Friday 22 March 1918 We Lost 4,242

by greatwarliveslost

John Crawford Buchan VC

Continuing the fight of the previous day thick fog greets dawn and the London Regiment resists the continuing German attacks. During lulls in the fighting the men of the  2nd/2nd London Regiment crawl out of Travecy Keep in ones and twos into the ruins of St Quentin village and fire on enemy machine gun teams nearby. By midday the fog lifts and the men of A Company take the opportunity to fire on a column of enemy transport seen on the St Quentin to La Fere road. They even fire on a group of German Staff Officers and a working party on the Travecy to Achery road. The Londoners are rewarded with an attack by a German aircraft which drops two bombs on the Keep. Later in the afternoon further aircraft bomb the Keep, one of which is shot down by a Lewis Gun. At 19:30 Captain Harper holds a council of war with his remaining officers and CSM. Their ammunition has virtually run out, they are completely cut off and there is no hope of a counter attack. The London men are exhausted, hungry and outnumbered at least 50 to 1. Their wounded are exposed to enemy fire and need treatment. Captain Harper decides it will be futile to resist further. He gives orders to destroy all maps and plans together with the remaining 2 Lewis Guns and trench mortars. Shortly after midnight the Germans began another attack. Captain Harper goes out to meet them and surrenders, 44 hours after the initial German bombardment had commenced. A Company has fired over 18,000 rounds of ammunition, launched over 200 trench mortars and has thrown more than 400 hand grenades. With the capture of the remaining 44 men (including the wounded) the losses of the 2nd/2nd London Regiment stands at 570 men of 610 ranks. More than 60 are dead.

British troops cross the River Jordan at El Ghoraniyeh, a short distance from the Red Sea.  They move northeastward into the hills through the gorge as Wadi Shaib and capture Es Salt, an important depot on the track running from Shechem to the railway.  The force then moves down the track to Amman on the railway line, which is found to be very strongly held.  Seven hundred Turkish and German prisoners are captured in these operations.  The entire column eventually marches back to the Jordan, followed by the Turks.

HMS Gaillardia is sunk by a mine off the Orkney Islands while carrying out buoying operations in the newly Northern Barrage. Among those killed in the sinking is

  • Acting Commander John Sharpey Schafer killed at age 36. He is the son of ‘Sir’ Edward Sharpey Schafer Kt.
  • Stoker 1st Class Albert Hawkes is also killed. His brother died on service as a Stoker in March 1915.

Captain William Calder (SS Trinidad, Merchant Marine) is killed when his ship is sunk by a submarine twelve miles east of the Codling Light Vessel.   His brother was killed in action in November 1917.

While fighting with his platoon in the forward position of the battle zone, Second Lieutenant John Crawford Buchan (Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders) although wounded early in the day insists on remaining with his men and continually visiting all his posts encouraging and cheering his men in spite of a most severe shell fire from which his platoon will suffer heavy casualties.  Later when the enemy is creeping closer and heavy machine gun fire is raking his position Second Lieutenant Buchan continues to visit his posts and though accidentally injured again he continues to encourage his men and visit his posts.  Eventually, when he sees that the enemy has practically surrounded his command, he collects his platoon and prepares to fight his way back to the support line.  At this point the enemy who have crept around to his right flank, rush towards him, shouting “Surrender” to which replied “To hell with surrender” and shoots the foremost of the enemy finally repelling the enemy advance with his platoon. He then fights his way back to the support line of the forward position where he will hold out until dusk.  At dusk he falls back as ordered but in spite of his injuries he again refuses to go to the aid post saying his place was beside his men.  Owing to the unexpected withdrawal of troops on his left flank it is impossible to send orders to Second Lieutenant Buchan to withdraw, as he is already cutoff and he is last seen holding out against overwhelming odds.  For his efforts during this and the previous day he will be awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross.

At Hervilly Wood Private Herbert George Columbine (Machine Gun Corps) takes command of a gun and keeps firing it from 09:00 until 13:00 in an isolated position with no wire in front. During this time wave after wave of the enemy fail to get up to him, but at last with help of a low-flying aircraft he them manage to gain a strong foothold in the trench. As the position is now untenable Private Columbine tells the two remaining men to get away and although he is being bombed on either side he keeps his gun firing inflicting losses until he is killed by a bomb which blows up both he and his gun.  For his actions Private Columbine will be awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross.

Rifleman Colin Mitchell (Rifle Brigade) is killed in action.  He is a Great War Poet.                                                                                                                  

Trampled Clay

…We went to seek the dead; with rough respect

To roll their mangled bodies down the shade

Of crater-lips that shrieking shells had made…

Today’s losses include:

  • Multiple families that will lose two and three sons in the Great War
  • Multiple battalion commanders
  • Multiple sons of Justices of the Peace
  • Multiple men who will have a brother killed in the Second World War
  • A man whose son will be killed in the Second World War
  • A Bradford City footballer
  • The son of a Member of Parliament
  • The grandson of a Member of Parliament
  • A Candidate of Parliament
  • A Royal Academy Artist
  • A YMCA Chaplain
  • A Great War Poet
  • A man whose son is killed in the Great War
  • The brother of a Brigadier General
  • A man whose father was killed in the sinking of S S Persia in 1915
  • A Grandson of the 1st Baron St Leven
  • Nephew of Viscount Grey
  • The son of a member of the clergy
  • A Rugby Scottish International
  • The Assistant Master at Lancing College

 Today’s highlighted casualties include:

  • Mildred Clare Eardley-Wilmot will lose her husband Lieutenant Colonel Theodore Eardley-Wilmot DSO (York and Lancaster Regiment attached Suffolk Regiment) when he is killed in action at age 38. Twenty-six years later her son will be killed in action as a 34-year old Major in the Irish Guards.
  • Lieutenant Colonel William Norman Stewart DSO (North Somerset Yeomanry commanding 6th Leicestershire Regiment) is killed at age 44. He is the brother of Brigadier General Ian Stewart.
  • Lieutenant Colonel Bernard Hedley Charlton MC (commanding 4th Yorkshire Regiment) is killed in action at age 32. He is the son of the late William Hyslop Charlton JP.
  • Major Morice Julian St Aubyn MC (King’s Royal Rifle Corps) is killed at age 25. His father was killed in the sinking of S S Persia in December 1915 and is brother will be killed in the sinking of HMS Strongbow in March 1942. He is the grandson of the 1st Baron St Leven.
  • Major Edward Hildred Hanbury Carlile (Hertfordshire Yeomanry) is killed at age 37. He is the only son of Colonel ‘Sir’ Hildred Carlile Baronet MP for Mid Herts, and of Lady Carlile, of Ponsbourne Park, Hertford. In the spring of 1917 he was adopted as the Conservative Candidate for the Mid Herts Division. Major Carlile, who spent ten years in the Yorkshire Dragoons and later transferred to the Hertfordshire Yeomanry, served with his Regiment in England from September 1914. He is subsequently attached to the Hertfordshire Regiment, and left for France in January 1918. Today he and all his men, with one exception, are killed near Peronne, having been sent forward to reinforce ‘if possible’.  He is shot with a revolver by a German Officer.
  • Captain Adrian Hubert Graves (Norfolk Regiment) a nephew of Viscount Grey is killed in action.
  • Captain Samuel Francis Collier (Manchester Regiment) is killed at Servacue Farm at age 27. He is the son of Reverend Samuel F Collier and his brother will be killed in six days.
  • Captain Frank Darley Livingstone (Army Service Corps) is killed in action at age 32. He is the son of Reverend Canon Richard and the Honorable Mrs. Livingstone and he was called to the Bar in May 1911 and was a member of the Inner Temple.
  • Captain William Ramsay Hutchison (Royal Scots Fusiliers) is killed at age 29. He is a Scottish Rugby International who capped in 1911.
  • Captain Albert Higgs Vinson (Royal Flying Corps) is killed while serving at an instructor at Yatesbury at age 21. He is the son of Albert Vinson JP.
  • Captain Noel Burgess Michell (Royal Fusiliers) is killed at age 33. He is the Assistant Master at Lancing College and Bedales School.
  • Chaplain ‘the Reverend’ Thomas George Trueman (Australian Young Men’s Christian Association attached Australian Infantry) is killed in action at age 30.
  • Lieutenant George Guest Lomas (Manchester Regiment) is killed. He is the son of the Reverend George Lomas.
  • Lieutenant William Victor Lancelot Mallett (East Surrey Regiment) is killed at age 35. His brother will die on service in February 1919.
  • Lieutenant William Ashcroft (Liverpool Regiment) is killed in action near St. Quentin at age 36. One brother was killed last year while another will die of wounds as a prisoner of war in May of this year.
  • Lieutenant David Sonnie Dewar (Machine Gun Corps) is killed in action at age 24. His is the son of the late Reverend David Dewar Vicar of Holy Trinity and had a brother who was killed in action in 1916.
  • Lieutenant Harry Chamen Linott (London Regiment) dies of wounds received in action. He is a Royal Academy artist who has been exhibited at most of the leading galleries in Great Britain and the United States.
  • Lieutenant Douglas Ferrier Charlton (Durham Light Infantry is killed in action at age 29. His brother was killed in September 1916.
  • Lieutenant Ulick A Moore (Connaught Rangers) is killed. He is the grandson of the late G H Moore MP.
  • Second Lieutenant Charles Singleton Knott (Royal Fusiliers) is killed in action at age 19. He was the head boy of the Perse School, Cambridge and scholar-elect of St Peter’s College, Cambridge.
  • Second Lieutenant Thomas Anderson Hyslop MC (Yorkshire Regiment) is killed at age 29. He is the middle of three brothers who are killed in the Great War.
  • Second Lieutenant Thomas Nettleship (Northumberland Fusiliers) is killed at age 32. His brother will be killed in September.
  • Sergeant William Arthur Woore (Machine Gun Corps) is killed at age 23. His brother will be killed in nine days.
  • Sergeant Sidney Fensome (Bedfordshire Regiment) is killed at age 28. His brother was killed in September 1916.
  • Corporal Charles Louis Thorne (Royal West Kent Regiment) is killed at age 21. His brother will be killed in July.
  • Corporal Frank Stranger (Australian Imperial Forces) is killed in action at age 35.  His brothers will both die within two months having both received their fatal wounds in the same action in April while serving in the Guernsey Light Infantry.
  • Corporal Sydney Clarence Porter (Royal Engineers) is killed at age 22. His brother died of wounds last July.
  • Lance Corporal James W A Dundas (Highland Light Infantry) is killed at age 33. His two brothers have been killed in the two previous years of the Great War.
  • Private Harry Ford (Essex Regiment) is killed in action at age 32. His brother will die while still in the service in February 1919.
  • Private Edward Foster (Essex Regiment) is killed at age 36. His brother will be killed next month.
  • Private John Howard Payne (East Yorkshire Regiment) is killed in action at age 19. His brother William Henry Dodson Payne also fell.
  • Private Ernest Crellin (London Regiment) is killed in action in Palestine at age 22. His brother was killed in August 1916.
  • Private Samuel Spillane (Inniskilling Fusiliers) is killed in action at age 21. His brother James also fell.
  • Private James Shaw (Machine Gun Corps) is killed in action at age 33. His brother Ralph also fell.
  • Sapper Frederick Malpass (Royal Engineers) is killed at age 27. His brother Arthur also fell.
  • Driver G S Copland (Royal Engineers) dies of wounds at age 24. His two brothers will also be killed in the Great War.
  • Private James William Hills (Royal Army Medical Corps) is killed in action at age 25. His brother was killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.
  • Private Thomas Frederick Grainger (Suffolk Regiment) is killed at age 21. His younger brother will be killed in July 1944 serving as a Guardsman in the Coldstream Guards.
  • Private Albert Moody (East Lancashire Regiment) is killed at age 20. His brother will be killed on 4th
  • Private Harry Potter (Lincolnshire Regiment) is killed at age 33. He played halfback for the Bradford City Football Club.
  • Private Frank Edward Cutts (Bedfordshire Regiment) is killed in action at age 22. His brother was killed in May 1915.
  • Private Robert Gimblett Paramore (Somerset Light Infantry) is killed at age 26. He has two brothers who will also be killed in the War.
  • Private John Goldsmith (Sussex Regiment) is killed at age 21. His brother was killed less than two days ago.
  • Private Edward Potter Coventry (Bedfordshire Regiment) is killed at age 22. His brother was killed in September 1916.
  • Private John Bernard Gardner (Worcestershire Regiment) is killed at age 30. His brother was killed last August.
  • Private David Baird (Highland Light Infantry) is killed in action. His son will be killed in June 1944 serving in Italy.
  • Private Adolphus Gallienne (Royal Guernsey Light Infantry) is killed at age 24. His twin brother was killed two days earlier and their older brother was killed in November 1917.
  • Private Donald Gow (Gordon Highlanders) is killed at age 25. His son named after him will be killed at Nijmegan in 26 years at age 26.