Monday 23 July 1917 We Lost 692
Two Brigadier Generals are killed in separate actions today. Brigadier General Charles William Eric Gordon General Officer Commanding 123rd Brigade 41st Division is killed in action at age 39. The General and his Brigade Major, Captain George Frederick Pragnall (Royal West Kent Regiment) are killed by a direct hit by a shell on the overland track between “Spoil Bank” and Voormezeele. The General is instantly killed while Captain Pragnell dies five minutes later at age 26. He is the only son of ‘Sir’ George Pragnell. Brigadier General John Arthur Tanner CB, CMG, DSO (Chief Engineer, VII Corps) is killed in action at age 59 by a shell behind Wancourt while on his way to inspect the defences at “Cavalry Farm”. Brigadier-General Gordon was given a Commission in the The Black Watch in 1897 and served with his Regiment throughout the South African War, being present at the Battles of Paardeberg, Poplar Grove, Dreifontein, and many other engagements, and received the Queen’s and the King’s Medals with six clasps. He then accompanied his Battalion to India, where he spent ten years, being Adjutant from 1909 to 1912. In March 1915 he went to France as Adjutant of the South Staffordshire Regiment but in the following June he rejoined the Black Watch and was severely wounded at the Battle of Loos. In March 1916 he was appointed Lieutenant Colonel of a Battalion of the Black Watch and commanded it at the Battle of Longueval, on the Somme. In the following September he received the command of a Brigade and served at Vimy Ridge in the trenches, and at the Battle of Messines.
Today’s losses include:
- Two Brigadier Generals
- The son of a General
- A Brigade Major
- A battalion commander
- The son of a member of the clergy
- Multiple families that will lose two and three sons in the Great War
- The grandson of a Viscount and a Baronet
- A member of the clergy
- A Kilmamock footballer
- A Margate Thursday footballer
Today’s highlighted casualties include:
- Lieutenant Colonel Edward Hyde Openshaw (commanding 1st/4th Somerset Light Infantry) is killed in Mesopotamia at age 49. He is the son of the Reverend W T Openshaw.
- Captain Robert Newton Thomas (General List attached Royal Flying Corps) is killed at age 26 in Palestine when shot down by Anti Aircraft Fire. Two of his brothers will be killed in the War the first in January 1916 the second in July 1918. They are sons of Brigadier General ‘Sir’ Owen Thomas. Killed with him in the flight is Second Lieutenant John Wesley Howells (Lancashire Regiment attached Royal Flying Corps). He is a Wesleyan Minster. They are the only Royal Flying Corps casualties in Palestine this month.
- Captain H E H Clayton-Smith (King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry) is killed at age 26. His brother was killed in December 1915.
- Lieutenant Archibald Ronald Grant-Suttie (Royal Horse Artillery) is killed in action at age 20. He is the grandson of both ‘Sir’ George Grant-Suttie of Balgone 5th Baronet and the 7th Viscount Dawnay. Lieutenant William Slinger (East Lancashire Regiment) is killed in action. His brother was killed in November 1916.
- 2nd Corporal David Glencross Slimmon MM (Royal Engineers) is killed at age 21. He played for the Kilmarnock Football Club.
- Lance Corporal William Webb (Grenadier Guards) dies of wounds at age 23. He is a member of the Margate Thursday Football Club.
- Private Henry Cecil Wilmot (Worcestershire Regiment) dies at home at age 26. He is a son of the late Reverend Francis Edmund William Wilmot Rector of Munnington who will lose a third son in October of this year having also lost a son in August 1916.
- Gunner Percy Hemshall (Royal Field Artillery) is killed at age 26. His brother will be killed in November.
- Private John Herbert Marsh (Manchester Regiment) is killed at age 25. His brother will be killed next September.
- Gunner Cecil Bennifer (Royal Field Artillery) is killed at age 19 two months after his brother was killed.