Friday 31 May 1918 We Lost 784
Captain Allan Hepburn and his observer Sergeant Thomas Proctor shoot down an Albatros near Ostend.
The destroyer HMS Fairey sinks after ramming and destroying the German submarine UC-75 in the North Sea. The U boat has previously been rammed by the steamer Blaydonian, damaging the casing. The U boat then surfaces and the commanding officer of the Fairy believing her to be British issues the normal challenge which is not replied to. Fairy then rams the U boat at the stern and again just forward of the conning tower. Two of the men from the submarine jump on the forecastle of the destroyer and another twelve crewmen are rescued from the water. The submarine sinks but the bows of the destroyer are so seriously damaged that she also sinks. There are no British casualties.
Captain Richard Walker Buswell (Royal Air Force) is flying at Yatesbury when he sees another machine sideslip to the ground and burst into flames. He flies to the location and lands and seeing that the pilot is enveloped in flames is still alive he dashes into the fire and endeavors to rescue him. Several attempts have already been made to reach the pilot but owing to the very intense heat they were unsuccessful. Captain Buswell manages to get hold of the pilot’s clothes which being in flames come away in his hands. He then gets hold of a belt and succeeds in extricating the pilot but it is too late to save his life. For his efforts Captain Buswell will be awarded the Albert Medal.
Today’s losses include:
- The son of a member of the clergy
- Multiple families that will lose two sons in the Great War
- A Military Chaplain
- A twenty-three year employee of the The Times of London
- A man whose son will be killed in the Second World War
Today’s highlighted casualties include:
- Captain Percy Vickerman Kemp (Durham Light Infantry) is killed at age 25. He is the son of the Reverend James Vickerman Kemp Vicar of Witton Park.
- Lieutenant Rex Hardy Platts PHD (Royal Garrison Artillery) dies of burns caused by an accident at a chemical works at home at age 31. His brother has been killed in action on the Somme in 1916.
- Chaplain the Reverend Thomas Leo Baines (attached Royal Field Artillery) is killed in action at age 31.
- Private Charles Rhodes (West Yorkshire attached Labour Corps) dies of wounds at age 34 as the third brother to be killed in the last year.
- Private Edward Baldry (Army Service Corps) dies of wounds received in action at age 48. For twenty-three years he was an employee of The Times of London and he enlisted during Easter week of 1915, “as an example to younger men”.
- Private Ernest Wilfred Fawkes (Royal Fusiliers) dies of pneumonia from gassing at age 22. His brother was killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.
- Private J W Thackham (London Regiment) is killed in action. His son will lose his life in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve in May 1942.