Wednesday 27 March 1918 We Lost 2,526
Second Lieutenant Alan Arnett McLeod, while flying with his observer, Lieutenant Arthur W Hammond MC, attacks hostile formations with bombs and machine gun fire. He is assailed at a height of 5,000 feet by eight enemy triplanes which dive at him from all directions, firing from their front guns. By skilful maneuvering he enables his observer to fire bursts at each machine in turn, shooting three of them down out of control. By this time Second Lieutenant McLeod has received five wounds, and while continuing the engagement a bullet penetrates his petrol tank and sets the machine afire. He then climbs out on to the left bottom plane, controlling his machine from the side of the fuselage, and by side slipping steeply keeps the flames to one side, thus enabling the observer to continue firing until the ground is reached. The observer is wounded six times when the machine crashes in “No Man’s Land” and Second Lieutenant McLeod, notwithstanding his own wounds, drags him away from the burning wreckage at great personal risk from heavy machine gun fire from the enemy’s lines. This very gallant pilot is again wounded by a bomb while engaged in the act of rescue, but he perseveres until he has placed Lieutenant Hammond in comparative safety, before falling himself from exhaustion and loss of blood. For this action Lieutenant McLeod will be awarded the Victoria Cross.
Lieutenant Colonel John Stanhope Collings-Wells (Bedfordshire Regiment) VC DSO is killed in action at age 37 performing the acts that will win him the Victoria Cross. Beginning on 22nd March during the fighting from Marcoing to Albert when the rearguard was in great danger of being captured, Lieutenant Colonel Collings-Wells calls for volunteers to remain behind and hold up the enemy for 1½ hours while the remainder of the rearguard withdraws. During the time the colonel moved amongst his men guiding and encouraging them and even when twice wounded continues to encourage them until he is killed.
Second Lieutenant Basil Arthur Horsfall (East Lancashire Regiment) dies of wounds at Ayette at age 30 received 21st March between Moyenneville and Ablainzevelle, France performing acts for which he will be awarded the Victoria Cross. When the enemy attacked Second Lieutenant Horsfall’s center platoon, his three forward sections are driven back and he is wounded in the head by enemy fire. Ignoring the wound, he immediately reorganizes what remains of his troops and counter-attacks to regain his original position. Despite the severity of his head wound, he refuses to go to the dressing station, as the three other officers in his company have been killed. Later, he makes another counterattack, but is ordered to withdraw. The last to leave his position, he was shot soon afterwards.
Two old destroyers are mined in company off the east coast of England in the North Sea. HMS Kale (Commander Harold E Dennison) sinks while the Exe is damage losing five of her crew.
Flight Lieutenant Lea Ewart Barnes Wimbush (Royal Naval Air Service) is performing aerobatics over the assembled crowd at Berkhampstead Grammar School’s speech day when the wings of his Sopwith Triplane tear off while attempting three consecutive loops. He will die of his injuries tomorrow at age 19. His cousin will be killed in the Royal Air Force next May and due to their parents both being John and Maud Wimbush they are sometimes believed to be brothers.
Today’s losses include:
- A Welsh Rugby International
- A man who is both the son and father of Baronets
- Multiple Victoria Cross Winners
- Multiple battalion commanders
- Multiple families that will lose two and the sons in the Great War
- Multiple sons of members of the clergy
- Multiple men whose sons will be killed in the Second World War
- A medical student
- The grandson of a member of the clergy
- A man whose father will die on service next September
- A Police Officer
- The Captain of the East Grimstead Football Club
Today’s highlighted casualties include:
- Lieutenant Colonel Harry Fearnley Kirkpatrick DSO (East Kent Regiment commanding Anson Battalion Royal Naval Division) dies of wounds at age 42. He is the son of ‘Sir’ James Kirkpatrick 8th Baronet of Closeburn and the father of the 10th His brother was killed in May 1917.
- Lieutenant Colonel Skinner Raymond Sebastian MC (commanding 5th Oxford & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry) dies of wounds received in action at Cugny on 23rd March at age 31.
- Major Austin Hanbury Brown DSO MC (Royal Engineers) is killed at age 31. He is the son of ‘Sir’ Robert Hanbury Brown KCMG.
- Major George Paterson Nunneley MC (Bedfordshire Regiment) is killed at age 36. He is the son of the Reverend Frederick Barham Nunneley Vicar of Rennington whose younger son was killed in October 1914.
- Captain Percival St George Findlater (Army Service Corps) is killed at age 36. He is the son of ‘Sir’ William Findlater.
- Captain Noel Forbes Humphreys MC (Tank Corps) dies of wounds at age 27. He is a Welsh Rugby International and member of the 1910 British Tour of South Africa Rugby team. He is the son of the Reverend Henry James Humphreys Vicar of Thornley who has previously lost two other sons in the war.
- Captain Charles Frederick Wybrow Nash MC (Norfolk Regiment) is killed at age 20. He is the son of the Reverend Charles Barnett Nash Vicar of Watton.
- Lieutenant Edward Treloar Smart (Royal Garrison Artillery attached Royal Flying Corps) is killed in action. He is the son of the Reverend John Raester Smart Chaplain of Tonbridge School.
- Lieutenant Edmund Sydney Howells (Royal Flying Corps) is accidentally killed while instructing at age 19. He is the son of Canon Edmund Howells vicar of Milford Haven.
- Lieutenant Michael William Doyle (General List attached Royal Flying Corps) is accidentally killed at age 24. His brother died of wounds in February 1916.
- Lieutenant Lionel Raymond Whately (South Wales Borderers attached Machine Gun Corps) is killed at age 21. His brother was killed in November 1916.
- Lieutenant Dudley Walter Rowland Hall (Royal Marine Light Infantry) dies of wounds received in action at age 26. He is the son of the Reverend Thomas Rowland Hall of Kirstead Rectory.
- Flight Sub Lieutenant Edward Cuthbert Stocker (Royal Naval Air Service) is killed at age 18. His brother was killed in May 1915.
- Second Lieutenant Edward White Irvine (Royal Field Artillery) is killed at age 20 at Morcourt. He is a medical student at Aberdeen University and the son of the Reverend John A Irvine of the South United Free Church.
- Second Lieutenant Robert Mather (Liverpool Regiment) is killed in action at Folies. His two brothers have been killed previously in the war.
- Second Lieutenant David Macklin (Bedfordshire Regiment) is killed at age 20. He is the son of the Reverend Herbert Walter Macklin Rector of Houghton.
- Sergeant George Henry Caton (King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry) is killed at age 22. His father will die of pneumonia on service next September.
- Sergeant Lionel William Loveband (Australian Light Horse) is killed in the Middle East at age 29. His brother was killed in December 1914 and they are sons of the Reverend Matthew Loveband Vicar of Burrington.
- Corporal William Henry Warren (Machine Gun Corps) is killed. His son will be killed in the Second World War in April 1942.
- Corporal Ashley Hatchard (South African Infantry) dies of wounds as a prisoner of war. He is the son of the late Reverend Alfred Hatchard (Resident Commissioner, Mafeking) and grandson of the late Right Reverend T G Hatchard, Bishop of Mauritius.
- Lance Corporal Thomas Woodcock VC (Irish Guards) is killed at age 29. He was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions last September.
- Lance Corporal Albert Edward Joseph (Sussex Regiment) is killed in action. He is the third son of Reverend F Joseph to die in the Great War and had been the Captain of the East Grinstead football club.
- Rifleman Frank Godfrey (King’s Royal Rifle Corps) is killed at age 28. His brother was killed last June.
- Private Thomas Daniel Richard Carter (Bedfordshire Regiment) is killed in action at age 19. His brother was killed in July 1916.
- Private Don W MacBeath (Seaforth Highlanders) dies of wounds. His two brothers have already lost their lives in the Great War.
- Private Harold Crossley (King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry) is killed at age 26. His brother was killed on Christmas Eve December 1914.
- Private William George Elliott (Royal Fusiliers) is killed in action. His brother was killed on Gallipoli in August 1915.
- Private George Edward Astley (Welsh Guards) is killed at age 26. He was a police officer for the London and North Western Railway Police.
- Private Thomas Beaumont (Machine Gun Corps) is killed in action at age 19. His only son will die in 1943 as a prisoner of the Japanese while serving in the West Yorkshire Regiment.
- Gunner Arthur George Freeman (Royal Garrison Artillery) dies of wounds at age 33. His brother was killed in August 1916.
- Private John Williams Bailey (Cheshire Regiment) is killed at age19. His brother was killed in August 1916.