Sunday May 20 1917 – We Lost 593
Major Valentine Fleming DSO (Oxford Hussars) a Conservative Member of Parliament is killed in action at Gullemont Farm at age 35. Fleming was born in Fife, Scotland, the son of wealthy Scottish banker Robert Fleming, founder of merchant bank Robert Fleming & Co. He is descended from William the Conqueror. He is the father of five sons including Ian Fleming the creator and author of the James Bond character and Captain Michael Valentine Paul Fleming who will die of wounds in France in 1940. He was a Member of Parliament for Henley from 1910 until his death. In 1914 Major Fleming joins “C” Squadron Queen’s Own Oxfordshire Hussars rising to the rank of Major. His obituary will be written by his close friend Winston Churchill.
The Q-Ship schooner HMS Mary B Mitchell (Lieutenant Lawrie) sinks the German submarine UB-36 near Ushant.
Among the merchant ships sunk today is SS Caspian (Master Arthur Douse) which is torpedoed in the Mediterranean Sea three and a half miles east from Cape Cervera, Spain by U-34. A total of 25 are lost including her master who is killed at age 54. Dana, sailing vessel and Mientji, sailing vessel are both captured by a submarine and sunk by bombs 25 miles north from Les Hanois. Also SS Tycho is torpedoed by UB-40 16 miles west by south from Beachy Head. As she begins to go down by the head the order to abandon ship is given at 17:10, ten minutes after the ship is struck and is carried out without casualties. The vessel goes down 10 minutes later. The crew pulls towards the ship SS Porthkerry which has seen the explosion and is standing by about 200 yards off the port beam. As the Tycho’s boats come along side another torpedo is fired by UB40 blowing up one of Tycho’s boats killing the Master and 14 men including Second Mate Ernest Carmichael who is killed at age 21. His brother died on service at home last December and capsizing the other boat. The Porthkerry is seriously damaged and abandoned going down in three minutes after being struck by the torpedo. Seven of her crew are killed including her Master. The survivors from both ships are picked up at 19:00 this evening by a small coastal steamer and will be landed at Newhaven at midnight.
Today’s losses include:
- A Conservative Member of Parliament
- A descendant of William the Conqueror
- The father of Ian Fleming creator of the character James Bond
- A man whose son will be killed in the 1940
- A man whose obituary will be written by Winston Churchill
- Multiple families that will lose two and three sons in the Great War
- The son-in-law of a member of the clergy
- The son of a Justice of the Peace
- The son of a member of the clergy
Today’s highlighted casualties include:
- Captain Charles Mortimer Austin Gunn (Cameronians) is killed. His brother was killed in February 1915.
- Captain James Hartnoll (Royal Horse Artillery) dies of enteric fever, at El Kantara, Egypt at age 34. He was the son in law of the late Reverend W R Blackitt. Captain Hartnoll joined the Berkshire Royal Horse Artillery in 1910, was mobilized with his Regiment on the outbreak of the War and was sent to Egypt in April 1915. He was gazetted Captain in June 1917. He served in Egypt, Aden, and on the Palestine Front.
- Lieutenant Francis Somerled Joseph Silvertop (Oxfordshire Hussars) is killed at age 33. His brother will be killed in November.
- Second Lieutenant Thomas Armin Oppe (Cameronians) is killed in action at age 36. His brother has been killed in action in November 1915.
- Second Lieutenant Hyde Tregallas Garrett (General List attached Royal Flying Corps) is killed in action at age 22. He is the son of Mark Garrett JP.
- Second Lieutenant Laurence Bernard Forrest (King’s Royal Rifle Corps) is killed at age 19. His brother was killed in September 1916 and they are sons of Canon Ernest Francis Forrest Vicar of Pemberton.
- Private John Arthur Quarterman (Machine Gun Corps) is killed at age 28. He is the last of three brothers who are killed in the Great War.