Scilly Islands. The only survivor, her captain, later states the U-Boats captain lines up 20 surviving members of his crew on the casing of his submarine, orders him below as a prisoner of war, and then dives the U-boat to drown all the remaining crewmen. A total of 34 are lost.
Today’s losses include:
- Three victims of the Red Baron including his youngest victim
- Multiple families that will lose two sons in the Great War
- The son of a member of the clergy
Today’s highlighted casualties include:
- Second Lieutenant Harry Elsmore Howard (Northumberland Fusiliers) is killed in action at age 29. His older brother had been killed in December 1915.
- Second Lieutenant David Holbech (King’s Royal Rifle Corps) is killed at age 19. He is the son of the Reverend Hugh Holbech Rector of Bredon and Canon of Coventry.
- Sergeant Peter Francis Church (Bedfordshire Regiment) is killed. His brother was killed last July.