Sunday 19 August 1917 We Lost 794
A tramcar full of passengers is descending a hill at Dover and loses control. The driver finding that the brakes will not engage jumps off the front platform and Private Walter George Gunner (Dragoon Guards attached Army Pay Corps) promptly takes the driver’s place on the platform and makes every effort to stop the car by the application of the brakes. Unfortunately in spite of Private Gunner’s courage and presence of mind he is unable to stop the tram which runs to the bottom of the hill at great speed and overturns. Private Gunner will lose both his feet as a result of this accident for which he will be awarded the Albert Medal.
British forces capture German trenches near Gillemont Farm southeast of Epehy and advance the line to a depth of five hundred yards on a mile front in the neighborhood of the Ypres-Poelcapelle Road.
Major Okill Massey Learmonth VC MC (Eastern Ontario Regiment) dies of wounds received yesterday at age 23 east of Loos during a determined counter-attack on our new positions/ Major Learmonth, when his company was momentarily surprised, instantly charged and personally disposed of the attackers. Later, although under intense barrage fire and mortally wounded, he stood on the parapet of the trench, bombing the enemy and on several occasions he actually caught bombs thrown at him and threw them back. When unable to carry on the fight, he still refused to be evacuated and continued giving instructions and invaluable advice, finally handing over all his duties before he was moved to hospital where he died.
Today’s losses include:
- A Victoria Cross winner
- Multiple families that will lose two sons in the Great War
- A family that will lose four sons in the Great War
- The son of a Jurist
- A 7-victory ace
- Multiple sons of members of the clergy
- A son of the 4th Baron de Freyne
- The son of a Justice of the Peace
- The stage manager and pianist for the Concert Party ‘The Light Blues
- A man whose son will be killed in the Second World War
- One of five New Zealanders executed in the Great War
Today’s highlighted casualties include:
- Captain Henry Eric Dixon (Middlesex Regiment attached Royal Flying Corps) is accidentally killed. His brother was killed in action in August 1915.
- Captain Carleton Main Clement MC (Royal Flying Corps) is killed by anti-aircraft fire at age 21. He is a 7-victory ace and the son of the Honorable Justice W H P Clement.
- Lieutenant John Howard Williams (Rhodesia Native Regiment) is killed in action in East Africa at age 25. He is the son of the Reverend Howard Williams.
- Lieutenant Ernest Aloysius French (South Wales Borderers) is killed in action at age 22. He is one of four sons of the 4th Baron De Freyne to die in the Great War.
- Lieutenant William Norman Maule Parry (London Regiment) is killed at age 20. He is the son of the Reverend John Parry.
- Second Lieutenant George Strachan Gordon (Cameronians and Royal Flying Corps) is killed at age 20. He is the son of Robert Gordon JP.
- Lance Sergeant Thomas Kilby Keeley (Gloucestershire Regiment) is killed at age 29. His brother was killed last May.
- Rifleman Harry Pond Bartlett (King’s Royal Rifle Corps) is killed in an enemy air raid at age 35. He is the Pianist and Stage Manager to the Concert Party, “The Light Blues”.
- Private Thomas Smith (Devonshire Regiment attached Labour Corps) is killed in action at age 24. His brother, a holder of the Military Medal will be killed in September 1918.
- Sapper Ernest Managhan (Royal Engineers) is killed at age 33. His son will be killed in the Second World War.
- Private John King (Canterbury Regiment) is executed for desertion after a long record of going absent, deserting and illness at age 32. He is one of five New Zealanders who are executed during the war.