Saturday 31 August 1918 We Lost 1,350
Captain Francis Newton Allen Cromie CB DSO (Naval Attaché, Petrograd Royal Navy) is murdered by Bolsheviks as he stands on the embassy steps denying entry to a mob intent on storming the embassy. He had been a pioneer of the Royal Navy’s infant submarine service, developing tactics and procedures that would prove valuable for those that followed in his wake. He was born in 1882 the son of an officer in the Hampshire Regiment, who lost two other sons in the Great War, and who later became the Consular General in Dakar. Through his mother he was the grandson of the Chief of Police in Pembrokeshire. He had been awarded the Royal Humane Society’s bronze medal for saving the life of a sailor washed overboard from HM Submarine A3 in 1906.
While carrying out a shoot Lieutenant (Temporary Captain) Charles Ley King (Royal Air Force) fires eight hundred eighty-four rounds in five and a half hours, and four pits are destroyed. Captain Jack Cottle shoots down three Albatros D.III’s killing Austro-Hungarian Ace Josef Purer and forcing the capture of Otto Forster. During this engagement 7 victories are achieved by British pilots of 45th squadron.
The Turks at Baku again attack Binagadi Hill early in the morning. The 7th North Staffordshire Regiment under the command of Lieutenant Robert L Petty (West Yorkshire attached) brush off a strong enemy patrol then report at least 500 Turks are forming to attack. A company of the Warwicks is shifted to the center of the oil derricks near the Hill to be held in reserve and an armored train filled with Russians is sent to the village to pin down the enemy at the Mud Volcano. At 06:00 Turkish machine guns and artillery open fire on the men on Binagadi Hill, inflicting heavy casualties, including Lieutenant Petty who is killed. The British survivors retreat to a fallback position called Warwick Castle. With little support for either the Russians or the Armenians everyone is pulled back to Baladjari.
Today’s losses include:
- The Naval Attache to Petrograd
- A Humane Society Bronze Medal for Life Saving winner
- The grandson of the Chief of Police in Pembrokeshire
- The son of a Justice of the Peace
- Multiple sons of members of the clergy
- The son of a General
- Multiple families that will lose two and three sons in the Great War
- A man whose son will be killed in March 1941 in the Second World War
Today’s highlighted casualties include:
- Captain Henry Stobart Gammell MC (Gordon Highlanders) is killed at age 22. He is the son of ‘Sir’ Sydney James Gammell KT JP and grandson of the Reverend James Stewart Gammell.
- Captain Thomas St Peirre Bunbury (Royal Field Artillery attached Royal Air Force) is killed at age 24. He is the son of Major General W E Bunbury CB.
- Capain Hugh Cyril Arthur Brooking (North Somerset Yeomanry) dies of blood poisoning at home at age 47. He is the son of the Reverend Arthur Conolly Brooking Vicar of Bovington.
- Lieutenant Cecil William Orlando Oswald (Australian Infantry) is killed at age 32. His brother will be killed tomorrow.
- Bombardier E Watmough (Royal Field Artillery) is killed in action at age 27. He is the last of three brothers who are killed in the Great War.
- Private Ernest Archibald Collins (East Kent Regiment) is killed at age 28. His brother was killed last November.
- Private Frank Moyses (Machine Gun Corps) is killed. His brother was killed in March 1917.
- Private Frank Farquharsons (Australian Infantry) is killed. His brother was killed in May 1917.
- Private Albert Frank Chapman (Manitoba Regiment) is killed at age 25. His brother was killed in March of this year.
- Gunner Samuel W Proctor MM (Royal Field Artillery) is killed at age 25. His son will be killed in March 1941.