Thursday 28 March 1918 We Lost 3,749
A nine plane offensive patrol from 43rd Squadron Royal Flying Corps under the command of Captain John L Trollope is attacked at 09:30 by a flight of Albatros D.V’s in the Albert area. Five of the Sopwith Camels of 43rd Squadron are shot down. Captain Trollope, Lieutenant Robert J Owen and Second Lieutenant W J Prier are captured, while Second Lieutenant C R Maasdorp and Second Lieutenant H T Adams are killed. Prior to their being shot down Capt Trollope destroys a kite balloon and two enemy aircraft while Lieutenant Owen also shoots down one enemy airplane. Captain Trollope’s wounded arm is so badly damaged that his hand will be amputated and he will be repatriated in June. Eventually his left arm will be amputated at the shoulder.
SE5a pilots of 40th squadron depart at 13:30 to patrol an area around Arras. They find the main Arras-Cambrai road and most of the side roads full of troops and transport, with the Douai main roads similarly congested. These targets are attacked from heights down to three hundred feet and panic and stampedes are reported.
At Arras at a time the flank of his division is in danger, Second Lieutenant Bernard Matthew Cassidy (Lancashire Fusiliers) is in command of the left company of his battalion. He is ordered to hold on to the position at all costs and he carries out his instructions to the letter. Although the enemy attacks in overwhelming numbers he continues to rally and encourage his men under a terrible bombardment until the company is eventually surrounded and he is killed at age 25. For his actions Second Lieutenant Cassidy will be awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross.
Major (Acting Lieutenant Colonel) Oliver Cyril Spencer Watson VC DSO (Middlesex Hussars commanding 2nd/5th King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry) is killed at age 41 at Rossignol Wood, north of Hebuterne, France. A counter-attack has been made against the enemy position which at first achieves its objective, but as they were holding out in two improvised strong-points, Lieutenant Colonel Watson sees that immediate action is necessary and he lead his remaining small reserve to the attack, organizing bombing parties and leading attacks under intense fire. Outnumbered, he finally orders his men to retire, remaining himself in a communication trench to cover the retirement. The assault he leads is at a critical moment and without doubt saves the line, but he is killed covering the withdrawal. For his actions he will be awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross. He previously served in Tirah and during the Boxer Rebellion.
Today’s losses include:
- Multiple Victoria Cross winners
- Multiple battalion commanders
- Multiple families that will lose two and three sons
- Multiple sons of members of the clergy
- A member of the clergy
- An Eton and Oxford rower
- An Irish International cricketer
- A man whose brother was taken prisoner in the same action
- A Poet
- A great grandson of Admiral ‘Sir’ Nathaniel Dance hero of the 1804 Battle of Pulo Aura
- The brother of novelist John Barnett killed previously in the Great War
- A grandson of the 12th Baron Petre
- The former Headmaster of Oval Road School
- The Intelligence Officer of the 198th Infantry Brigade
Today’s highlighted casualties include:
- Lieutenant Colonel Frederick William Robson DSO (Yorkshire Regiment commanding 6th Durham Light Infantry) is killed at age 30. His brother will be killed in less than 3 weeks.
- Lieutenant Colonel Herbert Richard Hall Ireland MC (Leinster Regiment commanding 2nd Munster Fusiliers) is killed in action.
- Major Walter Greville Bagot-Chester MC (Gurkha Rifles) is killed in action in Palestine at age 31. He is the son of the Reverend Algernon Stewart Mackenzie Bagot-Chester and had been severely wounded at Loos.
- Captain George Ouvry William Willink MC (Royal Berkshire Regiment) is killed in action at age 30. He rowed in the Eton eight, the Oxford trial eights and the college boat club.
- Captain James Michael Cunningham (Suffolk Regiment) is killed at age 39. He is the son of William Cunningham DD.
- Captain Arthur Cyril Bateman MC (Royal Army Medical Corps attached Cameron Highlanders) is killed at age 27. He is an Irish cricketer who played two first class matches for Ireland against Scotland. His brother will be killed next September.
- Captain Adam Currie (Royal Scots) is killed at age 27. He is the son of Adam Currie JP. Captain John Stewart Calder MC (London Regiment) is killed in action at age 30. His brother was killed in April 1917.
- Captain John Herbert Victor Willmott MC (Essex Regiment) is killed at age 20. He is the son of the Reverend Henry Herbert Willmott Rector of Rivenhall and his brother is taken prisoner in the same action.
- Captain Eric Wollaston Rose (London Regiment) is killed in action at age 21. He is the son of the Reverend Percy Wollaston Rose Vicar of Norton-by-Daventry.
- Lieutenant Rowley Moody Nicholson Bourner (Machine Gun Corps) is killed in action at age 27. He is the great grandson of the late Admiral Sir Nathaniel Dance, a noted hero of 1804.
- Lieutenant Basil Joseph Bernard Butler-Bowdon (Lancashire Fusiliers) is killed at age 19. He is the grandson of the 12th Baron Petre.
- Lieutenant Walter Hugh Whetstone (Coldstream Guards) is killed at age 20 by a shell a few miles south of Arras. He is the second son of Lady Hiley. Lieutenant Whetstone was gazetted to the Coldstream Guards in December 1915 and went to the Front in the following July. He was severely wounded in the Battle of the Somme in September 1916, but returned to the Front a year later and took part in the fighting at Cambrai and the recapture of Gouzeaucourt in December 1917.
- Lieutenant Sidney Collier (Manchester Regiment attached Royal Flying Corps) is killed while flying near Vimy at age 22. He is the son of Reverend Samuel F Collier and his brother was killed six days earlier.
- Lieutenant Gordon Francis Collingwood (Royal Garrison Artillery) is killed at age 25. He is the son of Major General Clennell Collingwood.
- Second Lieutenant Geoffrey Noel Storrs Fox (West Yorkshire Regiment) is killed at age 19. He is the son of the Reverend Noel Storrs Fox Rector of Holy Trinity, Yorks.
- Second Lieutenant Sydney Beaumont MC (East Lancashire Regiment) dies of wounds received at Framerville at age 38. He is the Intelligence Officer of the 198th Infantry Brigade and former Headmaster of Oval Road School, Croydon, Surrey.
- Second Lieutenant Kenneth D’Ombrain Husband (Wiltshire Regiment) is killed at age 26. He is the son of the Reverend Edgar Bell Husband Vicar of St Luke’s.
- Second Lieutenant Innes D’Auvergne Stewart Stitt (London Regiment) is killed at age 29. He is the son of the Reverend Samuel Stewart Stitt and wrote a poem called The Last Leave, which can be read in the Stretham church where his father the Reverend was Rector.
- Second Lieutenant Harold William Stagg (Machine Gun Corps) is killed. His brother the novelist John Barnett (his pseudonym) was killed in September 1916
- Lance Corporal Frank Jenkins (Royal Engineers) dies of wounds at age 24. His brother will die of wounds next September.
- Lance Corporal Stanley Boon (Bedfordshire Regiment) is killed in action in Palestine. His brother was killed in December of last year.
- Private James Sutherland (Seaforth Highlanders) is killed in action at age 41 at Arras. His brother was killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.
- Driver Thomas E Crowe (Royal Field Artillery) dies of wounds received in action at age 26. His brother was killed in July 1916.
- Private Frank Wooding (Bedfordshire Regiment) is killed at age 34. His brother was killed in November 1914.
- Private George Geary (King’s Shropshire Light Infantry) is killed in action at age 29. His brother will die on active service in November of this year.
- Private Harry Thompson (Yorkshire Regiment) is killed in action. His brother died of wounds last September.
- Private George Whitbread (Middlesex Regiment) is killed. His brother was killed in December 1916.
- Private Ewart Leslie Andrew (Royal West Kent Regiment) is killed at age 19. His brother was killed in March 1917.
- Private Samuel Thomas Elcock (Shropshire Light Infantry) is killed at age 22. His brother was killed in April last year.
- Bombardier Thomas Hallworth (Royal Field Artillery) is killed at age 29. He is the middle of three brothers who are lost in the Great War.
- Private Patrick O’Brien (Shropshire Light Infantry) is killed. His son will be killed in May 1940.
- Rifleman Oliver Hope Robertson (London Regiment) is killed in action at age 28. He is a clergyman.
- Private George Tolworthy (Machine Gun Corps) is killed at age 24. His brother was killed last October.