Sunday 10 March 1918 We Lost 394

by greatwarliveslost

A German submarine attacks the British hospital ship Guildford Castle in the Bristol Channel at 17:35.  She is carrying four hundred thirty-eight wounded soldiers, is flying a large Red Cross flag and has her navigation lights burning.  Two torpedoes are fired and both are seen by the British ship’s skipper, Captain Thomas Martin Lang, Royal Naval Reserve. The second torpedo strikes the Guildford Castle, after the first misses. The hit is a sharp blow on the port side abreast the mainmast causing her to vibrate considerably fore and aft.  The torpedo does not explode and the Guildford Castle proceeds to port.

For most conspicuous bravery, initiative and absolute disregard of personal safety in Egypt, Private Harold Whitfield (King’s Shropshire Light Infantry) will be awarded the Victoria Cross.  During the first and heaviest of three counterattacks made by the enemy on the position which has just been captured by his battalion, Private Whitfield, single-handedly, charges and captures a Lewis gun which is harassing his company at short range. He bayonets or shoots the whole gun team, and turning the gun on the enemy, drives them back with heavy casualties, thereby restoring the whole situation in his part of the line. Later he organizes and leads a bombing attack on the enemy who have established themselves in an advanced position close to our lines, and from which they are enfilading his company. He drives the enemy back with great loss, and by establishing his party in their position saves many lives and materially assists in the defeat of the counter-attacks.

After a brief artillery barrage at 05:00 a party of over 30 members of the Welsh Guards slip into No Man’s Land at Fampoux, near Arras to carry out a trench raid.  They quickly capture a single prisoner and begin to make their way to the British lines. At this point they are attacked by German troops who have been hiding in a shell hole near their own trenches. The attack is beaten off, but a number of the Guardsmen are wounded and their return slowed down.  An artillery barrage comes from the German positions and a shell lands near the German prisoner and the two Guardsmen bringing him in killing all three.

Chief Petty Officer Henry Ernest Wild (HMS Biaritz) dies of typhoid in Malta at age 38. As a member of Shackleton’s Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition he will be awarded a posthumous Albert Medal in 1923 for his efforts to save two members of that expedition who were lost.

Today’s losses include:

  • A member of Shcakleton’s Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition
  • An Albert Medal winner
  • The brother of a Baronet
  • The son of another Baronet
  • Multiple families that will lose two and three sons in the Great War
  • The son of a member of the clergy

Today’s highlighted casualties include:

  • Captain Malcolm Cosmo Bonsor (Yeomanry attached Norfolk Regiment), brother of the Baronet is killed in action at age 39.
  • Captain Hugh Aldersey (Cheshire Yeomanry) son of the Baronet at age 29. His brother was killed on 2nd November 1917.
  • Lieutenant George Ralph Miles MC (Dragoon Guards) dies of wounds received the previous day at age 34. His brother was killed last October. He went to South Africa and took a farm under Lord Milner’s Settlement Scheme. Lieutenant Miles served in Commando against the Rebels, and also served as a machine gunner with the Bechuanaland Mounted Rifles, in German South West Africa. After the conquest of German South West Africa and the consequent disbandment of the forces, he came to England and entered a Cavalry Cadet School, obtaining a Commission in the Dragoon Guards. He went to France in December 1916.
  • Lance Corporal Hugh Francis (Lincolnshire Regiment) is killed at age 26. His brother died of wounds in April 1917.
  • Private Arthur Merryweather (Royal Fusiliers) is killed in action at age 20. His two older brothers have been previously killed during the Great War.
  • Private Eric Arwyn Atkins (Northamptonshire Regiment attached Labour Corps) dies on service at home. He is the son of the Reverend Horace John Atkins Rector of Harrington, Bridgeforth.
  • Private Alfred William Goldsmith (Middlesex Regiment) is killed at age 34. His brother will be killed in less than two weeks.