Wednesday 21 November 1917 We Lost 796

When the battle of Cambrai is renewed today the pace of British advance is greatly slowed. The abandoned Flesquières and then Cantaing are captured in the very early morning, but in general the British take time to reinforcing their gains rather than expanding. The efforts of III Corps are officially halted and attention is turned to IV Corps. The continuing effort is aimed at the ridge. Fighting is fierce around Bourlon and at Anneux, just before the woods, is very costly. German counter attacks squeeze the British out of Moeuvres today and Fontaine tomorrow. Even when Anneux is taken the 62nd Division finds it unable to even enter Bourlon Woods. The British are left exposed in a salient. Haig still wants Bourlon Ridge and the exhausted 62nd Division will be replaced by the 40th Division under John Ponsonby in two days.

By this morning the Egyptian Expeditionary Force has gained a line nearly five kilometers (at its nearest point) west of Jerusalem.  The city will deliberately be spared anything in the nature of bombardment or direct attack.

17th Balloon Section Royal Flying Corps leaves a booby-trapped kite balloon over Salonika containing 500 pounds of high explosives. When the balloon is approached by a German machine they detonate the explosives bringing down and killing the leading German ace on the Salonika front.

Lieutenant Edward William Horner (Hussars) is killed in action by a shot to the chest while defending the village of Noyelles at age 24.  He is the son of ‘Sir’ John Horner KCVO and had been severely wounded in May 1915 and lost a kidney.  He rejoined his regiment in 1916.  He is the brother-in-law of Raymond Asquith son of Prime Minister Asquith who will also be killed in the Great War.  He is reported to be a descendant of ‘Little Jack Horner” of the nursery rhyme fame.

Lieutenant Ewart Alan Mackintosh MC (Seaforth Highlanders) is killed in action at age 24 at Cambrai.  He is a noted Great War poet.  His works included “A Highland Regiment” published in 1917; “War, the Liberator” published in 1918 and “Miserere” published after the war in 1919.

Cha Till Maccruimein
(Departure of the 4th Camerons)

The pipes in the streets were playing bravely,
The marching lads went by,
With merry hearts and voices singing
My friends marched out to die;
But I was hearing a lonely pibroch
Out of an older war,
“Farewell, farewell, farewell, MacCrimmon,
MacCrimmon comes no more.”

And every lad in his heart was dreaming
Of honour and wealth to come,
And honour and noble pride were calling
To the tune of the pipes and drum;
But I was hearing a woman singing
On dark Dunvegan shore,
“In battle or peace, with wealth or honour,
MacCrimmon comes no more.”

And there in front of the men were marching,
With feet that made no mark,
The grey old ghosts of the ancient fighters
Come back again from the dark;
And in front of them all MacCrimmon piping
A weary tune and sore,
“On the gathering day, forever and ever,
MacCrimmon comes no more.”

Today’s losses include:

  • The brother-in-law of previously killed Raymond Asquith son of the Prime Minister
  • A reported descendant of ‘Little Jack Horner’ of nursery rhyme fame
  • A Great War Poet
  • A battalion commander
  • A well known polo player
  • An Albert Medal winner
  • A clergyman
  • A man whose son will be killed in the Second World War
  • A brother of the 3rd Lweedmouth
  • Multiple families that will lose two sons in the Great War

Today’s highlighted casualties include:

  • Lieutenant Colonel Arthur Murray Pirie DSO (21st “Empress of India’s” Lancers attached Berkshire Yeomanry) is killed in action in Palestine. He is a well-known polo player of the era.
  • Captain William Neilson AM (Cameronians attached King’s Royal Rifle Corps) dies of wounds. He will be awarded the Albert Medal next year for his actions last February.
  • Captain the Reverend Hugh Philip Skakle MC (Gordon Highlanders) is killed in action at Cantaing at age 28. He is a clergyman of the Church of Scotland.
  • Captain Frank Guy Shackle MC (Middlesex Regiment) is killed at age 27 and his son will be killed in January 1943.
  • Second Lieutenant Marmaduke Edward Marjorisbanks (Northumberland Fusiliers) is killed at age 20. He is the brother of Dudley Churchill Marjoribanks 3rd Lord Lweedmouth.
  • Lance Corporal Charley Gully (South Staffordshire Regiment) is killed in action at age 25. His brother will be killed in October 1918.
  • Private Frederick Kitching (South Wales Borderers) dies of wounds as a prisoner of war at age 33. His brother will be killed in April 1918.
  • Private George Frederick Bird (Lincolnshire Regiment) is killed. His brother will die on service at home as a munitions worker having previously served in the Royal Army Medical Corp less than one week before the Armistice.