Wednesday 3 October 1917 We Lost 731
The Battle of Broodseinde begins at dawn. The waiting Australian troops are bombed by mortars in their trenches by the enemy and as they go over the top they are surprised to see German troops advancing under cover of the mortar bombardment; by chance the opposing troops have each launched an assault on each other at the same time! The Germans are eventually driven back by an Australian bayonet charge however a German machine gun causes heavy casualties and holds up part of the attack. Sergeant Lewis McGee, armed only with a revolver, runs 50 yards across bullet swept ground, shoots some of the crew and captures the gun. He reorganizes the advance and will be awarded the Victoria Cross for his outstanding leadership during the week’s fighting; he will be killed on 12th October without knowing of his award.
After the bayonet charge, the Germans retreat to their trenches where they, and their reserves, are caught by the British creeping barrage which causes many casualties. When the Australians reach the Ridge, they are able to see the German rear lines stretching before them the only obstacle to their success being the German occupied village of Passchendaele to their north.
Today’s losses include:
- The son of a General
- The son of a member of the clergy
- The son of a Baronet
- Multiple families that will lose two, three and four sons in the Great War
- A man who will have two cousins, who are brothers, killed
- A Humane Society Bronze Medal winner
Today’s highlighted casualties include:
- Major Charles Elles Stuart Beatson MC (Royal Field Artillery) is killed at age 26. He is the son of Major General ‘Sir’ Stuart Beatson KCB KCSI KCVO.
- Lieutenant Francis Clement Thompson (Royal Field Artillery) is killed at age 28. He is the son of Reverend George Thompson.
- Lieutenant ‘Sir’ Burton Robert Williams (Devonshire Regiment) the 6th Baronet is killed at age 28. He is the son of the late ‘Sir” William Robert Williams.
- Sergeant James McCheyne (King’s Own Scottish Borderers) is killed in action at age 26. He is one of three brothers who lose their lives in the Great War.
- Sergeant James McCheyne (King’s Own Scottish Borderers) is killed at age 26. He is the third of four brothers who are killed in the Great War.
- Private Claude Ogle (Lincolnshire Regiment) dies of wounds at age 20. His brother will be killed in April 1918.
- Private Leslie Victor Poll (Australian Infantry) is killed in action. His two cousins, who are brothers, will be killed in 1917, one in just 5 days.
- Private Albert George Handcock (West Surrey Regiment) is killed in action at age 20. He is the middle of three brothers who will lose their lives in the Great War.
- Driver Douglas Bonter (Royal Field Artillery) dies of wounds received 29 September. His brother will die of wounds next August.
- Gunner Frederick Powner (Royal Field Artillery) is killed in action in Mesopotamia at age 24. He was awarded the Royal Humane Society Bronze Medal earlier in the year for attempting to save a man on 4th March when the man was thrown into the Tigris when his mule tripped in a hole while watering. Unfortunately he is unable to find the man.