Monday 2 September 1918 We Lost 3,129
Hugh McIver VCPrivate Francis Turbutt Earley (King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry) dies of wounds received the previous day in the chest at age 19. The young journalist wrote his last letter home the afternoon that he would later be wounded on.
My Dear Father, It is a strange feeling to me but a very real one, that every letter now that I write home to you or to the little sisters may be the last that I shall write or you read. I do not want you to think that I am depressed; indeed on the contrary, I am very cheerful. But out here, in odd moments the realization comes to me of how close death is to us. A week ago I was talking with a man, a Catholic, from Preston, who had been out here for nearly four years, untouched. He was looking forward with certainty to going on leave soon. And now he is dead – killed in a moment during our last advance. Well it was God. I say this to you because I hope that you will realize, as I do, the possibility of the like happening to myself. I feel glad myself that I can look the fact in the face without fear or misgiving. Much as I hope to live thro’ it all for your sakes and my little sisters! I am quite prepared to give my life as so many have done before me.
Lieutenant James Pomeroy Cavers and Lieutenant F D Travers (Royal Air Force) share a victory over an enemy aircraft on the Balkan front.
Lieutenant Colonel Richard Annesley West (North Irish Horse commanding 6th Tank Corps) VC DSO MC is killed at Vaulx-Vraucourt at age 40. He is a veteran of the South Africa War. He arrives at the front line when the enemy is delivering a local counter-attack. The infantry battalion has suffered heavy officer casualties and realizing the danger if they give way, and despite the enemy being almost upon them, Colonel West rides up and down in face of certain death, encouraging the men. He is eventually riddled with bullets and killed on the spot. For his actions today and previously at Courcelles he will be awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously.
At Pronville, France, Chief Petty Officer George Henry Prowse (Drake Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve) leads a small party of men against an enemy strong-point, capturing it, together with 23 prisoners and 5 machine-guns. On three other occasions he displays great heroism in dealing with difficult and dangerous situations, and at one time he dashes forward and attacks and captures two machine-gun posts, killing six of the enemy and taking 13 prisoners and two machine-guns. He is the only survivor of this gallant party, but his action enabled the battalion to push forward in comparative safety. For his actions he will be awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross as he will be killed in twenty-five days at age 32.
Private Hugh McIver VC MM (Royal Scots) is killed at age 28 near Courcelles ten days after performing acts that will result in him being awarded the Victoria Cross. On 23rd August 1918 east of Courcelle-le Compte, France, he was employed as a company-runner and under heavy artillery and machine-gun fire carried messages regardless of his own safety. Single-handed he pursued an enemy scout into a machine-gun post and having killed six of the garrison, captured 20 prisoners and two machine-guns. Later he succeeded, at great personal risk, in stopping the fire of a British tank which was directed in error against our own troops.
Today’s losses include:
- Multiple Victoria Cross winners
- Multiple sons of members of the clergy
- Multiple families that will lose two sons in the Great War
- A Vancouver Police Department Constable
- A 10-victory ace
- The son of the town of Inchinman School Master
- A Vaudeville acrobat
- A man whose father was killed in the South Africa War
- A young journalist
Today’s highlighted casualties include:
- Captain Thomas Barker Merrick MC (Machine Gun Corps) is killed at age 25. He is the son of the Reverend W B Merrick.
- Lieutenant Eric Drummond-Hay (Manitoba Regiment) is killed in action at age 20. His brother was killed less than three weeks before.
- Lieutenant Alex Campbell-Johnston (Manitoba Regiment) is killed at age 18. He enlisted at age 15 and his brother will be killed tomorrow.
- Lieutenant John Elliott (Manitoba Regiment) is killed in action at age 29. He was a constable for the Vancouver Police Department.
- Lieutenant Alexander Wilson Milligan (British Columbia Regiment) is killed at age 28. His brother was killed in March of this year.
- Lieutenant Valentine St Barbe Collins (Royal Air Force) is killed at age 24. He is a 10 victory ace.
- Lieutenant Walton Downing Thompson (Welsh Fusiliers attached Highland Light Infantry) dies of wounds received in action one week prior at age 23. He is the son of the Reverend Frank Thompson.
- Lieutenant Leonard Widlake Dean (New Zealand Field Artillery) is killed in action at age 26. He is the son of the Reverend Oliver Dean.
- Second Lieutenant Ralph Frederick Talbot (Royal Air Force) is killed at age 20. His brother died of wounds in July 1915.
- Second Lieutenant Kenneth Clark Crawford (Scots Fusiliers) is killed in action at age 35. He is the son of the School Headmaster of the town of Inchinnan.
- Second Lieutenant Horace Walter Hill (Berkshire Regiment) is killed at age 28. His brother was killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.
- CSM Andrew Aitken (Black Watch) dies of wounds at age 39. His brother died of wounds in December of last year in Palestine.
- Private Bertram Eldridge (Sussex Regiment, Sussex Yeomanry) is killed at age 22. His brother was killed in April of this year.
- Private P Spivey (Yorkshire and Lancashire Regiment) is killed at age 25. His brother was killed last April.
- Private Frederick Newland (London Regiment) is killed at age 19. His brother was killed serving on HMS Lion at Jutland.
- Private Robert George Hassall (Saskatchewan Regiment) is killed at age 20. He is the son of the Reverend Thomas Lionel George Hassall Rector of Rearsby.
- Private Wilfred Tompkins (Devonshire Regiment) is killed at age 20. He is an acrobat on the vaudeville stage.
- Private Alfred Clinton Totty (Manitoba Regiment0 is killed at age 21. He is the son of the Reverend Benjamin Totty of Moosehide Mission Dawson Yukon.
- Private Harold Heathman (Irish Fusiliers) is killed at age 18. His brother was killed in September 1916.
- Private Arthur Downs Sales (Sussex Regiment) is killed at age 19. His father was killed serving in the Inniskilling Dragoons in the South African War.
- Private Ernest Clough (Cheshire Regiment) is killed at age 31. His brother was killed in October 1916.