Monday 1 April 1918 We Lost 888
In the early morning darkness the destroyer HMS Falcon is struck amidships by the trawler/minesweeper John Fitzgerald while acting as a convoy escort. The Falcon’s Captain, Lieutenant Charles Herbert Lightoller has the boiler fires of his ship extinguished and steam blown off. He then transfers all thirty-one engineers and stokers to the John Fitzgerald. But the Falcon’s stern is slowly sinking and it will not be long before it separates from the bow. The rest of the crew are ordered to abandon ship in the Falcon’s only two lifeboats and are picked up by another escort-destroyer HMS Peterel. Moments later the bow breaks away with a huge cracking noise and within second sink. Lieutenant Commander Lightoller survives his fourth shipwreck, having been on Holt Hill in 1889, Titanic in 1912, Oceanic in 1914 and now HMS Falcon.
Private Isaac Rosenberg (Royal Lancaster Regiment) is killed in action somewhere close to the French village of Fampoux in close combat at age 27. Some critics of the time consider him the best of the Great War poets after Wilfred Owen. He wrote his first poem at age 12 and was exhibited at the Whitechapel Gallery. He enlisted in 1915 hoping that his mother would benefit from the separation allowance. He was the least privileged of the of the British war poets being born into a working class Jewish family that had emigrated from Russia. He moved to South Africa to pursue his career as an artist when the war broke out. He returned to England in 1915 and enlisted. Before going to the front he published a small volume of poems, Youth.
Today’s losses include:
- A Great War Poet
- A battalion commander
- Multiple sons of members of the clergy
- A man whose brother-in-law was killed in the Great War
- An Australian Rules footballer
- Multiple families that will lose two sons in the Great War
- A man who lost both a brother and sister on service in the Great War
Today’s highlighted casualties include:
- Lieutenant Colonel James Thomson Rankin Mitchell DSO (Royal Scots commanding 8th Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders) dies of wounds at home at age 30. He is a writer to the Signet.
- Captain Charles Basil Mortimer Hodgson (West Surrey Regiment) dies of wounds in Cairo received in action in Palestine at age 37. He is the son in law of the Archdeacon of Sarum and his brother in law was killed in 1916.
- Captain Ronald Guy Larking MC (Royal Engineers) is killed in a motorcycle accident in France at age 27. He is a former Australian rules footballer who played with University. His only VFL game was as a full forward against Fitzroy Football Club in the last game of the 1909 season.
- Captain John Hartley Growse (Northampton Regiment) is killed at age 24. He had been awarded the Sword of Honour at Sandhurst.
- Lieutenant John Edwin Henshaw Coombes (Border Regiment) is killed at age 21. He is the son of the Reverend Herbert Edwin Henshaw Coombes.
- Lieutenant Clement Arthur Woodland (North Staffordshire Regiment attached King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry) dies of wounds received in action at age 33. He is the son of the late Reverend C C Woodland.
- Flight Lieutenant Fred Everest Banbury DSC (Royal Air Force) dies in a crash probably caused by heart failure at age 24. He is an 11-vicotry ace.
- Lieutenant Augustus Dilberoglue (Hussars) is killed at age 24. His brother was killed in September 1916.
- Lieutenant William Alick Parkinson Willson (Irish Rifles) is killed at age 24. His brother was killed in Januayr 1917.
- Lance Bombardier Robert Hardie (Royal Field Artillery) dies of wounds received ten days ago. His brother was killed last April.
- Trooper Lionel Godfrey Wood (Fort Garry Horse) is killed in action at age 28. His is the son of HBM Consul General and the grandson of ‘Sir’ Richard Wood KCMG.
- Private Charles Frederick Bullock MM (London Regiment) is killed at age 34. He was an assistant at the Free Library in Cardiff for 16 years.
- Rifleman Ernest Juniper (Rifle Brigade) dies of wounds. His brother will dies of wounds in October and their sister Nurse Emily died on a ship during the war.