Tuesday 21 August 1917 We Lost 937
Flight Lieutenant William Melville Alexander (Royal Naval Air Service), while on an offensive patrol attacks and drives down completely out of control an enemy scout which is attacking another member of his patrol.
The Special Service Ship Vala is probably sunk by a submarine on this day. It is last reported at Lat 47 north and Long 9.32 west.
- Commander Leopold Arthur Bernays CMG DSO is killed at age 32. He is the son of the late Reverend A E Bernays.
- Carpenter’s Crew James Aunger Foot is killed at age 25. His brother was killed on HMS Vanguard.
The minesweepers HM trawlers Jacinth, Thomas Young and Chikara destroy the German submarine UC-41 in the Tay Estuary after it has been damaged by one of its own mines.
Canadians attack west and northwest of Lens and capture enemy positions on a 2,000 yard front.
Second Lieutenant Hardy Falconer Parsons (Gloucestershire Regiment) near Epehy, France, during a night attack by the enemy on a bombing post held by his command, the bombers holding the post are forced back, but Second Lieutenant Parsons remains at his post. Single-handed and although severely scorched and burnt by liquid fire, he continues to hold up the enemy with bombs until severely wounded. His gallant action holds the enemy long enough for the defense of the position to be consolidated. Second Lieutenant Parsons dies of his wounds at age 20. He is the son of the Reverend and was educated at Kingswood School, and a Medical Student at Bristol University preparing for Medical Missionary Work. For his actions of on this day he will be awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross.
Today’s losses include:
- A Staff Nurse killed when her Casualty Clearing Station is bombed and is one of only two women casualties of the Great War buried in Belgium
- A Poet
- Multiple sons of members of the clergy
- Multiple families that will lose two sons in the Great War
- A family that will lose four sons in the Great War
- A man whose brother-in-law is lost in the Great War
- A Victoria Cross winner
- The son of a General
- A man whose son will be born next year and then killed in Second World War
- A cousin of Bernard Law Montgomery
- The brother of a 1st Class cricketer
- A man whose brother will be assassinated on Bloody Sunday
- A grandson of the 2nd Baron Bellew
Today’s highlighted casualties include:
- Captain Frederick Despart Pemberton (Royal Field Artillery attached Royal Flying Corps) is killed at age 22. His brother was killed in April 1916.
- Lieutenant Neville Montgomery (British Columbia Regiment) is killed at age 32 a cousin of Field Marshall Bernard Law Montgomery. He is the brother of Lieutenant Colonel Hugh Ferguson Montgomery CMG DSO (Royal Marines Light Infantry) who was a first-class cricketer and Royal Marine Light Infantry officer who died as a result of injuries sustained in the Bloody Sunday assassination of high-ranking British intelligence officers by the Irish Republican Army. They are sons of the Reverend Ferguson John Montgomery Rector of Halse.
- Lieutenant George Marbrook Doughty MC (Middlesex Regiment attached Machine Gun Corps) is killed at age 21. His brother will be killed next February.
- Second Lieutenant Richard Courtenay Bellew (Irish Guards) is killed in action at age 19. He is the son of the Honorable Richard Eustace Bellew and grandson of 2nd Baron Bellew.
- Second Lieutenant Derek Percy Cox (Royal Flying Corps) is killed while on a bombing mission over Germany at age 21. He is the only child of Major General the Honorable ‘Sir’ Percy Cox, GCIE KCSI late Civil Service Commissioner with the Expeditionary Force in Mesopotamia. His son will be born on 25th February 1918 and will be killed on 15th November 1942 while serving as a Lieutenant in Fleet Air Arm.
- Second Lieutenant Charles Angelo Moody (Royal Flying Corps) is killed near Houthulst Forest at age 18. He is the son of the Reverend Henry Moody, Vicar of Welshampton.
- Second Lieutenant Frederick Ewen Baldwin Falkiner MC (Irish Rifles attached Royal Flying Corps) is killed in action at age 22. His younger brother has been killed in action five days earlier. He is buried in Tyne Cot Cemetery, which has located in it the Tyne Cot Memorial, where is brother, whose body is never identified, is memorialize. He was born in 1895, and was educated at St. Stephen’s Green School, Dublin, and St. Columba’s College, Rathfarnham, where he played in the Rugby fifteen. He entered Trinity College, Dublin, in 1913. At the outbreak of the war he enlisted in the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, and was corporal of their machine gun section at the Suvla Bay landing at Gallipoli. He continued to serve as N.C.O. in the Serbian campaign of the winter of 1915, for which he received the bronze medal for military valor conferred by the King of Italy. After some months spent at Salonika as sergeant instructor in a machine gun school, he was recommended for a commission, and was in January 1917 gazetted to the Royal Irish Rifles. He was at the taking of Messines Ridge, and was awarded the Military Cross for his gallantry in capturing a machine gun position.
- Second Lieutenant Paul Hartley Raney (Royal Flying Corps) is killed at age 24. He is the son of the Honorable William Edgar Raney KC.
- Staff Nurse Nellie Spindler (Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service) dies of wounds received at age 26. Casualty Clearing Station #44 is shelled and she is critically wounded. She dies twenty-minutes later and she will be buried the next day at Lijssenthoek near Poperinge where she is the only woman buried among 10,800 men and one of only two buried in Belgium who were casualties during the Great War.
- Private Stanley Jobson (Gloucestershire Regiment) dies of wounds received in action at age 23. He is one of three brothers who will lose their lives in the Great War.
- Sapper Sidney Frank Simpson (Royal Engineers) dies of wounds at age 30. His brother-in-law was killed in May of this year.
- Private Harry Perfect (Liverpool Regiment attached Permanent Base Labour Company) dies of wounds at age 30. His brother will die of wounds in less than a month.
- Private Thomas John Gratton MM (British Columbia Regiment) is killed at age 37. He is the final of four brothers who will lose their lives in the Great War.
- Flight Sub Lieutenant Frank Concanen Lewis (Royal Naval Air Service) is killed in action at age 19 when he is shot down east of Wervicq. He is a poet of Belgian sonnets written in 1915 while a boy at Marlborough.
The lithe flames flicker through the veil of night,
Licking with bitter tongue; and soon the dawn
Will come, and gaunt and black against the white
Cool sky will loom a smoking home, forlorn
Of all the joy and peace that once was there.
The pleading, pitiful dead lie mute and cole
And all untended still. The fields are bare
Of the young green, the parent of the gold.
O little land, great-hearted, who dist give
Thine all for sake of others’ liberty,