Saturday 7 July 1917 – We Lost 524
A report is received that the enemy is preparing to raid our trenches near Hill 60. Immediately Second Lieutenant Frederick Youens (Durham Light Infantry), who is already wounded, sets out to rally a Lewis gun team which has become disorganized. While doing this an enemy bomb falls on the Lewis gun position without exploding. The lieutenant picks it up and hurls it over the parapet, but soon after another bomb falls near the same place and again he picks it up, but this one explodes in his hand, severely wounding him and some of his men. He will succumb to his wounds later today and within a month be awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross.
Second Lieutenant Leonard Nield Cook MC (King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment) is killed at age 20. He is killed instantaneously, with two other officers of the same company, by a shell in their dug-out at the little village of Villers Pluich, near Gouzeaucourt and Beaucamp, in the course of the night after his return from his first leave home. He had volunteered for a raid, and is probably talking over it with the other two officers when they are all killed He wrote the following poem.
Then, brothers-for the time is very near
When I, the youngest floweret of the heath,
Will open in the gloomy courts of Fear,
Perchance to crown the palid brow of Death-
O let me, clinging to the greensward here,
Drink in God’s quietness with every breath.
Today’s losses include:
- A Victoria Cross winner
- A poet
- A battalion commander
- The grandson of a member of the clergy
- Multiple families that will lose two sons in the Great War
- A member of the Blackheath Harriers and son of the clubs President
- A suicide
Today’s highlighted casualties include:
- Lieutenant Colonel H W Compton (commanding 12th Royal Fusiliers) dies of wounds received 9th June by a shell that killed
- Captain Clive Alan Whittingham (Royal Army Medical Corps).
- Captain Reginald Herbert Griffin (Royal Field Artillery attached Royal Garrison Artillery) dies of wounds at age 38. He is the grandson of the Reverend Honorable William Henry Spencer.
- Lieutenant James Crafter MC (Royal Flying Corps) is killed at age 23. His brother was killed in November 1914 and they are sons of the President of the Blackheath Harriers and he is a member of the Harriers.
- Sergeant James Colston (Inniskilling Fusiliers) is killed. His brother was killed last September.
- Private William Merriman (West Yorkshire Regiment) commits suicide by hanging at age 38. He is at home with a wounded arm and is scheduled to return to the front and is suffering depression.