Tuesday 1 October 1918 We Lost 2,289
A fire breaks out at No. 36 Casualty Clearing Station at Rousbrugge, Belgium and quickly reaches the operating theater where a surgeon is performing an abdominal operation. The lights go out and the theater is quickly filled with smoke and flames but the operation is continued by the light of an electric torch Miss Alice Batt (Voluntary Aid Detachment), Sister Gertrude Walters Carlin, Staff Nurse Harriet Elizabeth Fraser both of the Territorial Force Nursing Service and Sister Gladys White (British Red Cross Society continue the work of handing instruments and threading needles with steadfast calmness thereby enabling the surgeon to complete the operation. Afterwards all four do splendid work in helping to carry men from the burning wards to places of safety. During this time ether bottles and nitrous oxide cylinders are continually exploding filling the air with fumes and flying fragments of steel. For their actions the four nurses will be awarded the Albert Medal.
Sergeant Frederick Charles Riggs VC MM (York and Lancaster Regiment) near Epinoy laving led his platoon through strong uncut wire under severe fire, continues straight on and although losing heavily from flanking fire, succeeds in reaching his objective where he captures a mchine gun. Later he handles two captured guns with great effect and causes 50 of the enemy to surrender. Subsequently when the enemy again advances in force Sergeant Riggs cheerfully encourages his men exhorting them do resist to the last and while doing so he is killed. For his actions he will be awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross.
Today’s losses include:
- A Victoria Cross winner
- Multiple battalion commanders
- Multiple sons of members of the clergy
- The grandson of a member of the clergy
- The grandson of the 15th Viscount Hereford
- A man whose nephew will be killed in 1945
- A published author
- The son of a Member of Parliament
- The son of a former Member of Parliament
- The son of a Justice of the Peace
- Multiple families that will lose two and three sons in the Great War
Today’s highlighted casualties include:
- Lieutenant Colonel John Henry Bridcutt DSO (commanding 2nd Royal Irish Rifles) is killed.
- Lieutenant Colonel Robert Romney Gordon Kane DSO (commanding 1st Munster Fusiliers) is killed at age 29. He is the son of Judge R R Kane.
- Major Geoffrey De Bohun Devereux MC (Auckland Regiment) is killed in action at age 28. He is the son of ‘the Honorable’ Henry De Bohun Devereux and grandson of the Reverend Robert Devereux 15th Viscount Hereford. His brother was killed in the South African War.
- Major Roderick Ogle Bell-Irving DSO MC (Manitoba Regiment) is killed at age 27 during the Battle of Cuvillers, near Cambrai. His battalion is surrounded and unsupported after gaining its objective and is forced to retire. Major Bell-Irving is wounded and suffers a broken leg before being seen to be helped off the field by two Germans as a prisoner. His body will later be found with a bullet wound to the head. His nephew will be killed in action in March 1945.
- Captain William Fowler Templeton (Scots Fusiliers) is killed at age 29. During the war he published a volume entitled Songs of the Ayreshire Regiment.
- Lieutenant Allan Adam (Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders attached Machine Gun Corps) is killed in action at Marcoing at age 24. He is the younger son of the Reverend James Allan Adam.
- Lieutenant Norman Bank (King’s Own Scottish Borderers attached Royal Air Force) is killed at age 22. He is the son of Arthur Septimus Bank JP.
- Second Lieutenant Reginald Horace Mansfield (Royal Field Artillery) dies of wounds at age 26. His brother was killed last August and they are sons of the former Member of Parliament for Spalding Lincolnshire.
- Second Lieutenant John Stephen King (Royal Air Force) is killed at age 19. He is the son of the Reverend William Richard Cambridge King Rector of Swainswick. The original wooden cross which marked his grave in France is now in St Nicholas Church Cholderton Lost the same day in the 13th squadron is Lieutenant Martin Joseph Sheehan second son of Captain Daniel Desmond Sheehan (known as D D) MP for Mid-Cork, Ireland killed at age 22. He was educated at Christian College, Cork and Mount St. Joseph’s College, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary. He won several prizes in school sports and played for Munster in the Rugby Inter-Provintial Senior College Championships, being described in the Dublin Press as ‘the most brilliant three-quarter back the College had produced for years’. He went to Canada in 1913, and was employed in the Union Bank of Canada at Bassano and Bellevue, Alberta. He joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force as a private in 1915 and won the all-round Athletic Championship of his Division in Nova Scotia. He came overseas with his battalion in 1916, and transferred as a cadet to the Royal Munster Fusiliers, and later obtained his commission. He transferred to the Royal Flying Corps as an observer and saw considerable service in France and Italy with the 13th Squadron. His brother Daniel Joseph Sheehan was killed serving with the Royal Flying Corps on 10th May 1917. Second Lieutenant Robert Ellerton Thompson (Royal Air Force) is killed at age 18. He is the son of the Reverend H V Thompson.
- Second Lieutenant Robert Murphy (Irish Rifles) is killed at age 22. His brother was killed in July 1916.
- Sergeant John Dick (Manitoba Regiment) is killed at age 25. He is one of three brothers, all of whom fell including one who died of wounds in April 1917.
- Lance Corporal Clifford Kitchen (Sherwood Foresters) is killed at age 31. His brother died of wounds on Malta in September 1915.
- Private George Chase Ricketts (Manitoba Regiment) is killed in action at age 25. His brother was killed in April 1915.
- Private William Daniels (Lancashire Fusiliers) is killed at age 27. His brother was killed last October.
- Private Edwin Fereday (Welsh Fusiliers) is killed on Salonika at age 22. His brother died of wounds in May 1917.
- Private Lawrence Nuttall (Royal Lancaster Regiment) is killed in action. His two brothers have been previously killed in the Great War.
- Private Tom Hadley Houghton (Central Ontario Regiment) is killed at Canal du Nord at age 28. His brother was killed in August 1917.
- Private Cyril Gurl (Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry) is killed at age 21. His brother was killed in March 1917.
- Private Harry Noble Cordiner (Scots Fusiliers) is killed at age 20. His brother was killed last June.