Wednesday 11 April 1917 – We Lost 3,245
The Battle of Shiala essentially comprises an action intended to rescue isolated and outnumbered British cavalry during the Samarrah Offensive. With British Commander-in-Chief ‘Sir’ Frederick Maude’s determination to prevent a Turkish force of 15,000 retreating from the Russians in Persia to the north of Baghdad, meeting up with regional forces, he dispatches cavalry under to with infantry attacks.
The cavalry find themselves outnumbered and consequently require two infantry brigades under General Marshall to provide relief. To the surprise of both British and Turkish commanders the relieving force unexpectedly encounters part of the Turkish 2nd Division – the latter fresh from its defeat of the British at Jebel Hamlin and currently engaged in a flank attack at Shiala on the River Diyala, around 30km west of the River Tigris. A scramble for the high ground ensues, with the British reaching it first, and with the arrival shortly thereafter of heavy 18-pounder guns successive Turkish infantry attacks are handily beaten off. Eventually the Turkish force withdraws to a temporary haven in the Jebel Hamlin Mountains and General Marshall rejoins the main advance upon the railway at Samarrah.
During this morning Flight Lieutenant Lloyd Samuel Breadner (Royal Naval Air Service) destroys a hostile machine which falls in flames, brings down another in a spinning nose dive with one wing folded up, and forces a third down. Flight Commander Joseph S T Fall (Royal Naval Air Service), while escorting bombing machines, brings down three hostile aircraft. The first he attacks and brings down completely out of control. He is then attacked by three hostile scouts who force him down to within about two hundred feet of the ground. By skilllful piloting he maneuvers his machine close behind one of them, which is driven down and wrecked. Shortly afterwards, he is again attacked by a hostile scout, which he eventually brings down a short time before re-crossing the lines. He then lands at one of the aerodromes, his machine having been riddled with bullets from the hostile machines, and also by rifle fire from the ground.
The steamship Gretaston (Master W Niven) is lost with all hands. Her master dies at age 61 and he is one of 29 to go down with her.
- Lieutenant Donald Mackintosh (Seaforth Highlanders) is shot through the right leg during an advance north of Fampoux, France. Though crippled he continues to lead his men and captures the enemy trench. In this trench he collects the men of another company who have lost their leader and drives back a counterattack. He is again wounded and although unable to stand he continues to control the situation. With only fifteen men left he orders his party to be ready to advance to the final objective and with great difficulty gets out of the trench and encourages his men to advance. He is at this point mortally wounded. For these actions he will be awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously. He is the son of Colonel Donald Mackintosh CB MVO MB LlD of the Western Infirmary House, Glasgow and he dies at age 21.
- Second Lieutenant William Dawson (Seaforth Highlanders) is killed in action at age 28. He is the son of the Reverend William Dawson.
- Second Lieutenant Robert Alexander Cameron MacMillan (Seaforth Highlanders) is killed in action at age 33. He is the son of the Reverend John MacMilan.
- Private Samuel C O Sutherland (Seaforth Highlanders) is killed in action at age 22 at Arras. He is the third of three brothers who are killed in a six-month period.
Today’s losses include:
- A Victoria Cross winner
- Multiple sons of members of the clergy
- Multiple families that will lose two and three sons in the Great War
- A General
- Multiple battalion commanders
- The son of a Surgeon General
- The son of a military chaplain
- A Gold Medal Olympian
- Multiple Australian Rules footballers
- A man whose father was killed during the relief of Ladysmith in South Africa War
- An Assistant headmaster of two schools
- A Hampshire cricketer
- A Grandson of the 4th Marquis of Ailesbury
- An apprentice writer to the Signet
- Multiple men whose sons will be killed in the Second World War
- A footballer for multiple clubs including Swansea City and Maidstone
- A member of the Marlowes Baptist Church choic
- Brothers killed together
Today’s highlighted casualties include:
- Brigadier General Charles Bulkeley Bulkeley-Johnson CB General Officer Commanding 8th Cavalry Brigade 3rd Cavalry Division is shot dead when out, almost alone, on a personal reconnaissance at Monchy at age 50. He joined the Royal Scots Greys in 1887, becoming a Captain in 1894 and a Major in 1902. He took part in the Nile Expedition of 1899, and was present at the operations which led up to the final defeat of the Khalifa. He was mentioned in Dispatches and received the British Medal and the Egyptian Medal with two clasps. He also held the following Honors: Order of the Mejidieh (4th Class), Legion of Honor (Officer), St. George (3rd Class) for Valor, being the sole recipient of the latter under the rank of Field-Marshal. He was one of the best heavy-weight riders in the Army and a fine player of both polo and cricket. He was also a most successful big-game hunter,
- Lieutenant Colonel Herbert Edward Trevor Wollaston (Northamptonshire Regiment commanding 9th Essex Regiment) is killed in action at age 32. He is the son of Surgeon General ‘Sir’ Francis Wollaston Trevor KCSI CB.
- Major Percy Charles Herbert Black DSO DCM (Australian Infantry) is killed at the First Battle of Bullecourt while commanding the right flank of his battalion. His battalion is exposed to uncut wire and machine gun fire after a tank offensive fails to clear a passage. Black, leading his men forward, yells “Come on boys, bugger the tanks!” He captures the first trenches before he is shot in the head while pressing on towards the support line. Knowing the attack will be difficult, Black says to his commanding officer beforehand “Well, goodbye Colonel. I mayn’t come back but we will take the Hindenburg Line”.
- Lieutenant Colonel Walter Wilson Stewart (commanding 1st Canadian Machine Gun Corps) is killed at age 45.
- Major Harold Millard (Northamptonshire Regiment) is killed at age 42. He is the son of Chaplain the Reverend Frederick Millard Chaplain at Havre.
- Captain Virgil Tucker (Australian Infantry) is killed at age 28. He is the son of the Venerable Archdeacon William Frederic Tucker Dean of Ballarat.
- Captain Herbert Haydon Wilson DSO (Royal Horse Guards) is killed in action at age 42. He is the youngest son of the late ‘Sir’ Samuel Wilson and served in the South African War. He was a member of the 1908 British polo team Roehampton which won the gold medal at the Olympics.
- Captain Alfred Williamson (Australian Infantry) is killed at age 23. He is an Australian Rules Footballer who played 19 games and scored 7 goals from 1912 to 1914.
- Captain Montegu Locke Yeatherd (Lancers) is killed at age 33. His brother was killed last September and their father Lieutenant Colonel E W Yeatherd (Lancashire Regiment) was killed during the relief of Ladysmith in the South Africa War.
- Captain Cecil Herbert Wyndham Bodington (Household Battalion Royal Horse Guards) is killed at age 36. He is the son of the Reverend Herbert James Bodington Vicar of Upton Grey. He was the Assistant Headmaster of Elstree and Stanmore Park Preparatory Schools and played cricket for Hampshire from 1901-2.
- Captain William Arthur Verschoyle (Royal Irish Fusiliers) is killed in action at age 27. His brother Francis Stuart Verschoyle also fell.
- Lieutenant John West Walker (Lincolnshire Regiment) is killed at age 19. He is the son of the Reverend Canon Gilbert George Walker Rector of Barkston.
- Lieutenant Gerald Somerville Yeats Cullen (Irish Fusiliers) is killed at age 19. He is the son of the Reverend James Edward Cullen.
- Lieutenant Giles Havergal Shaw (Bedfordshire Regiment) dies of wounds at age 23. His brother will be killed in November 1918 and they are sons of the Reverend William Shaw Rector of Stapleton.
- Lieutenant John Walker (Lincolnshire Regiment) is killed in action at age 19. He is the son of the Reverend Canon Gilbert George Walker.
- Lieutenant James Ernest John Brudenell-Bruce (Northamptonshire Yeomanry) dies of wounds received while waiting for the order to advance on Monchy le Preux, at the Battle of Arras at age 38. He is the eldest son of the Right Honorable Lord Robert Brudenell Bruce, and grandson of the 4th Marquis of Ailesbury. Lieutenant Brudenell Bruce volunteered in August 1914 and received a commission in the Northamptonshire Yeomanry. He went to the Front in February 1915 and fought in the 2nd Battle of Ypres, and in the Battle of Neuve Chapelle.
- Second Lieutenant John Frazer Smith (Cameron Highlanders) is killed at age 19. He is an apprentice writer to the Signet.
- Second Lieutenant Cyprian Bourne (West Surrey Regiment) is killed at age 29. He is the son of the Reverend Stephen Eugene Bourne Vicar of Dunston.
- Second Lieutenant David Melvyn Rees (Durham Light Infantry) is killed at age 21. He is the son of the Reverend J Rees.
- Corporal Cecil Charles Kentsbeer (Lincolnshire Regiment) is killed at age 24. He is the first of three brothers who will lose their lives as a result of war service.
- Lance Corporal Leonard Charles Goss (Bedfordshire Regiment) is killed. His son will lose his life in the Second World War.
- Lance Corporal Sidney Irons (Warwickshire Regiment) is killed at age 24. His older brother was killed last February.
- Private John Henry Bamford (Royal Army Medical Corps) is killed on Salonika at age 28. His brother will be killed in four months.
- Private George Edmund Challis (Australian Infantry) is “blown to bits” at age 19. He is also an Australian Rules Football Player.
- Private Alfred James Christian (Australian Infantry) is killed in action at age 27. His brother will be killed in February 1918.
- Private Ernest Rewell Dalziell (Australian Infantry) is killed at age 18. His brother was killed in August 1916.
- Private Frank Harold King (Royal Fusiliers) is killed at age 21. His brother was killed in July 1916.
- Bombardier Frank Alfred Alcock (Royal Field Artillery) is killed at age 24. His brother died on service in February 1915.
- Private George William Woodcock (Middlesex Regiment) is killed. His brother will be killed in October.
- Bombardier Spencer Thomas Bassett (Royal Garrison Artillery) dies of wounds at age 32. His football career began at Maidstone United where he played on the right of midfield. In 1909 he was picked up by Woolwich Arsenal. He however did not stay long with the Gunners and scored only a single goal before being transferred to Exeter City where he spent three successful seasons ‘as a very fine centre half’. A brief period with Swansea City followed before he joined Southend United for the war disrupted 1914-15 season.
- Private William Arthur Barnes (Suffolk Regiment) is killed on this 25th He is a member of the Marlowes Baptist Church choir.
- Private John Clarke (Machine Gun Corps) is killed. His brother will be killed in May 1918.
- Private Walter Ernest 20, and Corporal William George White 33, brothers are killed serving in the Canadian Machine Gun Corps.
- Rifleman Arthur Thomas Gilruth (London Regiment) is killed at age 28. His brother was killed last September.
- Private William Cheyne (Seaforth Highlanders) is the middle of three brothers who are killed in the war when he dies today.
- Private Albert Vines (Somerset Light Infantry) is killed at age 35. His brother was killed in January 1915.
- Private Edward Rishton (East Lancashire Regiment) is killed. Hi son will be killed serving in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve in March 1943.
- Private William Walter Russell (Royal Fusiliers) is killed. His brother was lost with HMS Good Hope in November 1914.