Friday 23 November 1917 We Lost 1,037
The 40th Division attacks into the woods of Bourlon Ridge supported by almost a hundred tanks and 430 guns. They make little progress. The 40th Division reaches the crest of the ridge but will be held there and suffer over 4,000 casualties for their efforts for three days. As the British use up their strength to take the ridge the Germans are reinforcing the area. As early as today the German command feels that a British breakthrough will not occur and began to consider a counter-offensive. 20 divisions were arrayed in the Cambrai area. The Germans plan to retake the Bourlon salient and also to attack around Havrincourt while diversionary attacks will hold IV Corps. Overall it is hoped to at least reach the old positions on the Hindenburg Line.
- Lieutenant Algernon Hyde Villiers (Lothians and Border Horse Yeomanry attached Machine Gun Corps) is killed in Bourlon Wood at age 31. He is the son of the Right Honorable ‘Sir’ Francis Villiers PC GCMG GCVO British Minister to Belgium and grandson of the 4th Earl Clarendon the famous Foreign Secretary.
Today’s losses include:
- The son of the British Minister to Belgium
- A grandson of the 4th Earl Clarendon
- Multiple sons of members of the clergy
- Multiple families that will lose two sons in the Great War
- A 10-victory ace
- A man whose son will be killed in the Second World War
- A Celtic footballer
- A man shot at dawn
Today’s highlighted casualties include:
- Captain Timothy Idwal Hope-Evans (Royal Welsh Fusiliers) is killed in action at age 28. He is the son of the Reverend J Hope-Evans.
- Lieutenant Walter Sibbald Laidlaw (Royal Engineers) is killed in action at age 28. His brother died of wounds in April 1915.
- Lieutenant William Edwin Jenkins (Royal Flying Corps) a ten-victory ace is killed in a flying accident.
- Lieutenant Herbert Ward Meredith Weeks (South Wales Borderers) dies of wounds received the previous day at age 25. His brother will die of wounds in next September.
- Second Lieutenant Lawrence Henry Martin (Irish Fusiliers) is killed at age 20. He is the son of the Reverend Richard D’Olier Martin.
- Second Lieutenant Eric Westgate Beauchamp (Dorsetshire Regiment attached Hampshire Regiment) is killed in Jerusalem at age 23. He is the son of the Reverend J G Beauchamp.
- Lance Corporal George Howell (Gordon Highlanders) is killed at age 24. His son will be killed in May 1941.
- Private Don Waters (Seaforth Highlanders) is killed in action at age 26 at Bourlon Wood. His brother was accidentally killed in November 1915.
- Private Archie McMillan (Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders) is killed. He was a footballer for Celtic.
- Private Arthur H Westwood (East Surrey Regiment) is shot at dawn at age 20. His brother will die of wounds next April.
- Private George Lunney (Seaforth Highlanders) is killed at age 23. His brother will be killed tomorrow in Palestine.