Monday 31 December 1917 We Lost 561
Sugar is rationed in Britain, as a result of shortages created by the U-boat war. This is the first time food rationing has ever been imposed in Britain on a national scale.
The hired transport S S Osmanieh strikes a mine at the same place the S S Aragon struck one the previous day, and sinks. One hundred ninty-eight eight are killed. The bodies of at least seventy-six soldiers who sailed in here (including one Indian medical officer) are not recovered. Among the dead are eight Nurses including Una Marguerite Duncanson (Volunteer Aid Detatchment) who dies at age 25. Her two brothers have previously been killed in the war. The steamship S S Hercules (Master Alfred Longstaff age 50) is torpedoed and sunk by a submarine three miles from Whitby. Twelve are killed including the Master.
Today’s losses include:
- A battalion commander
- The son of a Justice of the Peace and Lord Mayor of Norwich
- A Great War Poet
- A nurse whose two brothers are also lost in the Great War
Today’s highlighted casualties include:
- Lieutenant Colonel Hubert Podmore DSO (Northamptonshire Regiment commanding 12th Middlesex Regiment) is accidentally killed by an explosion of ammunition at age 30.
- Second Lieutenant Eric Valentine George Chamberlain (Royal Field Artillery) is killed at age 30. He is the son of ‘Sir’ George Moore Chamberlain JP Lord Mayor of Norwich.
- Lieutenant Arthur Lewis Jenkins (Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry attached Royal Flying Corps) is killed in an airplane accident at age 25. He is a Great War Poet. His book of poems “Folorn Adventurer’s” was published in 1916. The forward in his book was by Frank Fletcher. The eldest son of ‘Sir’ John Lewis Jenkins KCSI, Arthur had hoped to enter the Indian Civil Service like his father. Educated at Balliol with a classical scholarship, he volunteered for service in the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry in December 1914. He served in India for a year and then went to Aden in charge of a machine gun section. In 1915 he moved with his battalion to Palestine. In January 1917 he was commissioned into the Royal Flying Corps and went to Egypt to learn how to fly. He returned to England and while serving in a home defence squadron was killed in a flying accident.
Happy Warriors (a tribute to his friends who fell in Palestine 1915)
Surely they sleep content, our valiant dead,
Fallen untimely in the savage of strife:
They have but followed whither duty led,
To find a fuller life.
Who, then, are we to grudge the bitter price
Of this our land inviolate through the years,
Or mar the splendour of their sacrifice
That is too high for tears…
God grant we fail not at the test – that when
We take, mayhap, our places in the fray,
Come life, come death, we quit ourselves like men,
The peers of such as they.