Monday 26 August 1918 We Lost 1,644
At about 10:30 the British defenders outside Baku spot a long line of about 1,000 Turkish infantry and cavalry moving towards their positions at Baku along a defensive line at the crest of a local geological formation known as the Mud Volcano. This is followed by a barrage of artillery striking the British lines. Five different attempts are made against the British defenses before, when outflanked on the north side of the volcano and while coming under heavy machine gun fire, D Company of the 7th North Staffordshire Regiment is forced to retire to a secondary defensive position among the oil derricks northeast of Baku. Dunsterville rushes reinforcements from Baku though they arrive too late to stem the tide. The position atop the volcano being the key to Dunsterville’s entire 19-mile line, he is obliged to fall back to an inner line of prepared positions. By early afternoon the volcano is under Turkish control.
At the same time as the attack on the volcano, the Turks move out from the village of Novkhany on the north side of the peninsula, where a sunken road has allowed them to approach close to the British lines under cover. They charge a hill east of the village of Binagadi held by a group of Armenian conscripts who unbeknownst to the British have deserted their positions. A company of the North Staffords is told to abandon their positions at Digaa and reinforce the Armenians only to find it deserted. Two assaults by 250 Turks are thrown back with a loss of ten men killed and wounded in the Staffords.
Brigadier General Edgar William Cox DSO (General Staff) drowns when he goes for a swim at Berck Plage at age 36.
Colonel Bertram Hopkinson CMG (Royal Air Force) is accidentally killed at age 44 in an airplane crash in bad weather at home. He had served under the Ministry of Munitions (Aircraft Production). His brother died at home in February 1917. He is survived by his wife and six daughters. In 1903 he was elected to the Cambridge chair in mechanism and applied mechanics, and in 1910 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. During the War he joined the Royal Engineers and opened a research establishment at Orford Ness where he and his team researched weapons, sights, and ammunition. He learned to fly and was killed when his Bristol Fighter crashed en route from Martlesham Heath to London.
Lieutenant Cyril Biddulph (Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry) is killed at age 31 leading his battalion into action in Pas de Calais near the communes of Vis-en-Artois and Haucourt. He is a Canadian stage actor who frequently performed in the United States. As a young man Biddulph moved to New York City where he found employment as an actor. He appeared in numerous productions across the United States in the early 1910s, including performances on Broadway and at the National Theatre in Washington D.C. His last appearance on stage in the United States was in the fall of 1914. Biddulph is married to Broadway actress Cissie Sewell.
Today’s losses include:
- A General
- The son of former Member of Parliament and author Hilaire Belloc
- A Canadian actor married to Broadway actress Cissie Sewell
- A 7-victory ace
- Multiple families that will lose two sons in the Great War
- Multiple sons of members of the clergy
- The son of a Justice of the Peace
- The son of the Headmaster of Queens College Hong Kong
- A man whose son will be killed in Italy in World War II
Today’s highlighted casualties include:
- Captain William Carroll Hilborn DFC (Royal Air Force) dies of injuries at age 20 received two weeks earlier when his aircraft collided with a tree fracturing his skull. He is a 7-victory ace.
- Captain Douglas Marsden Ewart MC (Canadian Engineers) is killed in action at age 28. His brother was killed in action in January of this year.
- Lieutenant Donald Halliday Macartney (Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry) is killed in action at age 30. He is the son of the late ‘Sir’ Halliday Macartney KCMG.
- Lieutenant Alexander Pearson MacMillan MC (Saskatchewan Regiment) is killed in action at age 28. He is the son of the late Reverend John MacMillan.
- Lieutenant William Godfrey Charlton (Durham Light Infantry) is killed in action at Warlencourt. He is the son of John Charlton JP and his only brother was killed in October 1916.
- Lieutenant George William Russell Chibnall (Dragoon Guards attached Duke of Wellington’s Regiment) is killed at age 20. His brother was killed in July 1917.
- Second Lieutenant Louis Belloc (Royal Engineers attached Royal Air Force) is killed while bombing a German transport column at age 20. He is the son of the author and former Member of Parliament Hilaire Belloc.
- Corporal Joseph Victor Bennett (Berkshire Regiment) is killed. He is the son of the Reverend William Bennett Vicar of Kirkham.
- Private John George Daltry (Lincolnshire Regiment) is killed at age 17. His older brother will be killed in October of this year.
- Private Frederick Arthur Whittemore MM (Royal Sussex Regiment) is killed in action at age 21. His brother Charles will be killed the following day.
- Private F H Dealy (Australian Infantry) is killed at age 23. He is the only surviving son of the late Headmaster of Queen’s College, Hong Kong.
- Rifleman Frederick George Hindrup (New Zealand Rifle Brigade) is killed at age 28. His son will lose his life in the Second World War in Italy.