Wednesday 15 August 1917 We Lost 1,642

by greatwarliveslost

Thomas Crisp VC

The Smacks Nelson (Skipper Thomas Crisp age 41) and Ethel & Millie (Skipper Charles William Manning age 45) are engaged in fishing when they are attacked by gunfire from UC-63. The gear on Nelson are let go and the submarine’s fire is returned. The submarine’s fourth shot goes through the port bow just below the waterline, and the seventh shell strikes the skipper partially disemboweling him, and passes through the deck and out through the side of the ship. In spite of the terrible nature of his wound Skipper Crisp retains consciousness, and his first thought is to send off a message that he is being attacked and giving his position. He continues to command his ship until the ammunition is almost exhausted and the smack is sinking. He refuses to be moved into the small boat when the rest of the crew (including his son) are obliged to abandon the vessel as she sinks, his last request is that he might be thrown overboard. After Nelson is sunk, UC-63 turns its attention to Ethel & Millie which is soon hit and stopped, then sunk by gunfire her skipper and six ratings being lost. According to the younger Thomas Crisp, the crew are picked up by the submarine, and last seen lined up on the foredeck. No survivors are found, only a pigeon message picked up saying she was being attacked by a U-boat. It is suggested they were drowned when the U-boat submerged. For his action Skipper Crisp will be awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross.

British troops deliver a new attack against the enemy positions around Lens in which Canadians take Hill 70. On the northwest side of Lens the enemy’s positions are penetrated to a depth of 500 to 1,500 yards. The villages of Cite St Elizabeth, Cite St Emile, Cite St Laurent, the Bois Rase and the western half of BoisHugo are captured.

  • Captain Arthur Hilgrove Bibby (British Columbia Regiment) is killed in action at age 33. He is the son of the Reverend Isaac Bibby.
  • Two members of the Vancouver Police Department are killed together serving in the British Columbia Regiment. Sergeant Reginald Lemon is killed at age 24 while Private Ernest Scarlett is killed at age 38.  Both men are memorialized on the Vimy Memorial.
  • Corporal Frederick George Toogood (British Columbia Regiment) is killed at age 29. His brother was killed in November 1916.
  • Private Gildart Jackson Walker (British Columbia Regiment) is killed in action at age 36. He is the son of the late Reverend G C Walker.
  • Private Walter Cade (British Columbia Regiment) dies on service at age 26. His brother will be killed in August 1918.
  • Private Walter Theodore Slater (British Columbia Regiment) is killed. He is the son of the Reverend Henry Horrocks Slater Rector of Thornbaugh.
  • Private Robert Charles Houghton (Central Ontario Regiment) is killed at age 20. His brother will be killed in October 1918.
  • Private Albert Denslow (Central Ontario Regiment) is killed. His two brothers will also lose their lives in the Great War the first on Gallipoli serving with the Australian Infantry and the second in one week serving in the Somerset Light Infantry. Three brothers killed in the service of three countries.
  • Private Reginald Hubert Hamilton Daniel (Quebec Regiment) is killed in action at age 27. He is the son of the Reverend Canon A W Daniel.
  • Private John MacKenzie Bow (Alberta Regiment) is killed in action at age 54. He was the 1886 Scottish one-mile bicycle champion and former President of the Scottish Amateur Athletic Association.
  • Private Ralph Neill Bain (Alberta Regiment) is killed in action at age 27. His younger brother was killed in action in May 1916.
  • Gunner John Douglas Seller (Canadian Field Artillery) is killed at age 21. He is the son of the Reverend Johnson Seller.
  • Private Gordon Keith Beach (Nova Scotia Rifles) is killed at age 19. His brother will be killed in August 1918.
  • Private Charles David Fisher (Highlanders of Canada) is killed at age 23. His brother was killed in May 1915.

Today’s losses include:

  • One of three brothers killed in the service of three countries, Australia, Canada and The United Kingdom
  • A Victoria Cross winner
  • Multiple sons of members of the clergy
  • Two members of the Vancouver Police Department
  • Multiple families that will lose two and three sons in the Great War
  • The 1886 Scottish one mile bicycle champion and former President of the Scottish Amateur Athletic Association
  • A battalion commander
  • A keen oarsman and winner of the ‘silver sculls’
  • A wind/half back for Aston Villa
  • The son of a Justice of the Peace

Today’s highlighted casualties include:

  • Lieutenant Colonel Victor Augustine Flower DSO (commanding 13th London Regiment) is killed at age 40. He is the son of the late ‘Sir’ William Flower.
  • Lieutenant Clive Goulding Moore (Royal Fusiliers attached Royal Flying Corps) is killed in action flying over the German lines at age 21. He was a keen oarsman, and while at Radley won several rowing trophies, including the “silver sculls”.
  • Lieutenant Holroyd Birkett-Barker (Royal Garrison Artillery) is killed on Salonika at age 30. He is the son of Tom Birkett-Barker JP.
  • Flight Sub Lieutenant Maurice Nelson Baron (Royal Naval Air Service), the son of the Reverend Canon Charles William Baron-Suckling is also killed on this day, dying at age 18.
  • Sergeant Harry Meins (Gordon Highlanders) is killed at age 27. He is the adopted son of the Reverend H P Napier-Clarering.
  • Corporal Charles Sheffield (Royal Field Artillery) is killed at age 20. His brother was killed in September 1915.
  • Lance Corporal Thomas Frederick Woodcock (Leicestershire Regiment) dies of wounds. His brother was killed in May 1915.
  • Private George Cooper (Lincolnshire Regiment) is killed at age 27. His brother was wounded on the first day of the Battle of the Somme and will die of those wounds in May 1920.
  • Gunner James Anderson (Royal Garrison Artillery) is killed at age 35. His brother was killed in April 1915.
  • Private Thomas Barber (Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry) is killed at age 30. He was a winger/half back for Aston Villa.
  • Private Luke Joseph Hartigan (Munster Fusiliers) is killed. His brother will be killed in November.
  • Rifleman Francis Killips (Irish Rifles) is killed at age 22. His brother was killed on the first day of the battle of the Somme.
  • Gunner Walter Scowcroft (Royal Field Artillery) is killed at age 22. His brother will be killed in October.