Thursday 30 August 1917 We Lost 411
On the Ypres front the British advance on a line southeast of St Janshoek. Lieutenant Colonel Richard Chester Chester-Masters DSO (commanding 13th King’s Royal Rifle Corps) is killed at age 47. Lieutenant Colonel Chester-Master joined the King’s Royal Rifle Corps in 1893 and he retired as Major in 1900. He served through the South African War, being present at the actions of Belmont, Graspan, Modder River, Magersfontein, Paardeberg, Driefontein, and Sanna’s Post. He was twice mentioned in Despatches and received the Queen’s Medal with six clasps and the King’s Medal with two clasps, as well as the brevet of Major. He acted as ADC to Lord Milner when he was High Commissioner of South Africa and held the positions of Commandant-General of the British South African Police, Rhodesia, from 1901 to 1905, and Resident Commissioner and Commandant-General in Southern Rhodesia from 1905 to 1908. In May 1910, he was placed on retired pay and took the appointment of Chief Constable of Gloucestershire. In March 1915, he rejoined his old Regiment and after a few months was given command of a battalion. In June 1916, he was mentioned in despatches, again in June 1917 and a third time in December 1917. In the Birthday Honours List of June 1917 he was awarded the DSO, while a few months later a bar was added to it, the Gazette containing the following description — “During operations for six days he displayed great courage and ability. His Battalion was very short of officers, and he had no rest during that period. His splendid example and total disregard for safety inspired his men with great confidence”.
Today’s losses include:
- A battalion commander
- The Member of Parliament for Spalding Division
- The son of the 1st Baron Baron Aberconway
- The son of a Baronet
- The son of a General
- A Scottish Rugby International
- A man shot at dawn
Today’s highlighted casualties include:
- Major Roland Elphinstone Gordon MC (Royal Artillery) is killed at age 25. He is a Scottish rugby union player who capped for Scotland in 1913.
- Second Lieutenant ‘the Honorable’ Francis Walter Stafford McLaren MP (General List attached Royal Flying Corps) is accidentally killed in a flying accident while training at Montrose at age 31. He is the Member of Parliament for Spalding Division (from 1910) the son of the 1st Baron Aberconway and the son-in-law of ‘Sir’ Herbert Jekyll.
- Second Lieutenant Edward Revere Osler (Royal Field Artillery) dies of wounds at age 21. He is the son of ‘Sir’ William Osler the Baronet.
- Second Lieutenant Montagu Wilfred Markham (Scots Guards) is killed at age 32. He is the son of Lieutenant General ‘Sir’ Edwin Markham.
- Private Walter Neave (West Yorkshire Regiment) is shot at dawn for desertion. After landing on Gallipoli a few weeks before the evacuation of the peninsula, he was sent to the Western Front during the Battle of the Somme, only to be wounded at Hebuterne during September. He then went missing and due to a previously suspended death sentence, also for desertion, he is executed.