Sunday 5 August 1917 We Lost 840
At about 06:00 four small advanced listening posts near Groenenburg Farm occupied by the East Surrey Regiment repel in a thick mist an attack on their left flank by thirty-five to fifty Germans. About 08:00 another attack from the front is driven off with loss to the enemy, but a third attack, this time on their left right flank, compels the garrisons of the post to fall back through Jordan Trench to the supporting post known as Alarm Weg leaving approximately fifteen behind either dead or wounded. Later in the morning the Commanding Officer, comes up to make a personal reconnaissance. While observing over the parapet, Lieutenant Colonel Henry Victor Mottet de la Fontaine DSO (commanding 5th East Surrey Regiment) age 44 is shot through the head by a German sniper while investigating his battalion’s situation after an enemy counter-attack, dying soon afterwards. He is a South African War veteran. Second Lieutenant L H Webb returns with valuable information and that night leads forward under heavy shell fire a party which re-establishes the front line. For this service he will awarded the Military Cross.
Today’s losses include:
- A Victoria Cross winner
- Multiple battalion commanders
- Multiple sons of members of the clergy
- Multiple families that will lose two and three sons in the Great War
- A Military Chaplain
Today’s highlighted casualties include:
- Temporary Lieutenant Colonel Bertram Best-Dunkley (Lancashire Fusiliers) dies of wounds received in action at Wieltje, Belgium performing the acts on the 31st July that will win him the posthumous Victoria Cross. He dies at age 27.
- Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Henry Boardman DSO (commanding 8th Inniskilling Fusiliers) dies of wounds.
- Major John Charles Temple Gaskell (Punjabis attached Baluchis) is killed in Dar Es Salaam at age 34. He is the son of the Reverend Thomas Kynaston Gaskell Rector of Longthorpe who lost another son in the sinking of HMS Good Hope.
- Captain and Adjutant Frank Symons Mills (Somerset Light Infantry) is killed at age 32. He is the son of the Reverend Benjamin Mills Vicar of Christ Church Ploymouth.
- Captain E M Cunningham MC (Duke of Wellington’s Regiment) is killed at age 24. He is the son of the Reverend Thomas Scudamore Cunningham.
- Lieutenant Maurice Wotton Thomas (Royal Field Artillery attached Royal Flying Corps) is killed at age 21. His brother was killed in August 1915.
- Chaplain Herbert Hinton East (attached Cheshire Regiment) is killed at age 30.
- Private Benjamin Fox (British Columbia Regiment) is killed on Hill 70. His brother will die of wounds in less than two weeks.
- Private Jesse Young (Cambridgeshire Regiment) is killed at age 21. His two brothers were killed in August 1914 and December 1916.
- Private Robert H M Cameron (Seaforth Highlanders) dies of wounds. His brother was killed in December 1914.
- Private Harold Taylor (Northamptonshire Regiment) dies of head wounds at age 22. He is the first of three brothers who will be killed over the next eight months.