Great War Lives Lost

We died 100 years ago in the War to end all War

Tag: Royal Naval Air Service

Friday 5 November 1914 – We Lost 281

6th Earl Annesley

6th Earl Annesley

For the second time within a month the minimum height requirement to join the British army is lowered, this time from 5’5” to 5’3”.

The British proclamation that the entire North Sea will be viewed as a military area takes effect.

Today’s losses include:

  • The 6th Earl Annesley
  • Grandson of the 1st Baron Newlands
  • A suicide by a Major General
  • Son and father of a Baronet
  • Royal Academy Artist
  • Nephew of a General
  • Multiple families that will lose two sons
  • Multiple sons of Justices of the Peace

 Today’s highlighted casualty is

Lieutenant Edward Teshmaker Busk (Royal Engineers) dies from a fire in the air while doing experimental service at Laffans Plain near Aldershot at age 28. He is a pioneer of early aircraft design, and the designer of the first full-size efficient inherently stable aeroplane. After attaining First Class Honours in Mechanical Sciences at Cambridge he became Assistant Engineer at the newly formed Royal Aircraft Factory, Farnborough, later the Royal Aircraft Establishment.  Here he devotes much of his time to the mathematics and dynamics of stable flight. Before the invention of mechanical control devices, inherent stability in an aircraft is a most important quality.  Busk took his theories into the air and tried them out in practice. As a result, in 1914 the RE1 (Reconnaissance Experimental) evolved and was claimed as the first inherently stable aeroplane. The remarkable feature of this design was that there was no single device that was the cause of the stability.The stable result was attributed to detailed design of each part of the aeroplane, with due regard to its relation to, and effect on, other parts in the air. Weights and areas were so arranged that under practically any conditions the machine tended to right itself.  Busk was killed while flying his own stable aeroplane, which burst into flames and came down at Laffans Plain (Farnborough Airfield), near Aldershot. He is buried at Aldershot Military Cemetery with full military honours.  His genius and his courage were recognised by the posthumous award of the Gold Medal of the Aeronautical Society of Great Britain, and among the many letters of condolence received by his mother is one from King George V. His youngest brother, Hans Acworth Busk (b.1894), will be reported missing on 6 January 1916, last seen flying a heavy bomber against the Turks at Gallipoli. They are sons of T T Busk JP.

  • Major Clive Macdonnell Dixon(Lancers) dies of wounds received in the first battle of Ypres at age 44. He is the son of ‘Sir’ Raylton Dixon DL and a Royal Academy Artist best known for the charming images in his book The Leaguer of Ladysmith, created during the four-month Siege of Ladysmith in South Africa. He served in Chitral and the South Africa War. Several of his watercolors are kept by the Africana Museum in Johannesburg.
  • Captain Graham de Montmorency Armstrong-Lushington-Tulloch (Connaught Rangers) is killed at age 28. He is the great nephew and godson of General de Montmorency.
  • Captain William Frank Gardiner Baird (Bedfordshire Regiment attached Lincolnshire Regiment) dies of wounds he received on 27 October at Neuve Chapelle. He is the 29-year-old son of the 8th Baronet ‘Sir’ William James Gardiner Baird and father of the 10th He is also the grandson of the 1st Baron Newlands.
  • Lieutenant Noel George Scott McGrath(Dragoon Guards) dies of wounds received 31 October at age 29. He is the son of the Honorable George McGrath.
  • Lieutenant Edward Joseph Cormac Walshe (Leinster Regiment) dies of wounds at age 22. His brother will be killed in November 1917 and they are sons of Edward Cormac Walsh JP DL.
  • Flight Lieutenant Charles Francis Beevor and Sub Lieutenant Francis Annesley (Royal Naval Air Service, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve) the 6th Earl are killed when their Bristol TB8 is shot down by shell fire while he is traveling to Dunkirk and crashes into the sea. The Earl dies at age 30. Lieutenant Beevor was a skilful and daring pilot who had seen previous service in the Balkan war.
  • Private Patrick Curtis (Irish Guards) is killed at age 28. His brothers will be killed 1917.
  • Major General Robert Geoge Kekewich commander of the 13th (Western) Division commits suicide. He was promoted into the Loyal Regiment (North Lancashire) and commanded the 1st Battalion of that regiment in the Second Boer War. He commanded the garrison during the successful defence of Kimberley. He received the rank of Brevet-Colonel and a Companion of the Order of the Bath. In August 1902 he was specially promoted Major General after winning the Battle of Rooiwal in April of that year. He was appointed colonel of the Buffs in October 1909.

Wednesday 30 September 1914 – We Lost 53

The first British merchant ship, the Selby, to be torpedoed without warning is sunk by a German submarine thirty-four miles southeast by south from the Newarp Light Vessel. There are no casualties and at the time the loss is blamed on a mine.

HMS Chatham is near the small offshore East African island of Koma.  Her lookouts spot several white men in khaki uniforms carrying rifles, accompanied by a group of armed natives.  Drury-Lowe turns in toward land and anchors his ship. A few rounds from the cruisers three-pound guns cause a general panic on shore and most flee into the bush. An armed landing party goes ashore without meeting any opposition. They destroy wireless masts and a signaling station and capture several dhows and catamarans being used to supply the German defenders.  They also find one German who has not run away.  He claims to be a planter, but his papers show him to be an army reserve officer recalled to active service to help with Konigsberg’s intelligence system. He is fortunate not to be shot as a spy.  Among the effects that are discovered is a diary that provides Drury-Lowe with two valuable pieces of information.  One entry gives the details of an elaborate signaling system based on the use of white flags. The British are incensed over this misuse of white flags to signal information to Konigsberg. Drury-Lowe immediately telegraphs the Governor of Dar es Salaam to inform him that in the future any white flag seen along the coast will be fired on without warning.  A second diary entry references the Konigsberg being anchored at a certain location, but the British officer doing the translation has great difficulty deciphering the German script.  All he can say for certain is that she is anchored at a place whose name is six letters long and might be Falalo, Galalo or Salalo. The British are unfamiliar with the obscure village of Salale where Konigsberg is hiding.  Drury-Lowe is now confident that his quarry has not left East Africa.

Today’s losses include:

  • Son of clergy
  • Son of a Justice of the Peace
  • A family that will lose another son later in the war


  • Flight Lieutenant Basil Drummond Ash (Royal Naval Air Service) is accidentally lost at sea at age 24.  He is the son of the Reverend Cyril Alfred Drummond Ash Vicar of Saxton and has been awarded the Naval General Service Medal for his previous service in the Persian Gulf.
  • Lieutenant Rowland Charles Mason (The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment) dies of wounds at home received 14 September at age 31. He is the son of the late Rowland Mason JP.
  • Lieutenant Aubrey Wells Hudson (Worcestershire Regiment) is killed at age 31. His brother will die of wounds in October 1916.
  • Private John Huartson (Lancaster Regiment) is killed when he is struck by a train while guarding the railway at Reading at age 25. His brother will be killed next April.

Tuesday 22 September 1914 – We Lost 1,582

HMS Aboukir

HMS Aboukir

While patrolling the Broad Fourteens, latitude 52.18 north, longitude 3.41 east, off the Dutch coast, the cruiser HMS Aboukir is torpedoed by the submarine U9. The two cruisers in company, HMS Hogue and HMS Cressy, are ordered to close to their sinking sister ship to pick up survivors.  As they stop, they too are torpedoed by U9. All three Bacchante class cruisers go to the bottom, taking 1,459 men with them while 837 are rescued.  The ships lost are insignificant, as they are obsolete; though the event is made more tragic by the fact that the majority of the crews are naval reservists. The Hogue is sunk by two torpedoes fired from a range of only three hundred yards, so close that the submarine has to execute swift maneuvers to avoid a collision with the sinking ship.

SMS Emden bombs the harbor at Madras. She hits four storage tanks containing 346,000 gallons of kerosene.  Moored at a buoy in the harbor is SS Chupra (Captain W C Morrison). A stray shell hits the bunker hatch on the boat deck at the starboard side and explodes. Cadet Joseph Saul Fletcher, age 17 receives many wounds and dies almost instantly.  This is the only fatal casualty inflicted by Emden on a Merchant Mariner during her cruise. Sub Lieutenant Bonstead of the Fort St. George battery rallies his men and manages to organize the firing of nine shells from her elderly guns, none of which find their target. The material effect of Emden’s bombardment is little when compared to the psychological. For days afterwards the trains going inland are crowded with people anxious to place themselves out of range of the shells of the “mystery ship” not only at Madras but also all along the coast.

Private George Ward (Berkshire Regiment) reports back to his battalion, having left eight days earlier claiming to be wounded. He has not been wounded and is court martialed for cowardice. Ward is shot on the recommendation of his corps commander, General ‘Sir’ Douglas Haig, to act as an example to others. Ward’s execution is in fact botched. As he is being taken out to be shot he breaks away from the guard and is shot in the back. He is then brought back on a stretcher and shot in the head by the sergeant of the guard to “finish him off”.

The Royal Naval Air Service carries out the first two British air raids of the war against German soil.  Two aircraft each set out to attack the Zeppelin sheds at Dusseldorf and Cologne. Only Lieutenant Charles Herbert Collet reaches his target, the Dusseldorf airship shed. He drops four bombs, only one of which explodes, inflicting little damage. He later states that “the surprise was complete and numerous Germans in the vicinity ran in all directions”.  All four return safely to their base.  Collet will later be killed on 19 August 1915 while serving at Gallipoli.

Lieutenant Gilbert William Mapplebeck (Royal Flying Corps), exchanges shots with an Albatross two-seater while on a kite balloon bombing mission.  He is wounded in the leg thus becoming the first Royal Flying Corps pilot to be wounded by fire from an enemy aircraft in the Great War.  He will be accidentally killed in August 1915. The airship Beta flies over London to see if Zeppelins can locate targets in foggy weather conditions. The results are inconclusive.

Today’s casualties include:

  • A member of Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s last Antarctic expedition
  • Families that will lose sons
    • Multiple of examples of families that will lose two and three sons
    • Two families that will lose four sons
    • A family that will lose five sons
  • A man whose wife’s first husband was killed in the South African War
  • A Royal Marine whose son will be killed as a 14-year old bugler in the Royal Marines
  • Thirteen young naval Midshipmen
  • Brothers who are killed on the same day, one at sea in the Naval battle and one in the Army on the Western Front
  • Son of a Justice of the Peace
  • Two men whose sons will be born after their fathers deaths
  • Grandson of a Victoria Cross winner
  • Son of clergy
  • A Naval Chaplain
  • Son of a former Member of Parliament
  • Grandson of the 8th Earl of Shaftesbury
  • Son of an Admiral and a son of a General
  • A holder of the Royal Humane Society Medal for Life Saving

Today’s casualties of the day

Lieutenant Oscar William Tottie serving on HMS Aboukir is killed in the sinking at age 22.  His brother Lieutenant Eric Harold Tottie is killed in action as a Lieutenant in the Northumberland Fusiliers during the Battle of the Aisne in France at age 19. These two brothers die on the same day but in very different places. They are sons of W H and Mary Barron Tottie (nee Blake, grand-daughter of Commodore Blake, U S Navy) of Sherlocks, Ascot, Berkshire.

HMS Aboukir casualties include:

  • Lieutenant Commander Thomas Edmund Harrisonis killed at age 34. His brother will be killed in the explosion of HMS Natal in December 1915.  The Engineer Commander on HMS Aboukir is Alfred Everitt Everitt and he is killed.  He is the son of the Reverend William Everitt.
  • Midshipman Geoffrey George Gore-Browne dies at age 15; he is the grandson of Colonel H G Gore-Browne VC DL JP who won his Victoria Cross at Lucknow. He had been the Chief Cadet Captain at the Royal Naval College, Osborne earlier this year.
  • Midshipman Alan Diarmid Campbell Robertson is killed at age 15.
  • Midshipman Geoffrey Bruce Barchard is killed at age 15
  • Midshipman Herbert Lawson Riley is killed at age 15
  • Midshipman John Duncan Stubbs is killed at age 15.
  • Midshipman Anthony Victor George Allsopp age 15 the son of the late Honorable George Higginson Allsopp MP and Lady Mildred Allsopp, the third daughter of the 8th Earl of Shaftesbury.
  • Chaplain Edward Gleadall Uphill Robsonis killed at age 32.
  • Cook’s Mate 2nd Class Edward Milleris killed at age 20.  His brother will be killed in action in May 1918 while serving in the Bedfordshire Regiment.
  • Private James Prior (Royal Marines) becomes the first of five brothers to lose their lives in the Great War. A sixth brother was killed while serving in the Royal Marines in 1912 in the accidental explosion of a gun during exercises on HMS King Edward VII.
  • Leading Stoker John Robert Fendley is killed. His brother will die during the influenza outbreak three days after the Armistice while serving in the Army Cyclist Corps.
  • Stoker 1st Class Lenham Yates dies at age 21. His brother will be killed next March in France.
  • Able Seaman Charles Tulloch Finlayson is killed at age 36. His brother will be killed on the merchant ship Vineyard in November 1916.
  • Able Seaman William Pointer is killed at age 29. His brother will be lost in the sinking of Royal Edward next year.
  • Able Seaman Sidney Thomas Claw is killed at age 34. His nephew will be killed in the loss of HMS Clan McNaughton next February.

The Cressy’s casualties include:

  • Captain Robert Warren Johnson who is killed at age 47. He is the son of Vice Admiral John Ormsby Johnson.
  • Lieutenant Commander Walter Bousfield Watkins Grubb is lost at age 35. His only child a son will be born next year.
  • Lieutenant Commander Bernard Matheson Harvey is last seen helping his men to keep afloat. He was the son of the Honorable Augustus Harvey.
  • Midshipman Claude Phillipe Delmege is killed. He is the son of the Deputy Inspector General of the Royal Navy.
  • Midshipman John Aubrey Froudeis killed at age 16.  He is the only son of Ashley Froude CMG and the grandson of James Anthony Froude, late Regius Professor of Modern History Oxford University.
  • Midshipman Frank George Matthewsis also killed at age 16.  He is the son of Brigadier General F B Matthews CB DSO.
  • Midshipman Vernon Hector Crobyn is killed at age 16.
  • Stoker 1st Class Frank Herbert Browning age 21 is one of seven sons who serve, four of whom are killed.
  • Able Seaman Alfred Augustus Dunk age 32. He was awarded the Medal for life saving by the King at the wreck of ‘Delhi’.
  • Able Seaman Arthur Chestney is the first of three brothers who will be killed in the Great War.
  • Able Seaman Coulson Henry Crascall is killed at age 36. His brother will be killed in April 1917.
  • Seaman Robert John Ladd is killed at age 26. His brother will be killed next June serving in the East Kent Regiment.
  • Stoker 1st Class William Burgess is killed at age 18. He is the first of four sons of Thomas and Mary Ann Burgess who will die as a result of war service.
  • Able Seaman William James Frederick is killed. He is a holder of the Royal Humane Society’s Medal for life saving.
  • Leading Cook’s Mate Walter Charles Nelson Hall is killed at age 23. His brother will be killed in October 1916.

The casualties on HMS Hogue include:

  • Lieutenant Commander Henry Edward de Parny Rennick (HMS Hogue) who was a member of Captain Scott’s last expedition and during the voyage of the Terra Nova and was charge of tracking the depth soundings.
  • Midshipman Geoffrey Charles Harold is killed at age 15. His brother will be killed in 1918.
  • Midshipman Harold Henshaw Ward is killed at age 15.
  • Midshipman Cecil William Holt is killed at age 15. His brother will be killed in October 1917.
  • Petty Officer 1st Class George William Emptage is killed at age 39. His wife’s first husband was killed in the South African War.
  • Ship’s Chief Cook William Neill is killed at age 40. He is a holder of the Messina Medal.
  • Able Seaman Albert Edward Beaney is killed at age 35. His brother will be killed in 5 weeks when his ship HMS Falcon is shelled off the Belgian coast.
  • Private John Llewellyn Timmins (Royal Marine Light Infantry) is killed at age 45. His son will be killed on HMS Cardiff in November 1917 as a fourteen year old bugler.
  • Stoker 1st Class William Charles Harris is lost at age 27. His brother was killed five days before.

Others lost today include:

  • Lieutenant and Adjutant John Cusack Forsyth (Royal Field Artillery) is killed at age 31. He is the first of three brothers who are killed in the Great War.
  • Lieutenant Thomas Gilliat Meautys(West Yorkshire Regiment) dies of wounds at age 25.  He is the son of Thomas Arrowsmith Meautys JP and his only son will be born in April 1915 and will die on service shortly after the end of World War II at age 32. He has two brothers who will be killed in action in the Great War.
  • Private Charles Machin (Coldstream Guards) is killed at age 22. His is the first of three brothers who will be killed in the war.

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Saturday 5 September 1914 – We lost 295

Artist version of HMS Pathfinder sinking

Artist version of HMS Pathfinder sinking

The first sinking of a warship by a submarine in action at sea occurs when the cruiser HMS Pathfinder is torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U21 off St Abb’s Head, Berkshire and the Firth of Forth.  At 14:40 the German submarine fires a torpedo that is spotted by a lookout in the crow’s nest.  Captain Francis Martin Leake reacts instantly with the order “Full speed, hard to starboard.”  Pathfinder rolls on her starboard beam, stern deck nearly awash, as her propellers bite into the water, which turns white her engines racing to escape impending doom.  In spite of Leake’s efforts the torpedo’s warhead slams into Pathfinder under the forward funnel, fracturing the steel plating and piercing one of her boilers. Superheated shrapnel punctures the bulkheads surrounding the powder magazine and ignites a massive explosion.  She goes down in four minutes, taking with her two hundred and fifty nine sailors.  The explosion is so massive it is seen from land and a British destroyer in the neighborhood is immediately diverted and pulls eleven survivors, including Captain Leake from the water.  Officer’s Steward 3rd Class George Henry Mead is killed at age 18. He is the first of three brothers who will lose their lives in the Great War.

A mine blows up the Wilson liner Runo about twenty two miles east by north from Tyne.  The twenty-nine fatalities are the first non-combatants to be killed in the Great War at Sea.

In the “Agreement of London”, Great Britain, France and Russia pledge themselves to make no separate peace.

Lieutenant Dalrymple-Clark carries out the first British bombing raid of the war, near the Franco-Belgian border.  According to the official report he “expended one bomb on about forty Germans-some evidently hurt”.

The first night patrol by two Royal Naval Air Service officers (Lieutenants Claude Grahame-White and Richard Thomas Gates, the first the founder and the second is the director/general manager of the Grahame-White Aviation Company) is carried out over London after the report of enemy aircraft.  Gates will be killed accidentally killed in nine days in a flying accident.

Today’s casualties include:

  • The first hockey international killed in the war
  • The first son of a family that will lose three sons in the war

 Today’s highlighted casualty

Lieutenant Auriol Francis Hay Round (Essex Regiment) dies at home at age 22 of tetanus that he contracted from a shell wound received 26th August. He is the first of three brothers who will lose their lives in the Great War. He played hockey for the County of Essex and played for England against German earlier this year. He is believed to be the first hockey player to fall in the Great War.

photo from