On this Memorial Day in the United States we wish to acknowledge the contribution and sacrifices made by the United States of America after joining the Great War effort in 1917.
The second battle Ypres (Festubert) ends. The British and Canadian forces have pushed the line of trenches forward 1,000 yards over a 3,000 yard front. They have also taken eight hundred German prisoners. The cost had been high: 16,000 casualties, versus 5,000 German casualties.
Lance Corporal Leonard James Keyworth (London Regiment) is awarded the Victoria Cross for most conspicuous bravery at Givenchy. After the successful assault on the German position by the London Regiment efforts are made by that unit to follow up their success by a bomb attack, during the progress of which fifty eight men out of a total of seventy five become casualties. During this very fierce encounter Lance Corporal Keyworth stands fully exposed for two hours on the top of the enemy’s parapet throwing about 150 bombs among the Germans who are only a few yards away.
After taking part in an assault on a trench Captain Donald Whitley Figg (London Regiment) leads repeated rushes with bombs into a German work and when most of the bombers are killed he continues the attack single-handed. His actions on this day and the next day will be rewarded with the Distinguished Service Order. Lieutenant Colonel Figg will be killed in action on 5th March 1917 at age 31.
The Kaiser grants his permission for air raids east of the Tower of London.
Herbert H Asquith reorganizes his liberal ministry as a coalition. Mr. Asquith as Prime Minister, Lord Lansdowne, Balfour, 1st Lord of the Admiralty, ‘Sir’ E Grey, Foreign Secretary, Mr. Bonar Law, Colonial Secretary, Lord Kitchener, War, Lloyd George, Munitions, Mr. Henderson, Education, ‘Sir’ E Carson, Attorney General, Mr. McKenna, Chancellor of the Exchequer. The ministry contains twelve liberals, eight Unionists, one Labour and one non party member.
The battleship HMS Triumph is torpedoed and sunk by U-21 while supporting the landings at Gallipoli and at anchor off Cape Helles. Although she has her torpedo nets deployed she is hit on the starboard side abreast No. 2 boiler room. Despite having her guns manned and most watertight doors shut she capsizes in about 10 minutes and sinks in about 30 minutes. All it takes to sink her 11,985 tons is one torpedo. She suffers seventy-three casualties while five hundred of the crew survives. Among those lost is Able Seaman Clem Flisher Williams who is lost at age 25. He is the first of four brothers who will be killed in the Great War. It is said that both the Australian and Turkish forces fighting on the land stop to watch her sink.
Today’s losses include:
- Three battalion commanders
- Multiple families that will lose two sons in the Great War
- A family that will lose a total of four sons in the Great War
- A man whose two nephews will be killed in the Great War
- A man whose son will be killed in the Great War
- A son-in-law of the 5th Lord Grantley
- The son of a Baronet
- The son of a member of the clergy
- The Northern Queensland Light Heavyweight Boxing champion
- An International Polo players
- A member of the Aylesbury United Football Club
Today’s highlighted casualties are:
- Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Hethorn Cunliffe (commanding 9th Manchester Regiment) is killed at age 44.
- Lieutenant Colonel Arthur Loveband CMG (commanding 2nd Dublin Fusiliers) is killed in action. His two nephews will be killed, the first in 1914 and second in 1918.
- Lieutenant Colonel Derrick Alfred Carden (Seaforth Highlanders commanding 7th Argyll and Seaforth Highlanders) dies of wounds at age 40. His brother Major Henry Charles Carden DSO will be killed in action in exactly four months at age 60. They are sons ‘Sir’ John Carden the 4th
- Major Hugh Quinn (Australian Infantry) is killed in action at the post that bears his name on Gallipoli at age 27. He is the Northern Queensland Light Heavyweight boxing champion.
- Captain Arthur Noel Edwards (Lancers) an International Polo player is killed in action at age 31. He represented England against America at Meadowbrook in 1911 and 1913. Also on the team was Captain Leslie St Clair Cheape who will be killed 1916.
- Captain Claude Wreford Wreford-Brown DSO (Northumberland Fusiliers) is killed in action at age 39. He served in the Nile Expedition and Battle of Khartoum in 1898, in the South Africa War and on the North West Frontier of India from 1906-9. He was an instructor at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst and has a brother who will be killed in action in July 1916.
- Lieutenant William Galbraith Tennant (Lord Strathcona’s Horse) is killed at age 36. He is the son-in-law of the 5th Lord Grantley Baron of Markenfield and brother will be killed in August.
- Lieutenant Bernard Courtenay Laws (York and Lancaster Regiment) is killed in action at age 23. His brother will be killed in May 1918.
- Second Lieutenant H E Hobbs (Northumberland Fusiliers) is killed. His brother will be accidentally killed in September 1915.
- Second Lieutenant Spencer Henry Le Marchant (Royal Fusiliers) dies of wounds at home. He is the son of the late ‘Sir” Henry Denis 1st Baronet and the ‘Honorable’ Lady Le Marchant.
- Company Quartermaster Sergeant Francis Richard Duncan Adamson (London Regiment) dies of wounds at age 41. He is a holder of the Long Service Medal and his son will be killed in action in September 1918 at age 21.
- Lance Corporal Charles Bertram Cook (Northumberland Fusiliers) is killed at age 21. His brother will die of wounds in July 1917.
- Private Harold Charles Jones (London Regiment) is killed at age 24. He is the son of the Reverend Hugh William Jones Rector of Llanferres.
- Rifleman John Clarke (King’s Royal Rifle Corps) dies of wounds at age 28. He is a member of the Aylesbury United Football Club and his brother will be killed in June 1918.