Monday 30 April 1917 – We Lost 923
Fresh from their recent action at the Battle of Shiala General William Marshall of III Corps leads two infantry brigades northeast up the Adhaim River to meet the next Turkish threat and in due course his force will be supplemented by a third brigade from the south. Aware of the impending arrival of the British the Turks withdraw to pre-prepared positions in the foothills spanning the river at Band-i-Adhaim. The boot-shaped peninsular of high ground sited there will give its name to the Battle of the Boot.
Early this morning General Marshall begins his attack, throwing his entire force at the Turkish positions. Within a short time he succeeded in taking 300 Turkish prisoners and two lines of trenches. The onset of a sandstorm however brings British operations to a halt while the Turks counterattack and push the British back with the loss 350 prisoners. The sandstorm clears by late afternoon, but blistering temperatures ensure that Marshall cannot pursue the now retreating Turks into the mountains. Indeed these attacks bring the Samarrah Offensive to an end.
- Lieutenant Stephen Wriothesley Best (South Wales Borderers) is killed in the Battle of the Boot becoming the third brother to die on that front since February of this year.
- Also killed this day is Private William Boulton (South Lancashire Regiment) killed at age 26. His brother was killed in July 1916.
- Second Lieutenant Patrick McLeod Innes (Royal Garrison Artillery) is killed in action at age 19. He is the grandson of Lieutenant General James John McLeod Innes VC. He was educated at Haileybury College 1911 to 1916 and Head of School. He was elected to a History Scholarship at Trinity College, Cambridge. His younger brother Second Lieutenant Donald McLeod Innes (Black Watch) will be killed in action in October 1918.
Today’s losses include:
- Multiple families that will lose two and three sons in the Great War
- The grandson of a General and Victoria Cross winner
- A man whose father was killed in 19115
- A man whose brother will be killed in Tunisia in 1943
- A 10-victory flying ace
- Multiple sons of members of the clergy
- The son of an Admiral
- A man whose nephew will be killed in 1944
Today’s highlighted casualties include:
- Captain Donald Alastair Leslie Davidson MC (Royal Flying Corps) is killed at age 25. He is the son of Lady Theodorea Davidson and was a Page of Honor to HRH King Edward VII from 1902 through 1908 and is the nephew of Lord Albemarle. His father was killed in August 1915 in command of the Royal Horse Artillery and his brother will be killed in Tunisia in March 1943.
- Lieutenant H Pope-Hennessy (Alberta Regiment) is killed in action at age 31. He is the son of the late ‘Sir’ John Pope-Hennessy, KCMG.
- Flight Sub Lieutenant John Joseph Malone DSO (Royal Naval Air Service) is killed at age 23. He is a 10-victory ace.
- Second Lieutenant Augustine Bonner (General List attached Royal Flying Corps) is killed in action at age 20. He is the son of the late Reverend Henry Bonner.
- Second Lieutenant John Harvey Juniper (Royal Fusiliers) is killed by a sniper at Gavrelle. He is the son of Engineer Rear Admiral W V Juniper..
- Lance Corporal James Gaskarth (King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment) is killed in action at age 26. He is the Uncle of James Albert Gaskarth who will be killed in action in October 1944 while serving in the Royal Artillery.
- 2nd Corporal Mark Athel Chadwick Edgar Noble (Army Ordnance Corps attached Egyptian Expeditionary Force) dies in Alexandria, Egypt at age 25. He is the son of the Reverend Mark Athel Noble Rector of East Acklam.