Sunday 9 September 1917 We Lost 433

by greatwarliveslost

Edward Dudley Skinner

Étaples is a notorious base camp for those on their way to the Western front.  Under atrocious conditions both raw recruits from England and battle-weary veterans are subjected to intensive training in gas warfare, bayonet drill, and long sessions of marching at the double time across the sand dunes.  Conditions in the hospital are considered punitive rather than therapeutic and there have been incidents at the hospital between military police and patients.  The Étaples Mutiny is a mutiny of British and British Empire troops.  Matters come to a head this Sunday afternoon after the arrest of Gunner A.J. Healy, a New Zealander from No.27 Infantry Base Depot.  He and a few others had by-passed the police picquets that patrolled the bridges that gave access to a small fishing village, which was out of bounds to troops.

A large crowd of angry men gathers and does not disperse even when told the gunner has been released.  It is clear that the protest over the arrest is only the tip of the iceberg and that the atmosphere is tense.  The arrival of military police only makes matters worse and scuffles break out.  Suddenly the sound of shooting is heard.  Private H. Reeve, a military police officer, has fired into the crowd killing Corporal W B Wood (Gordon Highlanders) age 21 while a second bullet injures a French woman standing in the Rue de Huguet, Etaples.  Immediately the military police flee.

News of the shooting spreads quickly.  By 19:30 over a thousand angry men are pursuing the military police that continue to flee in the direction of the town. The Camp Adjutant describes how the men ‘swarmed into the town, raided the office of the Base Commandant, pulled him out of his chair and carried him on their shoulders through the town.’

The Northumberland Fusiliers capture 600 yards of German trenches southeast of Hargicourt.

  • Private Richard Sharp (Northumberland Fusiliers) is killed at age 22. His brother was killed in July 1916.
  • Private Arthur Middleton (Northumberland Fusiliers) is killed at age 20. His brother was killed exactly five months ago.

Today’s losses include:

  • Multiple families that will lose two sons in the Great War
  • The son of a Major General
  • The son of a member of the clergy
  • A Baptist student pastor from the United States

Today’s highlighted casualties include:

  • Major William Robert Beauchamp Gillespie (Berkshire Regiment) is killed in Greece at age 42. He is the son of Major General W J Gillespie and a veteran of the South Africa War.
  • Second Lieutenant Edward Dudley Skinner (Manchester Regiment) is killed at age 25. He is the son of the Reverend Ernest Edward Becher Skinner Vicar of Chacombe.
  • Officers Steward 2nd Class Arthur Richmond Sylvester Fox (HMS Myosotis) dies at sea at age 47. He was an Old Dulwich and Westminster Boy and Gold Medalist for the Geographical Society.
  • Civilian Theodore Harvey L Clark (YMCA) dies of sunstroke at age 25 in Mesopotamia. He is a Baptist student pastor from Chicago, IL.