Monday 1 October 1917 We Lost 913
Allenby reorganizes his army of 92,000 into 3 groups: the Desert Column, the 20th Corps, and the 21st Corps. He increases his artillery to 400, receives Bristol airplanes that give him control of the air. He plans to surprise the Turks with a feint attack at Gaza, where the Turks expect the attack, and make his main thrust on his right toward Beersheba.
East of Polygon Wood, Zonnebeke, Belgium when the situation is critical owing to the confusion caused by a heavy enemy attack and intense artillery fire, Temporary Lieutenant Colonel Philip Eric Bent DSO (Leicestershire Regiment) collects a platoon that is in reserve and together with men from other companies and various regiments he organizes and leads them forward in a counter-attack which is successful and the enemy is checked. The coolness and example of the colonel results in the securing of a portion of the line essential to the subsequent operation but is killed while leading a charge at age 26. For his actions he will be awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously.
Major Charles Meredith Bouverie Chapman MC (East Kent Regiment attached Royal Flying Corps) a 7-victory ace dies of wounds at age 25. Major Chapman, who on the outbreak of the War was in the East Kent Regiment at once applied to join the Expeditionary Force and went to France in September 1914. He served all through the early fighting and was for nine months in the trenches, when he was invalided home with trench fever. He had always been keenly interested in flying, and while on sick leave, in order to make sure of getting into the Royal Flying Corps he obtained the Aero Club’s qualification and was subsequently attached to the Royal Flying Corps. After obtaining his ‘Wings’ he flew to France on 1st April 1916, and served there until the following August, when he came home for a rest. He was awarded the Military Cross “For conspicuous gallantry and skill in action against hostile aeroplanes. On one occasion he attacked three LVG’s and one Fokker, shooting the latter down. Later, during an air battle with eleven enemy machines, he brought another Fokker down”. Subsequently he was made a Chevalier de I’Ordre de Leopold and received the Croix de Guerre (Beige). While in England he was promoted Captain and Flight Commander, but was always trying to get back to France, even offering to forgo his rank if such a step would ensure his being posted to a Squadron at the Front. He was ultimately posted to a Squadron of Fighting Scouts in France. He was then given a Staff Appointment in France, but this did not appeal to him, and he begged to be allowed to rejoin his Squadron. The opportunity came unexpectedly, as his old Squadron Commander was suddenly taken ill, and he was sent to take temporary charge and very shortly afterwards was appointed to the permanent charge with the rank of Major. He is mortally wounded while directing Anti-Aircraft fire during an enemy attack on his aerodrome at Poperinghe last night and dies a few hours afterwards. His younger and only brother, William Wetherall Chapman an observer in the Royal Flying Corps, will be killed in less than one week.
Today’s losses include:
- A Victoria Cross winner
- Multiple battalion commanders
- A 7 and a 6 victory aces
- Multiple families that will lose two sons in the Great War
- Multiple sons of members of the clergy
- A man whose son will be killed in February 1945
- The grandson of the 1st editor of the Haranaki Herald and member of the 1st New Zealand Assembly
Today’s highlighted casualties include:
- Lieutenant Colonel Dudley Ralph Turnbull DSO (Gordon Highlanders commanding 20th Manchester Regiment) is killed at age 25. He was awarded the DSO for conspicuous gallantry on 13th October 1914 in serving his maxin gun when the detachment were all wounded until he was also wounded in two places and his gun damaged by a shell. He subsequently recovered the gun and carried it away on his shoulder.
- Lieutenant Colonel Alan Humphrey Scott DSO (commanding 56th Australian Infantry) is killed by a sniper at age 26.
- Captain Audley Andrew Dowell Lee MC (Leicestershire Regiment) is killed at age 21. He is the son of the Reverend Dr. William Benjamin Dowell Lee.
- Captain Cuthbert John Burn (Leicestershire Regiment) is killed at age 24. He is the son of the Bishop of Quappelle.
- Second Lieutenant Robert Hugh Sloley (Royal Flying Corps) is killed in action at age 20 after achieving six victories in the air. He is the son of ‘Sir’ Herbert Sloley KCMG.
- Lance Corporal Algernon Roland Lane MM (Royal Engineers) is killed at age 31. His son will be killed in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve in February 1945.
- Lance Corporal Stanley Evans (Welsh Fusiliers) is killed by a sniper. His brother will be killed next September.
- Lance Corporal Thomas Bates (Leicestershire Regiment) is killed. His brother was killed in September 1916.
- Private Donald John McLennan (Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders) dies of wounds received in action at age 21. His brother will be killed in April 1918.
- Private Sidney William Gall (Lincolnshire Regiment) is killed at age 21. His brother died of wounds in September 1916.
- Private John Jennings Crompton (Canterbury Infantry) is killed at age 34. He is the grandson of the 1st editor of the Taranaki Herald who was one of the 1st members of the General Assembly. His brother was killed in March of this year.
- Private Harrop Landon (Australian Infantry) is killed. His brother will be killed in two weeks.
- Private Frederick Cox (Leicestershire Regiment) is killed in action at age 30. His brother was killed in May of this year.
- Private Frederick James Mace (Gloucestershire Regiment) is killed. His brother was killed in August 1916.
- Private Horace Haselock (Yorkshire Regiment) is killed at age 20. His brother was killed in September 1915.
- Driver Frederick Bennett (Royal Field Artillery) is killed at age 22. His brother was killed in November 1916.