Thursday 3 May 1917 – We Lost 7,382

by greatwarliveslost

Robert Grierson Combe

At Arras the 14th Division attacks with two brigades – each with two battalions the in front line.  The 41st Brigade on the right has the 8th Rifle Brigade on the right and the 8th King’s Royal Rifle Corps on the left, while the 42nd Brigade has the 6th Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry on the right and the 9th Rifle Brigade on the left.  The attack has two objectives, first, a line running north eastwards along the road along the road from St. Michaels Statue for fifteen hundred yards to within two hundred yards of a wood known as Triangle Wood.  Second a line running north and south one thousand yards east of St. Michaels Statue.  Zero hour is 03:45.  Heavy losses are suffered but the objectives are taken, machine guns in Triangle Wood cause severe losses as well as a very heavy enemy bombardment on the entire Divisional area as far back as Brigade Headquarters. Among those killed is

  • Captain James Bannerman Lorimer (Cameron Highlanders attached Rifle Brigade) is killed in action at age 37. He is the son of the late Sheriff of the Counties of Aberdeen, Kincardine and Banff. He was also a writer to the Signet.
  • Captain Archibald Cameron (Cameron Highlanders) is killed at age 31. He is the son of Donald Cameron 24th Chief of Clan Cameron who lost another son in September 1914.
  • Second Lieutenant John Legg Bulmer (Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry) is killed at agae 22. He is the son of the Reverend Edward Bulmer Rector of St Martin.
  • Second Lieutenant Charles Croke Harper (Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry) is killed at age 36. He is the son of the Reverend Edward James Harper Rector of Broughton.
  • Rifleman John William Nichols (Rifle Brigade) killed at age 20. His brother will be killed in two weeks.

Flight Sub Lieutenant Robert Leckie (Royal Naval Air Service) drops two bombs on the Ostend Seaplane Base with good results, making two trips.

The hired transport Transylvania leaves Marseilles for bound for Alexandria with a full complement carrying about two hundred officers and two thousand eight hundred sixty troops and escorted by the Japanese destroyers Matsu and Sakaki.

Today’s losses include:

  • An Old Amplefordian footballer
  • Multiple sets of brothers killed together
  • A member of the clergy
  • A school master from South Africa
  • A Rugby footballer
  • A Rhodes scholar
  • An FA Football Cup winner with Manchester United and Manchester City
  • A Broadway actor
  • The son of a former Sheriff
  • A Writer to the Signet
  • The son of the 24th Chief of Clan Cameron
  • Multiple families that will lose two, three, four and five sons in the Great War
  • Multiple sons of members of the clergy
  • Three Victoria Cross winners
  • A member of the Balliol Boat Club
  • Multiple sons of members of the clergy
  • Multiple sons of Baronets
  • The son of a General
  • The son-in-law of Herbert H Asquith
  • Five Australian Rules footballers
  • A fireman
  • A member of the Melbourne Cricket Club
  • Another cricket player
  • A Military Chaplain
  • The grandson of a member of the clergy
  • The man for whom George Watson’s College annual marksmanship is named
  • The son of the 1st and last Baron Woodbridge MP
  • The brother of the future Colonel Commandant of the Royal Army Medical Corps
  • A man whose son will be killed next year

Today’s highlighted casualties include:

  • Lieutenant Robert Grierson Combe (Manitoba Regiment) is killed by an enemy sniper south of Acheville, France. During the day he has steadied his company under intense fire and led them through the enemy barrage, reaching the objective with only five men. With great coolness and courage Lieutenant Combe proceeded to bomb the enemy and inflicted heavy casualties. He collects small groups of men and succeeds in capturing the company’s objective together with eighty prisoners.  He repeatedly charges the enemy driving them before him until the sniper kills him.  For his actions on this day he will be awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross.
  • Corporal George Jarratt (Royal Fusiliers) is, together with some wounded men, taken prisoner and placed under guard in a dugout. During the evening the enemy is driven back by our troops, the leading infantrymen of which commence to bomb the dugouts.  A grenade falls in the dugout, and without hesitation Corporal Jarrett places both of his feet on the grenade, the subsequent explosion blowing off both his legs.  The wounded are later safely removed to our lines, but Corporal Jarrett dies before he can be removed.  He will be awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross for these deeds.
  • Second Lieutenant Victor George Ursell (Shropshire Light Infantry) is killed in action at age 23. He had been the Mathematical Scholar at Balliol, first in the 1st Class Honors List Math Mods in 1913, Proxime Accessit in the University Junior School Exam in 1914 and a member of the Balliol Boat Club. He had also been the liaison and Intelligence Officer at Salonika before transferring to the Western Front.
  • Captain Henry Cecil Pember (Household Battalion) is killed at age 37 while leading an attack on Roeux. He gets within ten yards of the German lines and then comes under heavy machine gun fire, and the Battalion suffers very heavy losses. He is the second son of George Herbert Pember JP for Hants and he is married to the eldest daughter of ‘Sir’ Amherst Selby-Bigge KCB and Lady Selby-Bigge. Captain Pember served in the South African War in the Imperial Yeomanry, Queen’s Own Oxfordshire Hussars. He rejoined his Regiment on the outbreak of the War as a Second Lieutenant and was promoted to the rank of Major. In 1916 he was transferred to the Life Guards and then to the Household Battalion. He went to the Front in January 1917 and was present at the Battles of the Ancre and Arras.
  • Captain Oldric Spencer Portal (Household Battalion) who is killed at age 23. His younger brother had been killed at the Battle of Jutland. They are sons of ‘Sir’ Spencer John Portal 4th
  • Lieutenant Norman Bonham-Carter (Household Battalion) is killed at age 42. He is the brother of ‘Sir’ Edgar Bonham-Carter, General ‘Sir’ Charles Bonham-Carter and ‘Sir” Maurice Bonham-Carter and also the son-in-law of Herbert H Asquith.
  • Captain Frank Oswald Eiloart (London Regiment) is killed by machine fire at age 24. His brother Cyril Herbert Eiloart (Irish Guards attached Guards Machine Gun Regiment) will be killed on 26 September 1918. Captain Eiloart was in British Columbia when the War broke out and immediately enlisted in the British Columbia Horse. He came to England with the second contingent of the Canadian Forces in July 1915, and went to France with the Canadian Mounted Rifles in the following September, serving with them in the neighborhood of Ypres until August 1916. He was then gazetted Second Lieutenant to the London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers), in which his brother, Captain H A Eiloart, was already serving. He went through the Battle of the Somme, and was gazetted Acting Captain in April 1917. Today he is leading his Company in an attack east of Arras and is within twenty yards of the enemy trenches in front of Vis-en-Artois, when he comes across hidden machine-guns and is shot through the heart.
  • Five Australian Rules Footballers are killed in the Battle of Bullecourt.
  • Lieutenant Colonel Maldwyn Leslie Williams (Australian Army Medical Corps) is killed tending the wounded at age 30. He played 7 games for Melbourne University in 1908.
  • Captain Joseph Henry Slater (Australian Infantry) is killed at age 28. He played 108 games scoring 17 goals for Geelong from 1906 to 1914.
  • Corporal Stanley Carlton Martin (Australian Infantry) is killed at age 27. He scored 4 goals in 65 games for Melbourne University from 1909 to 1914.
  • Lance Corporal Arthur Charles Harrison (Australian Infantry) is killed at age 24. He scored 3 goals while playing 20 games in 1911, 1913 and 1914.
  • Private Albert Thomas Hughes (Australian Infantry) is killed at age 26. He scored 1 goal in the 6 games he played in 1911 in Australian Rules football. An Australian Rugby player was also killed.
  • Private John Stuntz (Australian Infantry) a fireman by profession is killed by machine gun fire. He was a pioneer Rugby League player having also played in England for the Warrington Wolves and he played in the first Rugby match in the newly created New South Wales Rugby Football League.
  • Second Lieutenant Henry Clinton Foss (Australian Infantry) is killed at age 29. He is the middle of three brothers who lose their lives in the Great War.
  • Sergeant Harold William Corbett (Australian Infantry) is killed at age 26. He is a pioneer Australian rugby league Sergeant Walter Farquharson (Australian Infantry) is killed at age 25. His brother will be killed in August 1918.
  • Sergeant Robert Angus Whitelaw (Australian Infantry) is killed at age 31. He is one of three brothers who will lose their lives in the Great War the first in August 1916 and second next April.
  • Private John Oliver Toulmin (Australian Infantry) is killed in action at age 26. His brother was killed in July 1915.
  • Private Stan Carlton Martin (Australian Infantry) is killed in action. He was a member of the Melbourne Cricket Club.
  • Private Norman Frank Callaway (Australian Infantry) is killed in action at age 21. He was a well-known New South Wales cricketer who scored 107 in only FC innings. He holds the record for the highest first-class batting average.
  • Private Malcolm Graerme Maccoll (Australian Infantry) is killed at age 46. He is the son of the Reverend Malcolm Maccoll Rector of St Columba Yoker Queensland.
  • Chaplain ‘the Reverend’ Charles Wand Mitchell (attached East Yorkshire Regiment) dies of wounds at age 39.
  • Second Lieutenant Willingham Richard Ekins (East Yorkshire Regiment) is killed in action at age 20. His brother will die while in service in January 1919 and they are sons of the Reverend George Richard Ekins Vicar of St Timothy Sheffield.
  • Private Albert E Gould is killed while serving with the East Yorkshire Regiment at age 23 on the same day his brother Rifleman Joseph is killed with the King’s Royal Rifle Corps at age 33.
  • Private William Johnson (East Yorkshire Regiment) is killed. His brother was killed in February 1915.
  • Lieutenant John Harrison (East Yorkshire Regiment) leads his company against an enemy trench under heavy rifle and machine gun fire, but is repulsed. Reorganizing his command in No Man’s Land, he again attacks under terrific fire, but again without success.  Finally turning around he single-handed makes a dash at the machine gun, hoping to knock it out so as to save the lives of many of his company.  He is killed in the effort and will be awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross for these efforts. His son will be killed as a Captain in the defence of Dunkirk in the next war.
  • Captain Hugh Richard Langbourne DSO (Royal West Surrey Regiment) is killed at age 32. His brother was killed in August 1915.
  • Lieutenant Brian Ashbee Backlake (Royal Fusiliers) is killed at age 22. His brother was killed last October.
  • Lieutenant Morice Bell Thompson (Machine Gun Corps) is killed at age 25. He is the son of the Reverend William Francis Thompson Vicar of Fyfield and his brother Treffry Owen Thompson will go on to become Colonel Commandant of the Royal Army Medical Corps.
  • Lieutenant Charles Harvey Churchman (Suffolk Regiment) is killed at age 22. He is the son of the 1st and last Baron Woodbridge MP.
  • Lieutenant Herbert Frederick Bolton (South Lancashire Regiment attached Machine Gun Corps) is killed at age 22. He is the son of the Reverend Frederick Bolton Vicar of St George’s Darwen.
  • Lieutenant Robert Burns Campbell (King’s Own Scottish Borderers) is killed at age 23. His brother was killed two weeks ago.
  • Second Lieutenant Norman Child Heaton (London Regiment) is killed at age 29. He is the son of the late Reverend A F Heaton, former Rector of Covington parish church.
  • Second Lieutenant James Shepherd Thomas (West Yorkshire Regiment) is killed at age 21. He is the son of the Reverend J D Thomas.
  • Second Lieutenant Albert Eric Thoday (Royal Fusiliers) is killed at age 27. His brother will die in November 1918 in Germany.
  • Second Lieutenant John Lancelot Walmsley Stock (Dorsetshire Regiment) dies of wounds. His brother was killed last November.
  • Second Lieutenant John Brown Kincaid (Royal Scots Fusiliers) is killed at age 25. His brother was killed less than two weeks prior.
  • Second Lieutenant Neil Campbell Darker (Royal Scots) is killed at age 19. In his memory his mother will give a gift to George Watson’s College the Neil Darker Memorial Cup which will be awarded to the best OTC Corps marksman each year.
  • Second Lieutenant Kenneth Lister James (East Kent Regiment) is killed in action at age 28. He is the son of the Reverend Charles Lister James Vicar of Broadhembury and his brother was killed last November.
  • Second Lieutenant Eric Murray Forster (Essex Regiment) is killed in action at age 21. He is the son of James Forster JP.
  • Second Lieutenant Maurice John Lea Walker (Royal West Kent Regiment) is killed in action at age 24. He is the son of the Reverend John William Walker Vicar of Saxthorpe.
  • Second Lieutenant Ralph Hamon Weeley Upton (East Surrey Regiment) is killed at age 19. He is the grandson of the Reverend James Tomkin Rector of Raydon.
  • Second Lieutenant Henry Hamilton Sheridan (Irish Fusiliers) is killed at age 34. He is a member of the Old Amplefordians Football club.
  • Second Lieutenant Edward Kesson Paton (Machine Gun Corps) is killed at age 20. His brother was killed in October 1915.
  • A number of sets of brothers are killed on this day. James and John Benson (Seaforth Highlanders), Private Ewart Gladstone, 23, and Private Leonard Dyson, 26, are killed serving with the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment and Privates George, 24, and John Wellings, 32, are killed serving in the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry.
  • Lieutenant the Reverend Marshall Merson (Scots Fusiliers) is killed at age 27.
  • Lieutenant George Reginald Charles Heale MC (Duke of Wellington’s Regiment) dies of wounds at age 35. He is the son of the Reverend James Newton Heale Vicar of Harbledown. He was a drummer in the South African War and afterwards a school master in Johannesburg. His brother was killed in June 1916.
  • Lieutenant Tom Elsworth Armistead MC (West Yorkshire Regiment) is killed at age 22. He played Rugby football Ilkley Rugby Football Club.
  • Second Lieutenant Leonard Maurice Platnauer (West Yorkshire Regiment) dies of wounds at age 22. He is a Rhodes Scholar.
  • Second Lieutenant Athol Kirkpatrick (East Kent Regiment) is killed at age 31. He is the son of ‘Sir’ James Kirkpatrick 8th Baronet of Closeburn and he has a brother who will be killed in March 1918.
  • Sergeant Walter Harold Ball MM (Royal Fusiliers) is killed at age 22. His brother was killed in September 1915.
  • Sergeant William Ernest Wickham (East Kent Regiment) is killed at age 41. His two brothers will be killed later this year.
  • Lance Sergeant Alexander ‘Sandy’ Turnbull (East Surrey Regiment) a Footballer who won FA Cup medals with Manchester United and City.
  • Corporal Archibald Godfrey Prior (Royal West Kent Regiment) becomes the fourth of five brothers to die in the Great War when he is killed in action on the Western Front. A sixth brother was accidentally killed while serving in the Royal Marines in 1912.
  • Lance Corporal Frederick J Crawley (Bedfordshire Regiment) is killed at age 25. His brother will be killed in October.
  • Lance Corporal Leonard Mead (Leicestershire Regiment) is killed at age 35. His brother died on service last August.
  • Lance Corporal George Rogerson Gibson (Seaforth Highlanders) is killed at age 23. He is the son of Thomas Gibson JP.
  • Lance Corporal Leonard Ballard (Leicestershire Regiment) dies of wounds at age 27. His brother was killed last September.
  • Private Charles Bibby (Royal Fusiliers) a Broadway actor is killed at age 37. He started his acting career with the Benson Company in 1898. He was one of the original members of Miss A E Horniman’s company and later at the Gaiety and accompanied them to Canada.
  • Private George H Price (Liverpool Regiment) is killed at age 25. His brother will be killed in April 1918.
  • Private Arthur Beeby (Northamptonshire Regiment) is killed in action. His brother was killed in July 1916.
  • Private Charles Hyde (Middlesex Regiment) is killed. His brother was killed in September 1915.
  • Private Edwin Albert Hullyer (Royal Fusiliers) is killed at age 19 two days before his brother is also killed.
  • Private Harold Woodford Boyle (Manitoba Regiment) is killed at age 32. He is the son of the late Reverend Felix J Boyle.
  • Private Walter Venni (Northamptonshire Regiment) is killed at age 20. His brother died of wounds in July of last year.
  • Private George Richard Burchnell (Northamptonshire Regiment) is killed at age 19. His brother was killed in May 1915.
  • Private Charles William Webster (Duke of Wellington’s Regiment) is killed at age 30. His brother will die on service in India next September.
  • Private Ben Brotherton (Duke of Wellington’s Regiment) is killed at age 24. His brother will die of pneumonia in the weeks after the war ends.
  • Private William George (Sussex Regiment) is killed at age 34. His brother was killed in November 1915.
  • Private William Henry Ball (London Regiment) is killed at age 20. His brother was killed last week.
  • Private George Day (Bedfordshire Regiment) is killed at age 35. His brother will die of wounds next February.
  • Private Wilfred Joy (West Yorkshire Regiment) is killed in action two weeks after his twin brother met the same fate at age 21.
  • Private William Percy Coomber (London Regiment) is killed in action. His two brothers will also be killed, one in 1916 the other in 1918.
  • Private John Johnson (East Kent Regiment) is killed at age 35. His brother was lost in the sinking of HMS Clan McNaughton in February 1915.
  • Private Sidney W Moore (Northamptonshire Regiment) is killed at age 22.His brother will be killed next August.
  • Private Harry Simpson (West Yorkshire Regiment) is killed at age 24. His brother will die of wounds in July 1918.
  • Private Percy George Love (Royal Fusiliers) is killed. His brother was killed in October 1914.
  • Private Reginald John Beardsworth (Manitoba Regiment) is killed at age 24. He is the son of the Reverend J E Beardworth Vicar of Harbury.
  • Rifleman Leonard Harry Pert (Rifle Brigade) a schoolmaster is killed at age 25.
  • Private William John Pipe (Honorable Artillery Company) is killed at age 28. He is the first of four sons of William Dalby Pipe to be killed in the Great War.