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Thread: 100 Years Ago Today

  1. #2201

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    Right lets get this sorted then off to York...

    4th February 1917

    9 AIRMEN HAVE FALLEN ON SUNDAY FEBRUARY 4TH 1917

    Lieutenant James William Boyd 16 Squadron RFC Died of Wounds 4/5 February 1917 aged 27

    2nd Lieutenant George William Bathurst Bradford 15 Squadron RFC Killed in Action 4 February 1917

    Air Mechanic 3rd Class John Thomas Forshaw Recruits Depot RFC Died 4 February 1917 aged 40

    Corporal John Hogg 8th Aircraft Acceptance Park Accidentally Killed 4 February 1917 aged 23

    Capt. Alexander Armstrong Rees RFC 4 February 1917 aged 32

    Sergeant Frederick James Shaw 33 Squadron RFC died on this day in 1917

    Capt. John Kenneth Stead
    20 Squadron RFC Died of Wounds 4 February 1917 aged 24

    Capt J K Stead of No 20 Sqn RFC (formerly 4th Bn, Yorkshire Regiment) died of wounds on 4 February 1917. He was flying in FE2d A30 with 2Lt W T Jourdan as his observer on 1 February when the aircraft was damaged by enemy [ground?] fire and both airmen were wounded. 2Lt Jourdan survived. Capt Stead, with his observer 2Lt W T Gilson, was credited with bringing down an enemy aeroplane, which crashed at Westrozebeke, on 26 January 1917. He was educated at Mill Hill and Durham University,where he studied at Armstrong College with a view to becoming a mining engineer and was in the O.T.C.. He received a commision in the Yorkshire Rgt in Sept 1914,went to the front in April 1915 and was wounded on the 29th of that month. in March 1916 he was attached to the R.F.C. and returned to the front in the following July.

    2nd Lieutenant Noel Mark Hodson Vernham 16 Squadron RFC Killed in Action 4 February 1917 aged 27. He was shot down b y (and became the 4th victim of) Verner Voss

    2nd. Lieutenant Harry Lister Villiers
    11 Squadron RFC Died of Wounds 4 February 1917 aged 19

    There were 12 aerial victory claims on this day...

    Captain Carleton Main Clement 22 Squadron claims his second kill.

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    The son of the Hon. Justice W. H. P. Clement, Carleton Main Clement attended public school in Vancouver, British Columbia before attending Victoria College at the University of Toronto in 1912 and 1913. Having served with the 31st B.C. Horse, Clement resigned his commission in the militia and enlisted as a private in the 30th Battalion in June 1915. In March 1916 he transferred to the Royal Flying Corps and received Royal Aero Club Aviator's Certificate 2563 on 16 March 1916. After training and a promotion to First Lieutenant he was posted to 22 Squadron in June 1916. He was promoted to Captain in January 1917 and scored his first 8 victories flying the F.E.2b. In July and August of 1917, he scored 6 more victories flying the Bristol F.2b. Missing in action on 19 August 1917, Clement's Bristol Fighter was seen going down near Langemarck, out of control. He was shot down by anti-aircraft fire. His Military Cross was awarded posthumously.

    Opening his account on this day we have Lieutenant Medley Kingdom Parlee also 22 Squadron RFC.

    Having served 3 years with King Edward's Horse, Medley Kingdon Parlee, a student, joined the Canadian Infantry Battalion in October 1914. The son of Agnes Louise (White) and Rev. Henry Thomas Parlee, he married Kathleen DeWolfe Rathbun on 13 February 1915. He was seconded for service with the Royal Flying Corps on 6 November 1916 as a temporary Lieutenant. Posted to 22 Squadron as an observer, he scored 6 victories flying the F.E.2b in 1917. He ceased to be seconded for duty with the Royal Air Force on 31 March 1919

    Captain Stanley Cockerell 22 Squadron RFC claims his second victory.

    Next up we have a double claim for Lieutenant William George Sellar Curphey 32 Squadron RFC

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    William George Sellar Curphey served with the Royal Berkshire Regiment before transferring to the Royal Flying Corps. In air combat with Erwin Böhme on 4 February 1917, he received a head wound and was forced to land his outdated D.H.2. Böhme was credited with his 10th victory. Curphey recovered from his wounds and returned to duty but was killed in combat three months later while attacking a German balloon. His "pusher" was shot down by an Albatros flown by Franz Walz of Jasta 2.

    Opening his account on this day we have Lieutenant Robert Wallace Farquhar The son of George Farquhar, Robert Wallace Farquhar scored his first victory flying two-seaters with 18 Squadron. He scored five more victories flying SPADs with 23 Squadron. He was shot down on 23 June 1917 by Manfred von Richthofen, becoming the Red Baron's fifty-fourth victory. The following year, Farquhar was killed in action in a fight with Jasta 2.

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    23 Squadron Spad VII (any excuse)

    Sergeant Frank Johnson DCM and Bar 22 Squadron also claims his 4th victory on this day

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    The son of James and Rachel Johnson, Frank Johnson scored 4 victories as an F.E.2b observer with 22 Squadron. Sergeant Johnson received Royal Aero Club Aviator's Certificate 4531 on 21 April 1917. As a Bristol Fighter pilot, he scored 12 more victories with 20 and 62 Squadrons.

    Chalking up victory number 7 we have Lieutenant Eric Clowes Pashley Eric Clowes Pashley received Royal Aero Club Aviator's Certificate 139 on a Sommer biplane at Brooklands on 26 September 1911. He joined the Royal Flying Corps in 1916. Posted to 24 Squadron, he scored 8 victories flying the D.H.2.

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    Another Ace claiming a double (numbers 10 and 11) on this day is Oberleutnant Erwin Böhme from Jasta 2, Flying an infantry support mission on 28 October 1916, Böhme's Albatros briefly collided with that of Oswald Boelcke. Böhme survived but Boelcke was killed. On 4 February 1917, Böhme scored his 10th victory by shooting down William Curphey's outdated D.H.2. In combat with a Sopwith two-seater on 11 February 1917, Böhme was shot in the left arm. He was wounded again on 10 August 1917, when a bullet from an enemy scout struck his right hand. Scoring his final victory over a Sopwith Camel on the afternoon of 29 November 1917, Böhme was killed in action later the same day by members of 10 Squadron. He was shot down in flames as he attacked an Armstrong-Whitworth F.K.8 on a photo-reconnaissance mission.

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    Leutnant Paul Bona of Jasta 1 claims his third victory

    Leutnant Erich König of Jasta 2 claims his 3rd victory. König scored 6 victories with Jasta 2 before he was killed in action on his 27th birthday. He was shot down to an F.E.2d of 57 Squadron.

    Leutnant Werner Voss (yest again of Jasta 2) claims his fifth victory and becomes an ace.

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    Claiming his first victory on this day we have 2nd. Lieutenant Giles Noble Blennerhasset of 18 Squadron. After serving with the 4th Irish Rifles, Giles Noble Blennerhasset was seconded to the Royal Flying Corps on 24 March 1916. Posted to 18 Squadron, he scored eight victories as an F.E.2b observer. On 19 July 1917, he was posted to Home Establishment and, after becoming a pilot, served with several Home Defence squadrons. Toward the end of 1919, Blennerhasset was posted to India and served with 48 Squadron until October 1920. He left the Royal Air Force on 22 January 1921.

    There were 627 British losses on this day

    Today’s highlighted casualties include:

    Lieutenant Henry Lister Villiers (Dragoons attached Royal Flying Corps) is killed at age 19. His cousin will be killed in November and they are grandsons of the Reverend Henry Montagu Villiers.
    Lieutenant Hefford William Ernest Ainley (Royal Field Artillery) dies of pneumonia and burns he received two days prior at Beaumont Hamel at age 33. He is the son-in-law of Joseph Hopkinson JP.
    Second Lieutenant Jasper Thomas Brett (Dublin Fusiliers) commits suicide by jumping in front of train at age 22 after being discharged after suffering shell shock. He is an Irish International Rugby player.
    Second Lieutenant Walter Alexander Charlesworth (Leicestershire Regiment) is killed at age 21. He is the son of the Reverend Walter Charlesworth.
    Petty Officer William Henry Capelin (Hood Royal Naval Division) is killed at age 26. His brother was killed in June 1915 on Gallipoli.
    Sergeant Percy Robert Holland (Wellington Regiment) is killed at age 29. He is the son of Methodist preacher and politician and prohibitionist Henry Holland.
    Private Guy Le Rougetel (Machine Gun Corps) is killed in action in Mesopotamia at age 21. His brother was killed in September of last year.
    Rifleman George Herbert Booth (New Zealand Rifle Brigade) dies of wounds at age 22. His older brother died of wounds last October.
    Able Seamen John and Hugh Grant (Hawke Battalion Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve Royal Naval Division) are killed on the Western Front.
    Private Edwin Turner (North Staffordshire Regiment) is killed at age 20. His brother will be killed next year.

    Western Front
    Germany: KAISER SIGNS ORDER FOR RETIREMENT TO SIEGFRIED STELLUNG (Operation Alberich - see below). Whole zone between existing fighting front and pillbox-studded new line (65 miles from near Soissons to Arras, average depth 19 miles) is given rigorous scorched earth treatment. New line will shorten Western Front by 25 miles and release 13 divisions into reserve. British not accurately aware of Hindenburg Line until February 25.

    Middle East
    Mesopotamia: Turks evacuate Hai triangle east of Canal for new line in Dahra Bend, including Kut south bank liquorice factory. British losses since December 13: 8,524 soldiers – but higher Turk ones including 2,006 buried and 578 PoWs.

    Home Fronts
    Turkey: Grand Vizier Said Halim resigns, Young Turk Talaat Bey succeeds, made Pasha.
    Law fixes universal military service 20-45 years.


    Operation Alberich (Unternehmen Alberich) was the codename of a German Army military operation in France during World War I. It was a planned withdrawal to new positions on the shorter, more easily defended Hindenburg Line (Siegfriedstellung), which took place between 9 February and 20 March 1917 and eliminated the two salients which had been formed in 1916, between Arras and Saint-Quentin and from Saint-Quentin to Noyon, during the Battle of the Somme. The British referred to it as the German Retreat to the Hindenburg Line but the operation was a strategic withdrawal rather than a retreat.

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    Soon after taking over from Erich von Falkenhayn as Chief of the General Staff in at the end of August 1916, Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff, First Erster Generalquartiermeister ordered the building of a new defensive line, east of the Somme battlefront from Arras to Laon. Ludendorff was unsure as to whether retreating to the Siegfriedstellung (Hindenburg Line) was the best thing to do, since withdrawing might diminish the morale of German soldiers and civilians. An offensive was considered if enough reserves could be assembled in the new year. A study suggested that seventeen divisions might be made available but that this was far too few for a decisive effect in the west. Ludendorff accepted the plan after representations by Rupprecht, Crown Prince of Bavaria, commander of Army Group Rupprecht (1st, 2nd, 6th and 7th armies, from the Somme front to the North Sea coast) over the objections of the 1st and 2nd Army commanders. Other options, such as a shorter withdrawal were also canvassed but lack of manpower made the decision inevitable, since even with reinforcements from the Eastern Front, the German army in the west numbered only 154 divisions against 190 Allied, many of which were larger. A move back to the Hindenburg Line (Siegfried Stellung) would shorten the front by 40–45 kilometres (25–28 mi) and require 13 fewer divisions. The order for the withdrawal to begin was issued on 16 March. Rupprecht was appalled by the scale and methods proposed for a scorched earth policy and contemplated resignation, then concluded that it might suggest a rift had developed between Bavaria and the rest of Germany

    Never Knowingly Undergunned !!

  2. #2202

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    Nicely done again.

  3. #2203

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    Nice summary on Unternehmung Alberich

  4. #2204

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    A very interesting edition Chris.
    Also produced under some time pressure no doubt.
    Rob.
    "Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you're scared to death."

  5. #2205

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    Well after the fun and games and Staaken bashing at the Vapnartak show here is today's update.

    5th February 1917

    3 AIRMEN HAVE FALLEN ON MONDAY FEBRUARY 5TH 1917

    Air Mechanic 3rd Class G. Field RFC died on this day 1917

    Air Mechanic 1st Class Henry Thomas Helps RNAS Cranwell Central Depot and Training Establishment - H.M.S. 'Daedalus'

    2nd Lieutenant Alfred Harmer Steele 16 Squadron RFC Died of Wounds 5 February 1917 aged 25. Son of Harmer and Elizabeth Henriette Steele, of "Bankside," Arterberry Rd., Wimbledon, London.

    There were 5 aces claiming victories on this day

    Claiming his second victory we have Feldwebel Andrea Dombrowski On 4 May 1918, he was flying a Hansa Brandenburg C.1 for Flik 29 Dombrowski crash landed his Albatros D.III when he was shot down by Gordon Apps.

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    We also have three pilots who all opened their accounts on this day...

    Oberleutnant Karl Patzelt also flying a Hansa Brandenburg C.1 for Flik 29

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    Patzelt's birthplace is often incorrectly given as Crajova, Bohemia. This was caused by an error in his Austrian personal documents deposited in Vienna, which state "Crajova, Böhmen". In fact, no such place exists in Bohemia. According to Patzelt's qualification document deposited in Prague, he was born in Craiova, Romania, and his legal domicile was Mladá Boleslav, Bohemia, where his father came from. The same source also gives his exact date of birth as February 3, 1893, and spoken languages as German, Romanian and Czech.

    Vizefeldwebel Sebastian Festner
    of Jasta 11

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    Wounded while serving in the infantry, Festner joined the German Air Force in 1914. He served as a mechanic before becoming a pilot in 1916. After flying two-seaters, he was assigned to Jasta 11 where he scored all of his victories. Flying an all red Albatros D.III, Festner shot down ten opponents during April 1917. One of these was Victoria Cross winner William Robinson. Festner shot down Robinson's Bristol F.2a near Mericourt during the Battle of Arras. Two days after becoming the second man to receive the Member's Cross of the Order of the House of Hohenzollern, Festner was killed in a crash during combat.

    Leutnant Otto Konnecke of Jasta 25

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    Könnecke entered the military in 1911 and learned to fly at Metz in 1913. When the war began, he was serving as a flight instructor. In December 1916, he was posted to Jasta 25 in Macedonia where he scored his first confirmed victory on 5 February 1917. At the end of April, Könnecke was sent to the Western Front where he often flew a green Albatros D.V with red trim and a black and white checkerboard insignia. As non-commissioned officers, Könnecke, Fritz Rumey and Josef Mai shot down 109 enemy aircraft while serving with Jasta 5.

    Finally in this section and claiming his 6th victory we have Major Hubert WIlliam Godfrey Jones of 32 Squadron RFC

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    Before he was seconded for duty with the Royal Flying Corps on 22 July 1916, Hubert Wilson Godfrey Jones served with the 4th Battalion of the Welsh Regiment. Captain Jones received Royal Aero Club Aviator's Certificate 2747 on the Caudron biplane at Beatty School, Hendon on 16 April 1916. He scored 7 victories flying the D.H.2 with 32 Squadron. He was shot down but uninjured whilst flying D.H.2 (A2533) on 1 October 1916. He was wounded in action on 15 February 1917 whilst flying D.H.2 (A2535). Wounded again on 21 March 1917, he was shot down near Roupy whilst flying Nieuport 17 (A305) with 40 Squadron. Jones then served at the Central Flying School until November 1918 when he assumed command of 19 Squadron until December 1919. Jones changed his name to Hubert Wilson Godfrey Jones Penderel on 18 October 1928. Group Captain Penderel was killed on active service in May 1943.

    Elsewhere...

    A serious explosion followed by a fire, occurs on the French troopship St. Laurent at Malta. After some time it is observed that three men in the forepart of the ship, where the flames are fiercest, are cut off from the rest. None of the boats near will approach the ship owing to the heat and danger of a further explosion until Acting Quartermaster-Sergeant James Brown (Royal Army Medical Corps) persuades a Maltese Policeman to row him out. When within thirty yards of the ship the policeman refuses to go further. Brown returns, and is then joined by Sergeant William Seymour (Northumberland Fusiliers), Private Arthur Allan (Royal Army Medical Corps) and Private James Cuthbertson (Royal Army Medical Corps). They row directly to the forepart of the ship, the sides of which are by this time red hot, while the plates are falling into the sea. When they are within a few yards of the ship two of the three men in the forepart jump into the sea and are rescued while the third has climbed up the mast and is saved later when the mast falls. All four of these soldiers are awarded the Albert Medal for their efforts.

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    428 British troops were lost on this day

    Today’s highlighted casualties include:

    Lieutenant Tom Pearce Griffith Stone
    (Royal Field Artillery) is killed in Mesopotamia at age 24. He is the son of the Reverend Thomas Stone Vicar of Barrow-on-Soar.
    Lieutenant Arthur Idwal Humphreys (Howe Battalion Royal Naval Division, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve) is killed in action at age 24. He is the son of the Reverend William E Humphreys, was educated at Edinburgh and Durham Universities and also served at Gallipoli from September 1915 until the evacuation.
    Second Lieutenant J H W Stevenson (Punjabis) dies of wounds in Mesopotamia at age 19. He is the son of Surgeon General H W Stevenson IMS CSI JP.
    Lance Sergeant Gerald Patrick Ryan (Australian Infantry) an Australian Rules Footballer dies of head injuries he suffers after falling on ice in England at age 29. He scored 3 goals in the 18 games he played for Essendon in 1906 & 1909.
    Lance Corporal James Norman (Bedfordshire Regiment) is killed in action at age 25 four days after his fellow officer in the Bedfordshire Constabulary Henry Gordon was killed in the Grenadier Guards and less than two weeks prior to Constable Charles Pedley being killed in the Royal Berkshire Regiment.

    Private Hugh Anthony Callan (Australian Infantry) is killed at age 35. He is another Australian rules footballer who played for Essendon and South Melbourne in the Victorian Football League. Callan acted as a follower during his career, which began at Essendon in 1903 after he was recruited from Brighton. He spent three seasons with Essendon and in 1906 didn’t play VFL football as he was in New Zealand on business. Callan returned the following year and joined South Melbourne, playing as a forward pocket in their losing 1907 VFL Grand Final team. In New Zealand, Callan played for the Eden Football Club in the Australian Football League of Auckland during the 1906 season. Also in that year, he represented Auckland in an interprovincial match against Waihi. In his career he scored 32 goals in 71 games.

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    Capt. Tunstill's Men: The Battalion was employed mainly in training, with the provision of some working parties. The weather remained fine, but very cold. Capt. William Norman Town (see 23rd January), appeared before a Medical Board assembled at Caxton Hall, London. The Board found that, “he is now sufficiently recovered to enable him to do light duty at home. No route marching and in an office. Considering this officer’s recent medical history it seems advisable that he should not be sent to the east for some considerable time. He has broken down twice. With dysentery at Gallipoli and with malaria at Salonika”. He was ordered to report to the Cheshire Regiment Depot at Birkenhead. A further payment of £1 was authorised, having been found to have been outstanding on the account of the late Pte. Tom Emmott (see 7th December 1916), who had died of wounds on 19th September; the payment would go to his father, William.

    Politics
    Germany: Government refers to US relations break ‘The struggle is for our existence. For us there can be no retreat (from unrestricted U-boat warfare).’

    Eastern Front

    Ten miles south of Kieselin (Volhynia) enemy attacks Russian positions, but is repulsed.

    Southern Front

    Italian line heavily attacked by the Austrians in various sectors. All attacks beaten off.

    Asiatic and Egyptian Theatres

    Siwa evacuated by the Senussi and entered by British, who capture Munasib Pass, cutting off enemy retreat.

    Neutrals
    Mexico: Pershing and last 10,000 US cavalry leave.
    USA: President Wilson forbids sale, lease or charter of American vessels to foreign flags.

    Secret War
    Britain: DNI (Director Naval Intelligence) Captain Hall Royal Navy sees Foreign Office about publishing Zimmermann Telegram.

    Home Fronts
    Britain: National Service volunteer scheme begins enrolling 18-61 year olds (100,000 by March 3, including 15,000 women in 3 days, allowed to be taxi drivers).
    Turkey: First drug profiteers punished (hundred arrested in May).
    Italy: 4th War Loan opens.
    New Zealand: Sheepskins commandeered.

    Never Knowingly Undergunned !!

  6. #2206

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    A day at the races and all this too!!
    Mentioned in dispatches for certain.

    Lest we forget

  7. #2207

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    February 6th 1917

    When you look at the list of fallen airmen and have to keep scrolling down you know it means two things, it was a bad day for the RFC and this post is going to take ages, lol

    12 AIRMEN HAVE FALLEN ON TUESDAY FEBRUARY 6TH 1917

    Sergeant Frederick Bradshaw 33 Training Squadron RFC Killed while flying 6 February 1917 aged 19

    2nd Lieutenant Horace John Davis 15 Squadron RFC Killed in Action 6 February 1917 aged 23, when attacked by enemy aeroplanes while photographing German positions near Pendant Copse

    2nd Lieutenant John Taylor Gibbon 20 Squadron RFC Killed in Action 6 February 1917 aged 29, during an aerial combat. Son of Arthur Richard and Harriet Gibbon; husband of Grace Gibbon, of "Hill View," Spin Hill, Market Lavington, Wilts. Formerly served in Royal Army Service Corps. Born in London.

    Lieutenant Charles George Jackson RNAS Royal Navy Reserve Died of pneumonia 6 February 1917 aged 45

    Sergeant Frederick Hugh Lincoln Southern Aircraft Repair Depot - died on this day in 1917

    Lieutenant Thomas Charles Harvey Lucas
    20 Squadron RFC Killed in Action 6 February 1917 aged 19

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    Thomas Charles Harvey Lucas was born on 28th November 1898 in Burwell (Newmarket Q4-1898 3B:522), baptised in Burwell on 22nd February 1898, son of Charles and Annie Elizabeth LUCAS. He was educated at Eton.
    Enlisted in Suffolk Regiment on 5th September 1915, he transferred from the Suffolk Regiment to the Royal Flying Corps on 30th July 1916.

    Taking off on a reconnaissance mission at 3.11 pm on 6th February 1917,he was last seen in FE2D ser No.A31 of 20 Squadron, in low flying combat over Moorslede. According to Henshaws he was even seen low down, in control after combat. With him was his observer,2nd Lt. J.T. GIBBON. Their downing (his 2nd victory) was claimed by Lt Träger of Jagdstaffel 8 from Rumbeke, Belgium. Another plane of the unit was lost about the same moment in the same place, A38 of 2nd Lt. ME Woods and Lt. EB Maule ( from Huntingdon) who also were shot down and both KIA. They had taken off at 3.05 PM and were downed by Obst. Fr. von Esebeck, of Jagdstaffel 8 (1st victory). 20 squadron was formed on 1 September 1915, as a fighter-reconnaissance unit of the Royal Flying Corps, and became arguably the highest scoring and possibly most decorated British squadron on the Western Front with 613 combat victories, a posthumous Victoria Cross won by Thomas Mottershead, four Distinguished Conduct Medals, and over sixty Military Crosses and Military Medals awarded to its members. Its ranks included over forty flying aces.

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    FE.2d

    Lieutenant Edward Barry Maule 20 Squadron RFC Missing - Killed in Action, during an aerial combat 6 February 1917 aged 24. He was flying FE2d A38 with 2Lt M E Woods who was taken POW.

    Captain John Casely McMillan 4 Squadron RFC Wounded in Action - by anti-aircraft fire 3 February 1917, Died of Wounds 6 February 1917 aged 24

    Lieutenant Forrest Henry Mitchell RNAS Armoured Car Squadron Died of Wounds as Prisoner of War 6 February 1917 aged 35

    2nd Lieutenant Henry Lewis Pateman 15 Squadron RFC Killed in Action when attacked by enemy aeroplanes while photographing German positions near Pendant Copse 6 February 1917 aged 20

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    Henry was born in Croydon on 26 January 1897 to John and Elizabeth Chapman. They lived at 72 Waddon Marsh Lane. His father was resident engineer at Croydon Gas Company. Henry attended a private school prior to admission to Selhurst Grammar School (previously known as The Borough Grammar School for Boys) on 24 April 1910. He left on 31 December 1912 and became an apprentice engineer. He joined the Royal Flying Corps and gained his Second Class flying certificate on 1 May 1916 and First Class on 23 May. He was then commissioned. He was awarded the Croix de Guerre on 16 October 1916. He was killed in action on 6 February 1917. An eye witness wrote saying that three enemy aircraft appeared above him and one of them dived and shot him. His aircraft crashed 300 yards behind British lines. He was deeply mourned by the whole squadron, among whom he was very popular; his squadron commander wrote that he was one of his best pilots, the keenest in the squadron. His post war effects were £49 0s.7d plus War Gratuity £10 10s.0d to his father.

    Air Mechanic 1st Class Henry Hollow Tregarthen RNAS HMS President II Died of pneumonia 6 February 1917 aged 42.

    Air Mechanic 2nd Class Wilfred Western Royal Naval Air Service, H.M.S. 'President' died on this day in 1917

    There were eight aces claiming victories on this day...

    Captain Stanley Cockerell 24 Squadron RFC claims his 4th victory

    Also claiming his 4th (out of 57) victory we have Major James McCudden currently flying for 29 Squadron

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    Sous Lieutenant Jean Pie Hyacinthe Paul Jerome Casale claims his 6th victory. Jean Casale, Marquis de Montferato, joined the army in 1913. On 1 October 1914, he transferred to the French Air Service. Serving with N23 and Spa38, he scored 13 victories by the end of the war.

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    Claiming his 20th victory we have Capitaine Alfred Marie Joseph Herteaux. It's believed Heurtaux shot down German ace, Kurt Wintgens. During World War II, Heurtaux was a member of the French Resistance. When the Germans occupied France, he was captured and sent to Buchenwald concentration camp in 1941. He survived the experience and was freed in May 1945. In December of that year, Heurtaux was promoted to Général de Brigade Aérienne and was an Engineer in the Bank sector.

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    Another ace claiming his 6th victory is Capitaine Georges Felix Madon

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    Madon's 41 victories place him high among the least recognized top aces of the Great War. Unofficially, Madon was credited with 64 probable victories, for a theoretical total of 105!
    Having learned to fly in 1911, Madon entered the army the next year and obtained his military brevet in January 1913. Thus, Corp. Madon was one of the most experienced French military fliers when the war began. While flying with BL.30, he strayed into Swiss airspace in April 1915 but escaped internment in December. Assigned to MF.218, then-Sgt Madon requested fighter duty and in Sep 1916 he joined N.38. He scored his first victory that month and by year end had four and was promoted to adjutant. Madon was WIA on 2 July with 12 victories to his credit and was promoted to sous lieutenant in August 1917, becoming a permanent appointment in February 1918. At the end of '17 his string ran to 19 victories, and he continued scoring steadily. He left N.38 in March 1918 when his score stood at 25. He then assumed command of the escadrille which re-equipped with SPADs. Madon's best month was June 1918 when he claimed eight shootdowns. His 41st and final success came on 3 Sept, with temporary promotion to captain on 11 November. Six years later, Madon was killed in Tunis while flying in a tribute to Roland Garros. He was 32 years old.

    Leutnant Paul Bona of Jasta 1 claims his 4th Victory

    Claiming his second kill in as many days we have Leutnant Otto Konnecke of Jasta 25

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    Right saving at this point to avoid losing everything - more to come - don't go away I will be back in a few minutes - ok so it was more than a few minutes, the thread closed and none of the pictures saved - aargh!!

    anyway here is the rest of the post...

    There were 410 British troops lost on this day

    Today’s highlighted casualties include:

    Maj. John Arthur Crichton (Hampshire Regiment attached Inland Water Transport, Royal Engineers) dies of pneumonia in Mesopotamia at age 34. He is the son of Colonel the ‘Honorable Sir’ Henry Crichton KCB ADC Edward VII.
    Second Lieutenant Richard Edward Elcho Skyrme (Wiltshire Regiment) is killed at age 22. He is the son of the Reverend Frank Elcho Skyrme Vicar of Winterbourne Earls.
    Lance Sergeant Gerald Ryan (Australian Infantry) dies of injuries sustained after falling on ice in England at age 27. He is an Australian rule footballer.
    Corporal Francis Arthur Riley (Bedfordshire Regiment) is killed at age 21. His two brothers were killed earlier in the war.
    Gunners Geoffrey, 25, and Harry Nutter, 27, are killed serving in the Royal Horse Artillery attached P Anti-Aircraft Battery and are buried in adjacent graves in Eclusier Communal Cemetery, Eclusier-Vaux.
    Rifleman Richard Farre Pfohl (South African Mounted Rifles) is one of nine men killed during a punitive expedition against the Kwamyama chief Mandume in Angola.

    Captain Tunstill’s Men: The same routine was maintained with training and working parties. The weather remained bitterly cold; Brig. Genl. Thomas Stanton Lambert (see 4th February) noted in his diary, “Very hard frost. About 32 degress F”. Battalion Adjutant Lt. Hugh William Lester MC (see 25th January), currently on leave in England prior to taking up a temporary appointment with 69th Brigade Headquarters, was promoted Captain.

    Home Fronts
    Germany: Ludendorff orders halt on all new factories (excluding nitrate plants) not completable by May.

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    Female German Fabric Workers

    Western Front
    Somme: British troops occupy 1000-yards section of German trench near Grandcourt, south of river Ancre. Germans evacuate village, British occupy it on February 7.

    Politics
    Germany: Zimmermann cables Vienna Ambassador ‘We can carry through even our moderate demands only as victors.’


    and finally following the announcement of unrestricted submarine warfare by the Germans we see this reply from Brazil - far from happy with the announcement...

    I have just been Brazilian Foreign Minister Lauro Muller's' Diplomatic Protest to Germany
    6 February 1917

    I have transmitted to my Government by telegraph your letter of February 3rd, in which your Excellency informed me of the resolution of the German Imperial Government to blockade Great Britain, its islands, the littoral of France and Italy, and the Eastern Mediterranean by submarines which would commence operations on February 1st. Your letter stated that the submarines would prevent all maritime traffic in the zones above mentioned, abandoning all restrictions observed up to the present in the employment of means for sea fighting, and would use every military resource capable of the destruction of ships.

    The letter of your Excellency said further that the German Government, having confidence that the Government of Brazil would appreciate the reasons for the methods of war which Germany was forced to take on account of the actual circumstances hoped that Brazilian ships would be warned of the danger they ran if they navigated the interdicted zones, the same as passengers or merchandise on board any other ship of commerce, neutral directed to inform your Excellency that the Federal Government has the greatest desire not to see modified the actual situation, as long as the war lasts, a situation in which Brazil has imposed upon itself the rigorous observance of the laws of neutrality since the commencement of hostilities between nations with whom she has had friendly relations.

    My Government has always observed this neutrality while reserving to itself the right, which belongs to it and which it has always been accustomed to exercise, of action in those cases where Brazilian interests are at stake.
    The unexpected communication we have just received announcing a blockade of wide extent of countries with which Brazil is continually in economic relations by foreign and Brazilian shipping has produced a justified and profound impression through the imminent menace which it contains of the unjust sacrifice of lives, the destruction of property, and the wholesale disturbance of commercial transactions.

    In such circumstances, and while observing always and invariably the same principles, the Brazilian Government, after having examined the tenor of the German note, declares that it cannot accept as effective the blockade which has just been suddenly decreed by the Imperial Government. Because of the means employed to realize this blockade, the extent of the interdicted zones, the absence of all restrictions, including the failure of warning for even neutral menaced ships, and the announced intention of using every military means of destruction of no matter what character, such a blockade would neither be regular nor effective and would be contrary to the principles of law and the conventional rules established for military operations of this nature.

    For these reasons the Brazilian Government, in spite of its sincere and keen desire to avoid any disagreement with the nations at war, with whom it is on friendly terms, believes it to be its duty to protest against this blockade and consequently to leave entirely with the Imperial German Government the responsibility for all acts which will involve Brazilian citizens, merchandise, or ships and which are proven to have been committed in disregard of the recognized principles of international law and of the conventions signed by Brazil and Germany.
    Last edited by Hedeby; 02-06-2017 at 16:40.

    Never Knowingly Undergunned !!

  8. #2208

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    Lets see if we cant get through this edition without the system crashing, pictures vanishing or the thread closing on me half way through - fingers crossed

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    February 7th 1917

    Despite what looked at first glance to be a quiet day all round - it was another bad day for the Royal Flying Corps

    9 AIRMEN HAVE FALLEN ON WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 7TH 1917

    Flight Lieutenant Cecil Richard Blagrove RNAS 4(N) Squadron 5(N) Wing Killed in Action 7 February 1917 aged 20. Missing, with A.M.2 J. Milne, his observer, after a raid on Bruges 7 February 1917. Seen in aerial combat near Bruges Harbour. Later confirmed that Sopwith 1? Strutter N5102 was shot down by Vizeflugmeister Wirtz

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    Stoker 1st Class WIlliam G. Cubbins Royal Naval Air Station, H.M.S. 'President' Killingholme Naval Air Station died on this day in 1917.

    2nd Lieutenant Mark Denman Draper 2nd Reserve Squadron RFC Accidentally Killed while flying 7 February 1917 aged 32. MARK DENMAN DRAPER, R.F.C., killed while flying on February 7th, aged 32, was the eldest son of the Rev. William Henry Draper, rector of Adel, near Leeds, and grandson of the late Justice Denman. He was educated at Repton School, and took up the dramatic profession, in which he had begun to make his way. In 1915 he joined theAartists Rifles, and only recently obtained a commission in the R.F.C. His brother, Captain R. F. Draper, York and Lancaster Regiment, was killed at Suvla Bay in August, 1915.

    2nd Lieutenant Edward Eustace Erlebach 45 Squadron RFC Killed in Action 7 February 1917 aged 19. Son of H. Arthur and Annie E. Erlebach, of Woodford House School, Birchington, Kent. His brothers Arthur Woodland Erlebach and Henry Woodland Erlebach also fell.

    Captain Eric Tom Farrow
    2 Reserve Squadron RFC Accidentally Killed while flying 7 February 1917 aged 19

    2nd Lieutenant Arthur Jackson 24 Squadron RFC Killed while flying 7 February 1917 aged 18

    Gunlayer Medgett RNAS 5th (N) Wing - tragically we don't even have the poor chap's full name - Reported Killed France & Flanders 7 February 1917

    Air Mechanic John Milne RNAS No.5 (N) Wing, Dunkerque. Downed over Bruges 7 February 1917

    Air Mechanic Frederick J. Ridgeway 45 Squadron RFC - reportedly died on this day in 1917

    Seeing as most of the aforementioned losses had nothing to do with actual aerial combat - there is a short list of those pilots claiming kills on this day...

    Captain James Dacres Belgrave 45 Squadron RFC - claims his first aerial victory flying Sopwith Strutter 7775

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    The son of a barrister, James Belgrave of Kensington, James Dacres Belgrave enlisted in December 1914. Whilst serving with the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, he was wounded in action in November 1915 and transferred to the Royal Flying Corps in July 1916. Posted to 45 Squadron, he scored 6 victories flying the Sopwith 1½ Strutter in 1917. He served with 61 Squadron on Home Defence before joining 60 Squadron as a flight commander in April 1918. Flying the S.E.5a, he scored 12 more victories before he and another member of his flight were shot down east of Albert on 13 June 1918.

    Following on from his double of the 4th February we have Captain William George Sellar "Growler" Curphey of 32 Squadron RFC.

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    Leutnant Walter von Bülow-Bothkamp claims his 8th victory whilst flying for Jasta 18. Brother of German ace Harry von Bülow-Bothkamp, he was killed in action when his Albatros D.V shot down by Frank Quigley and William Fry on 6 January 1918.

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    and finally another pilot opening is account on this day....

    Leutnant Georg Meyer of FA253 (later Jasta 37) Meyer was wounded in action on 14 October 1918 but remained with Jasta 37.

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    Leutnant Georg Meyer (11 January 1893 in Bremen, Germany – 15 September 1926) was a German World War I fighter ace credited with confirmed victories over six enemy observation balloons and 18 enemy aircraft. Meyer was one of the early German military aviators, volunteering on 1 February 1916. He would serve through the end of the war, rising to squadron command in the process. He would be recommended for Germany's highest award for valor, the Pour le Merite. Meyer remained in aviation postwar, and was head of aviation training at Magdeburg when he was killed in a motorcycle accident.

    Georg Meyer was born in Bremen in the German Empire on 11 January 1893. His father was a merchant. After George Meyer completed elementary and high school, he went to work for the customs service from 1911-1912. He also completed his required military service. He joined Infantry Regiment No. 75 in 1911. Just before World War I began, he was conscripted into the Guards Ersatz Division. He went into battle with the Guards in France.Meyer transferred to duty with Die Fliegertruppen des deutschen Kaiserreiches on 1 February 1916. By 18 August, he had been trained and was piloting a two-seater reconnaissance craft for Feldflieger Abteilung 69 in Macedonia. From there, he transferred to flying two-seaters on artillery direction duty with Flieger-Abteilung (Artillerie) 253 on the Western Front. On 7 February 1917, he scored his first aerial victory, downing a Nieuport over Lemmes, France. In April 1917, he was transferred to fly single-seater fighters with Jasta 22. He had two unconfirmed victories there; then Josef Jacobs transferred to Jasta 7 on 2 August, taking Meyer with him. Meyer ran his score to four confirmed and two unconfirmed victories before being posted on to Jasta 37 on 25 March 1918. He ascended to command as Staffelführer on 14 April 1918. In June, the unit re-equipped with Fokker D.VIIs, and Meyer began to quickly accumulate victories. He became a balloon buster, with six confirmed and two unconfirmed. He was also credited with an additional 18 enemy airplanes destroyed, with two more claims unconfirmed. On 18 October 1918, he was lightly wounded and remained on duty. He had been awarded both classes of the Iron Cross, his native Bremen's Hanseatic Cross, as well as the Knight's Cross with Swords of the House Order of Hohenzollern. On 5 November 1918, he was recommended for the Blue Max. The recommendation died with the German Empire upon the emperor's abdication.

    442 British Troops lost their lives on this day

    Today’s highlighted casualties include:

    Lieutenant Colonel Ernest Charles Patrick Boyle DSO (commanding 1st Honorable Artillery Company) is killed near Grandcourt at age 56. He is a veteran of the South Africa War where is brother was killed in April 1900 at Boshof. He is the grandson of Admiral Boyle.
    Lieutenant Colonel Alexander John Fife (Yorkshire Regiment attached Machine Gun Corps) dies from heart failure following pneumonia at age 36. His youngest son will die in three weeks. He joined the King’s Royal Rifle Corps in 1899 and served in the South African War with the Mounted Infantry being dangerously wounded. Later he becomes ADC to ‘Sir’ Reginald Talbot, Governor-General of Australia, and afterwards to Earl Grey in Canada. In September 1914 he is gazetted Major to the Yorkshire Regiment. In May of the following year he is in temporary command of the 2nd/5th Durham Light Infantry, and then No. 1 Battalion of the Machine Gun Corps at Grantham. In November 1916 he is in command of the Machine Gun Corps Base Depot in France.
    Major Wulstan Hubert O’Brien (Inland Water Transport Royal Engineers) is killed at age 33. His brother will be killed in July.
    Captain Terence Fuller Stokes (Punjabis) is killed in Mesopotamia at age 25. He is the son of the late ‘Sir’ Gabriel Stokes KCSI.

    The Anchor steamship California is torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine thirty-eight miles west by south from Fastnet. Most of the forty-three casualties are caused by the explosion and the ship sinks in seven minutes. Although the Captain goes down with the ship he is blown to the surface by an explosion and saved.

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    The twin screw steamer California was built by D & W Henderson Ltd, Glasgow for the Anchor Line Ltd in 1907 as a replacement for the aging ocean liner Astoria, which had been in continuous service since 1884. She worked the Glasgow to New York transatlantic route and was sunk by the German submarine SM U-85 on 7 February 1917. SS California was 8,662 GRT (6,791 under deck and 5,403 net), with a length of 470 feet (140 m), a beam of 58.3 feet (17.8 m) and a draught of 34 feet (10 m). The California had three decks: the poop deck was 70 feet (21 m) long, the bridge 213 feet (65 m) long and the forecastle 91 feet (28 m) long. She had two black funnels, two giant masts (one fore and one aft), twin screw propeller propulsion and was capable of achieving a speed of 16 knots (30 km/h). She was fitted with a triple expansion engine with 6 cylinders of 27 1⁄2, 46 and 75 inches each pair; it had a stroke of 54 inches and produced 827 nominal horsepower. The engine was built by the same company that built her hull. The ship was capable of carrying a total of 1214 passengers: 232 first class, 248 second class and 734 third class. She was outfitted with the latest appointments, including electric light and refrigerating machinery.

    California sailed on her last Glasgow to New York voyage on 12 January 1917. She began her return voyage on 29 January 1917 with 184 crew and 31 passengers on board. On 3 February 1917, as she sailed on her return trip towards Scotland, German U-boats attacked and sank the SS Housatonic, an act which led to the breaking off of diplomatic relations between the United States and the German Empire. On the morning of 7 February 1917 when homeward-bound and approaching Ireland under full steam, she was attacked by SM U-85 in a surprise attack. The German submarine, under the command of Kapitanleutenant Willy Petz, fired two torpedoes at California; one struck the ship squarely on the port quarter near the Number 4 hatch. Five people were killed instantly in the explosion; thirty-six people drowned either as the ship went down or when one filled lifeboat was swamped in the wake of the burning vessel, which plowed ahead losing little headway as she went down. She sank in nine minutes, 38 miles (61 km) W by S of Fastnet Rock, Ireland with a loss of 41 lives. Though Captain John L Henderson stayed on the bridge through the entire incident, and subsequently went down with the ship, incredibly he made his way to the surface and was rescued.

    According to the Royal Navy, on 12 March 1917 the Q-ship HMS Privet avenged the sinking of California. Posing as an unarmed merchant vessel, the crew of Privet lured U-85 to the surface after sustaining heavy damage in an unprovoked attack by the submarine. As Privet’s highly trained crew feigned abandoning ship, they uncovered the ship’s hidden guns and opened fire on the submarine at close range. U-85 was sunk by gunfire, and Kapitanleutenant Petz and his crew of 37 men were killed.

    Another very quiet day for Captain Tunstill's Men: There was no change in the weather and the routine of training and working parties continued.

    LCpl. Thomas Arthur Sturdy (see 8th January) was promoted Corporal. Pte. Patrick Sweeney (see 11th January), who had joined the Battalion a month earlier, was admitted to 69th Field Ambulance with a diagnosis of gonorrhoea. Lt. Cecil Edward Merryweather (see 15th January), currently on home service with the RFA, appeared before a further Medical Board at the Military Hospital at Ripon. The Board found him fit for general service.

    Home Fronts
    Russia: 125,000 in Moscow and Petrograd political strikes (20 leaders arrested February 10-11).
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    Britain: King opens Parliament. Petrol licence issues suspended, private motoring virtually eliminated (331,897 licences in 1916).

    Politics
    Brazil and Argentina: Governments threaten to sever relations if Germany attacks their shipping.
    Germany: All US citizens held as government hostages (until February 17).

    Never Knowingly Undergunned !!

  9. #2209

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    Good one Chris.
    No break down of the Printing Press today.
    Kyte.
    "Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you're scared to death."

  10. #2210

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    Thankfully not Rob - now lets go for two in a row...

    Never Knowingly Undergunned !!

  11. #2211

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    February 8th 1917


    Much better day for the RFC, much quieter day for me, shorter post for you...

    TWO AIRMEN HAVE FALLEN ON THURSDAY FEBRUARY 8TH 1917

    Air Mechanic 2nd. Class Stanley Brigham Recruits Training Centre RFC Died of sickness 8 February 1917 aged 27

    Air Mechanic 2nd Class Harry Young No.1 Aircraft Depot, Engine Repair Shops died on this day in 1917

    Following a promise I made in a different thread it would be remiss of me not to wish a very belated birthday (in 1894) to the one and only Lieutenant Colonel William "Billy" Avery Bishop VC

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    There were only a handful of recorded claims on this day...

    Capitaine Georges Marie Ludovic Jules Guynemer claims his 31st kill by shooting down nothing less than a Gotha !! nice one Georges!

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    Guynemer was France's most beloved ace. He entered the French Air Service in November 1914 and served as a mechanic before receiving a Pilot's Brevet in April 1915. Despite his frail physical appearance, he took part in more than 600 aerial combats and was shot down seven times and survived. An excellent marksman and highly skilled pilot, he was hailed as the French Ace of Aces. Guynemer received letters from women proposing marriage, requests from school children for his autograph and was often followed through the streets. One of the first pilots to receive a SPAD VII, he called his plane Vieux Charles (Old Charles). On 25 May 1917, he engaged and shot down four enemy aircraft with Old Charles in one day. Looking for ways to improve the performance of his aircraft, Guynemer armed a SPAD VII with a single-shot 37 mm canon that fired through a hollowed out propeller shaft. He called this impractical aircraft his Magic Machine. Despite the fumes that filled the cockpit and the recoil of the canon, during the summer of 1917 he shot down at least two enemy aircraft with his Magic Machine. On 11 September 1917, Guynemer was last seen attacking a two-seater Aviatik near Poelcapelle, northwest of Ypres. Almost a week later, it was publicly announced in a London paper that he was missing in action. Shortly thereafter, a German newspaper reported Guynemer had been shot down by Kurt Wissemann of Jasta 3. For many months, the French population refused to believe he was dead. Guynemer's body was never found.

    Major Ernest William Norton 6N Squadron claims his second victory whilst flying a Nieuport 11

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    Flight Sub-Lieutenant Ernest William Norton received Royal Aero Club Aviator's Certificate 1476 on a Maurice Farman biplane at Central Flying School, Upavon on 29 July 1915.

    576 British Troops were lost on this day

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    Early this morning, shortly after midnight the steamship Hanna Larsen is sighted by the German submarine UC-39. The steamer stops and the submarine dives to approach her submerged. The Hanna Larsen now attempts to escape by “zig-zagging” but the German craft comes to the surface and opens fire at the steamer that again stops and lowers her boats. The U-boat sends men over to the British ship to sink her with bombs making the master and chief prisoners.

    At 13:00, having sunk a Norwegian steamer in the meantime, UC-39 again comes to the surface and opens fire on another steamer, but this time her fire is almost immediately answered by the British destroyer HMS Thrasher (Lieutenant Commander E M Hawkins). UC39 dives, but not soon enough, as a depth charge shakes her so badly that water pours into her conning tower and control room. She then rises sharply to the surface only to have the destroyer rake her fore and aft. In spite of the fact that her captain has by now been killed, the submarine continues to make good speed and therefore the destroyer continues to fire. Finally, the destroyer hails the U boat through a megaphone to stop and this being done, fire is ceased and seventeen German survivors are taken aboard the destroyer. The two British prisoners are also rescued uninjured.

    Today’s highlighted casualties include:

    Second Lieutenant Charles Martin Armstrong (Royal Dublin Fusiliers) is killed in action at age 23. He is the son of the Reverend Chancellor S C Armstrong Rector of Kilrush.
    Private Ernest Longford (Prince of Wales Own West Yorkshire Regiment) is killed in action at age 29. His brother was killed in July 1916.
    Private John Hull (Bedfordshire Regiment) is killed at age 21. His older brother was killed last September.
    Private Sydney Clapham (Border Regiment) is killed at age 20. His brother will be killed in November.
    Private Charles Rylance (West Yorkshire Regiment) at age 24. His brother was killed last September.

    Sea War
    Adriatic: Grand Admiral Baron Anton von Haus, C-in-C Austrian Fleet dies of lung disease aboard flagship Viribus Unitis aged 65; Emperor Charles attends funeral. Senior Vice-Admiral Njegovan (1st Squadron) succeeds, also made Admiralty Chief (April 30).
    North Sea*: Destroyer HMS Thrasher sinks UC-39 with depth charges off Flamborough Head.
    Channel: Dover Strait minefield completed by Royal Navy minelayers, but has to be swept and relaid (June-July). HM Destroyer Gurkha mined and sunk. UC-46 rammed and sunk by destroyer Liberty southeast of Goodwin Sands.
    Britain: War Cabinet decide only to continue with building battlecruiser Hood, 3 sister ships suspended on march 9 as Germans known to have stopped work on capital ships.

    Air War
    Western Front: Guynemer shares shooting down of Freiburg*-based Gotha bomber near Bouconville; this 32nd victim goes on display in Paris.

    Politics
    USA: Wilson proposes to Britain that Allies declare against Austro*-Hungary’s total break up but Lloyd George declines on February 11.

    Secret War
    Britain: Zimmermann telegram (Royal Navy Room 40 decipher) ‘… you are desired … to broach … an alliance to the President [Carranza of Mexico] … The President might, even now… sound Japan’.
    Private Robert Normanton Stanhope Butler (Manchester Regiment) is killed at age 30. He is an actor and the son of an actor.

    Tunstill's Men: Training was again conducted and working parties provided for the Royal Engineers. Brig. Genl. Lambert (still no relative) (see 6th February), again noted a “very hard frost”. Pte. Edward Smitham, the eldest son of Sgt. George Edward Smitham (see 25th November 1916), who had attested for service (though underage), was transferred to Army Reserve Class W and released to work for British Dyes Ltd at Huddersfield. He had been found to be unfit for military service on account of being blind in his right eye.
    2Lt. Tom Pickles (see 23rd January), formerly of Tunstill’s Company, but currently ill while on home leave from 9DWR, wrote to the War Office asking how he might secure hospital treatment for his ongoing health problems; he related the series of events since, during his leave, he became ‘severely indisposed’.

    Some snippets from the home front..

    Home Front: Worcester’s Warm Work in the West – Keeping the German’s Busy – Stories of exciting incidents in the trench raid warfare on the West Front in which the Worcestershires took part are told by a Dudley sergeant, who is now in hospital in this country. “Our lads are only just warming up to their work, and one of these days the sparks will begin to fly. We are able to do what we like with Fritz just when and how we like, and if the order went forth tomorrow we could clear the Huns out of all the country up to the Rhine. I don’t say it would be child’s play doing it, but you can take it from me our lads are equal to the job and will do it, never fear. Old Fritz is on tenterhooks all the time. We never give him rest, and he never knows when we are likely to drop over, night or day, for a friendly chat at the end of a bayonet.

    St Barnabas Scouts – Tea, Concert and Badge Awards – The annual tea and concert in connection with St Barnabas “L” troop of Boy Scouts took place in the Iron Room, Rainbow Hill. The boys had a jolly tea, and afterwards they gave a concert. There was a long and well varied programme and the way in which it was rendered was a tribute to the coaching of Mr and Mrs Potter, who have the ability to teach the boys to entertain, in addition to teaching them everything they should know about Scout craft.

    and finally somewhere out at sea completing sea trial was an as yet unfinished and uncommissioned British Battle Cruiser

    HMS Hood

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    Never Knowingly Undergunned !!

  12. #2212

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    Right going to have to post in segments this evening, as just got back from work - off out as soon as dinner finished and back around 11:15pm so will see how far I get for now...

    February 9th 1917


    4 AIRMEN HAVE FALLEN ON FRIDAY FEBRUARY 9TH 1917 (none of them in combat)

    Air Mechanic 2nd Class William Elwyn Evans Recruits Training Centre, Halton died of meningitis 9th February 1917

    Lieutenant Robert Dykes Grossart 30 Reserve Squadron RFC Killed while flying 9 February 1917 aged 25

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    Robert Dykes Grossart was born on the 22nd January 1892, in Corrie, Dumfriesshire, son of Robert Fraser Grossart, a Farmer, and his mother Wilhelmina Grossart (nee Gibson), who had married on the 29th April 1884, in Middlehouse, Carluke, Lanarkshire. When young Robert went up to University in 1912 at the age of 21 to study Engineering, his family was resident at Milton, Beattock, and he found a place to stay in Glasgow, first at 90 Buccleuch Street, and later at 14 Willow Bank Crescent. In his first year he took classes in Mathematics and Natural Philosophy. In his second year, the academic session 1913-1914, he enrolled for classes in Chemistry, Engineering and Physical Laboratory. When the First World War began he cut short his studies and enlisted in the Cameron Highlanders.

    Sadly he would not be amongst those who were able to return to their studies after the war. Robert must have been transferred from the Cameronians to the 18th (2nd Glamorgan) Bn. Welsh Regiment where he served initially before being transferred to the Royal Flying Corps as a Temporary Lieutenant. It was while on flying duties near his base in Beverley, Yorkshire, that Lieutenant Robert Dykes Grossart was killed in an accident on the 9th February 1917. He was awarded the British War medal and Victory Medal. Lieutenant Robert Dykes Grossart is buried at Kirkpatrick, Juxta Parish Churchyard, Dumfries. He was 25.

    Air Mechanic 2nd Class John Ernest Heyworth No.1 Aircraft Depot, Engine Repair Shops. Died 9 February 1917 aged 44

    Air Mechanic 2nd Class D.W. McDonnell 37 Reserve Squadron RFC - died on this day in 1917

    There were two claims on this day...

    Capitaine Alfred Victor Robert Auger N3 Escadrille - claims his third victory

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    My god what an amazing moustache !!!

    Wounded in action on 31 August 1914 while serving in the infantry, Auger transferred to aviation in 1915 and was wounded again on 8 July 1915. He assumed command of Escadrille N31 on 22 September 1915. After recovering from injuries received in a crash on 16 April 1916, he was reassigned to Escadrille N3 on 17 March 1917. Wounded again on 16 February 1917, Auger assumed command of N3 on 17 March 1917.

    Claiming his second of 48 kills we have Leutnant Josef Carl Peter Jacobs of Jasta 22

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    Interestingly Before he died in 1978, Josef Jacobs was the last surviving aviation recipient of the Orden Pour le Mérite.

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    On this day 419 british troops were lost

    Today’s highlighted casualties include:

    Lieutenant John St Erme Cardew (Royal Navy) dies of illness. His cousin was killed on HMS Monmouth in the Battle of Coronel.
    Lieutenant Rudolph Cecil Hopkinson (Royal Engineers) dies at home at age 25. His brother will be killed in a plane crash in August 1918.

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    Second Lieutenant Andrew Walter Vale (East Yorkshire Regiment) is killed in action at age 31. He is the son of ‘the Honorable’ R T Vale. He served in the 2nd Australian Field Ambulance, Australian Army Medical Corps at Anzac.
    Second Lieutenant George Bott (Rifle Brigade) is killed in action at age 30. He is the son of the Reverend Richard Bott.
    Company Sergeant Major John Thomas Graysmark (London Regiment) is killed at age 37. He is the first of three brothers who are killed in the Great War.
    Private Ernest Irons (Bedfordshire Regiment) is killed at age 33. His brother will be killed in April of this year.

    Western Front
    Somme – Operation Alberich: Germans begin demolitions with programmed removal of material and civilians between Hindenburg Line and actual front line at the Somme. (see below)
    Meuse: French repulse German attacks.

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    Operation Alberich: a railway station and sidings are blown up by the Germans.

    Southern Fronts
    Italian Front: Austrians claim 1,000 PoWs in attack east of Gorizia. but Italians regain trenches taking 100 PoWs on February 9. Italian Intelligence reports new Austrian artillery and troops on Asiago and in Upper Adige.

    Middle East
    Mesopotamia: British 13th and 14th Divisions storm liquorice factory until February 10.

    Operation Alberich

    Operation Alberich (Unternehmen Alberich) was the codename of a German Army military operation in France during World War I. It was a planned withdrawal to new positions on the shorter, more easily defended Hindenburg Line (Siegfriedstellung), which took place between 9 February and 20 March 1917 and eliminated the two salients which had been formed in 1916, between Arras and Saint-Quentin and from Saint-Quentin to Noyon, during the Battle of the Somme. The British referred to it as the German Retreat to the Hindenburg Line but the operation was a strategic withdrawal rather than a retreat.

    The operation began on 9 February 1917 throughout the area to be abandoned. Railways and roads were dug up, trees were felled, water wells were polluted, towns and villages were destroyed and a large number of mines and other booby-traps were planted. About 125,000 able-bodied French civilians in the region, were transported to work elsewhere in occupied France, while children, mothers and the elderly were left behind with minimal rations. On 4 March, General Louis Franchet d'Espèrey, commander of Groupe d'armées du Nord (GAN: northern army group), advocated an attack, while the Germans were preparing to retreat. Robert Nivelle, Commander-in-Chief of the French armies, approved only a limited attack, to capture the German front position and a possible opportunity significantly to upset the German withdrawal was lost. The withdrawal took place from 16–20 March, with a retirement of about 40 kilometres (25 mi), giving up more French territory than that gained by the Allies from September 1914, until the beginning of the operation.

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    By evacuating the Noyon and Bapaume salients, the German front was shortened by 25 miles (40 km), 14 fewer German divisions were needed for line holding and Allied plans for the spring were seriously disrupted.[8] The operation is considered to have been a propaganda disaster for Germany, due to the scorched earth policy but also one of the shrewdest defensive actions of the war. During periods of fine weather in October 1916, British reconnaissance flights had reported new defences being built far behind the Somme front; on 9 November a formation of eight photographic reconnaissance aircraft and eight escorts reported a new line of defences, from Bourlon Wood north to Quéant, Bullecourt, the Sensée river, Héninel and the German third line near Arras. Two other lines closer to the front were observed as they were dug (R. I Stellung and R. II Stellung) from Ablainzevelle to west of Bapaume and Roquigny, with a branch from Achiet-le-Grand to Beugny and Ytres. Some authorities hold that British aerial reconnaissance failed to detect the construction of the Hindenburg line or the German preparations for the troop withdrawal but in 2004, Beach concluded that evidence of German intentions had been collected but that German deception caused unremarkable information to be gleaned from intermittent air reconnaissance. Frequent bad flying weather over the winter and that the Germans had dug new defences behind existing fortifications several times during the Somme battle, led to British intelligence misinterpreting the information. In late December 1916, reports from witnesses, led to British and French air reconnaissance sorties further to the south and in mid-January 1917, British intelligence concluded that a new line was being built from Arras to Laon. By February the line was known to be near completion and by 25 February, local withdrawals on the British Fifth Army front in the Ancre valley and prisoner interrogation, led the British to anticipate a gradual German withdrawal to the new line.

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    Mine crater in the road through Athies, Pas-de-Calais intended to impede the British

    The first intimation that the British received that a withdrawal had begun, was when British patrols probing German outposts found them unoccupied. They then began a slow follow-up but unreadiness, the destruction of all transport routes and the Germans advantage of falling back on prepared lines, behind rearguards of machine-gunners, meant that the Germans completed an orderly withdrawal. The British eventually found themselves facing a far more formidable German defensive position than they had after the Somme battles, as the Germans once again occupied all the higher and more strategically important positions, overlooking lower ground on which the Allies had to dig in and attack from, during the Nivelle Offensive in April.

    Captain Tunstill's Men: The weather remained very cold with another hard frost. The Battalion returned to the front line, on this occasion marching direct, rather than by train via Vlamertinghe and Ypres. Before departing they received a new draft of 29 men just arrived from the Base Depot at Etaples where they had arrived three weeks earlier; among those in this draft was Pte. Harold Illingworth Cawthra (see 22nd January). The Battalion then marched to new positions near Observatory Ridge, east of Zillebeke, between I.24.d.7.1 to I.24.d.8.6, relieving 11th Northumberland Fusiliers. Two and a half Companies were in the front line, with one in support; the remaining two platoons were lent to 8th Yorkshires who were holding the line on the right (south). Battalion HQ was at Valley Cottages. The relief was completed at about 12.30am on 10th.

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    The weekly edition of the Craven Herald reported news of the death of Pte. George Gelling (see 24th January).

    SKIPTON FOOTBALLER KILLED - CORPORAL GEORGE GELLING


    We regret to record the death on active service of Corporal (sic.) George Gelling, of the West Riding Regiment (son of Mr. Gelling, of Union Square, Skipton), whose wife lives at 17, Cumberland Street, Skipton. The sad news was first received in a letter from another Skipton soldier, and this was followed by the official intimation from the Records Office on Saturday. Thirty-nine years of age, deceased enlisted about a month after the outbreak of war and went a year later to the Western Front, where he had taken part in a good deal of fighting, including an encounter with the famous Prussian Guards who, on that particular occasion, were badly cut up by the English. He had also had at least one narrow shave - about three months ago when he was 'blown' into a trench without injury. Corporal Gelling was interested in all kinds of sport, and at one time was a prominent Northern Union Rugby Football player. He first joined the Worth Village Club and subsequently rendered most useful service as a three-quarter with both the Manningham and Keighley Clubs. Prior to enlisting he was a stoker at the Skipton Gasworks.

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    There was also news of the continuing fund-raising efforts being carried out by Mrs. Geraldine Tunstill (see 8th December 1916).

    COMFORTS FOR CAPT. TUNSTILL’S MEN
    Mrs. H.G. Tunstill acknowledges most gratefully the following gifts: Mr. John Waugh, £1; Mr. and Mrs. F. Garnett, £2 2s.; “a friend of the soldiers”, 4 pairs of socks; Mrs. W.G. Tunstill, cigarettes, three knitted cardigans, 100 Christmas cards. Two parcels were sent to all Capt. Tunstill’s men, whether at home or abroad, and many grateful letters have been received. Each parcel contained socks, diary, writing wallet, card, chocolate, Oxo cubes, peppermints, tobacco, cigarettes and handkerchiefs, but in some cases a postal order was sent to those in hospital or on light duty in England.

    If by any chance one of Captain Tunstill’s original recruits have not received a gift, they can have one on applying to Mrs. Tunstill, who will continue the monthly consignments to France, and will be most grateful for any “comforts”, or money for same, to be sent to her at Milford Hall, South Milford, Yorkshire.

    The Sinking of the S.S. Mantola

    SS Mantola was a passenger steamer of the British-India Steam Navigation Company. Launched in 1916 by Barclay Curle & Company, Glasgow, she sailed for less than a year before being sunk by a German U-boat while carrying a large quantity of silver bullion.

    Mantola was built by the Glasgow-based shipbuilders Barclay Curle & Company and launched on 22 March 1916. Entering service during the First World War, her short career was eventful. She struck a mine off Aldeburgh on 30 October 1916, while sailing from Middlesbrough and London bound for Calcutta carrying general cargo. There were no casualties and though damaged the ship survived.

    After repairs the Mantola sailed again from London on 4 February 1917, bound for Calcutta. She carried 165 crew, 18 passengers, and general cargo including around 600,000 ounces of silver valued at £110,000 at 1917 prices. On 8/9 February 1917, while 143 miles off Fastnet, she was sighted by SM U-81, under the command of Raimund Weisbach. Weisbach torpedoed the Mantola, causing her captain, D.J. Chivas, and the crew to abandon ship. Though there were no casualties in the initial attack, a party of seven Indian seamen drowned when their lifeboat overturned. U-81 then began to shell the still floating Mantola, until being chased away by the Acacia-class sloop HMS Laburnum. Laburnum took the floating hulk under tow, but the line parted in the rough seas, and Mantola was left to sink, which she did on 9 February. Laburnum carried the survivors to shore and landed them at Bantry Bay.
    Last edited by Hedeby; 02-09-2017 at 16:36.

    Never Knowingly Undergunned !!

  13. #2213

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    Its been a very long week so this evening may see a slightly more curtailed edition than is usual, as there is a Robin of Loxley Gin with my name on it when I finish...

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    This stuff is not cheap but is well worth the extra pennies... anyway enough of the gin - on with the war...

    February 10th 1917

    6 AIRMEN HAVE FALLEN ON SATURDAY FEBRUARY 10TH 1917

    2nd Lieutenant Harold Blythe 32 Squadron RFC Died as a Prisoner of War at Croissiles on 10 February 1917 aged 21, from wounds received on 2 February 1917. Flying D.H. 2 A2570 on an Offensive Patrol 2 February 1917, in combat with Ltn Gutermuth, Jasta 5, near Gommecourt 2.30pm. Wounded and forced to land he was taken prisoner by the Germans.

    Lieutenant Robert James Docking 43 Squadron RFC Died of Wounds 10 February 1917 aged 27, after Sopwith 1? Strutter A2388 was shot up by five enemy aircraft

    Air Mechanic Charles Findlay Mann RFC 10 February 1917 aged 30

    Lieutenant Walter Anderson Porkess 10 Squadron RFC Killed while flying 10 February 1917 aged 29

    2nd Lieutenant Elwyn Roberts 10 Squadron RFC Killed in Action 10 February 1917 aged 22

    Air Mechanic 2nd Class Herbert Ian Wilmott Royal Naval Air Service, H.M.S. 'President II' Died of pneumonia 10 February 1917 aged 18

    Today's claims include...

    Leutnant Franz Grasser Austro-Hungarian Empire Flik 2 - claims his first victory whilst flying a Hansa Brandenburg.

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    Gräser joined the army in 1914 and served on the Eastern Front until he was wounded. He volunteered for the Army Air Service in 1916 and served as an observer with Flik 2 on the Isonzo front. Here he scored his first victory from a Hansa-Brandeburg C.I (28.58). Posted to Flik 32 in May 1917, Gräser received informal flight training from Feldwebel Franz Fraueneder who remarked that Gräser was "a born pilot." On 1 October 1917, Gräser was posted to Flik 42J as a pilot. Though he never received a pilot's certificate, Gräser scored 16 victories flying the Albatros D.III during World War I. He was killed in action on an escort mission when he was shot down near Treviso by Antonio Chiri.

    Leutnant Charles Alexandre Bronislas Borzecki N62 claims his 4th kill on this day

    Claiming his 11th kill was Capitaine Albert Louis Deullin N3

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    also today we have the one and only Leutnant Werner Voss claiming his 6th kill

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    and finally we have Oberleutnant Erwin Böhme claiming his 11th kill

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    Western Front

    The 10th Devonshire Regiment carries out a daring raid against Petit Couronne. This mountain is near Doldzeli to the soutthwest of Lake Doiran. The objective is to destroy a large dugout plus trench mortar and machine gun emplacements. Demolition parties are provided by the Royal Engineers. The battalion crosses the Jumeaux Ravine in two columns – one moving from Dorset Ravine while the other from Tor Ravine. Trench mortar fire causes several casualties as the Devon’s clamber up the steep slopes of Petit Couronne. The raid is successful but 35 men are killed and many wounded. The battalion medical officer Lieutenant John Maximilian Hammond saves many men before being wounded himself. Hammond will die of his wounds next month at age 41.

    Private William Henry Cook is among those killed today at age 22. His brother died of fever at age 19 last December.
    Private W Ruckley (Devonshire Regiment) is killed at age 31. His brother will be killed in September 1918.

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    Today’s highlighted casualties include:

    Captain Basil Andrew Long (King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment) dies of meningitis at age 42. He is the son of the Reverend David Long. He was the headmaster of Heathmere Prep School, Haywards Heath and graduated from Caius College, Cambridge.
    Chaplain the Reverend Edward Johnson-Smyth is killed in action at age 44. He is a son of Thomas Johnson-Smyth JP.
    Private John Ernest Simpson (Gloucestershire Regiment) is killed in Mesopotamia. He is the second of four brothers who will lose their lives in the Great War.
    Rifleman Thomas B Lamble (Rifle Brigade) is killed. He is one of the Four Dots and a scenic artist of distinct ability.
    Private Charles Ratcliffe McClellan (Cheshire Regiment) is killed at age 20. His brother was killed in May 1915.

    Captain Tunstill's Men: A largely quiet day, though with some shelling but no casualties; the weather again bitterly cold. Brig. Genl. Lambert (see 8th February) visited the front line trenches; he described his route in his diary, “Hard frost and cold wind but sun bright. Went round trenches 9am. Walked from Lille Gate to south end of the Bund. Across frozen lake and up Zillebeke Street. Found front lines being shelled. Some casualties. Went down Dawson St. and Hedge St., along front line and back by (trench name unclear) and Winnipeg St. to the Bund”.

    Middle East
    Mesopotamia: 60-pounder battery severs Turk Shumran Bridge at 9,600 yards range and forces it West.

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    Western Front

    South of Serre Hill (north of Ancre) British capture strong system of hostile trenches on front of 1,250 yards, 215 prisoners taken.

    Successful Allied raids at Givenchy, Neuville, Grandcourt, La Bassee, Neuve Chappelle, Auberive (Champagne), and Luneville.

    German airmen bomb Dunkirk, Amiens and Nancy.

    Southern Front

    At Valona two out of three Austrian hydroplanes captured by Italian airmen.

    Asiatic and Egyptian Theatres

    Near Kut Turks deliver four unsuccessful attacks on British right flank during the night.

    At Kut British carry the liquorice factory, and establish a new line on a 6,000 yard front, pressing back the Turks from 800-1,200 yards.

    Political, etc.

    Peru cables protest to Berlin.

    China sends energetic protest to Germany, and threatens to break off diplomatic relations.

    Chile sends a reply to Germany refusing to recognise the blockade, and retaining a free hand in case of damage to Chilean ships.

    Germany declares "period of grace" for neutral shipping expires.

    Mr. Gerard leaves Berlin.

    Never Knowingly Undergunned !!

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    February 11th 1917


    Despite all my prayers to the gods of winter still no snow here - damn looks like I will have to go to work on Monday after all

    5 AIRMEN HAVE FALLEN ON SUNDAY FEBRUARY 11TH 1917

    Major Maurice Adam Black 47 Squadron RFC Killed in Action 11 February 1917

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    Major Black was a Cambridge Blue playing for the London Scottish and the Barbarians, serving in South Africa with the Regiment then onto the Western Front where he was wounded in October 1914. He earned his his Second Lieutenancy in 3rd and 4th Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment in June 1898, a period as an Honorary Lieutenant in the 1st Cadet Battalion, KRRC between August '98 and 'November '89, promoted to Lieutenant in the Worcestershire Regiment in April '99 and transferred to 5th Dragoons as a 2nd Lieutenant in December '99, to Lieutenant in October '00 and to Captain in August '07. Major M A Black, 5th Dragoons, was appointed as a Flying Officer in RFC on 10 June 1916 and promoted to Flight Commander on 9 August 1916.

    Air Mechanic 2nd Class William Henry Goodman Recruits Depot RFC - died of Died of pneumonia 11 February 1917 aged 34.

    Lieutenant James Kelway Howard 13 Squadron RFC Killed in Action 11 February 1917 aged 22

    Lieutenant Walter H. Legge RFC - alas there is no further information regarding squadron or even his full name.

    Captain James Thorburn 13 Squadron RFC Killed in Action 11 February 1917 aged 31

    There were in addition four pilots claiming kills on this day....

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    Leutnant Eric Konig of Jasta 2 claims his 5th victory on this day.

    It was another (number 7) kill for Italy's greatest ace - Maggiore Franco Baracca

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    The son of a nobleman, Francesco Baracca, Italy's greatest ace, entered the Scuola Militare at Modena in October 1907. Less than a year later, he was an officer in the Royal Piedmont Cavalry. In April 1912, Baracca and other cavalry officers were ordered to Reims, France for flight training. By the time the Kingdom of Italy declared war on the Austro-Hungarian Empire on 24 May 1915, Baracca was an experienced pilot and instructor. Flying Nieuport two-seaters along the Udine Front, his first attempts to shoot down enemy aircraft were frustrated by frequent machine gun jams. With a Nieuport 11, he scored the first Italian victory of the war on 7 April 1916, forcing down an Austrian Aviatik with an accurate burst of machine gun fire. His final victory, an Austrian Albatros D.III, came just three days prior to his death. Shot down and killed while strafing enemy lines, his body was recovered a few days later near the burnt out wreckage of his SPAD VII. When found, Baracca was holding a pistol in his hand and had a bullet hole in his forehead. Whether he was shot down by ground fire, chose suicide over a fiery death in the cockpit or was killed attempting to resist capture will never be known. On the ground and in the air, Baracca's aircraft were easily recognized by the prancing black horse painted on the fuselage. In 1923, Baracca's mother, Countess Paolina, suggested Enzo Ferrari use her son's emblem on his now famous line of automobiles.

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    Claiming his 4th victory was Capitano Fulco Ruffo di Calabria

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    On 22 November 1904, Fulco Ruffo di Calabria joined the 11th Foggia Light Cavalry Regiment. After serving in Africa, he returned to Italy and transferred to aviation in 1914. Flying the Nieuport 11, Nieuport 17 and SPAD VII, he engaged in 53 aerial combats and was credited with 20 victories. Upon the death of Francesco Baracca, Ruffo di Calibria assumed command of 91a Squadriglia but was later relieved by Ferruccio Ranza when he suffered a nervous breakdown. Returning to duty, he assumed command of 10th Gruppo on 23 October 1918 but less than a week later, he was shot down by artillery fire near Marano. By virtue of her marriage to Prince Albert in 1959, Ruffo di Calibria's granddaughter Paola became Queen of Belgium in 1993.

    The Cunard Lycia

    The Cunard cargo carrier Lycia under the command of Captain T A Chesters, sights a German submarine at 08:30 twenty miles northwest of the South Bishop Light. By the time Captain Chesters has picked her up on the starboard beam, his ship has already been struck by a shot. Captain Chesters immediately alters the Lycia’s course so as to place the submarine astern, and he opens up at about 3,000 yards. In the unequal duel that follows, the Lycia’s funnel, starboard boats, forward cabin, chart room, officers’ and engineers’ quarters are wrecked, and being unable to steer the ship under the growing force and accuracy of the enemy’s shell, Captain Chesters gives the order to abandon ship. The crew takes to the port boat while the Captain, Chief Officer, Third Engineer, the Gunner and one of the boys manage to scramble aboard the starboard boat, which is dragging alongside. When the lifeboats clear the ship, the submarine ceases firing, submerges and the reappears alongside Captain Chesters’ boat. The submarine commander orders Captain Chesters to come aboard, which he does. The commander of the submarine then puts three of his crew in the boat together with eight bombs and sends her back to the Lycia where the German crewmen hang the bombs on each side of the rigging, and in the engine room. The ship’s papers, the breech plug of her gun, her telescopes and three cartridges are lowered into the boat, after which the safety pins are removed and the bombs placed below the waterline. The boat is then ordered back to the submarine. Meanwhile, Captain Chesters, who has been treated very courteously, is asked by the U boat commander why he had fired his gun while not flying his Ensign. The British Captain points out to him that before he could fire his gun, he had to remove the flagstaff. Captain Chesters is then allowed to return to his boat the bombs, a few minutes afterwards beginning to explode. The submarine then goes in chase of another vessel that appears on the horizon, and shortly afterwards the Lycia sinks. Her boats are picked up this evening by two minesweepers and the SS Ireland Moor, the crew being treated with the utmost hospitality and safely landed at Holyhead.

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    The LYCIA (ex OCEANO) was built by Sir Raylton Dixon & Co, Middlesbrough, in 1896 (yard number 428). Technical and configuration specifications are given as 2715gt, 1739nt; 308ft long x 43ft 3in breadth x 14ft 8in depth; 1 deck, 5 bulkheads, passenger deck 31ft, boat deck 74ft, forecastle 35ft; screw propulsion powered by two steam boilers linked to a triple expansion engine; machinery by North-East Marine Engineering Company Ltd, Newcastle; official number 106521. The steamship was supplied new to Gellatly, Hankey & Company and registered at Rochester and called OCEANO. The vessel was bought by the Cunard Shipping Company Ltd in 1909, and the name changed to LYCIA. On 11 February 1917, the steamship was on passage from Genoa to Swansea and Liverpool when it was fired upon by the German submarine UC65 near the entrance to the St George's Channel. The LYCIA was only lightly armed with a gun on her poop deck of light calibre and very old Russian field gun on a new mounting. After an extended stern chase, the LYCIA was forced to stop. The ship was abandoned by the crew whilst the enemy placed explosive scuttling charges on board. The crew were picked up by two Royal Navy mine sweepers and the steamship IRELAND MOOR, and were landed at Holyhead. The loss location is given as 5.5miles southwest of St David's Head (Larn) or 20 miles northeast by north from the South Bishop.

    435 British troops were lost on this day

    Today’s highlighted casualties include:

    Major Bertram Joseph Wakley (North Lancashire Regiment) dies of wounds at home at age 37. His son who is named after him will be born in July and become a judge on the south eastern circuit. Major Wakley is the last of three son-in-laws of the 9th Lord Belhaven and Stanton to lose his life in the Great War.
    Captain James Middlemass Thorburn (Royal Garrison Artillery attached Royal Flying Corps) is killed in action at age 31. His son will be born in April and killed in action at El Alamein in May 1941. His brother was killed in March 1915.
    Lieutenant Herbert Charles Collins (Manchester Regiment) dies of illness on service at age 27. He is the last of three brothers who lose their lives in the Great War.
    Second Lieutenant Samuel Grant Mellis Smith (Indian Army Reserve of Officers attached Gurkha Rifles) is killed in action in Mesopotamia at age 30. He is the son of the late Reverend George Smith.
    Private Christopher Williamson (Honourable Artillery Company) is killed at age 30. His brother will be killed in September.

    Air War
    Western Front – First successful night aircraft vs aircraft combat: Germans Peter and Frohwein in DFW CV destroy 2 French bombers on landing approach to Malzeville (night February 11-12).

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    DFW Type C

    Captain Tunstill's Men: Brig. Genl. Lambert (see 10th February) again visited the front line trenches; on this occasion he met 10DWR’s temporary C.O., Major Ashton St. Hill (see 2nd February) and, with him, visited the Battalion sector.

    African Fronts
    East Africa: Kraut attacks British outposts at Johannesbruecke and Nyamasi on Songea-Lake Nyasa supply line to cover his retreat towards Portuguese frontier.
    Ethiopia: Judith (Zawditu) crowned Empress in Addis Ababa (Central Powers represents not invited).

    Politics
    Germany: Government attempts to re-open talks with USA via Swiss Minister. Wilson declines on February 13 unless February 1 (unrestricted U-boat warfare) measure lifted.

    Secret War
    France: Prince Sixtus meets Jules Cambon for Austrian peace offer and returns to Switzerland, meeting Emperor’s envoy Cont Erdody at Neuchatel (February 13 and 21).

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    I will finish today off with a belated Victoria Cross report - this should have gone out on 5th Feb. so apologies there

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    Henry William "Harry" Murray, VC, CMG, DSO & Bar, DCM (1 December 1880 – 7 January 1966) was an Australian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest decoration for gallantry "in the face of the enemy" that can be awarded to members of the British and Commonwealth armed forces. Decorated several times throughout his service in the First World War, Murray rose from the rank of private to lieutenant colonel in three and a half years. He is often described as the most highly decorated infantry soldier of the British Empire during the First World War.

    Born in Tasmania, Murray worked as a farmer, courier and timber cutter before enlisting in September 1914. Assigned to a machine gun crew, he served during the Gallipoli Campaign, where he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal before the withdrawal from the peninsula. He was later transferred along with the rest of his battalion to France for service on the Western Front, where he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order during the Battle of the Somme. In February 1917, Murray commanded a company during the battalion's attack on the German position of Stormy Trench. During the engagement, the company was able to capture the position and repulse three fierce counter-attacks, with Murray often leading bayonet and bombing charges himself. For his actions during the battle, Murray was awarded the Victoria Cross. Soon after his Victoria Cross action, he was promoted to major and earned a Bar to his Distinguished Service Order during an attack on the Hindenburg Line near Bullecourt. Promoted to lieutenant colonel in early 1918, he assumed command of the 4th Machine Gun Battalion, where he would remain until the end of the war. Returning to Australia in 1920, Murray eventually settled in Queensland, where he purchased the grazing farm that would be his home for the remainder of his life. Re-enlisting for service in the Second World War, he was appointed as commanding officer of the 26th (Militia) Battalion. Taking his discharge in 1944, Murray returned to his farm and died in 1966 at the age of 85.

    On the night of 4–5 February 1917, the 13th Battalion—with Murray commanding A Company—attacked the German position at Stormy Trench. Preceded by a heavy artillery barrage, A Company seized the right of the position after overcoming stiff resistance,consolidating their gains by setting up a makeshift barricade. The Germans counterattacked, prompting Murray to send an SOS signal to the artillery officer, calling for more support. Although repulsed, the Germans counterattacked twice more. On the third attack, Murray organised a twenty-man grenade bombing party and led them in a charge against their attackers, pushing them back to their original start line. On another occasion when the company lost some ground, Murray rallied his men and retook it. Between midnight and 03:00, the company maintained spasmodic bombing, repelling further assaults with the aid of artillery support. By 20:00 on 5 February, the 16th Battalion relieved Murray's company, which had only 48 survivors from the 140 who had begun the attack.

    The full citation for Murray's Victoria Cross appeared in a supplement to the London Gazette on 10 March 1917, reading:[31]

    War Office, 10th March, 1917

    His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to approve of the award of the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned Officer and Non-Commissioned Officer: –

    Capt. Henry William Murray, D.S.O., Aus. infy.

    For most conspicuous bravery when in command of the right flank company in attack. He led his company to the assault with great skill and courage, and the position was quickly captured. Fighting of a very severe nature followed, and three heavy counter-attacks were beaten back, these successes being due to Captain Murray's wonderful work.

    Throughout the night his company suffered heavy casualties through concentrated enemy shell fire, and on one occasion gave ground for a short way. This gallant officer rallied his command and saved the situation by sheer valour.

    He made his presence felt throughout the line, encouraging his men, heading bombing parties, leading bayonet charges, and carrying wounded to places of safety.

    His magnificent example inspired his men throughout.

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    Murray receiving the bar to his DSO

    Never Knowingly Undergunned !!

  15. #2215

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    Now here's a novelty, me compiling the dition whilst there is still daylight....

    12th November 1917

    We finished yesterday with a Victoria Cross (all be it a little belated), so lets start today in the same fashion (only on time)

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    Captain Frederick Charles Booth VC, DCM (6 March 1890 – 14 September 1960) was a Rhodesian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. Booth was born in Holloway, North London, and educated at Cheltenham College. He served in the British South Africa Police in Southern Rhodesia from 1912 to 1917 and his regimental number was 1630. He was 26 years old, and a sergeant in the British South Africa Police attached to the Rhodesian Native Regiment during the First World War, when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.

    On 12 February 1917 in Johannes Bruck, German East Africa (now Tanzania), during an attack in thick scrub on an enemy position, Sergeant Booth went forward alone to rescue an injured man. He then rallied the poorly organised native troops and brought them to the firing line. On many previous occasions this NCO had set a splendid example of pluck, and endurance. In 1918 he was commissioned into the Middlesex Regiment and in 1939 served with the Auxiliary Military Pioneer Corps. Booth died on 14 September 1960 in Brighton, Sussex, England. He is buried at Bear Road Cemetery, Brighton, in the Red Cross Plot.

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    5 AIRMEN HAVE FALLEN ON MONDAY FEBRUARY 12TH 1917

    Lieutenant George Trevor Brown Central Flying School, Upavon, Wiltshire Killed while flying 12 February 1917 aged 25, in mid-air collision. There were impressive scenes at his Mumbles Funeral. A firing party attended, as well as a squad of men from the Shropshire Regiment.The coffin was draped with the Union Jack and conveyed from the house on a gun carriage drawn by two horses.

    2nd Lieutenant Thomas MacMillan RFC Killed while flying 12 February 1917 aged 23

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    Thomas Macmillan (entered Glasgow University as Arthur Thomas Macmillan on birth certificate with note of alteration) was born on the 12th July 1894 in the United Presbyterian Manse on Queen Street in Nairn, Nairnshire. Thomas Macmillan was the eldest son of the Reverend James Macmillan and Catherine Macmillan (nee Forbes), who had married on the 20th June 1893 in Inverness. The family, including younger brother, John Forbes, later moved to 23 Monreith Road in Newlands, Glasgow, where Thomas’s father was Minister of Newlands South Parish Church. Thomas was educated at the High School of Glasgow and Glasgow Academy.

    In session 1911-1912, he completed a summer course in Surveying at the Royal Technical College of Glasgow (now the University of Strathclyde), for which he earned a second-class certificate of merit. Thomas returned to the College in session 1913-1914 for a summer course in Mathematics. In the autumn of 1914, he took up a place at the University of Glasgow to study Engineering. During his first year he studied a variety of subjects, including Natural Philosophy, Chemistry, Mathematics, and a laboratory course in Physics. Unfortunately, the outbreak of war put an end to any further academic ambitions, and Thomas left the University to join the newly established Royal Flying Corps. He quickly moved up the ranks, gaining both the status of Lieutenant and his pilot’s licence. In 1915, Thomas was wounded and gassed, but recovered to return to war service. Lieutenant Thomas Macmillan was killed in a flying accident near Montrose, Angus, on the 12th February 1917 when a strong wind overturned his plane. He was 22 years old. Lieutenant Thomas Macmillan is buried in Eastwood Old and New Cemetery in Thornliebank, Glasgow. He is remembered in the University of Glasgow’s Memorial Chapel, on the World War 1 memorial at Newlands South Parish Church, and on the Roll of Honour of the Royal Technical College of Glasgow.

    Lieutenant William Henry Segrave RFC Accidentally Killed 12 February 1917 at Chesterfield when his aeroplane crashed after engine trouble aged 31.

    Air Mechanic 3rd Class John James Symons RFC 12 February 1917 aged 26

    2nd Lieutenant Gordon Ivor Wilson RFC Central Flying School, Upavon, Wiltshire. Killed while flying (collided) 12 February 1917 aged 20 (see above Thomas Macmillan)

    If only everyone had gone to university - their records of the fallen are second to none...

    There is just the one aerial claim showing on this day

    Leutnant Emil Meinecke of FA 6 claims his second victory...

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    Meinecke was a aircraft mechanic before he attended flight school. After training he became an instructor and was eventually sent to the Dardanelles where he achieved his first victory flying the Fokker E.III. After the war, he was employed as a mechanic and test pilot by the Fokker Aircraft Company in Holland. Following World War II, he assisted the U.S. Air Force with the Berlin Airlift before emmigrating to Canada in 1950.


    523 British losses were suffered on this day.

    The Cunard liner Afric is torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine UC66 close to Eddystone Light in the English Channel. Of those on board, five are killed by the explosion, seventeen drown and one hundred forty-five survive. The troopship Celtic hits a mine laid by U80 off the Isle of Man with the loss of 17 lives. The Slieve Bawn takes the passengers to Holyhead and Celtic is towed into Peel Bay. The trawler Euston (Skipper William Christian) is sunk while on mine sweeping duty. Eleven are killed including her skipper who dies at age 32.

    oday’s highlighted casualties include:

    Captain Charles Norman (North Irish Horse) is killed at age 37. He is the son of the late Thomas Norman JP DL.
    Second Lieutenant Humfrey Theodore Shuldham Cole (London Regiment) dies of wounds at age 20. He is the son of Canon Theodore Edward Fortescue Cole of St Paul’s Cathedral Calcutta.
    Probationer Nurse Constance Emily Mary Seymour (Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service) dies at Connaught Hospital, Aldershot at age 29. She is the daughter of Lord and Lady Seymour.

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    Private Samuel Henry Garraway (West Surrey Regiment) dies at home at age 32. He is one of four brothers who will lose their lives in the Great War.
    Private Percy Manning (Warwickshire Regiment) is killed at age 26. His brother died of wounds last October.

    Captain Tunstill's Men: Conditions remained quiet. The weather became somewhat milder and a slight thaw of the frozen ground began, though the lake at Zillebeke remained frozen solid. Brig. Genl. Lambert (see 11th February) again visited the front line trenches; on this occasion he inspected the sector further south, held by 8th Yorks and noted that, “wiring and patrolling parties not working satisfactorily”. He also visited 10DWR HQ at Valley Cottages, meeting temporary C.O., Major Ashton St. Hill (see 11th February).

    Politics
    Austria: Emperor Charles meets Kaiser Wilhelm II at Vienna and refuses to break relations with USA.

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    Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany (left) and Emperor Charles I of Austria-Hungary (right). Under the German overweight, Austria declines more and more to a commandant of Germany.

    Western Front
    Somme: Successful British trench raid south of Souchez.

    Eastern Front
    Bukovina: Germans take Russian positions near Jakobeny with over 1,200 PoWs but Russians defeat attack on February 21.

    Southern Fronts
    Serbia: In Crna bend German surprise flamethrower attack recaptures Hill 1050 with 92 italian PoWs and MGs. Italians retake some lost trenches on February 27 with c.70 PoWs but fail to regain summit; 400 casualties in all.

    Home Fronts

    Britain: Commons votes £ 200 million war credit; war costing £5.7 million per day.
    4lb loaf of bread now costs 11d.

    Never Knowingly Undergunned !!

  16. #2216

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    13th February 1917

    Leafing through the sources its a bit of a quiet one in the skies today - so will need to look further afield for some tales of days gone by...

    However we will start with a special birthday - not a person, but a place and one that will forever be associated with the RAF, even more so at the time of its darkest hour and greatest triumph..

    It was on 13th February 1917 that the War Office first established a military camp on the site at Biggin Hill in south London that is the origin of the airport

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    Originally Biggin Hill was used for early wireless experiments, but was then established in 1917 as part of the inner patrol zone of the London Air Defence Area. No. 141 Squadron, R.F.C., was posted in with Bristol Fighters, each of which sported a bright red cockerel painted on the fuselage. At this time Zeppelin attacks were falling off, and raids by the German Gotha bombers were increasing. Before the end of World War One Biggin was able to claim at least one of these raiders which was shot down on Harrietsham aerodrome in Kent.

    After the war Biggin became the home of the Instrument Design Establishment but this was moved to Farnborough in 1922, and the aerodrome again became concerned with the air defence of England. Concentrated on Biggin Hill were several organisations on major experimental work to perfect our ground defences against air attack. Included in these units were the Army School of Anti-Aircraft Defense and the Searchlight Experimental Establishment,. The R.A.F. posted in No. 56 Squadron, equipped with Snipes and the Night Flying Flight.

    The rest of the story and the legend that follows belongs to another story - who knows, if some of us are still here and the forum has not faded into history itself, maybe someone will be sitting here in 25 years time writing more of the story...

    1 AIRMAN HAS FALLEN ON TUESDAY FEBRUARY 13TH 1917 (which makes a change given the high number of losses recently)

    Air Mechanic (acting Sergeant) George Edmund Hansel 2 Squadron Australian Air Corps - Died of cerebro-spinal meningitis at Lincoln 13 February 1917

    There were just two aerial victories reported...

    Claiming his 5th victory we have Hauptmann Raoul Stojsavljevic of the Austro Hungarian Air Service

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    Stojsavljevic graduated from the Maria Theresa Military Academy in 1908. After serving in the infantry, he transferred to the Army Air Service in 1913 and was posted to Flik 13 as a reconnaissance pilot in November 1914. On 16 February 1915, he and his observer were captured by the Russians when their two-seater was forced down by a snow storm. Escaping six days later, the two men evaded the enemy for months until they reached the safety of their own lines in June 1915. Stojsavljevic was posted to Flik 17 later that summer and in September 1915 he joined Flik 16 where he scored his first four victories in 1916. In February 1917, he was posted to Flik 34 for two months. With this unit he learned to fly the Hansa-Brandenburg D.I, scored his fifth victory and injured his knee in a crash. In May 1917, Stojsavljevic served briefly with Jasta 6 at Cambrai before rejoining Flik 16. Having scored five more victories in 1917, he was badly wounded in a dogfight on 12 January 1918. After a lengthy recovery, he returned to duty in October 1918 and was appointed commander of the Officers Flight School at Wiener-Neustadt.

    Captain Frank Neville Hudson MC 2 Squadron RFC claims his second victory flying a Sopwith Pup

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    He was awarded his MC when still on 18 yeas old

    2nd Lieutenant Frank Neville Hudson, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment) and Royal Flying Corps.

    "For conspicuous gallantry and skill on several occasions, notably when, although severely wounded in the head, he successfully completed his aerial reconnaissance. After recrossing the line and landing at an aerodrome, he at once lost consciousness. This young officer is only 18 years of age, but has many times driven off enemy machines and twice forced them to the ground."

    There were 472 British losses reported on this day...

    Lieutenant Thomas Seaman Green (North Staffordshire Regiment attached Royal Flying Corps) is killed at age 22. He carried and dropped a wreath to the memory of Oswald Boelcke when he went out 17,000 yards over the German lines without an escort. He is the son of Councillor T S Green of Burslem. (Not reported o today's RFC losses - again fog of war kicks in when discussing exact dates)

    Today’s highlighted casualties include:

    Lieutenant Frank Harrington Brecknock Best (South Wales Borderers) is killed in action in Mesopotamia. He is the first of three brothers to be killed in the same campaign within a three-month period.
    Second Lieutenant Edward Stanley Hudson (Devonshire Regiment) dies of wounds on Salonika at age 24. He is the son of the Reverend Edward Francis William Hudson, who will lose another son in April 1918.
    Private Charles Foster (Cambridgeshire Regiment) is killed in action at age 32. His brother was killed in October 1916.

    Western Front

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    Captain Tunstill's Men: Conditions were again quiet. The day was bright and with no frost, but there were some snow showers. In the evening the Battalion was relieved by 11th West Yorks and went into Brigade Reserve. One Company went to Stafford Street, in Sanctuary Wood (I.24.b.3.5); two platoons to the Redan, just north of Rudkin House; two platoons to Maple Copse; and the remaining two Companies to the north-west edge of Zillebeke Bund (I.21.a.1.5). The relief was complete by 8.30pm.

    Pte. Patrick Sweeney (see 9th February), who had been admitted to no.10 Casualty Clearing Station four days previously, for treatment for gonorrhoea, was transferred to no.51 General Hospital at Etaples.

    2Lt. Fred Baume (see 5th December 1916), currently on light duty with 3DWR at North Shields, having been wounded during the actions at Le Sars, wrote to the War Office to request consideration for a wound gratuity. Writing from his address at 32 Percy Gardens, Tynemouth, he detailed his case:

    “Whilst at Le Sars on 3rd October 1916, I was hit by the disc from a shell weighing 8ozs. After passing through four thicknesses of clothing, this inflicted a wound about two inches long and one inch deep midway between the knee and the thigh, and severely injuring the muscles. The condition of the wound was further aggravated by the fact that I was compelled to hobble and be dragged for six miles to Bazentin le Petit.
    After being at Somerville College, Oxford, I rejoined here for light duty on December 5th, and two later boards have again given me light duty without marching. I am, at the present time, undergoing massage treatment at the VAD here, and am forbidden to walk above two to three miles. The muscles are still very weak and my walking is thus affected”.

    Pte. Keith Sagar Bain (see 2nd February), who had remained at the Infantry Base Depots at Le Havre since arriving in France two months earlier, was transferred to England to begin his officer training course; he would later serve with 10DWR.

    2Lt. Harry Widdup (see 31st January), currently on sick leave in England, appeared before an Army Medical Board. The Board found that, “he still complains of pains in his knees, ankles and hands which varies with the weather. He is still under dental treatment. His general health has improved and he has gained 14 lbs in weight since the commencement of his leave”. He was declared unfit for duty, with his case to be re-examined in a months’ time. Widdup gave his current address as ‘Ferndale’, St Johns Road, Morecambe.

    South-east of Grandcourt British capture a strong point.

    North-east of Arras British raid takes 40 prisoners.

    Eastern Front

    Near Jakobeny Russian counter-attacks repulsed.

    Naval and Overseas Operations

    The White Star liner "Afric", of 12,000 tons, reported sunk. (see yesterday usual FoW caveat)

    Lord Lytton, for the Admiralty, says counter measures against submarine menace have already achieved considerable success.

    Political, etc.

    President Wilson declines to entertain negotiations with Germany unless the Proclamation of ruthless submarine warfare is withdrawn.

    At Petrograd, Lord Milner, at close of Allied Conference, says much good done in bringing about closer co-operation between Entente countries.

    The First World War had a disastrous impact on the Russian economy. Food was in short supply and this led to rising prices. By January 1917 the price of commodities in Petrograd had increased six-fold. In an attempt to increase their wages, industrial workers went on strike and in Petrograd people took to the street demanding food. On 11th-13th February, 1917, a large crowd marched through the streets of Petrograd breaking shop windows and shouting anti-war slogans. Revolution was certainly in the air.....

    Home Front

    Letter from the president of the London and Provincial Union of Licensed Vehicle Workers to the home secretary, protesting against the employment of women drivers, 13 February 1917.

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    and finally today sees the 100th anniversary of the arrest of Margaretha Geertruida "Margreet" MacLeod (nee Zelle) - better known to history as Mata Hari

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    On 13 February 1917, Mata Hari was arrested in her room at the Hotel Elysée Palace on the Champs Elysées in Paris. She was put on trial on 24 July, accused of spying for Germany, and consequently causing the deaths of at least 50,000 soldiers. Although the French and British intelligence suspected her of spying for Germany, neither could produce definite evidence against her. Supposedly secret ink was found in her room, which was incriminating evidence in that period. She contended that it was part of her makeup.

    Zelle's principal interrogator was Captain Pierre Bouchardon, the man who was to prosecute her at her trial, who grilled her relentlessly. Bouchardon was able to establish that much of the Mata Hari persona was invented, and far from being a Javanese princess, Zelle was actually Dutch, which he was to use as evidence of her dubious and dishonest character at her trial. Zelle admitted to Bouchardon that she had accepted 20,000 francs from a German diplomat in the Netherlands to spy on France, but insisted she only passed on to the Germans trivial information as her loyalty was entirely to her adopted nation, France. In the meantime, Ladoux had been preparing a case against his former agent by casting all of her activities in the worst possible light, going so far as to engage in evidence tampering.

    In 1917, France had been badly shaken by the Great Mutinies of the French Army in the spring of 1917 following the failure of the Nivelle Offensive together with a huge strike wave, and at the time, many believed that France might simply collapse as a result of war exhaustion. In July 1917, a new government under Georges Clemenceau aka "le tigre" had come into power, utterly committed to winning the war. In this context, having one German spy for whom everything that went wrong with the war so far could be blamed was most convenient for the French government, making Mata Hari the perfect scapegoat, which explains why the case against her received maximum publicity in the French press, and led to her importance in the war being greatly exaggerated.[20] The Canadian historian Wesley Wark stated in a 2014 interview that Mata Hari was never an important spy and just made a scapegoat for French military failures which she had nothing to do with, stating: "They needed a scapegoat and she was a notable target for scapegoating". Likewise, the British historian Julie Wheelwright stated: "She really did not pass on anything that you couldn’t find in the local newspapers in Spain". Wheelwright went on to describe Zelle as "...an independent woman, a divorcee, a citizen of a neutral country, a courtesan and a dancer, which made her a perfect scapegoat for the French, who were then losing the war. She was kind of held up as an example of what might happen if your morals were too loose”.

    Zelle wrote several letters to the Dutch Ambassador in Paris, claiming her innocence. "My international connections are due of my work as a dancer, nothing else .... Because I really did not spy, it is terrible that I cannot defend myself". The most terrible and heart-breaking moment for Mata Hari during the trial occurred when her lover Maslov – by now a deeply embittered man as a result of losing his eyes in combat – declined to testify for her, telling her he couldn't care less if she was convicted or not. It was reported that Zelle fainted when she learned that Maslov had abandoned her. Her defence attorney, veteran international lawyer Édouard Clunet, faced impossible odds; he was denied permission either to cross-examine the prosecution's witnesses or to examine his own witnesses directly.[citation needed] Bouchardon used the very fact that Zelle was a woman as evidence of her guilt, saying: "Without scruples, accustomed to make use of men, she is the type of woman who is born to be a spy."

    Mata Hari herself admitted under interrogation to taking money to work as a German spy. It is contended by some historians that Mata Hari may have merely accepted money from the Germans without actually carrying out any spy duties. At her trial, Zelle vehemently insisted that her sympathies were with the Allies and declared her passionate love of France, her adopted homeland. In October 2001, documents released from the archives of MI5 (British counter-intelligence) were used by a Dutch group, the Mata Hari Foundation to ask the French government to exonerate Zelle as they argued that the MI5 files proved she was not guilty of the charges she was convicted of. A spokesman from the Mata Hari Foundation argued that at most Zelle was a low-level spy who provided no secrets to either side, stating: "We believe that there are sufficient doubts concerning the dossier of information that was used to convict her to warrant re-opening the case. Maybe she wasn't entirely innocent, but it seems clear she wasn't the master-spy whose information sent thousands of soldiers to their deaths, as has been claimed.". Zelle was not tied to the stake, and refused a blindfold. She defiantly blew a kiss to the firing squad. She was executed by firing squad on 15 October 1917, at the age of 41. Mata Hari, which means "Eye of the Dawn" died at dawn. Zelle has often been portrayed as a femme fatale, the dangerous, seductive woman who uses her sexuality to effortlessly manipulate men, but others view her differently: in the words of the American historians Norman Polmer and Thomas Allen she was "naïve and easily duped", a victim of men rather than a victimizer.

    A 1934 New Yorker article reported that at her execution she wore "a neat Amazonian tailored suit, especially made for the occasion, and a pair of new white gloves"[28] though another account indicates she wore the same suit, low-cut blouse and tricorn hat ensemble which had been picked out by her accusers for her to wear at trial, and which was still the only full, clean outfit which she had in prison.[10] Neither description matches photographic evidence. According to an eyewitness account by British reporter Henry Wales, she was not bound and refused a blindfold. Wales records her death, saying that after the volley of shots rang out, "Slowly, inertly, she settled to her knees, her head up always, and without the slightest change of expression on her face. For the fraction of a second it seemed she tottered there, on her knees, gazing directly at those who had taken her life. Then she fell backward, bending at the waist, with her legs doubled up beneath her." A non-commissioned officer then walked up to her body, pulled out his revolver, and shot her in the head to make sure she was dead.

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    Mata Hari on her arrest

    Never Knowingly Undergunned !!

  17. #2217

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    Indeed, happy birthday, Biggin Hill.

  18. #2218

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    A very nice photograph of the old Hill Chris.
    As Sam says, a happy birthday.
    Rob.
    "Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you're scared to death."

  19. #2219

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    Cheers Rob

    Never Knowingly Undergunned !!

  20. #2220

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    February 14th 1917

    As its Valentine's day here are a couple of valentine pictures for you all...

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    Right on with the war...

    Blimey this is going to take some time - 11 AIRMEN HAVE FALLEN ON WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 14TH 1917

    3 men were killed in a German Killed Air Raid on Dunkerque...

    Air Mechanic 2nd Class John A Campbell Royal Naval Air Service, H.M.S. 'President II' St Pol Aircraft Depot, Dunkerque.

    Chief Petty Officer 3rd Class S. George Depper RNAS St Pol Aircraft Depot, Dunkerque

    Air Mechanic 1st Class Valentine John Adey Gill RNAS St Pol Aircraft Depot, Dunkerque (how ironic to have a name like that and to be killed on this day)

    One man were lost when B.E.2d 6231 flown by 2nd Lieut C D Bennett, accompanied by 2nd Lieutenant H A Croft was engaged in Artillery Observation duties. In combat over Cite St August, shot down over Lens-Hulluch Road by Ltn Manfred von Richthofen (see below)

    2nd Lieutenant Herbert Arthur Croft 2 Squadron RFC

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    BE 2d

    Air Mechanic 2nd Class Benjamin Rees Davies RFC Recruits Depot - died on this day in 1917

    2nd Lieutenant Adam Gower Sutherland De Ross 3 Squadron RFC Killed in Action 14 February 1917

    Air Mechanic Percy E Knightly
    46 Squadron RFC - died on this day in 1917

    Lieutenant Francis Michael Myers 46 Squadron RFC Killed in Action 14 February 1917. Crashed after Combat

    2nd Lieutenant WIlliam Frederick Nesbitt also of 46 Squadron RFC also Killed in Action 14 February 1917

    Air Mechanic 2nd Class Joseph Samuel Potter RFC died on this day in 1917

    2nd Lieutenant Francis (Frank) Chisholm Young
    3 Squadron RFC - Killed in aerial combat at Gueudencourt 14 February 1917 aged 19

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    Frank’ was the son of Mathematicians William Henry Young (1864-1942) and Grace Chisholm Young (1869-1944). William Henry Young was Associate Professor (1912) and Honorary Chair in Philosophy and History of Mathematics (1913-1919) at the University of Liverpool. During the First World War ‘Frank’ was 2nd Lieutenant, Royal Flying Corps. He died in Service in 1917. Family and official letters in the University Archive tell Frank’s story. A letter dated 28 Oct 1916 from the Royal Flying Corps to his parents, regarding Frank’s training and preparation, notes his great mathematical abilities and that he is, “anxious to become a ‘mere pilot’.” On 4 August 1916 a friend wrote to his mother Grace, of a meeting with Frank in Oxford, whilst he was on leave from his training.

    She notes

    He met me at the station in his uniform. He looked very well in it…He seemed very well happy and absorbed in his work … he attends lectures and drills and studies machines. He said the work would be of much value to him afterwards. He will be there only a month and then goes elsewhere to learn to fly. and continues It is curious how quickly the military manner comes, to watch Frank taking the salute of the many Tommies we met as we walked … I had the feeling that whatever hard times may come Frank is enjoying his first month of Service.

    The letter ends,

    Our boy is off now on his country’s service and our share in him must be but small.

    Frank was killed in active Service on 14 Feb 1917, aged 20 years. In a letter dated 5 March 1917 a colleague and friend of Frank’s writes with unaffected enthusiasm of Frank and the wonderful work he was doing as an artillery observer, They say the batteries were ‘all mad about his work’ and did better shooting with him than with anybody. His Squadron Commander, Leman, told me that he considered that he would have made one of the finest pilots in France if he had lived. The day before he died he had four fights in the air and described it as the finest day he had ever had. On the last day he and his observer must have been in some way surprised. They were flying at about 5,000 feet and nine German planes dropped down from about 12,000 feet and suddenly fired into them. Of course they had not a chance.

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    Unfortunately one of the main sites used to gather info on aerial combat victories etc is currently off-line so apologies there is no definitive list of claims on this day, however we do know that one pilot was successful on this day

    Claiming his 21st Victory on this day was Manfred Von Richthofen

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    Von Richthofen's combat report: 16:45hrs BE two-seater. Station 1500 metres South West of Mazingarbe. No details as plane landed on enemy's side.

    About 16:45 I attacked with my Staffel of five planes, artillery flyers, at low altitude near Lens. Whilst my gentlemen attacked a second BE, I attacked the one nearest to me. After the first 100 shots the observer stopped shooting. The plane began to to smoke and twisted in uncontrollable curves to the right. As this result was not satisfactory to me, especially over the enemy's line, I shot at the falling plane un til the left part of the wings came off. As the wind was blowing at a velocity of 20 yards a second, I had been drifting far over to the enemy's side. Therefore I could observe that the enemy plane touched the ground South West of Mazingarbe. I could see a heavy cloud of smoke in the snow arising from where the plane was lying. As it was foggy and already rather dark, I have no witnesses either from the air or from the ground.

    468 British lives were lost on this day

    Today’s highlighted casualties include:

    Captain John Alexander Harper MC (Royal Army Medical Corps) is killed at age 28. He is the son of Alexander R Harper JP.
    Lieutenant Herbert Arthur Croft (General List attached Royal Flying Corps) is killed in the air when he is acting as an observer and is attacked by the Red Baron.
    Second Lieutenant Francis Chisholm Young (Royal Flying Corps) is killed at age 19. He is the son of the 1st female Ph D in Germany and English Mathematician Grace Chisholm Young.
    Second Lieutenant Frederick William Nisbet (Yorkshire Dragoons attached Royal Flying Corps) is killed at age 19. His elder brother was killed in June 1916.
    Sergeant Walter Charles Chandler (North Lancashire Regiment) dies on active in South Africa at age 32. His brother was killed in August 1916.
    Private Frederick John Firth (Australian Infantry) is killed in action. His brother was also killed in August of last year.
    Private James Melvin Taylor (New Zealand Army Service Corps) dies as a prisoner of war in Germany at age 31. He is the second of four brothers who will lose their lives in the war.

    Neutrals
    USA: German ambassador Ct Bernstorff sails from Hoboken NJ (home March 14, 1917). Congress votes funds for fortifications and $3.6 million for airships.

    Sea War
    Black Sea: 2 Russian destroyers and a minelayer from Batumi sink 15 Turk schooners between Amasra and Sinope.

    Politics
    Britain: Commons pledge that Alsace-Lorraine’s return a war objective.
    Russia: Secret Russo-French Treaty signed at Petrograd on territorial aims.

    Captain Tunstill's Men: Brigade support positions at Zillebeke Bund and around Observatory Ridge (One Company in Stafford Street, in Sanctuary Wood (I.24.b.3.5); two platoons at the Redan, just north of Rudkin House; two platoons at Maple Copse; and the remaining two Companies at the north-west edge of Zillebeke Bund (I.21.a.1.5). Working parties were supplied for the front line. The day was bright and sunny and the recent slight thaw of the ground continued. Although there is no mention in the War Diary at the time, a subsequent entry reported that “Pte A. Foster was awarded the Military Medal for bravery during a bombardment with Gas shells at Ypres on the night of 14th/15th February”. Pte. Arthur Foster was an original member of the Battalion, though not of Tunstill’s Company. Aged 20, he had enlisted in Bradford on 2nd September 1914 and had been posted to join the newly-formed 10th Battalion on 18th September.

    Eastern Front

    Enemy thrown back in Casin valley and repulsed north-east of Focsani, but capture Vadeni (between Braila and Galatz).

    We will finish with an update on what has been happening in the Battle of Ancre

    The British operations at the end of the Battle of the Ancre in November 1916, had captured German positions on Beaumont Hamel spur and the village of Beaucourt, before the weather stopped operations. In the early hours of 10 January, a battalion of the 7th Division attacked "The Triangle" and the trenches either side, including Muck Trench about 1,000 yards (910 m) east of Beaumont Hamel. The attack began after an 18-hour bombardment and a standing barrage on the objective. Due to the state of the ground, the infantry advanced in three parties, which carried duckboards and had 20 minutes to cross 200–300 yards (180–270 m) of no man's land. The objectives were consolidated and a German counter-attack was broken up by British artillery fire; a prisoner later said that a second one was cancelled; the 7th Division captured 142 prisoners, for a loss of 65 casualties. The success covered the right flank of the 7th Division for the main attack next day against Munich Trench, from The Triangle to the Beaumont Hamel–Serre road and a smaller attack by the 11th Division, against German defences east of Muck Trench. The 11th Division operation failed, when an unknown German dug-out was overrun in the fog. German troops emerged and attacked the British troops from behind, at the same time that German counter-attacks from further east began, which pushed the British back to their start line.

    A bombardment had been fired on the whole Fifth Army front for two days, particularly in the neighbourhood of Serre, intended to mislead the Germans. The attack by a brigade of the 7th Division began at 5:00 a.m., when the leading companies lined up on tapes, 200–300 yards (180–270 m) from Munich Trench. At 6:37 a.m. three divisional artilleries began a standing barrage on the trench and a creeping barrage started in no man's land in thick fog. Movement was so difficult that the barrage moved at 100 yards (91 m) in ten minutes. German resistance was slight, except at one post where the garrison held on until 8:00 a.m. After the fog cleared at 10:30 a.m., the ground was consolidated, most of it being free from observation by the Germans. V Corps took over from XIII Corps, with the 32nd and 19th divisions by 11 January, with II Corps on the south bank facing north, with the 2nd and 18th divisions. The 11th Division stayed in the line, for another attack on the slope west of the Beaucourt–Puisieux road. The bunker overrun in the previous attack was found empty but German artillery caused many casualties, before a British bombardment stopped a German counter-attack as it was forming up at 10:00 a.m.; the division was relieved on 20 January. For the rest of the month British troops sapped forward, by digging new posts in advance of their positions at night and then linking them to the front line before repeating the process, over the crest of Beaumont Hamel spur. The freeze continued to make movement easier, despite temperatures which fell to 15 °F (−9 °C) on 25 January. Trench foot cases declined and small attacks became easier, although digging was almost impossible. The rearrangement of corps and divisions on the Fifth Army front continued, with the IV Corps moving to the southern boundary of the Fourth Army, to take over ground from the French Sixth Army. Command of I Anzac Corps on the northern Fourth Army boundary, was transferred to the Fifth Army.

    The 32nd Division in V Corps, advanced slightly into unoccupied ground on 2 February, near the Beaucourt–Puisieux road and next day Puisieux and River trenches, running north from the Ancre west of Grandcourt, were attacked by the 63rd Division. A surprise attack was attempted, despite moonlight and snow on the ground. Two battalions advanced on a 1,300-yard (1,200 m) front, with one battalion guarding the left flank. Neighbouring divisional artilleries co-operated and a decoy barrage was fired near Pys, on the Fourth Army boundary. Counter-battery fire began on all German batteries in range at 11:03 a.m. and seven heavy artillery groups bombarded Grandcourt, Baillescourt Farm, Beauregard Dovecote and German trench lines. Direction was lost during the infantry advance but by dawn the wreckage of Puisieux and River trenches had been captured, apart from about 200 yards (180 m) in the centre and posts on either flank. A German counter-attack on the right at 10:30 a.m., recaptured a post and at 4:00 a.m., a second attack was stopped by artillery fire. In the evening another British battalion continued the attack, as German counter-attacks were made through the night, which recaptured several posts near the river. The last part of Puisieux Trench was captured in the morning at 11:30 a.m., with 671 British casualties and 176 German prisoners taken. Grandcourt on the south bank of the Ancre, had been made untenable and was abandoned by the Germans overnight, which led the British to bring forward an attack on Baillescourt Farm, late on 7 February by the 63rd Division. The division captured the farm and south of Grandcourt, part of Folly Trench was taken by the 18th Division.

    On 10 February the 32nd Division threatened Serre with an advance of 600 yards (550 m), capturing the rest of Ten Tree Alley east of the road from Beaumont to Serre. The temperature was still below freezing but slightly warmer than earlier, which made movement relatively easy for the 97th Brigade battalions, which attacked on a front of 1,100 yards (1,000 m). A German counter-attack at 4:30 a.m. on 11 February, recaptured part of the trench before being forced out. On 13 February another German attack recaptured half of the trench, before two fresh British battalions drove them out. The advance was costly, with 382 British casualties, "heavy" German losses and 210 prisoners taken. All of the small British attacks had succeeded and each capture of ground had secured a view over another part of the German defences and denied the defenders observation over British positions. Over the next few days, the Fourth Army extended its front southwards to Genermont and the transfer of I Anzac Corps was completed on 15 February, the Fifth Army boundary being extended to the north of Gueudecourt.

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    4.5" Howitzer at Miraumont-le-Grand

    Never Knowingly Undergunned !!

  21. #2221

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    For those who might not have recognised him the German Officer at the top is English actor Anthony Valentine. Nice one Chris.
    Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm. Winston S. Churchill

  22. #2222

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    Another nice edition, and the Valentine pictures were very amusing.
    Rob.
    "Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you're scared to death."

  23. #2223

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    We aim to please - and I couldn't resist

    Never Knowingly Undergunned !!

  24. #2224

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    February 15th 1917

    Its late so will have to try and keep this one concise as my alarm is set for 05:30hrs

    However its really not a good day for the RFC as 11 AIRMEN HAVE FALLEN ON THURSDAY FEBRUARY 15TH 1917

    Air Mechanic 1st Class George L Cowin RNAS St. Pol Aircraft Depot Dunkerque Died of Wounds 15 February 1917 aged 22, he had been wounded 14 February 1917 during an enemy air raid on St Pol. The following wereKilled at Aircraft Depot, Dunkerque 14 February; C.P.O. S. G. Deppper, A.M.2 J. A. Campbell, A.M.1 V. J. A. Gill

    Private Thomas Booth 52 Squadron RFC died on this day in 1917

    2nd Lieutenant Eric Hamilton 54 Squadron RFC Killed in Action 15 February 1917 aged 20

    Private A J Honour 34 Squadron RFC died on this day in 1917

    Air Mechanic 3rd Class H J Manning RFC died on this day in 1917

    Lieutenant Henry Collister Mulloch
    52 Squadron RFC Killed in Action 15 February 1917

    Air Mechanic 3rd Class JJ O'Malley RFC died on this day in 1917

    Captain Charles Lindsay Murray Scott 54 Squadron RFC Killed in aerial combat 15 February 1917 aged 24. born 18 Feb 1892 in Capetown, South Africa, was working in Ceylon at the outbreak of WW1, returned to UK and took a commission as 2nd Lieutenant in his Father's old regiment, subsequently promoted to Captain - 3rd Btn. North Staffordshire Regiment. Served in France & Flanders, and was wounded at Hill 60 in Apr 1915. He learned to fly whilst recovering from wounds, his aviator's certificate (number 1598) was granted 13 Aug 1915 and he was attached to the Royal Flying Corps undertaking observation flights, died 15 Feb 1917 killed in aerial action near Bapaume - Aged 24, buried at Croisilles British Cemetery - Grave VI.C.19.

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    Air Mechanic 2nd Class George Finlay Sharp 9 Squadron RFC Died of pneumonia 15 February 1917 aged 32

    Captain James Montague Edward Shepherd 1 Squadron RFC Killed in Action 15 February 1917 aged 21 whilst flying Nieuport 17 A6622

    2nd Lieutenant Arthur Eric Townsend RFC
    Killed in Action 15 February 1917 aged 21

    After a few quiet days there were no fewer than 17 pilots claiming aerial victories on this day, including a couple of the RFC' big hitters'


    1 Lancelot Richardson Australia #6
    2 Raymond Collishaw Canada #3

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    Fifteen year old Raymond Collishaw joined the Canadian Fisheries Protection Services in 1908. Over the next seven years he worked his way from cabin boy to first officer. In January 1916, he joined the Royal Naval Air Service as a probationary Flight Sub-Lieutenant. Eventually commanding the famous "Black Flight," he was the first pilot to claim 6 victories in one day and the highest scoring ace to fly the Sopwith Triplane. When the war ended, he remained in the Royal Air Force, rising to the rank of Air Vice-Marshal. Collishaw was the brother-in-law of Canadian ace George Leonard Trapp.

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    Check out the wing spacing on here - does it look right to you?

    3 Edwin Benbow England #7
    4 James Thomas Byford McCudden England #5

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    5 William Meggitt England #4
    6 James Slater England #1

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    Slater transferred to the Royal Flying Corps in 1915 and served in France with 18 Squadron as an observer. After pilot training, he was posted to 1 Squadron where he scored his first two victories flying the Nieuport scout. Later, he was posted to 64 Squadron and scored 22 more victories by the end of May 1918. He was posted to the Home Establishment in July 1918 and served as an instructor until the war ended. Slater remained in the Royal Air Force and was killed in a crash at Upavon in 1925.

    7 Gustave Douchy France #4
    8 Georges Madon France #7

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    9 Armand Pinsard France #3
    10 Charles Revol-Tissot France #5

    "Adjudant pilot, energetic and adroit, he knows that by his example of ardor and courage, the young pilots of his Escadrille will follow him. On 15 February 1917, he downed a German plane which crashed to the ground behind our lines." Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur citation

    11 Hartmut Baldamus Germany #12
    12 Julius Buckler Germany #3
    13 Hans von Keudell Germany #12
    14 Georg Schlenker Germany #3
    15 Renatus Theiller Germany #8
    16 Victor Huston Ireland #1

    Living in Canada when he enlisted in the army, Victor Henry Huston served with the Canadian Expeditionary Force in France in 1915. He transferred to the Royal Flying Corps in 1916 and was posted to 18 Squadron. An F.E.2b pilot and the highest scoring ace in his squadron, Huston and his observers scored six victories during 1917. CEF number 36122.

    17 Hubert Wilson Godfrey Jones Wales #

    There were a total of 477 British Losses on this day

    Today’s highlighted casualties include:

    Captain Charles Lindsay Murray Scott (North Staffordshire Regiment attached Royal Flying Corps) is killed at age 24. He is the nephew of General ‘Sir’ Archibald Murray.
    Second Lieutenant Arthur Eric Townsend (Royal Flying Corps) is killed at age 21. His brother was killed in September 1916.
    Private Charles Clark (Northamptonshire Regiment) dies of wounds at a prisoner of war at age 28. His brother was killed in October 1916.
    Conductor Henry Bernard Stricker (South African Service Corps) dies on service at age 29 in Dodoma, German East Africa. He was a professional cricket player in the Transvaal from 1912-14.
    Private Fred Walker (West Yorkshire Regiment) is killed at age 27. He is the first of three brothers who are killed in the Great War.
    Rifleman Alexander Kay (Rifle Brigade) a professional footballer is killed in action.

    Captain Tunstill's Men: Brigade support positions at Zillebeke Bund and around Observatory Ridge Ridge (One Company in Stafford Street, in Sanctuary Wood (I.24.b.3.5); two platoons at the Redan, just north of Rudkin House; two platoons at Maple Copse; and the remaining two Companies at the north-west edge of Zillebeke Bund (I.21.a.1.5).

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    Working parties were again supplied for the front line.

    Although no mention is made in the daily entry in the War Diary, one man was officially recorded as having been killed in action, presumably whilst engaged in the working parties. The man killed was Pte. Fred Greenwood. He had attested for service in March 1916, aged 18 and had been called up in September. He had been posted to France on 7th December 1916 and had joined the Battalion shortly afterwards. He was one of ten children of William and Jane Greenwood of Bradford. Fred was buried at Railway Dugouts Burial Ground.

    Western Front
    Flanders: German trench raids near Laos, west of Messines and northeast of Ypres.
    Champagne*: Nivelle’s instructions issued for general offensive. German attack gains them, 858 PaWs and trenches from French salient west of Maisons de Champagne.

    Middle East
    Mesopotamia: British clear Dahra Bend until February 16, take 1,995 PoWs for 503 casualties. Heavy rain on February 17 prevents further southern bank operations.
    Arabia: Lawrence secret despatch on ‘Feisal’s Table Talk’ appears in Arab Bulletin.

    Sea War
    Eastern Mediterranean: U-39 (Forstmann) sinks unescorted Italien Salonike-bound transport Minas (870 of 1000 on board die) west of Cape Matapan, French transport Athos also sunk on February 17 by U-65 (Fischel) 200 miles east of Malta.
    Germany: Light cruiser Nuernberg II completed at Kiel, last of 4-strong class finished since August 12, 1916 to serve with High Seas fleet Scouting Forces.

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    The second Königsberg class light cruisers were from the last pre-war German naval programme. As was customary, they were expanded versions of the previous Wiesbaden class, but were otherwise very similar to the previous class, carrying the same armament and armour, and capable of a similar speed.

    They were named after four of the commerce raiders lost in 1914 (two of which had been from the original Königsberg class), but had rather less interesting wartime careers than their predecessors. Laid down in 1914-1915, the first of them did not enter service until August 1916.

    Königsberg and Nürnberg were present at the action in Heligoland Bight of 17 November 1917. Königsberg was the flagship of Rear-Admiral Ludwig von Reuter, whose force of four light cruisers was protecting a flotilla of mine sweepers, searching for any new British mines outside the existing minefields. His force escaped from a powerful British squadron, but Königsberg was struck by one shell, which went through all three of her funnels before penetrating a coal bunker, causing a serious fire. Almost exactly one year later, on 15-16 November 1918 the Königsberg carried Admiral Meurer to Rosyth to receive the terms of the naval armistice. Emden, Nürnberg and Karlsruhe were amongst the German ships interned at Scapa Flow. On 21 June 1919 all three were scuttled by their crews, but only Karlsruhewas successfully sunk. Emden and Nürnberg were both beached. Emden was then given to France, where she served as an explosive trials unit, while Nürnberg remained in Britian, and was used as a gunnery target. Königsberg went to France, where she was renamed Metz and survived until 1937.

    Never Knowingly Undergunned !!

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    February 16th 1917

    On a slightly better day for the RFC 5 AIRMEN HAVE FALLEN ON FRIDAY FEBRUARY 16TH 1917

    Sergeant Charles John Edlington 53 Squadron RFC Killed in Action 16 February 1917 aged 27. He was the observer in BE2e 6313 when it was shot down.

    Lieutenant Hercules Ralph Langrishe, 5th Baronet of Knocktopher Abbey. Hercules Ralph Langrishe was from Knocktopher Abbey, Co. Kilkenny. Ireland. Born in 1888 and educated at Eton then entered the army. He was a cavalry officer , Montgomeryshire Yeomanry and maybe Imperial Camel Corps. He died in a flying accident on 16- 2-1917 aged 29. This gentleman died in Avro 504 A1995, which was a 13 Reserve Sqn aircraft. He got himself into a stall and then a nose dive from only 100 feet and crashed. His aircraft then burst into flames. His brother Terence Hume Langrishe was a officer in the Irish Guards. He gets two mentions in Kiplings history of the 1st Bn. I have a later record of him as 1st Lieutenant ( Flying Officer ) in 106 Squadron RAF ( Ireland )

    Corporal Adrian Moody 59 Squadron RFC killed on this day in 1917

    2nd Lieutenant Leslie Vincent Munn 16 Squadron RFC Missing - believed killed in Action 16 February 1917 aged 22

    Captain Frank William Harris Simpson 53 Squadron RFC Killed in action 16th February 1917 he was the pilot of BE2e 6313

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    There were the following aerial victory claims on this day...

    Opening his account with a double, and earning himself the Military Cross into the bargain on this day we have Captain John William Aldred 5 Squadron RFC (and he got both of these flying a BE2c No. 2533)

    Captain John William Aldred MC* was an English World War I flying ace credited with eight aerial victories. He began military service in World War I as an infantryman and transferred to flight duty as an observer. After scoring two aerial victories and winning the Military Cross, he qualified as a fighter pilot, scored six more triumphs, and earned a Bar to his MC in lieu of a second award. John William Aldred was born on 26 August 1884 in Little Hulton, Lancashire, England. Though relatively old for infantry duty, he began his military career in the South Lancashire Regiment to fight in World War I. On 29 November 1915 Aldred was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the South Lancashire Regiment.[3] Aldred transferred to the General List of the Royal Flying Corps as an aerial observer effective 30 August 1916. While manning the observer's weaponry as a No. 5 Squadron member at 0930 hours on 16 February 1917, he set a German Albatros D.III aflame and set another down out of control. Those two victories earned him a Military Cross, which was gazetted on 26 March 1917:

    For conspicuous gallantry during an aerial combat with two hostile scouts. He drove one of the hostile machines down and succeeded in driving the other hostile machine back over the enemy's lines. He displayed great courage and determination throughout.
    On 30 July 1917, temporary Second Lieutenant J. W. Aldred MC was appointed a Flying Officer, indicating he had qualified as a pilot; his seniority for promotion was set at 30 August 1916. He was posted back to combat duty in France on 21 October 1917, to serve as a pilot with No. 70 Squadron. He scored three more victories while flying with them. During this stretch of time, he must have been confirmed in rank, as well as promoted to lieutenant. A transfer to 3 Squadron followed on 3 April 1918 so that he could serve as a Flight Commander. Accordingly, on 15 April 1918 Aldred was promoted from lieutenant to temporary captain, commensurate with his duties as a Flight Commander. The following month, he scored three more wins.[1] He was once again decorated, with the Bar to the MC gazetted on 16 September 1918: For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty whilst taking part in offensive patrols. During recent operations he destroyed four enemy aircraft and drove down three others out of control. He also did much successful low bombing and firing at low targets. He did splendid service.

    Also opening his account on this day we have Leutnant Julius Karl "Karlchen" Allmenröder of Jasta 11

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    The son of a pastor, Julius Karl Allmenröder studied medicine before the war. He served with a field artillery regiment before joining the Air Service with his older brother Wilhelm in 1916. Allmenröder honed his skills as a combat pilot under Manfred von Richthofen in Jasta 11. He scored 30 victories before he was killed in action.

    Enjoying a spot of Balloon Busting on this day we have Capitaine Jean Georges Fernand Matton

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    Matton earned a Military Pilot's Brevet on 14 January 1916. After serving with Escadrille MF20, he joined N57 on 23 July 1916 and scored his first victory just five days later. On 2 October 1916, he assumed command of Escadrille N48 and downed 8 more enemy aircraft before he was killed in action the following year.

    Claiming his second victory we have Vizefeldwebel Sebastian Festner

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    Finally today we have Capitano Fulco Ruffo di Calabria of the Italian air service who claimed his 4th confirmed kill

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    This day saw 469 British losses

    Today’s highlighted casualties include:

    Captain John Ballard Berkley Ford (Royal West Kent Regiment) is killed at age 29. He is the son of Major General ‘Sir’ Richard Ford KCMG CB DSO.
    Lieutenant Richard William Formby (Royal Engineers) killed in action. His brother was killed in October 1914 and they are sons of Myles Lonsdale Formby JP.
    Lieutenant Hercules Ralph Langrishe (Montgomeryshire Yeomanry attached Royal Flying Corps) is accidentally killed at home at age 29. He is the son of ‘Sir’ Hercules Langrishe the 5th
    Nurse Mary C ****son (Voluntary Aid Detachment, British Red Cross Society) dies of meningitis at age 30. She is the daughter of the Reverend W A ****son.
    Rifleman Horace George Bodley (Rifle Brigade) is killed at age 19. His brother will be killed in October.

    Admiralty, February 16th / 17th.

    "An attack on the Ghistelles aerodrome (south of Ostend) was carried out by naval aeroplanes on the 16th inst. Heavy bombs were dropped, with good results.

    "At the same time the shipping and harbour at Bruges were again attacked, bombs being observed to explode on the objectives."

    General Headquarters, February 17th.

    "In the course of air fighting yesterday one German aeroplane was brought down in our lines and two others were driven down in a damaged condition. One of our machines is missing."

    Artillery Co-operation — Twenty-eight targets were dealt with by aeroplane observation.

    Photography — Eighty-six photographs were taken during the day.

    Hostile Aircraft —

    Sgt H G Smith & Lt J W Aldred, 5 Sqn, Albatros Scout in flames Hebuterne at 09:30/10:30 - brought down an Albatros scout which crashed near Hebuterne; Ltn Hans Gutermuth, Jasta 5, Kia [captured number G.13]

    Sgt H G Smith & Lt J W Aldred, 5 Sqn, Albatros Scout out of control Hebuterne at 09:30/10:30

    2nd Lt D McC Kerr & 2nd Lt F C Elstob, 53 Sqn, Halberstadt out of control Wytschaete at 12:15/13:15 - a German aeroplane which was attacked by 2nd Lt D Mc C Kerr & 2nd Lt F C Elstob, 53 Squadron, fell out of control near Wytschaete [Combat Report marked 'not confirmed']

    A patrol of 32 Squadron encountered four hostile machines near Bapaume. The Observer in one of the machines was hit and seen to fall forward.

    Western Front
    France: Nivelle visits Haig at Montreuil, latter unaware that Lloyd George dealing with Nivelle direct. Nivelle reviews British 7th Division on February 17.

    Eastern Front
    Germany: Hoffmann diary ‘There is very encouraging news from the interior of Russia. It would seem that she cannot hold out longer than the autumn’.

    Air War
    Western Front: Airship LZ 107 bombs Calais and overflies Deal – causing false alarm in London (night February 16-17).

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    Asiatic and Egyptian Theatres

    West of Kut, British capture remaining Turkish positions in the Dahra bend, and take nearly 2,000 prisoners.

    Capt. Tunstill's Men: Brigade support positions at Zillebeke Bund and around Observatory Ridge Ridge (One Company in Stafford Street, in Sanctuary Wood (I.24.b.3.5); two platoons at the Redan, just north of Rudkin House; two platoons at Maple Copse; and the remaining two Companies at the north-west edge of Zillebeke Bund

    I will finish today with another story of a Victoria Cross

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    Frederick William Palmer VC MM (11 November 1891 – 10 September 1955) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. He was 25 years old, and a Lance-Sergeant in the 22nd Battalion, The Royal Fusiliers,[1] British Army during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.

    On 16/17 February 1917 north of Courcelette, France, Lance-Sergeant Palmer assumed command of his company when all his officers had become casualties. Having cut his way under point-blank fire, through wire entanglements, he dislodged an enemy machine-gun and established a "block". He then collected some other men and held the barricade for nearly three hours against seven determined counter-attacks. While he was fetching more bombs an eighth counter-attack was delivered, threatening the advance of the whole flank. At this critical moment, although suffering from extreme exhaustion, he rallied his men, drove back the enemy and maintained his position.[2]

    He later achieved the rank of Second Lieutenant. When his battalion was disbanded, he joined the RFC as an observer.

    After the war, he went to Malaya, where he set up in business. After the outbreak of the Second World War, he returned to England in 1940, arriving just in time for the Battle of Britain, and re-joined the Royal Air Force. He achieved the rank of Wing-Commander, and was mentioned in dispatches at the end of the war. He then returned to Malaya.

    He retired to the south of England in 1950

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    Never Knowingly Undergunned !!

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    17th February 1917 - just wasted over an hour of my time as bloody thing closed on me 5 mins before i finished - now go to do the whole damn thing again.....

    So lets start with the big action of the day - The Battle of Ancre

    Actions at Miraumont

    As a preliminary to capturing the Loupart Wood line, Gough intended the Fifth Army to continue the process of small advances in the Ancre valley, by attacking Hill 130, the Butte de Warlencourt, Gueudecourt, Serre and Miraumont, before attacking the Loupart Wood line three days before the Third Army offensive at Arras. The capture of Hill 130, would command the southern approach to Miraumont and Pys, exposing German artillery positions behind Serre to ground observation, while attacks on the north bank took ground overlooking Miraumont from the west, possibly inducing the Germans to withdraw voluntarily and uncover Serre. II Corps planned to attack on 17 February with the 2nd, 18th and 63rd divisions, on a 3,000-yard (2,700 m) front. With the ground still frozen, assembly trenches could not be dug, so it was decided that the troops would assemble in the open for the attack.
    The artillery of II Corps began a destructive and wire-cutting bombardment on 14 February, using the new fuze 106 against the German wire, which proved an effective wire-cutter, although fog and mist made aiming and observation of the results difficult. At zero hour, four siege groups were to begin a bombardment of rear lines and machine-gun nests and four counter-battery groups were to neutralise German artillery within range of the attack.[d] Artillery tactics were based on the experience of 1916, with a creeping barrage fired by half of the 18-pounders, beginning 200 yards (180 m) in front of the infantry and moving at 100 yards (91 m) in three minutes. Other 18-pounders searched and swept the area from the German trenches to 250 yards (230 m) further back in succession, as the British infantry reached and attacked them. The rest of the 18-pounders fired standing barrages on each line of trenches, until the creeping barrage arrived then lifted with it. A protective barrage was then formed beyond the objective, according to the barrage timetable.

    A thaw set in on 16 February and next dawn, there were dark clouds overhead and mist on the ground, which turned soft and slippery before reverting to deep mud. The speed of the creeping barrage had been based on the infantry crossing frozen ground and was too fast for the conditions. At 4:30 a.m. the German artillery bombarded the front from which the British were to attack, apparently alerted by a captured document and a deserter. The German bombardment caused many casualties as the British infantry assembled but no retaliatory fire was opened, in the hope that the German artillery would not be provoked. The subsidiary attack on the right flank, on Desire Support and Guard trenches south of Pys, by a 6th Brigade battalion of the 2nd Division, disappeared into the dark until 9:00 a.m., when it was reported that the attackers had been repulsed; British casualties and daylight made a resumption of the attack impossible. The effect of the failure on the right affected the operation further west by the 99th Brigade of the 2nd Division and the 54th and 53rd brigades of the 18th Division, which attacked the high ground from the right-hand Courcelette–Miraumont road, to the Albert–Arras railway line in the Ancre valley.

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    The divisional boundary was west of the western road from Courcelette to Miraumont, the 99th Brigade attacking on a 700 yards (640 m) front, with boundaries marked by the two sunken roads. The 54th Brigade had a front which sloped steeply to the left and included Boom Ravine (Baum Mulde), with both brigades vulnerable to flanking fire from the right. The 53rd Brigade on the left of the attack had a wider front, much of which was also exposed to fire from the positions on the north bank that were due to be attacked by the 63rd Division and was to consolidate at the second objective. The main attack had three objectives, the first about 600 yards (550 m) forward along the southern slope of Hill 130, the second at South Miraumont Trench required an advance of another 600 yards (550 m) to the north slope of Hill 130 on the right and the railway between Grandcourt and Miraumont on the western flank; the final objective was the southern fringe of Petit Miraumont.

    Each brigade attacked with two battalions, the 99th Brigade with two companies to extend the defensive flank formed on the right with the subsidiary attack and  2 1⁄2 companies following-on to leap-frog through to the final objective. In the 18th Division area the 54th Brigade attacked with an extra company, to capture dug-outs up to Boom Ravine and consolidate the first objective, while the 53rd Brigade formed a defensive flank on the left. Artillery support came from the divisional artillery, army field brigades and the neighbouring Australian corps.[e] The creeping and standing barrages began at 5:45 a.m. and the infantry advanced against a sparse German artillery reply. The German infantry proved alert and inflicted many casualties with small-arms fire, which with the darkness, fog and a sea of mud slowed the advance and caused units to become disorganised. The 99th Brigade reached the first objective and established a defensive flank against German counter-attacks but the 54th Brigade found uncut wire at Grandcourt Trench and lost the barrage while looking for gaps. The German garrison was able to emerge from cover and engage the British infantry, holding them up on the right. The left-hand battalion found more gaps but had so many casualties that it was also held up. On the 53rd Brigade front, Grandcourt Trench was captured quickly but the advance was held up at Coffee Trench by more uncut wire.

    The Germans in Boom Ravine were engaged from the flank and three machine-guns silenced, before the advance in the centre resumed and infantry found their way through the wire at Coffee Trench and captured it by 6:10 a.m. Boom Ravine was eventually captured at 7:45 a.m. and the advance resumed, a long way behind the creeping barrage and the line outside Petit Miraumont was attacked. The 99th Brigade attack on the right, advanced towards the second objective but was much hampered by the fog and mud. The failure to maintain the defensive flank on the right left the Germans free to rake the brigade with machine-gun fire from the right, which caused more casualties. South Miraumont Trench was entered by a small number of troops, who were then forced back to the first objective. Fresh German troops also counter-attacked from Petit Miraumont and the railway bank to the weSt Many of the British troops had weapons clogged with mud and fell back, the troops on the right forming a defensive flank along West Miraumont road, where they were fired on from South Miraumont Trench behind its left flank and withdrew to a line 100 yards (91 m) north of Boom Ravine. The attack had not reached its furthest objectives but had advanced the line 500 yards (460 m) on the right, 1,000 yards (910 m) in the centre and 800 yards (730 m) on the left. Boom Ravine was captured but the Germans had retained Hill 130 and inflicted 118 casualties on the 6th Brigade, 779 casualties on the 99th Brigade of the 2nd Division and 1,189 casualties in the 18th Division, a total of 2,207 British casualties

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    2nd/14th Light Horse cap badge

    On the north bank, the 63rd Division attacked with the 188th Brigade and two battalions of the 189th Brigade, to capture 700 yards (640 m) of the road north from Baillescourt Farm towards Puisieux, to gain observation over Miraumont and form a defensive flank on the left, back to the existing front line. Two battalions attacked with a third battalion ready on the right flank to reinforce them or to co-operate with the 18th Division between the Ancre and the Miraumont road. On the northern flank two infantry companies, engineers and pioneers were placed to establish the defensive flank on the left. The divisional artillery and an army field brigade with 54 × 18-pdr field guns and 18 × 4.5-inch howitzers provided fire support, with three field batteries from the 62nd Division further north, to place a protective barrage along the northern flank. The darkness, fog and mud were as bad as on the south bank but the German defence was far less effective. The creeping barrage moved at 100 yards (91 m) in four minutes, slower than the rate on the south bank and the Germans in a small number of strong-points were quickly overcome. The objective was reached by 6:40 a.m. and the defensive flank established, a final German strong-point being captured at 10:50 a.m. No German counter-attack was made until next day, which was stopped by artillery-fire. The 63rd Division lost 549 casualties and the three divisions took 599 prisoners.[25]

    The sudden thaw, fog and unexpected darkness interfered with wire-cutting, slowed the infantry, who fell behind the barrage and the apparent betrayal of the attack forewarned the German defenders, who were able to contain the attack and inflict considerable casualties. Troops were ordered to edge forward during the next few days, wherever German resistance was slight but the failure to capture Hill 130 and persistent fog, left the British overlooked and unable accurately to bombard German positions. Further deliberate attacks intended on Crest Trench were made impossible by a downpour which began on 20 February. Edging forward continued in the 2nd Division area, which had gained 100 yards (91 m) since 19 February. From 10 January – 22 February the Germans had been pushed back 5 mi (8.0 km) on a 4 mi (6.4 km) front. The Action of Miraumont forced the Germans to begin their withdrawal from the Ancre valley before the planned retirement to the Hindenburg Line. At 2:15 a.m. on 24 February, reports arrived that the Germans had gone and by 10:00 a.m. patrols from the 2nd Australian Division on the right and the 2nd and 18th Divisions in the centre and left, were advancing in a thick mist, with no sign of German troops.[28] Further south the German positions around Le Transloy were found abandoned on the night of 12/13 March and Australian Light Horse and infantry patrols entered Bapaume on 17 March.

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    Australian Light Horse

    Here is an alternative view of the day's actions - courtesy of the Royal Marines

    The plan was to take the sunken lane opposite Baillescourt farm. The lower part of this lane approximately 100yards was in British hands. What was needed was to take the rest of this lane and link with troops to the north. Once this lane had been taken strongpoints were to be formed 50 yards in front of the sunken lane. On the southern flank, the 18 Division was attacking northwards, at 90 degrees to the RND. On their right flank. 2nd division was also attacking Boom ravine northwards towards Pys and Petite Miraumont. The purpose of all of these attacks was to take this high ground and remove a bulge in the British line west of Courcelette/ Pozieres.

    188 Brigade was allotted the task of taking this line. Howe battalion was to attack the sunken lane just north of Baillescourt Farm. On their left 1/RM was to attack the rest of the sunken lane, 2/RM were to provide consolidation
    parties and form a flank guard on the left flank Anson were holding the Baillescourt farm and lower sunken Lane sector. 1/RM moved into the line on the night of 14/15th February, Howe moved into the line on the night of the 16thFeb, in fact only just making it to the assembly area before the attack commenced.

    Conditions generally were bad. The ground bad been frozen, but now was thawing out, leaving the battlefield muddy. There were no trenches as such, they had been blown away, at best there was a line of shell holes. The result was that there were no landmarks, making it difficult to orientate units- It must be remembered that there was only map and compass to find your way around, not the modern Magellan system aided by satellites. Carrying parties and people attempting to get to the front line were becoming disorientated and frequently lost.

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    Zero hour was 5.45 am, the attack commenced with a terrific artillery support. The Germans retaliated with artillery, but it was not strong, especially to the North. Despite these conditions there appeared to be the usual confusion of HQ not receiving any news and this lead to confusion over where the artillery should be directing its fire. It was decided to keep to the fire plan until something was heard from Howe or 1/RM. The RND’s artillery was being asked to assist on the 18th Divisions front where big problems were occurring. Solid information was received by 7.15. Howe had taken their portion of the Sunken lane, l/RM had also taken their part and had pushed out 20yds beyond to form strongpoints. 2/RM had secured the left flank. During l/RM’s attack, their two northernmost companies had veered right due to the lack landmarks. This turned out to he providential as the wire in front of their intended target was found to be uncut, but the part of the sunken lane they attacked by accident had no wire at all. It was during this attack that Captain Pearson, OC of A company 1/RM noticed some Germans trying to bring a machine gun into action to the north. This would have meant that the Germans would have been able to fire the gun straight down the sunken lane, in which the best part of two battalions were occupying. Carnage would have resulted- Pearson personally shot two of the Germans, and was joined by Lt Sanderson who between them shot five more. The Germans gave up at this point. It’s small acts like this that can turn a battle. If this gun had been bought into action, the road would have been lost along with many men. Pearson was awarded the MC for this work. By 7.30 it was confirmed that the whole objective had been taken. The Marines and Howe dug in and consolidated, Anson sent out battle patrols and the artillery switched to assist 18th Division who were now making some progress.

    Confusion still reigned though partly through lack of visibility and also lack of solid information. General Prentice wasn’t quite satisfied that l/RM had gone north enough and ordered them to extend northwards. Also he was concerned that an enemy strongpoint in that area hadn’t been dealt with and ordered /RM to sort it out. Accordingly 1/RM extended northwards and linked with 2/RM’s consolidation parties. The strongpoint was assaulted with the capture of 1 machinegun and 40 prisoners. Patrols were pushed out to dominate the area in front. By this time 1 RM had taken many casualties as they had suffered quite badly before the attack when the enemy shelled the assembly trenches. A company of Hood was dispatched to bolster their numbers. Thus ended the Battle of Miraumont. 188th Brigade had taken the last part of the Miraumont spur and was now strongly holding a line with a brilliant view down the Ancre valley with excellent fields of fire.



    The following day at 7.30am the Germans put down a heavy bombardment on the sunken lane, This was not followed up though with assault as the visibility was poor due to mist. At 10.30 the mist lifted revealing that a German counter attack of about two battalions strength was only approximately 300 yards away. Fortunately at this moment the line back to HQ was repaired and an SOS message was sent. Within two minutes a perfect barrage fell on the Germans. The Germans turned and ran, their counter attack had been crushed. That was the last attempt to retake the ground. The Germans contented themselves by barraging the ground instead. 188th Brigade units were relieved on the 19th February.

    The starting strength of 1/RM was quoted as being around 500. At the end of the days fighting it was said that only 100 were fit for duty and published casualty figures and retrospective examination confirms this. In actual terms the losses of 1/RM were 7 officers and 71 men killed, the wounded being approximately 300. These casualties were virtually all caused by the bombardment of l/RM whilst waiting to attack and after taking the objective. Very few men were killed in the assault itself

    Howe also suffered few losses with 2 officers and 20 men killed and around 200 wounded. 2/RM lost 1 officer and 5 men killed.

    This attack was an unqualified success on the RND front. The ground taken was valuable. If you go there today, you will see the view is amazing, you can see for miles, certainly view to kill for. At the start of this account I asked the question as to whether it was worth it in view of the retreat a month later. In my opinion the answer is yes for several reasons.

    Firstly there was no knowledge of the retreat, in fact when it was well under way it was a while before it was believed, after all the Germans were in a prime defensive position and had always made a fight of it, so offensive action to remove them was worth while. Secondly, even if a withdrawal was known about, an offensive would make life very difficult for a unit trying to disengage and retreat. The withdrawal was probably underway, arid this attack probably made life very difficult. The observation position gained as a result of this attack would have certainly made the Germans very uneasy.

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    The sunken lane as it was in the summer of 1999

    Elsewhere in the war...

    3 AIRMEN HAVE FALLEN ON SATURDAY FEBRUARY 17TH 1917

    Captain J.C. Hume-Storer RFC Missing from patrol while flying between Dover and Ramsgate 17 February 1917

    Air Mechanic 3rd Class E. Sellman RFC Aeroplane Repair Park, Farnborough died on this day in 1917 aged 39

    Air Mechanic 2nd Class Richard Ewart Shearer RFC Cleaning Depot Farnborough 17 February 1917 aged 19

    There were 3 aces claiming victories on this day...

    Vizefeldwebel Friedrich Manschott of Jasta 7

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    Leutnant Emil Meinecke FA6

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    Meinecke was a aircraft mechanic before he attended flight school. After training he became an instructor and was eventually sent to the Dardanelles where he achieved his first victory flying the Fokker E.III. After the war, he was employed as a mechanic and test pilot by the Fokker Aircraft Company in Holland. Following World War II, he assisted the U.S. Air Force with the Berlin Airlift before emigrating to Canada in 1950.

    Leutnant Hans Joachim Rolfes
    of Jasta 11 had an unconfirmed kill on this day...

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    Western Front
    Somme: 3 BEF Fifth Army divisons (3,800 casualties) gain 500*-1000 yards with 773 PoWs in two attacks at Miraumont north and south of the Ancre (night February 17-18).
    Alsace: French raid on German salient northeast of Altkirch causes heavy loss.

    Southern Fronts
    Albania: French and Italian troops link up at Herseg making 240-mile Allied front from Adriatic to Aegean.

    Middle East
    Mesopotamia: 7th Indian Div (over 500 casualties) fails and panics in attack on Turk Sannaiyat north bank position with 3,000 enemies.

    Sea War
    Atlantic: Torpedoed Q-ship Farnborough (Campbell wins Victoria Cross) sinks U-83 (Hoppe), 2 survivors, off southwest Ireland with 25 shots at 300 yards.

    HMS Farnborough, also known as (Q-5), was a Q-ship of the British Royal Navy that saw service in the First World War. Farnborough was a heavily armed merchant ship with concealed weaponry that was designed to lure submarines into making surface attacks. Farnborough sank two submarines in her service in the First World War. The first submarine was SM U-68 which involved the first successful use of depth charges. The second submarine was SM U-83, which was sunk on 17 February 1917 in an action for which Captain Gordon Campbell of Farnborough received the Victoria Cross. HMS Farnborough was severely damaged in the action and was beached the same day.

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    Vice Admiral Gordon Campbell VC, DSO & Two Bars (6 January 1886 – 3 July 1953) was an English naval officer, later a writer and politician, who was a recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. He was also awarded the Croix de Guerre and appointed a chevalier of the Légion d'honneur.

    Born on 6 January 1886, he was educated at Dulwich College, which he attended between 1898 and 1900. He then joined the Royal Navy. In 1917, by the age of 31, he had reached the rank of commander during First World War when the act for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross took place.[2] On 17 February 1917 in the north Atlantic, Commander Campbell, commanding HMS Farnborough (Q.5) (one of the "mystery" Q ships) sighted a torpedo track. He altered course and allowed the torpedo to hit Q.5 aft by the engine-room bulkhead. The 'Panic party' got away convincingly, followed by the U-boat. When the submarine had fully surfaced and was within 100 yards of Q.5—badly damaged and now lying very low in the water—the commander gave the order to fire. Almost all of the 45 shells fired hit the SM U-83 which sank. Q.5 was taken in tow just in time and was safely beached. On 22 March 1916, another U-boat, SM U-68 was sunk by Farnborough.

    Campbell also commanded HMS Dunraven during the action of 8 August 1917 when she was sunk by SM UC-71. Victoria Crosses were awarded to two crewmen who were selected by ballot from amongst the crew of Dunraven, Lieutenant Charles George Bonner and Petty Officer Ernest Herbert Pitcher. Campbell received his second Bar to his Distinguished Service Order (DSO).

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    Campbell later achieved the rank of vice admiral. He commanded the battlecruiser HMS Tiger 1925–27 and served as Naval Aide-de-Camp to George V 1928–29. In 1931, he was elected as National Member of Parliament for Burnley, defeating the Labour leader, Arthur Henderson. In 1935, however, standing as a National Liberal, he lost his seat. In the Second World War he re-entered the Royal Navy in the rank of Commander and was responsible for anti-invasion measures around Padstow. Campbell wrote several publications, including the successful My Mystery Ships. His brother, Sir Edward Campbell, was also a Member of Parliament. His Victoria Cross is held at his old school, Dulwich College.

    There were a total of 1444 british troops killed on this day.

    and finally Captain Tunstill's Men: Brigade support positions at Zillebeke Bund and around Observatory Ridge Ridge (One Company in Stafford Street, in Sanctuary Wood (I.24.b.3.5); two platoons at the Redan, just north of Rudkin House; two platoons at Maple Copse; and the remaining two Companies at the north-west edge of Zillebeke Bund (I.21.a.1.5). The Battalion returned to the same sector of the front line which they had held on the previous tour, between I.24.d.7.1 and I.24.d.8.6, relieving 11th West Yorks, with the relief complete by 8pm.

    Acting CQMS Thomas Doyne is recorded as having been ‘accidentally killed’ on this day. Doyne’s death presents something of a mystery as, though he is recorded as serving with 10DWR, he was buried at Heilly Station Cemetery, near Mericourt L’Abbe on the Somme. Born in Celbridge, County Kildare, Thomas Doyne was a career soldier who had first joined the the Duke of Wellington’s in 1881. Doyne served much of his time abroad in Nova Scotia, Bermuda, Barbados, South Africa, and in India rising to the rank of Sergeant on 24th June 1897. In 1899 he had married Bridget O’Hara at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Bangalore , India and had retired from the army in 1907 after 20 years service. He returned to Dublin, living at 2 Irvine Cottages, where he worked with the LNWR as a labourer. Although in his fifties and an army pensioner he joined up at the outbreak of war. He had then been an original member of 10DWR, having officially re-enlisted on 9th September 1914. He had been Company Sergeant Major with ‘C’ Company when the Battalion departed for France in August 1915. He was clearly nor serving with the Battalion when he died but, as yet, it has not been possible to establish either the nature of his service, or the circumstances of his death.

    Capt. James Christopher Bull (see 4th January), who had left the Battalion in September 1916, suffering from paratyphoid, appeared before an Army Medical Board and was declared fit for general service.

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    Never Knowingly Undergunned !!

  27. #2227

    Default

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    17th February 1917 - just wasted over an hour of my time as bloody thing closed on me 5 mins before I finished - now got to do the whole damn thing again.....

    So lets start with the big action of the day - The Battle of Ancre

    Actions at Miraumont

    As a preliminary to capturing the Loupart Wood line, Gough intended the Fifth Army to continue the process of small advances in the Ancre valley, by attacking Hill 130, the Butte de Warlencourt, Gueudecourt, Serre and Miraumont, before attacking the Loupart Wood line three days before the Third Army offensive at Arras. The capture of Hill 130, would command the southern approach to Miraumont and Pys, exposing German artillery positions behind Serre to ground observation, while attacks on the north bank took ground overlooking Miraumont from the west, possibly inducing the Germans to withdraw voluntarily and uncover Serre. II Corps planned to attack on 17 February with the 2nd, 18th and 63rd divisions, on a 3,000-yard (2,700 m) front. With the ground still frozen, assembly trenches could not be dug, so it was decided that the troops would assemble in the open for the attack.
    The artillery of II Corps began a destructive and wire-cutting bombardment on 14 February, using the new fuze 106 against the German wire, which proved an effective wire-cutter, although fog and mist made aiming and observation of the results difficult. At zero hour, four siege groups were to begin a bombardment of rear lines and machine-gun nests and four counter-battery groups were to neutralise German artillery within range of the attack.[d] Artillery tactics were based on the experience of 1916, with a creeping barrage fired by half of the 18-pounders, beginning 200 yards (180 m) in front of the infantry and moving at 100 yards (91 m) in three minutes. Other 18-pounders searched and swept the area from the German trenches to 250 yards (230 m) further back in succession, as the British infantry reached and attacked them. The rest of the 18-pounders fired standing barrages on each line of trenches, until the creeping barrage arrived then lifted with it. A protective barrage was then formed beyond the objective, according to the barrage timetable.

    A thaw set in on 16 February and next dawn, there were dark clouds overhead and mist on the ground, which turned soft and slippery before reverting to deep mud. The speed of the creeping barrage had been based on the infantry crossing frozen ground and was too fast for the conditions. At 4:30 a.m. the German artillery bombarded the front from which the British were to attack, apparently alerted by a captured document and a deserter. The German bombardment caused many casualties as the British infantry assembled but no retaliatory fire was opened, in the hope that the German artillery would not be provoked. The subsidiary attack on the right flank, on Desire Support and Guard trenches south of Pys, by a 6th Brigade battalion of the 2nd Division, disappeared into the dark until 9:00 a.m., when it was reported that the attackers had been repulsed; British casualties and daylight made a resumption of the attack impossible. The effect of the failure on the right affected the operation further west by the 99th Brigade of the 2nd Division and the 54th and 53rd brigades of the 18th Division, which attacked the high ground from the right-hand Courcelette–Miraumont road, to the Albert–Arras railway line in the Ancre valley.

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    The divisional boundary was west of the western road from Courcelette to Miraumont, the 99th Brigade attacking on a 700 yards (640 m) front, with boundaries marked by the two sunken roads. The 54th Brigade had a front which sloped steeply to the left and included Boom Ravine (Baum Mulde), with both brigades vulnerable to flanking fire from the right. The 53rd Brigade on the left of the attack had a wider front, much of which was also exposed to fire from the positions on the north bank that were due to be attacked by the 63rd Division and was to consolidate at the second objective. The main attack had three objectives, the first about 600 yards (550 m) forward along the southern slope of Hill 130, the second at South Miraumont Trench required an advance of another 600 yards (550 m) to the north slope of Hill 130 on the right and the railway between Grandcourt and Miraumont on the western flank; the final objective was the southern fringe of Petit Miraumont.

    Each brigade attacked with two battalions, the 99th Brigade with two companies to extend the defensive flank formed on the right with the subsidiary attack and  2 1⁄2 companies following-on to leap-frog through to the final objective. In the 18th Division area the 54th Brigade attacked with an extra company, to capture dug-outs up to Boom Ravine and consolidate the first objective, while the 53rd Brigade formed a defensive flank on the left. Artillery support came from the divisional artillery, army field brigades and the neighbouring Australian corps.[e] The creeping and standing barrages began at 5:45 a.m. and the infantry advanced against a sparse German artillery reply. The German infantry proved alert and inflicted many casualties with small-arms fire, which with the darkness, fog and a sea of mud slowed the advance and caused units to become disorganised. The 99th Brigade reached the first objective and established a defensive flank against German counter-attacks but the 54th Brigade found uncut wire at Grandcourt Trench and lost the barrage while looking for gaps. The German garrison was able to emerge from cover and engage the British infantry, holding them up on the right. The left-hand battalion found more gaps but had so many casualties that it was also held up. On the 53rd Brigade front, Grandcourt Trench was captured quickly but the advance was held up at Coffee Trench by more uncut wire.

    The Germans in Boom Ravine were engaged from the flank and three machine-guns silenced, before the advance in the centre resumed and infantry found their way through the wire at Coffee Trench and captured it by 6:10 a.m. Boom Ravine was eventually captured at 7:45 a.m. and the advance resumed, a long way behind the creeping barrage and the line outside Petit Miraumont was attacked. The 99th Brigade attack on the right, advanced towards the second objective but was much hampered by the fog and mud. The failure to maintain the defensive flank on the right left the Germans free to rake the brigade with machine-gun fire from the right, which caused more casualties. South Miraumont Trench was entered by a small number of troops, who were then forced back to the first objective. Fresh German troops also counter-attacked from Petit Miraumont and the railway bank to the weSt Many of the British troops had weapons clogged with mud and fell back, the troops on the right forming a defensive flank along West Miraumont road, where they were fired on from South Miraumont Trench behind its left flank and withdrew to a line 100 yards (91 m) north of Boom Ravine. The attack had not reached its furthest objectives but had advanced the line 500 yards (460 m) on the right, 1,000 yards (910 m) in the centre and 800 yards (730 m) on the left. Boom Ravine was captured but the Germans had retained Hill 130 and inflicted 118 casualties on the 6th Brigade, 779 casualties on the 99th Brigade of the 2nd Division and 1,189 casualties in the 18th Division, a total of 2,207 British casualties

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    2nd/14th Light Horse cap badge

    On the north bank, the 63rd Division attacked with the 188th Brigade and two battalions of the 189th Brigade, to capture 700 yards (640 m) of the road north from Baillescourt Farm towards Puisieux, to gain observation over Miraumont and form a defensive flank on the left, back to the existing front line. Two battalions attacked with a third battalion ready on the right flank to reinforce them or to co-operate with the 18th Division between the Ancre and the Miraumont road. On the northern flank two infantry companies, engineers and pioneers were placed to establish the defensive flank on the left. The divisional artillery and an army field brigade with 54 × 18-pdr field guns and 18 × 4.5-inch howitzers provided fire support, with three field batteries from the 62nd Division further north, to place a protective barrage along the northern flank. The darkness, fog and mud were as bad as on the south bank but the German defence was far less effective. The creeping barrage moved at 100 yards (91 m) in four minutes, slower than the rate on the south bank and the Germans in a small number of strong-points were quickly overcome. The objective was reached by 6:40 a.m. and the defensive flank established, a final German strong-point being captured at 10:50 a.m. No German counter-attack was made until next day, which was stopped by artillery-fire. The 63rd Division lost 549 casualties and the three divisions took 599 prisoners.[25]

    The sudden thaw, fog and unexpected darkness interfered with wire-cutting, slowed the infantry, who fell behind the barrage and the apparent betrayal of the attack forewarned the German defenders, who were able to contain the attack and inflict considerable casualties. Troops were ordered to edge forward during the next few days, wherever German resistance was slight but the failure to capture Hill 130 and persistent fog, left the British overlooked and unable accurately to bombard German positions. Further deliberate attacks intended on Crest Trench were made impossible by a downpour which began on 20 February. Edging forward continued in the 2nd Division area, which had gained 100 yards (91 m) since 19 February. From 10 January – 22 February the Germans had been pushed back 5 mi (8.0 km) on a 4 mi (6.4 km) front. The Action of Miraumont forced the Germans to begin their withdrawal from the Ancre valley before the planned retirement to the Hindenburg Line. At 2:15 a.m. on 24 February, reports arrived that the Germans had gone and by 10:00 a.m. patrols from the 2nd Australian Division on the right and the 2nd and 18th Divisions in the centre and left, were advancing in a thick mist, with no sign of German troops.[28] Further south the German positions around Le Transloy were found abandoned on the night of 12/13 March and Australian Light Horse and infantry patrols entered Bapaume on 17 March.

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    Australian Light Horse

    Here is an alternative view of the day's actions - courtesy of the Royal Marines

    The plan was to take the sunken lane opposite Baillescourt farm. The lower part of this lane approximately 100yards was in British hands. What was needed was to take the rest of this lane and link with troops to the north. Once this lane had been taken strongpoints were to be formed 50 yards in front of the sunken lane. On the southern flank, the 18 Division was attacking northwards, at 90 degrees to the RND. On their right flank. 2nd division was also attacking Boom ravine northwards towards Pys and Petite Miraumont. The purpose of all of these attacks was to take this high ground and remove a bulge in the British line west of Courcelette/ Pozieres.

    188 Brigade was allotted the task of taking this line. Howe battalion was to attack the sunken lane just north of Baillescourt Farm. On their left 1/RM was to attack the rest of the sunken lane, 2/RM were to provide consolidation
    parties and form a flank guard on the left flank Anson were holding the Baillescourt farm and lower sunken Lane sector. 1/RM moved into the line on the night of 14/15th February, Howe moved into the line on the night of the 16thFeb, in fact only just making it to the assembly area before the attack commenced.

    Conditions generally were bad. The ground bad been frozen, but now was thawing out, leaving the battlefield muddy. There were no trenches as such, they had been blown away, at best there was a line of shell holes. The result was that there were no landmarks, making it difficult to orientate units- It must be remembered that there was only map and compass to find your way around, not the modern Magellan system aided by satellites. Carrying parties and people attempting to get to the front line were becoming disorientated and frequently lost.

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    Zero hour was 5.45 am, the attack commenced with a terrific artillery support. The Germans retaliated with artillery, but it was not strong, especially to the North. Despite these conditions there appeared to be the usual confusion of HQ not receiving any news and this lead to confusion over where the artillery should be directing its fire. It was decided to keep to the fire plan until something was heard from Howe or 1/RM. The RND’s artillery was being asked to assist on the 18th Divisions front where big problems were occurring. Solid information was received by 7.15. Howe had taken their portion of the Sunken lane, l/RM had also taken their part and had pushed out 20yds beyond to form strongpoints. 2/RM had secured the left flank. During l/RM’s attack, their two northernmost companies had veered right due to the lack landmarks. This turned out to he providential as the wire in front of their intended target was found to be uncut, but the part of the sunken lane they attacked by accident had no wire at all. It was during this attack that Captain Pearson, OC of A company 1/RM noticed some Germans trying to bring a machine gun into action to the north. This would have meant that the Germans would have been able to fire the gun straight down the sunken lane, in which the best part of two battalions were occupying. Carnage would have resulted- Pearson personally shot two of the Germans, and was joined by Lt Sanderson who between them shot five more. The Germans gave up at this point. It’s small acts like this that can turn a battle. If this gun had been bought into action, the road would have been lost along with many men. Pearson was awarded the MC for this work. By 7.30 it was confirmed that the whole objective had been taken. The Marines and Howe dug in and consolidated, Anson sent out battle patrols and the artillery switched to assist 18th Division who were now making some progress.

    Confusion still reigned though partly through lack of visibility and also lack of solid information. General Prentice wasn’t quite satisfied that l/RM had gone north enough and ordered them to extend northwards. Also he was concerned that an enemy strongpoint in that area hadn’t been dealt with and ordered /RM to sort it out. Accordingly 1/RM extended northwards and linked with 2/RM’s consolidation parties. The strongpoint was assaulted with the capture of 1 machinegun and 40 prisoners. Patrols were pushed out to dominate the area in front. By this time 1 RM had taken many casualties as they had suffered quite badly before the attack when the enemy shelled the assembly trenches. A company of Hood was dispatched to bolster their numbers. Thus ended the Battle of Miraumont. 188th Brigade had taken the last part of the Miraumont spur and was now strongly holding a line with a brilliant view down the Ancre valley with excellent fields of fire.



    The following day at 7.30am the Germans put down a heavy bombardment on the sunken lane, This was not followed up though with assault as the visibility was poor due to mist. At 10.30 the mist lifted revealing that a German counter attack of about two battalions strength was only approximately 300 yards away. Fortunately at this moment the line back to HQ was repaired and an SOS message was sent. Within two minutes a perfect barrage fell on the Germans. The Germans turned and ran, their counter attack had been crushed. That was the last attempt to retake the ground. The Germans contented themselves by barraging the ground instead. 188th Brigade units were relieved on the 19th February.

    The starting strength of 1/RM was quoted as being around 500. At the end of the days fighting it was said that only 100 were fit for duty and published casualty figures and retrospective examination confirms this. In actual terms the losses of 1/RM were 7 officers and 71 men killed, the wounded being approximately 300. These casualties were virtually all caused by the bombardment of l/RM whilst waiting to attack and after taking the objective. Very few men were killed in the assault itself

    Howe also suffered few losses with 2 officers and 20 men killed and around 200 wounded. 2/RM lost 1 officer and 5 men killed.

    This attack was an unqualified success on the RND front. The ground taken was valuable. If you go there today, you will see the view is amazing, you can see for miles, certainly view to kill for. At the start of this account I asked the question as to whether it was worth it in view of the retreat a month later. In my opinion the answer is yes for several reasons.

    Firstly there was no knowledge of the retreat, in fact when it was well under way it was a while before it was believed, after all the Germans were in a prime defensive position and had always made a fight of it, so offensive action to remove them was worth while. Secondly, even if a withdrawal was known about, an offensive would make life very difficult for a unit trying to disengage and retreat. The withdrawal was probably underway, arid this attack probably made life very difficult. The observation position gained as a result of this attack would have certainly made the Germans very uneasy.

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    The sunken lane as it was in the summer of 1999

    Elsewhere in the war...

    3 AIRMEN HAVE FALLEN ON SATURDAY FEBRUARY 17TH 1917

    Captain J.C. Hume-Storer RFC Missing from patrol while flying between Dover and Ramsgate 17 February 1917

    Air Mechanic 3rd Class E. Sellman RFC Aeroplane Repair Park, Farnborough died on this day in 1917 aged 39

    Air Mechanic 2nd Class Richard Ewart Shearer RFC Cleaning Depot Farnborough 17 February 1917 aged 19

    There were 3 aces claiming victories on this day...

    Vizefeldwebel Friedrich Manschott of Jasta 7

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    Leutnant Emil Meinecke FA6

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    Meinecke was a aircraft mechanic before he attended flight school. After training he became an instructor and was eventually sent to the Dardanelles where he achieved his first victory flying the Fokker E.III. After the war, he was employed as a mechanic and test pilot by the Fokker Aircraft Company in Holland. Following World War II, he assisted the U.S. Air Force with the Berlin Airlift before emigrating to Canada in 1950.

    Leutnant Hans Joachim Rolfes
    of Jasta 11 had an unconfirmed kill on this day...

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    Western Front
    Somme: 3 BEF Fifth Army divisons (3,800 casualties) gain 500*-1000 yards with 773 PoWs in two attacks at Miraumont north and south of the Ancre (night February 17-18).
    Alsace: French raid on German salient northeast of Altkirch causes heavy loss.

    Southern Fronts
    Albania: French and Italian troops link up at Herseg making 240-mile Allied front from Adriatic to Aegean.

    Middle East
    Mesopotamia: 7th Indian Div (over 500 casualties) fails and panics in attack on Turk Sannaiyat north bank position with 3,000 enemies.

    Sea War
    Atlantic: Torpedoed Q-ship Farnborough (Campbell wins Victoria Cross) sinks U-83 (Hoppe), 2 survivors, off southwest Ireland with 25 shots at 300 yards.

    HMS Farnborough, also known as (Q-5), was a Q-ship of the British Royal Navy that saw service in the First World War. Farnborough was a heavily armed merchant ship with concealed weaponry that was designed to lure submarines into making surface attacks. Farnborough sank two submarines in her service in the First World War. The first submarine was SM U-68 which involved the first successful use of depth charges. The second submarine was SM U-83, which was sunk on 17 February 1917 in an action for which Captain Gordon Campbell of Farnborough received the Victoria Cross. HMS Farnborough was severely damaged in the action and was beached the same day.

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    Vice Admiral Gordon Campbell VC, DSO & Two Bars (6 January 1886 – 3 July 1953) was an English naval officer, later a writer and politician, who was a recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. He was also awarded the Croix de Guerre and appointed a chevalier of the Légion d'honneur.

    Born on 6 January 1886, he was educated at Dulwich College, which he attended between 1898 and 1900. He then joined the Royal Navy. In 1917, by the age of 31, he had reached the rank of commander during First World War when the act for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross took place.[2] On 17 February 1917 in the north Atlantic, Commander Campbell, commanding HMS Farnborough (Q.5) (one of the "mystery" Q ships) sighted a torpedo track. He altered course and allowed the torpedo to hit Q.5 aft by the engine-room bulkhead. The 'Panic party' got away convincingly, followed by the U-boat. When the submarine had fully surfaced and was within 100 yards of Q.5—badly damaged and now lying very low in the water—the commander gave the order to fire. Almost all of the 45 shells fired hit the SM U-83 which sank. Q.5 was taken in tow just in time and was safely beached. On 22 March 1916, another U-boat, SM U-68 was sunk by Farnborough.

    Campbell also commanded HMS Dunraven during the action of 8 August 1917 when she was sunk by SM UC-71. Victoria Crosses were awarded to two crewmen who were selected by ballot from amongst the crew of Dunraven, Lieutenant Charles George Bonner and Petty Officer Ernest Herbert Pitcher. Campbell received his second Bar to his Distinguished Service Order (DSO).

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    Campbell later achieved the rank of vice admiral. He commanded the battlecruiser HMS Tiger 1925–27 and served as Naval Aide-de-Camp to George V 1928–29. In 1931, he was elected as National Member of Parliament for Burnley, defeating the Labour leader, Arthur Henderson. In 1935, however, standing as a National Liberal, he lost his seat. In the Second World War he re-entered the Royal Navy in the rank of Commander and was responsible for anti-invasion measures around Padstow. Campbell wrote several publications, including the successful My Mystery Ships. His brother, Sir Edward Campbell, was also a Member of Parliament. His Victoria Cross is held at his old school, Dulwich College.

    There were a total of 1444 british troops killed on this day.

    and finally Captain Tunstill's Men: Brigade support positions at Zillebeke Bund and around Observatory Ridge Ridge (One Company in Stafford Street, in Sanctuary Wood (I.24.b.3.5); two platoons at the Redan, just north of Rudkin House; two platoons at Maple Copse; and the remaining two Companies at the north-west edge of Zillebeke Bund (I.21.a.1.5). The Battalion returned to the same sector of the front line which they had held on the previous tour, between I.24.d.7.1 and I.24.d.8.6, relieving 11th West Yorks, with the relief complete by 8pm.

    Acting CQMS Thomas Doyne is recorded as having been ‘accidentally killed’ on this day. Doyne’s death presents something of a mystery as, though he is recorded as serving with 10DWR, he was buried at Heilly Station Cemetery, near Mericourt L’Abbe on the Somme. Born in Celbridge, County Kildare, Thomas Doyne was a career soldier who had first joined the the Duke of Wellington’s in 1881. Doyne served much of his time abroad in Nova Scotia, Bermuda, Barbados, South Africa, and in India rising to the rank of Sergeant on 24th June 1897. In 1899 he had married Bridget O’Hara at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Bangalore , India and had retired from the army in 1907 after 20 years service. He returned to Dublin, living at 2 Irvine Cottages, where he worked with the LNWR as a labourer. Although in his fifties and an army pensioner he joined up at the outbreak of war. He had then been an original member of 10DWR, having officially re-enlisted on 9th September 1914. He had been Company Sergeant Major with ‘C’ Company when the Battalion departed for France in August 1915. He was clearly nor serving with the Battalion when he died but, as yet, it has not been possible to establish either the nature of his service, or the circumstances of his death.

    Capt. James Christopher Bull (see 4th January), who had left the Battalion in September 1916, suffering from paratyphoid, appeared before an Army Medical Board and was declared fit for general service.

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    Never Knowingly Undergunned !!

  28. #2228

    Northern Command Squadron Leader.
    Colonel

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    Chris I'm back online viz a vis the Internet.

    Can resume duties from Monday.

    Neil
    See you on the Dark Side......

  29. #2229

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skafloc View Post
    Chris I'm back online viz a vis the Internet.

    Can resume duties from Monday.

    Neil
    Awesome - thanks Neil

    Never Knowingly Undergunned !!

  30. #2230

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    18th February 1917


    Very late finish today but just managed to catch the day...

    A much quieter day in the air than of late... 1 AIRMAN HAS FALLEN ON SUNDAY FEBRUARY 18TH 1917

    2nd Lieutenant Ernest William Lindley 16 Squadron RFC Died of Wounds in German hands 18 February 1917 aged 20 (posted missing on 16th) He was the pilot of BE2c 4179

    There was just the one aerial victory claim on this day

    Leutnant Rudolph on Eschwege of FA 30

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    Having joined the army before the war, Eschwege saw action with the cavalry before his transfer to the German Air Force in 1915. In August of that year, he was posted to FA 36 as a reconnaissance pilot on the Western Front. In 1916, he was credited with his first two victories after joining FA 66 on the Macedonian front. Reassigned to FA 30 in January 1917, Eschwege became known as "The Eagle of the Aegean," achieving 18 additional victories with a variety of fighter aircraft. Having just been recommended for the Blue Max, he was killed in action during an attack on a decoy balloon launched by No. 17 Balloon Section of the Royal Flying Corps. As Eschwege engaged the target, the British ground crew detonated 500 pounds of explosive in the balloon's basket, damaging the German's Halberstadt Scout and causing it to crash.

    Western Front
    Somme: British troops repulse German attack on their new positions above Baillescourt Farm (north of river Ancre).

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    A British working party with shovels stands in the mud near St Pierre Divion on the Somme.

    Home Fronts
    Russia: General Khabaiov of Petrograd military district given special powers to maintain order.

    Sea War
    Indian Ocean: Raider Wolf lays 58 mines off Ceylon, swept by 6 trawlers for loss of 2 large ships.

    On this day 471 British Troops were lost

    Today’s highlighted casualties include:

    Lieutenant Walter Thomas Patrick Spens (Royal Scots) is killed in action at age 36. He is the son of Sheriff Walter Spens of Strathaden Troon Ayrshire.

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    Walter Thomas Patrick Spens

    Bombardier Frank Glaysher (Royal Field Artillery) dies of pneumonia on active service at age 22. His brother was killed in October of last year.
    Private Michael James Gallagher (Canterbury Regiment) is killed at age 39. His brother was killed last September.

    Capt. Tunstill's Men: Overnight (18th/19th) a fighting party from ‘A’ Company, led by 2Lt. Phillip Howard Morris (20th October) went out to try to secure a German prisoner; the party engaged a large German patrol in No Man’s Land and, after a bombing exchange, all men returned safely, though without a captive. It was reported that they had caused several casualties to the Germans. Brig Genl. Lambert (see 17th February), noted the raid in his diary, “10th WR raid – met German party outside their wire – much bombing – no casualties”. Lambert had earlier visited the trenches and had found that, “not enough work going on and lots to be done”.

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    HMAS Berrima was a passenger liner which served in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) during World War I as an armed merchantman and troop transport. Launched in 1913 as the P&O liner SS Berrima, the ship initially carried immigrants from the United Kingdom to Australia via Cape Town. In August 1914, Berrima was requisitioned for military use, refitted and armed, and commissioned into the RAN as an auxiliary cruiser. The ship transported two battalions of the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force to the German New Guinea colonies in September.

    Paid off from naval service in October 1914, Berrima then sailed as part of the second ANZAC troop convoy; in addition to carrying soldiers to the Middle East, the ship towed the submarine AE2. Berrima continued to work under the liner requisition scheme until 18 February 1917, when she was torpedoed. She was towed ashore and repaired, then requisitioned by the Shipping Controller as a stores and munitions ferry. Berrima returned to P&O service in 1920, and resumed the expatriate run. This continued until the route's cancellation in 1929. Berrima was sold for breaking up in 1930

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    In August 1914, the ship was requisitioned for military service. Berrima was taken to Cockatoo Island Dockyard on 12 August for refitting, but instead of being converted into a troop transport as originally planned, the ship underwent a six-day conversion for naval service. The modifications included converting holds into accommodation for 1,500 officers and soldiers, establishing a hospital was on the upper deck, and fitting four 4-inch (102 mm) BL naval guns and magazines, two on the forecastle, two on the poop deck.On 17 August, the ship was commissioned as the auxiliary cruiser HMAS Berrima, under the command of Commander J.B. Stevenson. The ship's civilian officer complement were inducted into the Royal Australian Naval Reserve, and the crew was supplemented by Royal Navy and RAN sailors.

    Berrima left Sydney on 19 August 1914 carrying men of the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force, consisting of a battalion of 1,000 infantry and a small battalion of 500 RAN Reservists and time-expired Royal Navy personnel, for operations against the German New Guinea colonies. Berrima met the naval units of the expeditionary force off Rossel Island on 9 September. Troops were landed at Herbertshöhe and Rabaul on 11 and 12 September respectively, and on the New Guinea mainland near Madang on 24 September. The ship was retroactively awarded the battle honour "Rabaul 1914" in March 2010 to recognise these landings. Berrima subsequently returned to Sydney and, despite plans to employ her as an armed merchant cruiser, was paid off on 20 October 1914. She was converted to a troop transport in November 1914.

    In her new role, His Majesty's Australian Troop Transport (HMATT) Berrima sailed for the Middle East in December 1914 as part of the second troop convoy, carrying Australian and New Zealand troops and towing the submarine AE2. Berrima continued to work under the liner requisition scheme until 18 February 1917, when she was torpedoed in the English Channel off Portland with the loss of four lives. After the rest of the crew were evacuated by the destroyer HMS Forester, then towed into Portland Harbour, beached (due to the lack of drydock facilities), and repaired.The Commonwealth relinquished control on 10 October 1917. After being repaired she was requisitioned by the Shipping Controller for use as the Atlantic stores and munitions ferry service.

    Russia

    The Putilov Strike of 1917 is the name given to the strike led by the workers of the Putilov Mill (presently the Leningrad Kirov Plant) which was located in then Petrograd, Russia (present-day St. Petersburg). The strike officially began on February 18, 1917 (according to the Julian calendar) and quickly snowballed, sparking larger demonstrations in Petrograd. There were several strikes involving the workers of the Putilov Mill over the years with the first one taking place in 1905, yet this particular strike in 1917 is considered the catalyst which sparked the February Revolution.

    World War I had taken its toll on Russia, leading to a decline in the morale of the citizens as well as distrust in the government. Russia, having the largest of all the armies fighting in the war, sent its soldiers to the front ill-prepared. There were armament shortages which forced the soldiers to use the weapons of their fallen comrades which had been killed and some of the soldiers even had to fight bare-foot. The decaying bodies brought about sickness and disease, further infuriating the soldiers. The Tsarist regime had prepared for a war which they believed would only last six months and one they believed they would win virtually untouched. As a result of this ill preparation, the Russian economy suffered greatly and the citizens of Russia began to experience food and necessary goods shortages as well. Petrograd was especially devastated because it was not located near any agriculturally-rich areas and was receiving only one third of its fuel and goods despite its massive population. The prices of food nearly quadrupled and despite this, worker wages remained as they were prior to World War I. The soldiers, workers and peasants were now in severe distress, causing workers to demand higher wages.

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    On February 18, 1917, workers at the Putilov Mill in Petrograd demanded higher wages because of the rising prices of food and goods. When the disgruntled workers began to dispute with the authorities at the mill over the denial of their pay increase, some 20,000 workers were locked out sparking an outrage among other factories in Petrograd. By February 22, in retaliation of the lockout, over 100,000 workers were actively protesting. The next day, on International Women’s Day, women joined the strikes and protests, demanding equal rights as well as others strikers protesting the rationing of bread. By this time, well over 500,000 people were protesting Petrograd for several different reasons. General Khabalov, as ordered by the Tsar, was told to order the troops to fire onto the crowds of protestors, but the soldiers refused. The soldiers instead sided with and joined the protestors as a result of their harsh treatment during and after the war. As more and more citizens joined the strikes, they became more about economics and politics. The protestors began to express their opposition of the Tsarist regime as well as the war. The majority of the businesses in Petrograd had been closed, ceasing mobilization and daily operations within the city. The strikes, though spontaneous and popular among the citizens, came to a halt on March 4. This series of economic and political strikes lasting from February 22 until March 4, 1917, became known as the February Revolution.

    While the city of Petrograd was in disarray, Tsar Nicholas II, was absent from the city and ignorant to the unrest happening there. Upon attempting to return to the city, he realized the severity of what was actually happening, understanding that he was the target of the opposition. He decided to go into hiding, refusing to communicate with anyone. His regime began to disband as its officials began to abandon their positions as well. The Duma advised Tsar Nicholas II to abdicate his throne. He eventually attempted to return to Petrograd, thinking that he would be welcomed, however his train and diverted and it was then that he realized his regime was dismantled. He was again advised to abdicate his throne, which he did. He offered it to Grand Duke Michael, however realizing the magnitude of the disturbances in Petrograd, he refused the throne. The strikes eventually began to ease on March 3 when twelve former members of the Duma formed the Provisional Government led by Prince Georgy Lvov. Several groups such as factory committees formed and many businesses in Petrograd began to have daily meetings. Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies which represented the workers, peasants, and soldiers of Petrograd eventually introduced the eight-hour work day

    Never Knowingly Undergunned !!

  31. #2231

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    19th February 1917

    Well its my last edition for this stint - now that the REME have repaired Squadron Leader Skafloc's typesetting room, and the ladies of the typing pool and print setting room have recovered and are now available, I shall be handing the reins over after today (well for the next week or so anyway). Could be a busy time as the weather is set to improve and we edge closer to the start of 'Bloody April' now less than six weeks away...

    4 AIRMEN HAVE FALLEN ON MONDAY FEBRUARY 19TH

    Lieutenant Athol Gladwyn Adams RFC 67 Squadron attached to 22 Reserve Squadron, Royal Flying Corps. Died in 17th General Hospital, Alexandria,of injuries received in an Aeroplane accident 19 February 1917 aged 22

    2nd Lieutenant Arthur Ball
    57 Squadron RFC Killed while flying 19 February 1917 in Egypt (crashed), with Serjt J V Barnard

    Sergeant John Victor Barnard 57 Squadron RFC Killed while flying 19 February 1917 aged 21, crashed in Egypt, with 2nd Lieut A Ball (see above). The men were flying a Maurice Farman Short Horn number 7369.

    Air Mechanic 3rd Class George Henry Hyde Recruits Depot RFC died on this day in 1917

    There was just the one aerial victory claim and that was unconfirmed

    Leutnant Rudolph von Eschwege FA 30 couldn't quite follow up his success of yesterday (well not officially anyway)

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    On this day a total of 396 British lives were lost

    Today’s highlighted casualties include:

    Lieutenant Colonel William MacCaullum Macfarlane MVO DL DSO (commanding 15th Highland Light Infantry) is killed at age 42.
    Major Francis Ashford Lupton (West Yorkshire Regiment) becomes the last of three brothers to be killed in the Great War when he does not return from a two man recon. Their great great niece Kate Middleton will become the Duchess of Cambridge. He dies at age 32
    Captain Arthur Thomas Elford Wyatt (Lincolnshire Regiment) dies of wounds at home at age 34. He is the son of the Reverend William Wyatt Rector of Broughton. He was a prisoner of war early in 1915 and repatriated in July of that year.
    Lieutenant Theodore Cuyler McKenzie (Canadian Garrison Artillery) dies in England at age 25. His brother will be killed next May.
    Second Lieutenant Gilbert Bernard Owen Tuck (Australian Infantry) is killed at age 35. He is the son of the Reverend Julian George Tuck.
    Second Lieutenant Robert Bramwell Sayer (Royal Fusiliers) is killed in action at age 30. He is a Congregational Minister. S
    Sergeant St George Otway Lloyd (Manitoba Regiment) is killed at age 23. He is the son of the Reverend William Battersby Lloyd Rector of Rathmullen.

    The Q-Ship HMS Lady Olive and the German submarine UC18 sink each other in an action in the English Channel.

    Lady Olive, built by Dundee Shipbuilding Co. Ltd., Dundee in 1913 and operated at the time of her loss by Royal Navy, was a British Q-ship of 701 tons. On February 19th, 1917, Lady Olive was sunk by the German submarine UC-18 (Wilhelm Kiel). There were no casualties. As order was given to abandon ship and his ship was sinking, gunner William Dumaresq sighted UC-18 and decided to take a shot at it and managed to hit UC-18 several times and sink her with all hands. He was awarded the DSM.

    Another version: In this action, A.B. Dumaresq was awarded the DSM for having placed several decisive hits on the submarine. The little history says that it had been ordered to abandon the ship but William Dumaresq sighting UC 18 directly in line to his gun sight, decided upon himself to take a shot at it and managed to place several hits in the hull. UC 18 was sunk with all hands in that action. Lady Olive sank at 0930 and the french destroyer Dunois rescued her crew the following day.

    Western front
    Flanders: British take 114 PoWs in raid east of Ypres.
    Somme: Germans with flamethrowers capture British post and 30 PoWs south of Le Transloy.

    Captain Tunstill's men: Following his recent appeal to the War Office, 2Lt. Tom Pickles (see 8th February), formerly of Tunstill’s Company, but currently ill while on home leave from 9DWR, appeared before a Medical Board assembled at Queen Mary’s Military Hospital, Whalley. The Borad declared him unfit for general service for three months, confirmed his sick leave from 26th December 1916 to 1st April and recommended hospital or spa treatment.


    Capt. Frank Redington MC (see 15th February), who had left the Battalion and returned to England a few days earlier, was formally transferred to Machine Gun Corps, with the same acting rank; he was posted to 25th Battalion, Machine Gun Corps, which unit was attached to 23rd Division. Lt. Paul James Sainsbury (see 3rd February) serving with 3DWR at North Shields, who had recently been had an operation to remove his appendix, appeared before a Medical Board assembled at Newcastle upon Tyne. The Board found that, following his operation, he was “making satisfactory progress but is not yet fit to be out of bed” and that he would require a stay of a further month in hospital.

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    African Fronts
    East Africa: NRFF engages Kraut’s rearguard near Litembo and Captain Wintgens’ 500 men, 3 guns and 13 MGs near Tandala, saving that post (Wintgens heading north on own solo raid *until October 2).


    The Secret War

    Britain: Royal Navy Room 40 deciphers Zimmermann Telegram full text, shows it to US Embassy, Balfour gives Hall free hand on February 20.

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    Admiralty Ripley building In Whitehall, built in 1726, still used for naval board meetings. Room 40 was in the northern section of the first floor, on the same corridor as the boardroom and First Sea Lord's office.

    In the history of cryptanalysis, Room 40, also known as 40 O.B. (Old Building) (latterly NID25) was the section in the British Admiralty most identified with the British cryptanalysis effort during the First World War, in particular the interception and decoding of the Zimmermann Telegram which played a role in bringing the United States into the War.

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    Room 40 was a group formed in October 1914, shortly after the start of the war. Admiral Oliver, the Director of Naval Intelligence, gave intercepts from the German radio station at Nauen, near Berlin, to Director of Naval Education Alfred Ewing, who constructed ciphers as a hobby. Ewing recruited civilians such as William Montgomery, a translator of theological works from German, and Nigel de Grey, a publisher. The basis of Room 40 operations evolved around a German naval codebook, the Signalbuch der Kaiserlichen Marine (SKM), and around maps (containing coded squares), which Britain's Russian allies had passed on to the Admiralty. The Russians had seized this material from the German cruiser SMS Magdeburg when it ran aground off the Estonian coast on 26 August 1914. The Russians recovered two of the four copies that the warship had carried; they retained one and passed the other to the British. In October 1914 the British also obtained the Imperial German Navy's Handelsschiffsverkehrsbuch (HVB), a codebook used by German naval warships, merchantmen, naval zeppelins and U-Boats: the Royal Australian Navy seized a copy from the Australian-German steamer Hobart on 11 October. On 30 November a British trawler recovered a safe from the sunken German destroyer S-119, in which was found the Verkehrsbuch (VB), the code used by the Germans to communicate with naval attachés, embassies and warships overseas.

    In March 1915 a British detachment impounded the luggage of Wilhelm Wassmuss, a German agent in Persia and shipped it, unopened, to London, where the Director of Naval Intelligence, Admiral Sir William Reginald Hall discovered that it contained the German Diplomatic Code Book, Code No. 13040.The function of the Room 40 program was compromised by the Admiralty's insistence upon interpreting Room 40 information in its own way.Room 40 operators were permitted to decrypt but not to interpret the information they acquired. The section retained "Room 40" as its informal name even though it expanded during the war and moved into other offices. It was estimated by Westwood in 2009 that Room 40 decrypted around 15,000 German communications, the section being provided with copies of all intercepted communications traffic, including wireless and telegraph traffic. Alfred Ewing directed Room 40 until May 1917, when direct control passed to Captain (later Admiral) Reginald 'Blinker' Hall, assisted by William Milbourne James.

    In early November 1914 Captain William Hall, son of the first head of Naval Intelligence, was appointed as the new DID to replace Oliver, who had first been transferred to Naval Secretary to the First Lord and then Chief of the Admiralty War Staff. Hall had formerly been captain of the battlecruiser Queen Mary but had been forced to give up sea duties due to ill health. Hall was to prove an extremely successful DID, despite the accidental nature of his appointment.

    Once the new organisation began to develop and show results it became necessary to place it on a more formal basis than squatting in Ewing's office. On 6 November 1914 the organisation moved to Room 40 in the Admiralty Old Building, which was by default to give it its name. Room 40 has since been renumbered, but still exists in the original Admiralty Building off Whitehall, London, on the first floor, with windows looking inwards to a courtyard wholly enclosed by Admiralty buildings. Previous occupants of the room had complained that no one was ever able to find it, but it was on the same corridor as the Admiralty boardroom and the office of the First Sea Lord, Sir John Fisher, who was one of the few people allowed to know of its existence. Adjacent was the First Lord's residence (then Winston Churchill), who was another of those people. Others permitted to know of the existence of a signals interception unit were the Second Sea Lord, the Secretary of the Admiralty, the Chief of Staff (Oliver), the Director of Operations Division (DOD) and the assistant director, the Director of Intelligence Division (DID, Captain William Hall) and three duty captains. Admiral Sir Arthur Wilson, a retired First Sea Lord, had returned to the admiralty to work with the staff and was also included in the secret. The Prime Minister may also have been informed.

    All messages received and decoded were to be kept completely secret, with copies only being passed to the Chief of Staff and Director of Intelligence. It was decided that someone from the intelligence department needed to be appointed to review all the messages and interpret them from the perspective of other information. Rotter was initially suggested for the job, but it was felt preferable to retain him in code breaking and Commander Herbert Hope was chosen, who had previously been working on plotting the movements of enemy ships. Hope was initially placed in a small office in the west wing of the Admiralty in the intelligence section, and waited patiently for the few messages which were approved for him to see. Hope reports that he attempted to make sense of what he was given and make useful observations about them, but without access to the wider information being received his early remarks were generally unhelpful. He reported to Hall that he needed more information, but Hall was unable to help. On 16 November, after a chance meeting with Fisher where he explained his difficulties, Hope was granted full access to the information together with instructions to make twice daily reports to the First Sea Lord. Hope knew nothing of cryptanalysis or German, but working with the code breakers and translators he brought detailed knowledge of naval procedures to the process, enabling better translations and then interpretations of received messages. In the interests of secrecy the intention to give a separate copy of messages to the DID was dispensed with so that only the Chief of Staff received one, and he was to show it to the First Sea Lord and Arthur Wilson. As the number of intercepted messages increased, it became part of Hope's duties to decide which were unimportant and should just be logged, and which should be passed on outside Room 40. The German fleet was in the habit each day of reporting by wireless the position of each ship, and giving regular position reports when at sea. It was possible to build up a precise picture of the normal operation of the High Seas Fleet, indeed to infer from the routes they chose where defensive minefields had been placed and where it was safe for ships to operate. Whenever a change to the normal pattern was seen, it signalled that some operation was about to take place and a warning could be given. Detailed information about submarine movements was available. Most of this information, however, was retained wholly within Room 40 although a few senior members of the Admiralty were kept informed, as a huge priority was placed by the Staff upon keeping secret the British ability to read German transmissions.

    Jellicoe, commanding the Grand Fleet, on three occasions requested from the Admiralty that he should have copies of the codebook which his cruiser had brought back to Britain, so that he could make use of it intercepting German signals. Although he was aware that interception was taking place, little of the information ever got back to him, or it did so very slowly. No messages based upon Room 40 information were sent out except those approved by Oliver personally (except for a few authorised by the First Lord or First Sea Lord). Although it might have been impractical and unwise for code breaking to have taken place on board ship, members of Room 40 were of the view that full use was not being made of the information they had collected, because of the extreme secrecy and being forbidden to exchange information with the other intelligence departments or those planning operations.

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    The first breakthrough for Room 40 came with the capture of the Signalbuch der Kaiserlichen Marine (SKM) from the German light cruiser SMS Magdeburg. Two light cruisers, Magdeburg and SMS Augsburg, and a group of destroyers all commanded by Rear-Admiral Behring were carrying out a reconnaissance of the Gulf of Finland, when the ships became separated in fog. Magdeburg ran aground on the island of Odensholm off the coast of Russian-controlled Estonia. The ship could not be re-floated so the crew was to be taken on board by the destroyer SMS V26. The commander, Korvettenkapitän Habenicht prepared to blow up the ship after it had been evacuated but the fog began to clear and two Russian cruisers Pallada and Bogatyr approached and opened fire. The demolition charges were set off prematurely, causing injuries amongst the crew still on board and before secret papers could be transferred to the destroyer or disposed of. Habenicht and fifty seven of his crew were captured by the Russians.

    Exactly what happened to the papers is not clear. The ship carried more than one copy of the SKM codebook and copy number 151 was passed to the British. The German account is that most of the secret papers were thrown overboard, but the British copy was undamaged and was reportedly found in the charthouse. The current key was also needed in order to use the codebook. A gridded chart of the Baltic, the ship's log and war diaries were all also recovered. Copies numbered 145 and 974 of the SKM were retained by the Russians while HMS Theseus was dispatched from Scapa Flow to Alexandrovosk in order to collect the copy offered to the British. Although she arrived on 7 September, due to mix-ups she did not depart until 30 September and returned to Scapa with Captain Kredoff, Commander Smirnoff and the documents on 10 October. The books were formally handed over to the First Lord, Winston Churchill, on 13 October.

    Never Knowingly Undergunned !!

  32. #2232

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    Very interesting last edition Chris.
    The article on the Code breakers in room 40 especially interesting as the precursor to Bletchley Park in WW2.
    Rob.
    "Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you're scared to death."

  33. #2233

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    Tuesday 20th February 1917

    Today we lost: 362
    Today’s losses include:
    · Multiple sons of Generals
    · Multiple sons of members of the clergy
    · Multiple sons of Justices of the Peace
    · Multiple families that will lose two sons in the Great War

    Today’s highlighted casualties include:

    · Major Gerald Alfred Norcott (North Lancashire Regiment) dies on service at home at age 56. He is the son of General ‘Sir” William Norcott KCB.
    · Captain Leone Sextus Tollemache (Leicestershire Regiment and Brigade Major 3rd Australian Brigade 1st Australian Division) is killed at age 32. He is the son of the Reverend Ralph William Lyonel Tollmache-Tollemacahine JP Vicar of South Witham Lincolnshire who lost another son in November 1914.
    · Captain Cyril Richard Bramley (King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry) is killed in action at age 25. He is the son of the Reverend Cyril Richard Bramley Vicar of Donisthorpe who also lost his younger son in May 1915.
    · Captain David MacDonald Chambers (Durham Light Infantry) is killed in action at age 40. He is the son of the late Major General R Y (Bengal Staff Corps). He had also served with the Royal Engineers at Gallipoli in 1915. Prior to the war he was a mining engineer.
    · Private Frank Hall (Somerset Light Infantry) dies at home at age 22. His brother will die at home on service in December of this year.
    · Private Cecil Molyneux Killik (Army Service Corps) dies on service at age 24. He is the son of Stephen Henry Molyneux Kilik JP.
    · Private Harold Orange (Grenadier Guards) is killed in action at age 20. His brother will be killed in July 1918.
    · Driver Maurice Edward Turner (Royal Field Artillery) dies on service at age 18. His brother will be killed next July.

    Air Operations:


    Review of Operations Dec 16 – April 17:

    The Royal Flying Corps undertook a considerable tactical reorganisation after the battle of the Somme, according to the principles incorporated in documents published between November 1916 and April 1917. During the winter on the Somme 1916–1917, the new organisation proved effective. On the few days of good flying weather, much air fighting took place, as German aircraft began to patrol the front line; of 27 British aircraft shot down in December 1916, 17 aeroplanes were lost on the British side of the front line. German aircraft were most active on the Arras front to the north of the Somme, where Jasta 11 was based.

    By January 1917 the German aerial resurgence had been contained by formation-flying and the dispatch of Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) pilots from Dunkirk flying the Sopwith Pup, which had a comparable performance to the best German aircraft; both sides also began to conduct routine night operations. Distant reconnaissance continued, despite the danger of interception by superior German aircraft, to observe the German fortification-building behind the Somme and Arras fronts, which had been detected in November 1916. On 25 February, reconnaissance crews brought news of numerous fires burning behind the German front line, all the way back to the new fortifications. Next day18 Squadron reported the formidable nature of the new line and the strengthening of German intermediate lines on the Somme front.

    Royal Flying Corps Losses today: 2

    2Lt Fry, J.L. (John Libby), Central Flying School, Upavon, Wiltshire, RFC. Killed whilst flying a DH Scout; when completing a tight turn towards the aerodrome stalled and nose dived into the ground, aged 19.

    A Mech 3 MacDonald, J. Recruits Depot, RFC, aged 24.

    Claims: 1
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    Ernst Udet claims his 4th confirmed victory with JAsta 15, shooting down a Nieuport Scout near Aspach. Udet served as a motorcycle messenger with the Württemberg Reserve Division in 1914. He learned to fly by taking private lessons and entered the German Air Force in September 1915. Flying a Fokker D.III, he scored his first victory on 18 March 1916 in a lone attack against 22 French aircraft. He scored five more victories with Jasta 15.

    Western Front


    Tunstills Men Tuesday 20th February 1917:


    Trenches near Observatory Ridge.

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    An overcast day, with persistent drizzle. Between 5pm and 8pm there was a heavy artillery bombardment from both sides, which was associated with a large-scale trench raid being conducted by 47th Division to the south. There was considerable German shelling of the British lines, in the course of which two men were killed and two others wounded. The two men killed were Pte. Herbert Bayfield and Pte. Robert Cheshire; both had been with the Battalion for less than six weeks and both were buried at Railway Dugouts Burial Ground. Herbert Bayfield, 33 years old, was originally from Stockton-on-Tees but had lived for many years in Bradford, where, in 1902, he had married Alice Bottomley. The couple had one son, Alfred, who was 13 years old. Prior to being called up to the Army, Herbert had worked as a grocers’ assistant. Robert Cheshire was 39 years old; he was also from Bradford, was unmarried, and had worked as a postman. He had attested under the Derby Scheme in November 1915. Both men had been called up in August 1916 and had trained with 3DWR until being posted to France on 10th January 1917. They were part of the draft which had originally been posted to 9DWR, but, within days, had been re-posted to 10DWR, joining the Battalion on 16th January .

    One of the wounded men was Tunstill’s Man, Cpl. James Shackleton MM (see 14th September 1916).; he suffered shrapnel wounds to his back and arm and was treated locally in the first instance.

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    Cpl Shackleton

    Cpl. John Stewart (see 20th November 1916), who had been taken ill suffering dysentery three months earlier, re-joined the Battalion.

    Pte. Sam Shuttleworth (see 17th June 1916) who had been away from the Battalion for the previous eight months, most of which time he had spent at 23rd Infantry Base Depot at Etaples, re-joined the Battalion.

    2Lt. Harold Watthews (see 14th February) , who had arrived in France a week earlier, reported for duty with 10DWR.
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    2Lt Wathews

    Africa, Asiatic & Egyptian Theatres:

    ArabiaFirst major raid on Hejaz Railway: Captain Garland’s 50 Arabs from Wejh blow up engine and bridge at Toweira.

    Sinai: British surprise and take Turk posts at Nakhi and Bir-el-Hassana.

    Naval Operations:


    Western Mediterranean:
    French cruiser-minelayer Cassini sinks on UC-35 mine in Bonifacio Straits.

    Shipping Losses: 5 (1 to mine and 4 to U-Boat action)


    Political:


    Imperial Preference Report issued.

    Inter-Allied Conference ("Commission de Ravitaillement") at Petrograd dissolves (see January 17th).

    Austria:
    Note invites Prince Sixtus to Vienna for peace talks. Emperor Charles hints at separate peace.

    Neutrals:


    USA:
    Wilson asks for powers from Congress, "to enforce the obligations imposed by the laws of nations and by American statutes".

    Anniversary Events:
    1513 Pope Julius II dies. He will lay in rest in a huge tomb sculptured by Michelangelo.
    1725 New Hampshire militiamen partake in the first recorded scalping of Indians by whites in North America.
    1792 The U.S. Postal Service is created.
    1809 The U.S. Supreme Court rules that the power of the federal government is greater than any individual state in the Union.
    1831 Polish revolutionaries defeat the Russians in the Battle of Grochow.
    1864 Confederate troops defeat a Union Army sent to bring Florida into the union at the Battle of Olustee, Fla.
    1900 J.F. Pickering patents his airship.
    1906 Russian troops seize large portions of Mongolia.
    1915 President Woodrow Wilson opens the Panama-Pacific Expo in San Francisco to celebrate the opening of the Panama Canal.

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    Last edited by Skafloc; 02-20-2017 at 05:35.
    See you on the Dark Side......

  34. #2234

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    Nice to be back in the saddle, so to speak.
    See you on the Dark Side......

  35. #2235

    Default Addendum for 19 February 1917

    Sorry to be late, but still worth mentioning. From: http://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/research...tion/1917.aspx

    The news:
    19 February
    The first recorded casualty evacuation flight is carried out by the Royal Flying Corps (RFC), when a wounded trooper of the Imperial Camel Corps is flown from Bir-el-Hassana in the Sinai Desert to the airfield at Kilo 143 in an Royal Flying Corps aircraft. This would have been a three-day journey by the available surface transport, but the flight took 45 minutes.

  36. #2236

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flying Officer Kyte View Post
    Very interesting last edition Chris.
    The article on the Code breakers in room 40 especially interesting as the precursor to Bletchley Park in WW2.
    Rob.
    when its a quiet day you have the time to dig a little deeper and find some of the 'behind the scenes stuff' I agree though really interesting stuff given how well known Bletchley Park/Alan Turing has become of late

    Never Knowingly Undergunned !!

  37. #2237

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    Wednesday 21st February 1917

    Today we lost: 1114
    Today’s losses include:
    · South African Native Chiefs (See shipping losses)
    · A member of the clergy
    · A Military Chaplain
    · Multiple sons of members of the clergy
    · Multiple families that will two sons in the Great War
    · An Everton footballer
    · A member of the New Zealand Herald staff
    · An Elland Wanderers AFC player
    · A Scottish footballer for Dundee and Aberdeen

    Today’s highlighted casualties include:

    · Major William Henry Denne DSO (Bedfordshire Regiment) dies of wounds at age 40. He is the son of the Reverend Richard Henry Denne Rector of Brimsfield and a veteran of the South African War.
    · Captain George Staunton Husband DSO (Indian Medical Service) is killed in Mesopotamia at age 37. He is the son of the Reverend C T Husband.
    · Lieutenant William Edgar Harry Storer (Australian Light Trench Mortar Battery) is killed at age 24. His brother will be killed in October 1918.
    · Lieutenant Douglas Neave Gordon (South Staffordshire Regiment) is killed in action at age 20. His younger brother will be killed in July of this year.
    · Sergeant Harold Waddington Boyne (Auckland Infantry) is killed at age 22. He is a keen Association football player for the Everton Club.
    · Corporal Edwin Bailey Doidge (Auckland Infantry) is killed at age 26. He is on the staff of the New Zealand Herald and Auckland Weekly News.
    · Lance Corporal Thomas Wilfrid Fisher (Border Regiment) dies of wounds at home received in Salonika at age 23. He is the son of the Reverend Arthur Thomas Fisher Vicar of Pocklington.
    · Private Alfred Normanton Ridge (Cameron Highlanders) is killed in action at age 22. He played football for the Elland Wanderers AFC.
    · Gunner Alexander L Halkett (Royal Field Artillery) is killed at age 35. He is a Scottish professional footballer who played for Dundee, Aberdeen and St Johnstone.

    Air Operations:

    Royal Flying Corps Losses today: 3


    Lt Grieve, J. (James), Central Flying School Upavon, Wiltshire, RFC. Killed whilst flying aged 22.

    A Mech 1 Paton, F. (Frank), No 1 School of Military Aeronautics, Reading, RFC. Died in hospital.

    A Mech 3 Rae, J. (John), School of Technical Training, RFC. On 12 March 1917 Captain D Hall asked the Under-Secretary of State for War if his attention had been drawn to the outbreak of cerebral meningitis at the jam factory, Coley, near Reading, at present occupied by the School of Technical Training.

    Claims: There are no confirmed victories for today.

    Western Front

    Germans begin to withdraw in front of Serre.

    Tunstills Men Wednesday 21st February 1917:


    Trenches near Observatory Ridge.

    Much milder weather set in, though with a thick mist persisting for much of the day, and, with the consequent thawing of the previously-frozen ground, the trenches became very wet. In the evening the Battalion was relieved by 11th West Yorks, with the relief complete by 8pm, and went into Brigade Reserve. As previously, the Battalion was divided among different locations. On this occasion, one and a half Companies went to Stafford Street, in Sanctuary Wood (I.24.b.3.5); two platoons to the Redan, just north of Rudkin House; and the remaining two Companies to the north-west edge of Zillebeke Bund (I.21.a.1.5).

    A review of the army pension award to Carl Parrington Branthwaite (see 29th January), who had been permanently discharged from the Army on account of illness contracted in service and was still in hospital under treatment for TB, extended his current pension of 20s. per week for a further six months. The review board also noted that Branthwaite reported that he had “had no pension since November 1916”.

    L.Cpl. Sam Benjamin Farrant (see 1st December 1916), serving with 2nd Battalion East Lancs., having recently applied for a commission, was posted back to England. He would have a period of leave before beginning his officer training course. He would later serve with 10DWR.

    In England, Pte. Harry Shaw died. He had been an original member of the Battalion (though not of Tunstill’s Company), having enlisted in Bradford on 11th September 1914. He had then been 33 years old, married, with one six year-old son and had been working as a mason. He had gone to France with the Battalion in August 1915 but within two weeks of arriving had been admitted to hospital, suffering from gonorrhoea. Once recovered, he did not re-join the Battalion but was instead temporarily posted (in April 1916) to 176th Tunnelling Company, Royal Engineers. He served three months with them before being evacuated back to England in July 1916, suffering from severe bronchitis. On 8th September 1916 his physical condition was reported to be very poor with a harsh, persistent cough, weight loss and signs of TB. He had been officially discharged from the Army as unfit, with the award of the Silver War Badge, on 22nd September 1916. Harry Shaw was buried at St. Leonard’s Church, Burton Leonard, near Ripon.

    Eastern Front:

    Near Jakobeny the Russians repulse a strong German attack.

    Southern Front:

    At Tarvis (Trentino) Italian artillery destroy Austrian railhead.

    Macedonia: General Lyautey approves Sarrail’s spring offensive plan submitted February 8 whose final objective is Sofia. Sarrail finally consults Milne on February 28 and they agree on Lake Doiran sector British attack.

    Naval Operations:


    Off Cartagena (south-east Spain) spare parts for submarines are discovered in a buoy.


    Shipping Losses: 12 (1 to a collision, 2 to mines & 9 to U-Boat action)


    French transport "Athos" sunk by a submarine in the Mediterranean.


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    SS Mendi

    At 04:55 in the early morning mist and fog the S S Darro traveling at full speed and emitting no warning signal crashes into the S S Mendi starboard side approximately 18 kilometers off St Catherine’s Point on the Isle of Wight. The Mendi sinks within 25 minutes taking with her five hundred ninety-six men of the South African Native Labor Corps among the six hundred twenty-seven who drown. Of the 805 African servicemen on board, some 607 died, along with nine of the 21 white officers and 31 of the 69 crew members. The captain of the Darro, H W Stump, is later disciplined for travelling at speed through fog without sounding a warning horn. It was also said that he took no steps to save the drowning, merely floating his ship nearby while lifeboats from the SS Mendi’s escorting destroyer, HMS Brisk, rows among survivors, trying to rescue them.

    · The dead included the Pondoland chiefs · Henry Bokleni, · Dokoda Richard Ndamase · Mxonywa Bangani. There are many legends about the troops’ bravery. Joseph T****e, a teacher from the Tshwane area, encourages the drowning men around him with hymns and prayers, until he drowns. There is also the story of the white sergeant who is helped by two black compatriots; they swim with him to safety. Survivor accounts attest to how the Reverend Isaac Wauchope (also known as Dyobha) exhorts the men: ‘Be quiet and calm, my countrymen, for what is taking place is exactly what you came to do. You are going to die, but that is what you came to do. Brothers, we are drilling the death drill.’ Those left on board remove their boots and stamp the death dance on the slanting deck of the sinking ship, far from home but united, irrespective of their ethnic origins, according to research from the Sunday Times Heritage Research project.

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    Rev. Isaac Wauchope

    Wauchope tells the men: “I, a Xhosa, say you are my brothers. Zulus, Swazis, Pondos, Basothos and all others, let us die like warriors. We are the sons of Africa.” Wauchope is among the dead. He is the quintessential missionary-educated African of the late 19th and early 20th He was born in 1852 in Doornhoek near Uitenhage into a family with strong connections to early Christian missionaries. After finishing school at Lovedale Institute, he worked as a teacher in Uitenhage. In September 1882 he played a key role in establishing Imbumba Yamanyama, one of the earliest political associations for Africans in South Africa. In literary history Wauchope is credited with launching protest literature in South Africa. In literary history Wauchope is credited with launching protest literature in South Africa. In May 1882, writing as I W Citashe, he published his first poem. The poem exhorts Africans, after decades of resistance, to abandon their spears, which were no match for European weapons, and adopt other means, such as protest and persuasion. His poem reads, in part:

    Your rights are taken away!

    Grab a pen,
    Load, load it with ink …
    Shoot with the pen …
    Engage your mind.


    Wauchope moved to Port Elizabeth, where he worked as a clerk and interpreter at the magistrate’s court. In 1888 he responded to a call for ‘native’ ministers and studied theology at Lovedale. On 6 March 1892 he was ordained and installed as pastor of the Congregational Native Church of Fort Beaufort and Blinkwater. In 1906 Wauchope joined the movement to create an institution of higher learning for Africans. Ten years later these efforts culminated in the foundation of the South African Native College, now the University of Fort Hare. In 1907 Wauchope fell afoul of the law. After 18 months of administering the estate of a parishioner, he filed a will in his own handwriting and with the signatures of two witnesses. He was later charged with forgery. Despite the lack of evidence that Wauchope profited from the will, or had any intention to defraud anyone, an all-white jury found him guilty. He was sentenced to three years’ hard labor at Tokai prison. He was released in 1912. Four years later he volunteered for the South African Native Labor Contingent and signed on as clerk/interpreter. In 1917 Imvo Zabantsundu, the first African-language newspaper in South Africa, founded by John Tengo Jabavu, described Wauchope as ‘a man of distinction — prominent in church, political, community and educational affairs’. Few such eulogies were written about the rest of the men who went down with the SS Mendi. On receiving the news of the disaster, MPs in the South African House of Assembly rose to their feet as a gesture of respect. Despite this, however, African servicemen received none of the customary acknowledgements of service, such as ribbons or medals, routinely accorded to Europeans. · Chaplain Koni Luhlongwana (South African Native Labour Corps) is also killed.

    Political:


    New British Blockade orders issued. Vessels sailing to and from neutral countries, which have access to the enemy, must put into a British port for examination, or be liable to capture.


    Palestine:
    British yacht Managam visits Athlit, contacts NILI Jewish spy ring and delivers funds.

    Anniversary Events:

    1595 The Jesuit poet Robert Southwell is hanged for “treason,” being a Catholic.
    1631 Michael Romanov, son of the Patriarch of Moscow, is elected Russian Tsar.
    1744 The British blockade of Toulon is broken by 27 French and Spanish warships attacking 29 British ships.
    1775 As troubles with Great Britain increase, colonists in Massachusetts vote to buy military equipment for 15,000 men.
    1797 Trinidad, West Indies surrenders to the British.
    1828 The first issue of the Cherokee Phoenix is printed, both in English and in the newly invented Cherokee alphabet.
    1849 In the Second Sikh War, Sir Hugh Gough’s well placed guns win a victory over a Sikh force twice the size of his at Gujerat on the Chenab River, assuring British control of the Punjab for years to come.
    1862 The Texas Rangers win a Confederate victory in the Battle of Val Verde, New Mexico.
    1878 The world’s first telephone book is issued by the New Haven Connecticut Telephone Company containing the names of its 50 subscribers.
    1885 The Washington Monument is dedicated in Washington, D.C.
    1905 The Mukden campaign of the Russo-Japanese War, begins.
    1916 The Battle of Verdun begins with an unprecedented German artillery barrage of the French lines.

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    See you on the Dark Side......

  38. #2238

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    Nice touch with the cartoons Neil.
    Rob.
    "Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you're scared to death."

  39. #2239

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flying Officer Kyte View Post
    Nice touch with the cartoons Neil.
    Rob.
    Very nice; but who is the "bull" supposed to be?

    Karl
    It is impossible for a man to begin to learn what he thinks he knows. -- Epictetus

  40. #2240

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    It is actually a German Bull.
    See you on the Dark Side......

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    Thomas Steele VC (6 February 1891 – 11 July 1978). He was 26 years old, and a sergeant in the 1st Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders (Ross-shire Buffs, Duke of Albany's), when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.

    On 22 February 1917 near Sanna-i-Yat, Mesopotamia, at a critical moment when a strong enemy counter-attack had temporarily regained some of the captured trenches, Sergeant Steele helped a comrade to carry a machine-gun into position. He kept this gun in action until relieved and was mainly instrumental in keeping the rest of the line intact. Some hours later another counter-attack enabled the enemy to reoccupy a portion of the captured trenches and Sergeant Steele rallied the troops, encouraging them to remain in their trenches and leading a number of them forward, helped to re-establish our line. On this occasion he was severely wounded.

    Steele played three matches as a professional for Broughton Rangers, one of rugby league’s founding clubs, and enjoyed a distinguished career as an amateur with his local club, Healey Street

    Today we lost: 572

    Today’s losses include:
    · An Olympic gymnast
    · The son of a member of the clergy
    · A cricketer
    · A man whose father will die on service next year
    · Families that will two and three sons in the Great War

    Today’s highlighted casualties include:
    · Major Robert Wilfred Fairey Jesson (Wiltshire Regiment) is killed in action near Kut at age 30. He played cricket for Hampshire and Oxford University in 1907 & 1908.
    · Captain Clement Richard Folliott Sandford MC (King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry) is killed. He is the son of the Archdeacon of Doncaster.
    · Second Lieutenant Fred Peirson Newbury (Punjabis) is killed in Mesopotamia at age 25. His father will die on service in May 1918.
    · Trooper Edward Romaine Thompson (Household Battalion) is killed at age 29. His brother will be killed in August 1917.
    · Private Percy Rhodes (Royal Fusiliers) dies of wounds received five days before. He is the last of three brothers who will lose their lives in the Great War.
    · Private Charles Alfred Vigurs (Warwickshire Regiment) is killed at age 28. He was a gymnast who competed in the 1908 and 1912 Olympics. He was a member of the bronze medal winning team in the European system event in 1912.

    Air Operations:

    Royal Flying Corps Losses today: 3


    A Mech 2 ****son, W.H.P. (William Henry Percy), School for Wireless Operators, RFC. Died of acute septicaemia.

    A Mech 2 Pindar, L.J.A., Aircraft Park, RFC, aged 30.

    2Lt Wakeford, R.S. (Robert Scott), RFC.

    Claims: There are no confirmed claims today.

    Home Fronts:


    France:
    150 Renault FT-17 light tanks ordered.

    Western Front


    East of Vermelles and south of Neuve Chapelle hostile raids repulsed with heavy loss.

    North of Gueudecourt British take enemy trench and 30 prisoners. British push forward cautiously.

    Tunstills Men Thursday 22nd February 1917:


    Brigade Reserve at Zillebeke Bund and around Observatory Ridge (one and a half Companies at Stafford Street, in Sanctuary Wood (I.24.b.3.5); two platoons at the Redan, just north of Rudkin House; and the remaining two Companies at the north-west edge of Zillebeke Bund (I.21.a.1.5).

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    On a foggy day, working parties were supplied for the Royal Engineers. Lt. Col. Robert Raymer (see 2nd February), returned following his leave and resumed command of 10DWR; Major Ashton St. Hill (see 17th February), who had been in temporary command, became C.O., 11th Northumberland Fusiliers in 68th Brigade.

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    Lt Col Raymer

    Lt. Robert Stewart Skinner Ingram (see 1st February), who had been one of the original officers of Tunstill’s Company, but was now a Flying Officer (Observer) with the RFC, was posted to France to join no.9 Squadron.
    L.Cpl. Lawrence Tindill MM, serving with 1st/5th Yorkshires (see 22nd January), having recently completed an application for a commission, was posted back to England. He would have a period of leave before beginning his officer training course.

    Southern Front:

    Isonzo: Captain Mussolini on Carso (Sector 144) in grenade or mortar shell accident, 4 killed out of 20 soldiers, has 44 pieces removed from his body. Visited by King at Ronchi hospital, moved to Milan, on crutches in August.

    Africa, Asiatic & Egyptian Theatres:

    Mesopotamia: 7th Indian Divison (1,332 casualties) storms and holds first two Sanna-i-yat lines against 7 Turk counter-attacks as diversion to pin reserves; 88 Punjabis (in 11 pontoons) raid across Tigris, 4 miles east of Kut.

    Naval Operations:

    Channel:
    U-21 (Hersing) homeward bound from Mediterranean sinks 6 of 8 Dutch steamers (including Holt liner Perseus) in convoy off Falmouth, unaware these ‘easy kills’ have been granted ‘safe passage’ by Berlin.

    Shipping Losses: 22 (2 to mines & 20 to U-Boat action)


    Political:


    German agents instigating many disturbances.

    Turkey declares her agreement with Germany on policy of unrestricted submarine warfare.

    Formation of "Labour Corps".

    Neutrals:


    In U.S.A., war tension appears critical.

    Anniversary Events:

    1349 Jews are expelled from Zurich, Switzerland.
    1613 Mikhail Romanov is elected czar of Russia.
    1797 The last invasion of Britain takes place when some 1,400 Frenchmen land at Fishguard in Wales.
    1819 Spain signs a treaty with the United States ceding eastern Florida.
    1825 Russia and Britain establish the Alaska/Canada boundary.
    1862 Jefferson Davis is inaugurated president of the Confederacy in Richmond, Va. for the second time.
    1864 Nathan Bedford Forrest's brother, Jeffrey, is killed at Okolona, Mississippi.
    1865 Federal troops capture Wilmington, NC.
    1879 Frank Winfield Woolworth's 'nothing over five cents' shop opens at Utica, New York. It is the first chain store.
    1902 A fistfight breaks out in the Senate. Senator Benjamin Tillman suffers a bloody nose for accusing Senator John McLaurin of bias on the Philippine tariff issue.
    1909 The Great White Fleet returns to Norfolk, Virginia, from an around-the-world show of naval power.
    1911 Canadian Parliament votes to preserve the union with the British Empire.

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    Last edited by Skafloc; 02-22-2017 at 06:34.
    See you on the Dark Side......

  42. #2242

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    George Campbell Wheeler VC (7 April 1880 – 26 August 1938). He attended Bedford School from 1893 to 1897. He was 36 years old, and a Major in the 2nd Battalion, 9th Gurkha Rifles when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.

    On 23 February 1917 at Shumran on the River Tigris, Mesopotamia, Major Wheeler, together with one Gurkha officer and eight men crossed the river and rushed the enemy's trench in the face of very heavy fire. Having obtained a footing on the far bank, he was almost immediately counter-attacked by the enemy with a party of bombers. Major Wheeler at once led a charge, receiving in the process a severe bayonet wound in the head. In spite of this, however, he managed to disperse the enemy and consolidate his position.
    Air Operations:

    Royal Flying Corps Losses today: No confirmed losses for today.


    Claims: No confirmed claims for today.

    Home Fronts:


    Ireland:
    28 Sinn Fein agitators arrested and exiled for alleged plotting with Germans.

    Britain:
    Prime Minister’s speech warns of more import restrictions (14th list issued), announces minimum wheat and oat prices till 1922 and 25s per week minimum wage in farming.

    Russia:
    Duma President Rodzianko in last report urges Tsar to appoint new ministry, also sees Chief of Staff General Gourko on February 24-25; Duma re-opens on February 27.

    Western Front


    British follow-up retreating Germans.

    Tunstills Men Friday 23rd February 1917:

    Brigade Reserve at Zillebeke Bund and around Observatory Ridge (one and a half Companies at Stafford Street, in Sanctuary Wood (I.24.b.3.5); two platoons at the Redan, just north of Rudkin House; and the remaining two Companies to the north-west edge of Zillebeke Bund (I.21.a.1.5).

    Working parties were again provided for the Royal Engineers. Another misty day.

    RSM John William Headings (see 23rd January) was granted a temporary commission as Lieutenant on taking up the post of Quartermaster to the Battalion, replacing Lt. Daniel William Paris Foster (see 23rd January), who had been on sick leave in England since mid-November and had recently been declared unfit for further service.

    A letter from the War Office reached 2Lt. Howard Thurston Hodgkinson (see 17th February), who had been evacuated to England sick in October, instructing him to resign his commission on grounds of his continued ill health. Hodgkinson, from his home address at Broom Hall, Bidford on Avon, Warwickshire, immediately wrote in reply:

    Sir
    Re your letter received this morning. I should be much obliged for information on the following:
    I. I should prefer, if possible, to remain in the Army for the duration of the war. Would it be possible to obtain a light duty occupation for that period?
    II. Prior to the war I was a farmer by trade; is there anything I could assist with in regard to this?
    III. I wish to claim for allowances during my sick leave and as I presume there is no depot for me now, can you supply me with the necessary forms?
    IV. Do I receive a pension? If so, what amount, as this complaint was caused by the trenches?
    V. Can you give me any idea of the time which will be required to send me definite answers to these questions?


    Capt. William Norman Town (see 5th February), serving with the 3rd Battalion, Cheshire Regiment in Chester, was transferred to the 3DWR at North Shields.

    Eastern Front:

    North-west of Ocna (Moldavia) the Russians lose the heights of Magyaros, and 1,000 prisoners.

    Africa, Asiatic & Egyptian Theatres:

    MesopotamiaMain Tigris crossing: 14th Indian Division (350 casualties) makes dawn crossing into Shumran Peninsula 7 miles west of Kut, builds a pontoon bridge and takes 544 Turk PoWs. Kiazim Karbekir evacuates Sannaiyat (night February 23-24).

    Naval Operations:


    North Sea:
    U-Boat sinks a Norwegian and 4 British steamers.

    SM UC-32 (Kaiserliche Marine) sunk whilst laying mines off Roker Pier Lighthouse, County Durham, with the loss of 19 of her 22 man crew.

    Black Sea:
    30 landing ships ordered for Russian Fleet, 3 completed by April 1918.

    Shipping Losses: 7 (1 to mine, 1 to surface action & 5 to U-Boat action)


    Anniversary Events:

    303 Emperor Diocletian orders the general persecution of Christians in Rome.
    1540 Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado begins his unsuccessful search for the fabled Seven Cities of Gold in the American Southwest.
    1574 The 5th War of Religion breaks out in France.
    1615 The Estates-General in Paris is dissolved, having been in session since October 1614.
    1778 Baron von Steuben joins the Continental Army at Valley Forge.
    1821 Poet John Keats dies of tuberculosis at the age of 25.
    1836 The Alamo is besieged by Santa Anna.
    1846 The Liberty Bell tolls for the last time, to mark George Washington’s birthday.
    1847 Forces led by Zachary Taylor defeat the Mexicans at the Battle of Buena Vista.
    1854 Great Britain officially recognizes the independence of the Orange Free State.
    1861 Texas becomes the seventh state to secede from the Union.
    1885 John Lee survives three attempts to hang him in Exeter Prison in Devon, England as the trap fails to open.
    1898 Writer Emile Zola is imprisoned in France for his letter J’accuse in which he accuses the French government of anti-semitism and the wrongful imprisonment of army captain Alfred Dreyfus.
    1901 Britain and Germany agree on a boundary between German East Africa and Nyasaland.
    1904 Japan guarantees Korean sovereignty in exchange for military assistance.
    1916 Secretary of State Lansing hints that the United States may have to abandon the policy of avoiding “entangling foreign alliances”.

    Editors Note: My apologies for the delay in publishing yesterdays news it would seem that I was required to give a statement to the local Gendarmes about a road accident fatality I was a witness to.
    Last edited by Skafloc; 02-24-2017 at 03:02.
    See you on the Dark Side......

  43. #2243

    Northern Command Squadron Leader.
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    Saturday 24th February 1917

    Today we lost: 671
    Today’s losses include:
    · The son of a member of the clergy
    · Multiple families that will lose two sons in the Great War

    Today’s highlighted casualties include:

    · Second Lieutenant Gerard Peters (Gloucestershire Regiment) dies of heart failure due to exhaustion at age 25. His is the son of the Reverend Edward Peters Vicar of Bishop Milton.
    · Private Frederick Pearce (West Surrey Regiment) is killed in action at age 27. His brother was killed in July of last year.
    · Private Frederick John Rudge (Hampshire Regiment) is killed in action in Mesopotamia at age 19. His brother will be killed later this year in the explosion of HMS Vanguard.
    · Driver Walter Knowles (Royal Field Artillery) is killed at age 39. His brother was killed last October.

    Air Operations:

    Royal Flying Corps Losses today: 1


    2Lt Bayley, E.V. (Edward Vincent), Vendome Naval Air Station, RFC. Killed while flying in Caudron GIII N3088 aged 31.

    Claims: There are no confirmed claims for today.

    Western Front


    Somme:
    Germans retreat from Serre salient, evacuating Serre, Miraumont, Petit Miraumont, Pys and Warlencourt.

    Second Lieutenant William Neilson (Cameronians) is superintending men of his company at grenade throwing at a Brigade Grenade School in France. A man throws a grenade from a trench while Captain Neilson is standing out of the trench behind him. The man slips in the mud and the grenade falls in the trench in which several men are standing. Captain Neilson jumps down, picks up the grenade out of the mud and throws it over the parapet. The grenade explodes just after leaving his hand and wounds him slightly in several places. By his promptness and courage he undoubtedly saves his men from injury. Captain Neilson will die of wounds in November.

    Tunstills Men Saturday 24th February 1917:

    Brigade Reserve at Zillebeke Bund and around Observatory Ridge (one and a half Companies at Stafford Street, in Sanctuary Wood (I.24.b.3.5); two platoons at the Redan, just north of Rudkin House; and the remaining two Companies to the north-west edge of Zillebeke Bund (I.21.a.1.5).

    The recent mild weather continued, with a thick mist persisting for much of the day; more working parties were supplied for the Royal Engineers.

    CQMS Cyril Edward Agar, (see 19th May 1916), 9th Yorkshires, having recently completed his application for a commission, was posted to the Regimental Depot in England. He would have a period of leave before beginning his officer training course. He would later be commissioned and serve with 10DWR.

    Pte. Fred Richmond (see 1st September 1916), who had been seriously wounded while serving with Tunstill’s Company in November 1915, was transferred from 12th Training Reserve Battalion to 25th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry, which was a works battalion based in Skipton.

    A payment of £19 1s 2d was authorised, being the amount outstanding in pay and allowances to the late Pte. Percy Hodgson (see 8th December 1916); the payment would go to his father, Thomas.

    Africa, Asiatic & Egyptian Theatres:


    Mesopotamia: Turks abandon Kut, retreat west on Baghdad losing 1,730 POW and 4 guns but British Cavalry Division fails to pursue vigorously although 2 armoured cars do damage on February 25. Royal Navy gunboat Mantis rehoists Union flag at Kut.

    The Second Battle of Kut was fought on 23 February 1917, between British and Ottoman forces at Kut, Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq).

    The battle was part of the British advance to Baghdad begun in December 1916 by a 50,000-man British force (mainly from British India) organised in two army corps.

    The British, led by Frederick Stanley Maude, recaptured the city, but the Ottoman garrison there did not get trapped inside (as had happened to Townshedn’s troops in the previous year when the Ottomans had besieged Kut in the Seige of Kut): the Ottoman commander, Kazum Karabekir Bey managed a good-order retreat from the town of his remaining soldiers (about 2,500), pursued by a British fluvial flotilla along the Tigris River.

    The British advance wore off on 27 February at Aziziyeh, some 100 kilometers (62 mi) beyond Kut. After three days' worth of supplies had been accumulated, Maude continued his march toward Baghdad.

    In Detail:

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    The fall of Kut in late April 1916, when British commander Sir Charles Townshend surrendered his garrison of approximately 10,000 men to the besieging Turk force under Khalil Pasha, brought about a reorganisation of both Turk and British forces in the area.

    Khalil took the opportunity to pull back his extended line by some 15km, a decision taken with a potential attack through Persia in mind (which in the event never came to pass on account of renewed British success along the River Tigris).

    Meanwhile the shock of the loss of the Kut-al-Amara garrison - considered by many the greatest humiliation ever to befall the British Army - had prompted the British government in London to revise its view of the Mesopotamian Front.

    Until the fall of Kut the War Office in London had acquiesced in the Indian administration's management of military affairs in Mesopotamia, even though the latter's policy of an aggressive "forward defence" had caused unease among ministers in London (notably Sir William Robertson). Now, with Khalil's unequivocal victory - and the consequent serious damage to British prestige in the Middle East - London determined to take over handling of the campaign in the region.

    This resulted in the recall of the unpopular George Gorringe in the wake of his failure to relieve Townshend (although by the time of his appointment it was already arguably too late to relieve the Kut garrison). In his place was appointed the relatively junior Sir Frederick Maude, who eventually came to be recognised as the war's most successful commander operating on the Mesopotamian Front (of all sides).

    Maude was appointed commander of the so-called Tigris Corps in July 1916 and, the following month, of the entire front. He immediately set about reorganising and re-supplying British and Indian forces in the region.
    British strength in the region was reinforced by an influx of Anglo-Indian troops, although sickness continued to claim an inordinate number of casualties until Maude finally revamped the British system of medical supplies, virtually non-existent to that point.

    By October 1916 Maude had 150,000 troops under his command, of which around half were serving on the front lines. He was determined to launch a renewed offensive against Kut before the arrival of the winter floods common to the region.

    Maude's plans were not however unknown to the local Turkish commander, Karabekir Bey. Overwhelmingly outnumbered by some three-to-one he nevertheless set about reinforcing Turkish trench positions; his calls for reinforcement were however unheeded by Khalil.

    Along with improvements to the British system of medical supplies great progress was made in improving transport mechanisms, a constant failing to that point. Satisfied that British preparations were approaching completion Maude requested - and after a pause was granted - permission from London for an advance on Baghdad.
    Thus the British attack was eventually launched on the night of 13/14 December 1916 on both banks of the River Tigris. Approximately 50,000 men, organised in two corps, were involved in the advance.

    Progress was slow however, if sure, on account of heavy rain and an overriding concern to minimise casualties (one of London's most insistent demands to Maude). It took a full two months to clear the west bank of resistance below Kut, and included the capture of the fortified Khadairi Bend on 29 January 1917.

    Crossing the Shumran bend on 17 February 1917 to the right of Turk forces, Maude launched an attack on both flanks. Karabekir Bey, overwhelmed, authorised a skilfully-managed retreat from Kut a week later on 24 February, heavily pursued by a flotilla of naval gunboats (bringing about an action at Nahr-al-Kalek), although British cavalry was unable to provide assistance while placed under fire from well-sighted machine guns.

    Additional difficulties were faced by the retreating Turks in fighting off repeated attacks by local Marsh Arabs, who attacked both sides at every opportunity.

    The success of the British advance (which petered out on 27 February, some 100km beyond Kut at Aziziyeh) persuaded Khalil to postpone and then abandon his plans for a Turkish sweep through Persia; he also recalled a corps fighting against Russian forces in western Persia to boost his own strength.

    Buoyed by his success in re-taking Kut, Maude barely paused before pushing on with the advance to Baghdad, which fell to the British the following month.

    Persia: Turk 6th Division falls back from Hamadan to Kermanshah, 2nd Division follows on February 26.

    Naval Operations:


    Shipping Losses: 9 (1 to mine & 8 to U-Boat action)


    Political:


    Mr. Gerard is received at Madrid by the King of Spain.

    Neutrals:


    USA:
    US London Ambassador Page, having received Zimmermann Telegram from Balfour cables Wilson with news, received with ‘much indignation’ but awaits Secretary of State’s return.

    Anniversary Events:
    786 Pepin the Short of Gaul dies. His dominions are divided between his sons Charles (Charlemagne) and Carloman.
    1525 In the first of the Franco-Habsburg Wars, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V captures the French king Francis I at the Battle of Pavia, Italy.
    1538 Ferdinand of Hapsburg and John Zapolyai, the two kings of Hungary, conclude the peace of Grosswardein.
    1803 Chief Justice John Marshall, by refusing to rule on the case of Marbury vs. Madison, asserts the authority of the judicial branch.
    1813 Off Guiana, the American sloop Hornet sinks the British sloop Peacock.
    1821 Mexico gains independence from Spain.
    1836 Some 3,000 Mexicans launch an assault on the Alamo with its 182 Texan defenders.
    1895 The Cuban War of Independence begins.
    1908 Japan officially agrees to restrict emigration to the U.S.
    1912 Italy bombs Beirut in the first act of war against the Ottoman Empire.
    1912 The Jewish organization Hadassah is founded in New York City.
    1914 Civil War soldier Joshua Chamberlain dies.
    1916 A film version of Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea opens in New York.
    Last edited by Skafloc; 02-24-2017 at 06:13.
    See you on the Dark Side......

  44. #2244

    Northern Command Squadron Leader.
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    John Readitt VC (19 January 1897 – 9 June 1964). He was 20 years old, and a private in the 6th Battalion, The South Lancashire Regiment (The Prince of Wales’s Volunteers).

    On 25 February 1917 at Alqayat-al-Gaharbigah Bend, Mesopotamia, Private Readitt advanced five times along a water-course in the face of heavy machine-gun fire at very close range, being the sole survivor on each occasion. These advances drove the enemy back and about 300 yards of the water-course was made good in an hour. After his officer had been killed, Private Readitt, on his own initiative, made several more advances. On reaching the enemy barricade he was forced to retire, but gave ground slowly continuing to throw bombs. When support reached him he held a forward bend by bombing until the position was consolidated.

    Today we lost: 632

    Today’s losses include:
    · A Rhodes Scholar
    · A family that will lose two son in the Great War
    · A man that will two brothers killed in the Great War and a third brother killed in a German air raid in 1940

    Today’s highlighted casualties include:

    · Lance Corporal Arthur Stanley Hoodless (Australian Infantry) is killed at age 23. His brother will die of wounds in May of this year.
    · Rifleman Frederick J Desaleux (London Regiment) is killed in action. Two of his brothers will be killed later this year and a third will be killed in a German Air Raid in September 1940 along with his wife and two children.
    · Private James Kidd (Royal Defence Corps) dies at home at age 24. His brother will die of wounds in July 1918.

    Air Operations:

    Naval air-raid on Brebach (near Metz).

    Royal Flying Corps Losses today: 4


    2Lt Baines, J.G.B. (Jack Gordon Barrymore), 23 Squadron, RFC. Crashed whilst flying aged 19.

    A Mech 3 Hislop, J. (John), Recruits Depot, RFC, aged 22.

    A Mech 1 Portsmouth, R.S. (Richard Stretton), HMS President, RNAS. Killed in action aged 19.

    Flt Sub-Lt Smith, L.E. (Lewis Ewing), 3 Naval Wing, RNAS.

    Claims: 7 (Entente 3: Central Powers 4)

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    Flt Sub-Lt John Edward Sharman, claims his 1st confirmed victory today with 3 Wing, RNAS in a Sopwith 11/2 Strutter shooting down a Fokker E Type near Burbach. The son of Thomas H. Sharman, John Edward Sharman studied Applied Science at the University of Toronto from 1913 to 1915. He joined the Royal Naval Air Service on 3 February 1916 and received Royal Aero Club Aviator's Certificate 3216 on a Bristol biplane at Royal Naval Air Station, Redcar on 15 July 1916. Posted to 3 Wing later that year, he scored his first victory on 25 February 1917 while flying the Sopwith 11/2 Strutter. When 3 Wing was disbanded, Sharman was reassigned to 10 Naval Squadron on 1 May 1917, becoming a member of Raymond Collishaw's "Black Flight." Flying the Sopwith Triplane known as "Black Death," he scored seven more victories before he was killed in action.

    Lt Charles Alexandre Bronislas Borzecki claims his 5th confirmed victory flying with N62 shooting down an enemy aircraft south of Pinon. Called to active duty on 2 August 1914, Borzecki transferred to the air service and was assigned to Escadrille C43 on 3 November 1914. With this unit, he scored one victory in 1916 before being reassigned to Escadrille N62.

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    Capt Armand Pinsard claims his 4th confirmed victory with N78, shooting down an enemy aircraft near Orefeuil.

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    Lt Johannes Janzen claims his 1st confirmed victory with Jasta 23, shooting down a Farman near Loupmont. Janzen transferred to the German Air Force on 4 May 1916. After training with FEA 3 and Kasta 12, he was assigned to Jasta 23 on 28 November 1916. He scored his first victory with this unit before being reassigned to Jasta 6 on 16 October 1917. After scoring 3 more victories, he assumed command of Jasta 4 on 28 March 1918. A week later, he returned to Jasta 6 as the new CO, replacing Wilhelm Reinhard who was given command of JG I. Scoring his 5th victory on 4 May 1918, Janzen's Fokker Dr 1 was shot down five days later by a member of 209 Squadron. He survived the crash and scored 8 more victories before he was shot down again on 9 June 1918. On this occasion, the interrupter gear on his triplane malfunctioned during a dogfight with a SPAD and he shot off his own propellor. Janzen was captured and remained a prisoner until the end of the war.

    Lt Erich König claims his 6th confirmed victory with Jasta 2, shooting down an DH2 near St Catherine, Arras.

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    Lt Werner Voss claims his 7th & 8th confirmed victories with Jasta 2, shooting down 2 DH2’s near Arras.

    Western Front


    German retreat continues on the Ancre.

    British advance extends over a front of 11 miles from south of Gomemcourt to east of Gueudecourt, and reaches an extreme depth of three miles.

    Successful raids at Monchy-au-Bois, Lens and in Champagne.

    France:
    Prime Minister Briand proposes that ‘In order to ensure unity of command on the Western Front, the French General-In-Chief will from the 1 March 1917 have authority over the British Forces … in all that concerns … operations … dispositions … allotment of material and resources … to the Armies’. Haig and Robertson object (plan modified February 27).

    Somme: BEF
    2nd Division and Anzac Corps fight for the Thilloys (until March 2) southwest of Bapaume.

    Flanders:
    General Sixt von Arnim takes over Fourth Army from Duke of Albrecht of Wurttemberg who now commands his own Flanders Army Group; both in command for duration of war.

    Tunstills Men Sunday 25th February 1917:


    Brigade Reserve at Zillebeke Bund and around Observatory Ridge (one and a half Companies at Stafford Street, in Sanctuary Wood (I.24.b.3.5); two platoons at the Redan, just north of Rudkin House; and the remaining two Companies to the north-west edge of Zillebeke Bund (I.21.a.1.5).

    Yet another fine, but misty, day. In the evening the Battalion was relieved by 12th Royal Sussex (39th Division) with the relief completed around 12.45 am on 26th and the Battalion proceeding to Ypres, ready to board the train for Vlamertinghe, en route to Winnipeg Camp. However, there was heavy German shelling of Ypres, and in particular of the area around the station which somewhat delayed progress.

    Eastern Front:


    Baltic Provinces: 100 Royal Navy Division POW arrive at Reiskatte Reprisal Camp (c.3 miles from Front) to dig trenches, often under Russian fire (until June 10); another 500 POW join them.

    Africa, Asiatic & Egyptian Theatres:

    Turkish retreat continues, closely pursued by British cavalry. Turks destroy much war material.

    Naval Operations:


    Channel:
    11 German destroyers (Tillessen) raid, (night February 25/26), Dover Barrage including 10-minutes shelling of Margate and Broadstairs (4 civilian casualties).

    Eastern AtlanticThe ‘Overt Act’: Cunard liner Laconia sunk by U-Boat off Fastnet (12 dead including 4 Americans). US President Wilson chooses to regard this latest outrage as conclusive proof of Imperial Germany’s perfidy and bad faith.

    Shipping Losses: 7 (All to U-Boat action)


    Political:


    New British War Loan subscriptions amount to (new money) £1,000,312,950.

    Anniversary Events:

    1570 Pope Pius V issues the bull Regnans in Excelsis which excommunicates Queen Elizabeth of England.
    1601 Robert Devereux, the second Earl of Essex and former favorite of Elizabeth I, is beheaded in the Tower of London for high treason.
    1642 Dutch settlers slaughter lower Hudson Valley Indians in New Netherland, North America, who sought refuge from Mohawk attackers.
    1779 The British surrender the Illinois country to George Rogers Clark at Vincennes.
    1781 American General Nathaniel Greene crosses the Dan River on his way to attack Cornwallis.
    1791 President George Washington signs a bill creating the Bank of the United States.
    1804 Thomas Jefferson is nominated for president at the Democratic-Republican caucus.
    1815 Napoleon leaves his exile on the island of Elba, returning to France.
    1831 The Polish army halts the Russian advance into their country at the Battle of Grochow.
    1836 Samuel Colt patents the first revolving cylinder multi-shot firearm.
    1862 Confederate troops abandon Nashville, Tennessee, in the face of Grant’s advance. The ironclad Monitor is commissioned at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
    1865 General Joseph E. Johnston replaces John Bell Hood as Commander of the Confederate Army of Tennessee.
    1904 J.M. Synge’s play Riders to the Sea opens in Dublin.
    1910 The 13th Dalai Lama flees from the Chinese and takes refuge in India.
    Last edited by Skafloc; 02-25-2017 at 16:49.
    See you on the Dark Side......

  45. #2245

    Northern Command Squadron Leader.
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    Monday 26th February 1917

    Today we lost: 567
    Today’s losses include:
    · Multiple families that will lose two sons in the Great War

    Today’s highlighted casualties include:

    · Lieutenant Gerald Vaughan-Jones (Royal Engineers attached Royal Flying Corps) is killed in action at age 25 during a reconnaissance of the Hindenburg Line. His older brother will be killed in action in May 1918.
    · Private Neville Smart (Honorable Artillery Company) is killed at age 34. His brother will die on service in India in October 1918.
    · Private James Bath (Cheshire Regiment) is killed at age 38. His brother was killed in September 1915.

    Air Operations:


    Macedonia
    :
    20 aircraft of KG 1 (transferred from Bucharest) surprise bomb French Gorgop airfield; 8 French aircraft destroyed, 4 damaged.

    A 2nd large enemy bombing raid by KG 1 takes place on the Royal Flying Corps airfield at Janesh. Several mechanics are killed and many others are wounded.

    Royal Flying Corps Losses today: 8


    A Mech 2 Chalmers, A.G. (Albert George), 47 Squadron, RFC. Killed during an enemy air raid on Janes airfield, Macedonia.

    A Mech 2 Chambers, W.H. (Walter Hastings), 47 Squadron, RFC. Killed during an enemy air raid on Janes airfield, Macedonia.

    A Mech 2 Parkinson, W.H. (William H.), 47 Squadron, RFC, Killed during an enemy air raid on Janes airfield, Macedonia, aged 22.

    A Mech 2 Ward, R. (Robert), 47 Squadron, RFC. Died of wounds aged 27.

    Cpl De pomeroy, E.C. (Edward Cecil), 47 Squadron, RFC, died of wounds in enemy air raid at Salonika on 25th, aged 36.

    Lt Vaughan-Jones, G. (Gerald), 18 Squadron, RFC. Killed in aerial combat aged 25.

    A Mech 3 Latham, H.W., Supply Park, RFC.

    A Mech 2 Damant, H.K. (Henry Kirkpatrick), 66 Squadron, RFC, died of pneumonia aged 28.

    Claims: 2 (Entente 1: Central Powers 1)

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    2Lt
    Charles Edward Murray Pickthorn, 32 Squadron, RFC, claims his 2nd confirmed victory flying a DH2, shooting down a D type near Bucquouy. Charles Edward Murray Pickthorn first served with the Army Service Corps in 1915 before being seconded to the Royal Flying Corps. On 29 June 1916, as an observer with 8 Squadron, he landed his aircraft with a badly wounded pilot after being attacked by a Fokker. Following pilot training, Pickthorn was posted to 32 Squadron to fly DH2’s. On 6 March 1917, he was wounded whilst scoring his third victory. On 21 March 1917, Pickthorn forced down an Albatros Scout behind British lines. The German plane, bearing scull and crossbones insignia, was piloted by the Crown Prince Frederich of Prussia. An aircraft dealer in 1928, he received Royal Aero Club Aviator's Certificate 8276.

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    Lt Werner Voss, Jasta 2, claims his 9th confirmed victory shooting down a BE2c near Ecurie.

    Western Front

    North and south of the Ancre British make further progress, capturing the village of Le Barque (south-west of Bapaume).

    Tunstills Men Monday 26th February 1917:


    Brigade Reserve at Zillebeke Bund and around Observatory Ridge (one and a half Companies at Stafford Street, in Sanctuary Wood (I.24.b.3.5); two platoons at the Redan, just north of Rudkin House; and the remaining two Companies to the north-west edge of Zillebeke Bund (I.21.a.1.5).

    The recent mild weather continued, with a thick mist persisting for much of the day; more working parties were supplied for the Royal Engineers.

    CQMS Cyril Edward Agar, (see 19th May 1916), 9th Yorkshires, having recently completed his application for a commission, was posted to the Regimental Depot in England. He would have a period of leave before beginning his officer training course. He would later be commissioned and serve with 10DWR.

    Pte. Fred Richmond (see 1st September 1916), who had been seriously wounded while serving with Tunstill’s Company in November 1915, was transferred from 12th Training Reserve Battalion to 25th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry, which was a works battalion based in Skipton.

    A payment of £19 1s 2d was authorised, being the amount outstanding in pay and allowances to the late Pte. Percy Hodgson (see 8th December 1916); the payment would go to his father, Thomas.

    Africa, Asiatic & Egyptian Theatres:


    Mesopotamia: The Battle of Nahr-al-Kalek is fought in the immediate aftermath of the British recapture of Kut by Sir Frederick Maude, largely destroying the effectiveness of Turkish river forces on the Tigris River. Having inadvertently outrun their own ground forces, the Royal Navy gunboats Mantis, Moth and Tarantula find themselves under fire some 30km north of Kut from four Turkish vessels at Nahr-al-Kalek while pursuing the retreating Turkish force from Kut. Among the Turkish ships was the originally-British monitor Firefly. In the ensuing gunnery battle the British succeed in routing the Turks, destroying all three Turkish-built ships while successfully recapturing Firefly. In addition to trouncing the Turks the British manage to secure several hundred prisoners from Turkish infantry along the shore.

    Naval Operations:


    Shipping Losses: 12 (5 to mines & 7 to U-Boat action)


    Political:


    France:
    Allied Calais War Conference (February 27) fixes next Western Front offensive.

    Britain:
    British Government requisitions Dutch ships in British ports.

    Neutrals:


    USA:
    Wilson asks Congress for power to arm merchant ships (Bill introduced on February 28, but filibustered in Senate to session’s end, March 3).

    Anniversary Events:

    364 On the death of Jovian, a conference at Nicaea chooses Valentinan, an army officer who was born in the central European region of Pannania, to succeed him in Asia Minor.
    1154 William the Bad succeeds his father, Roger the II, in Sicily.
    1790 As a result of the Revolution, France is divided into 83 departments.
    1815 Napoleon and 1,200 of his men leave Elba to start the 100-day re-conquest of France.
    1848 Karl Marx and Frederick Engels publish The Communist Manifesto in London.
    1871 France and Prussia sign a preliminary peace treaty at Versailles.
    1901 Boxer Rebellion leaders Chi-Hsin and Hsu-Cheng-Yu are publicly executed in Peking.
    1914 Russian aviator Igor Sikorsky carries 17 passengers in a twin engine plane in St. Petersburg.
    Last edited by Skafloc; 02-26-2017 at 04:05.
    See you on the Dark Side......

  46. #2246

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    Tuesday 27th February 1917

    Today we lost: 690
    Today’s losses include:
    · A woman whose father died on service last year
    · A man whose brother was also killed in the Great War

    Today’s highlighted casualties include:

    · Civilian Armorel Kitty Trevelyan (Army Service Corps Canteens) dies on service at age 19. Her father died on service serving in the Army Service Corps last year.

    Air Operations:


    Salonika:
    KG 1 bombs British Summerhill camp north of Salonika (376 casualties). Raiders intercepted by scouts of Nos 17 and 47 Squadrons; 1 Halberstadt escort fighter forced down and pilot taken PoW. Most of 47 Squadrons scouts damaged.

    Royal Flying Corps Losses today: 14


    2Lt Johnson, H.A. (Hubert Alfred), 8 Squadron, RFC. Killed in action aged 23.

    2Lt Pope, E.A. (Edwin Albert), 8 Squadron, RFC. Killed in action aged 27.

    Capt McArthur, J. (John), 12 Squadron, RFC. Killed in action aged 22.

    Private James Whiteford, 12 Squadron, RFC. Killed in action age 19

    Lt Mackain, H.F. (Henry Fergus), 13 Squadron, RFC. Killed in action aged 24.

    2Lt Jack, R.L.M. (Robert Laurence Munro), 16 Squadron, RFC. Died of wounds received on 26th February 1917.

    A Mech 2 Clutterbuck, G. (George), 47 squadron, RFC. Died of Wounds aged 36. Wounded 26 February 1917 during enemy air raid on Janes Airfield, Macedonia.

    FS Tansley, R.J.C. (Reginald John Cameron), 47 Squadron, RFC, aged 23.

    PO Mech Brown, G.F. (George Frederick), Pembroke Naval Air Station, RNAS.

    Sgt Liddell, H.J., RFC.

    2Lt Needs, C.R. (Charles Richard), RFC. Killed whilst flying aged 31.

    Lt Primrose, W.W. (Walter Wingate), RFC, aged 19.

    A Mech 2 Spendlove, W.C, 50 Reserve Squadron, RFC. Died of sickness aged 40.

    2Lt White, H.T. (Harold Tom), Central Flying School, D Squadron, RFC. Killed whilst flying in Wiltshire aged 21.

    Claims: 2

    Lt Werner Voss, Jasta 2, achieves victories number 10 and 11 when he shoots down a BE2b (near Blairville) of 8 squadron and a BE2c (west of Arras), of 12 squadron.

    · Second Lieutenant Edwin Albert Pope age 27
    · and his observer Hubert Alfred Johnson age 23 (London Regiment) are the pilot and observer of the 8 squadron aircraft.
    · Captain John McArthur age 22 (Berkshire Regiment) and his observer
    · Private James Whiteford age 19 (Machine Gun Corps) are killed later that day at St Catherine on the western outskirts of Arras.

    Home Fronts:

    Germany:
    Bethmann hails U-Boat success and justifies breaking agreement with USA.

    Western Front


    France – Calais Agreement:
    Lloyd George and French War committee (Briand and Lyautey) agree on Nivelle-Haig plan of operations. British agree (Haig reluctantly) that general conduct of imminent campaign should only be in hands of the French C-in-C subject to Haig’s usual right of appeal to London.

    Somme:
    On February 26 and 27 British troops capture villages of La Barque, southwest of Bapaume, and Ligny; in past week gains on 11-mile front (south of Gommeccourt to east of Guedecourt) to maximum depth of 3 miles.

    Flanders:
    Successful British trench raid east of Armentieres, damages 3 trenches and takes 13 prisoners.


    Tunstills Men Tuesday 27th February 1917:


    Winnipeg Camp


    The Battalion was ordered to march from Winnipeg Camp to begin what would be a six-week period away from the front line; the weather was described as “excellent for marching … a cool, easy day”. Provision was made for a ten-minute halt every hour along the line of march. The Battalion was to be in position just west of Brandhoek, ready to move off from there at 10.17am. They would be the final Battalion in the Brigade, followed only by 69th Field Ambulance and 192 Company, ASC. They first marched eight miles to ‘Z’ Camp, near Sint Jan ter Biezen, east of Poperinghe, where an overnight stop was taken.

    Cpl. Luke Dawson (see 10th January) was promoted Acting Sergeant.

    Cpl. Henry Feather was killed in action while serving with 16th Battalion West Yorks.; he was buried at Owl Trench Cemetery, Hebuterne. Henry was the younger brother of Pte. Joe Feather (see 29th July), who had been one of the Keighley men who had served with Tunstill’s Company; Joe himself had been wounded on the Somme in July 1916.

    A payment of £7 8s 5d was authorised, being the amount outstanding in pay and allowances to the late Pte.Albert Edward Dury (see 4th October 1916); the payment would go to his father, Richard.

    Eastern Front:

    Near Jakobeny the Germans take several Russian positions on high ground and 1,300 prisoners.

    Africa, Asiatic & Egyptian Theatres:

    Mesopotamia: British cavalry reconnaissance Aziziyeh (until February 28) 50 miles west of Kut but supply shortage forces them back to river. Turkish losses since February 23 including 4,300 PoWs; 39 guns; 22 mortars and 11 MGs. Maude cables C-in-C India asking further advance approval after necessary supply pause till March 5.

    Naval Operations:


    One of the auxiliary stop valves in HMS Sandhurst accidentally bursts and the boiler room immediately becomes fills with dense steam. In spite of the danger of burning and suffocation from steam, and of the fact that it is impossible to draw fires or at once to lift the safety valves, which renders the possibility of a second and even worse accident highly probable, Artificer Engineer Edmund John Pysden, Royal Navy makes several gallant attempts to enter the stokehold, and succeeds in bringing out two men who are lying insensible on the stokehold plates, and helps to bring out others. Several of the survivors would undoubtedly have lost their lives but for the rescues effected by this man and others. Mr. Pysden also eventually succeeds in opening the safety valve, which relieves the immediate danger of a further accident. Although he had a wet rag tied over his mouth, he swallowed a considerable quantity of live steam, and was partially incapacitated by its effects. Notwithstanding the gallant efforts of Mr. Pysden and other members of the ship’s company, seven men lose their lives owing to the accident and five are seriously injured. For his efforts he will be awarded the Albert Medal.

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    The Cunard liner Laconia is torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U50 six miles north west by west of Fastnet at 22:30. Twelve crew members and passengers are lost, including three American citizens. A patrol boat and a minesweeper, possibly HMS Laburnum, rescue the survivors.

    The hired trawler Evadner is sunk by a mine off Owers Light Vessel.
    · Her captain Skipper John Barron Royal Naval Reserve is killed aged 25.
    · Also lost is seaman James **** (RNR) who is killed at age 21. His brother will be killed in April 1918.

    Shipping Losses: 10 (2 to mines & 8 to U-Boat action)


    Political:


    Germany:
    The German Chancellor proclaims great success of submarine campaign, and justifies breaking of Germany's agreement with U.S.A., saying it was conditional on America insisting on Great Britain respecting international law concerning "Freedom of the Seas".

    Russia:
    Re-opening of Duma.

    Neutrals:


    USA:
    President Wilson states that he considers sinking of "Laconia" the "overt act" for which he was waiting (see 25th and April 6th).

    Wilson thanks Balfour for ‘information of such inestimable value’ (Zimmermann telegram).


    John M Browning demonstrates his new short recoil, water-cooled machine-gun.

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    In a very short space of time the US Browning M1917 machine-gun was ordered into production in large numbers.

    Anniversary Events:
    425 Theodosius effectively founds a university in Constantinople.
    1531 German Protestants form the League of Schmalkalden to resist the power of the emperor.
    1700 The Pacific Island of New Britain is discovered.
    1814 Napoleon’s Marshal Nicholas Oudinot is pushed back at Barsur-Aube by the Emperor’s allied enemies shortly before his abdication.
    1827 The first Mardi-Gras celebration is held in New Orleans.
    1864 The first Union prisoners arrive at the Confederate prison in Andersonville, Georgia. Of nearly 45,000 prisoners of war who arrive at the camp, approximately 13,000 will perish from starvation, scurvy, diarrhea, and dysentery.
    1865 Confederate raider William Quantrill and his bushwackers attack Hickman, Kentucky, shooting women and children.
    1905 The Japanese push Russians back in Manchuria and cross the Sha River.
    1908 The forty-sixth star is added to the U.S. flag, signifying Oklahoma’s admission to statehood.
    Last edited by Skafloc; 02-27-2017 at 03:04.
    See you on the Dark Side......

  47. #2247

    Default

    Our air losses are hotting up and it's not even April yet!
    Rob.
    "Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you're scared to death."

  48. #2248

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Flying Officer Kyte View Post
    Our air losses are hotting up and it's not even April yet!
    Rob.
    Well the Germans have been getting the Albatross D.IIIs for a couple months (with lots of D.IIs in service), and while the Pups were a great plane, they were getting matched with the D.III.
    Plus there were still a lot of...er.....older types in British service (Be.2s and Be.12s). So this might be a easing into BA.
    karl
    It is impossible for a man to begin to learn what he thinks he knows. -- Epictetus

  49. #2249

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    Wednesday 28th February 1917

    Today we lost: 601
    Today’s losses include:
    · Multiple sons of members of the clergy
    · Multiple families that will lose two sons in the Great War
    · A man whose two brothers were killed in the first two years of the Great War
    · A Military Chaplain
    · The grandson of a Member of Parliament
    · A Lower Waitkato footballer

    Today’s highlighted casualties include:

    · Captain James Leonard Thomas (London Regiment attached Royal Flying Corps) is accidentally killed at Netherton at age 26. He is the son of the Reverend S Thomas Vicar of Rushton.
    · Lieutenant Maurice George Richardson (South Lancashire Regiment attached Warwickshire Regiment) is killed. He is the son of the Reverend Lew Richardson.
    · Second Lieutenant William Meadows Kemp (Middlesex Regiment) is killed at age 21. His brother was killed in October 1916. · Chaplain Herbert Peter Ledbitter dies of wounds at age 27.
    · Sergeant Henry Irwin Bailey (Auckland Infantry) is killed at age 23. He is the grandson of the late John Bollard MP. He played football for Lower Waikato and his brother was killed last September.
    · Sergeant Thomas Brennock (Dublin Fusiliers) is killed at age 28. His brothers were killed in 1914 and 1915.
    · Private Stanley Street (Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry) is killed in action at age 26. His brother died in January 1915.
    · Private Oliver Frank Daniels (Royal Fusiliers) is killed at age 27. His brother will die on service in March 1919.
    · Private Arthur Garner (Australian Infantry) is killed in action at age 29. His brother will die of wounds in November 1918.
    · Private George Thomas Palmer (Leicestershire Regiment) is killed at age 21. His parents had the following inscription engraved on their son’s headstone. “Will some kind hand in a foreign land place a flower on my son’s grave”.

    Air Operations:

    Western Front:
    End of February British make first pigeon drops by balloon (after 3 agents so sent), 40% return rate by end of war.

    Royal Flying Corps Losses today: 3


    A Mech 2 Broome, W. (Walter), Recruits Depot, RFC.

    2Lt Sutherland, A.D'A. (Allen D'Arcy), Central Flying School, Upavon, Wiltshire, RFC, aged 26.

    Capt Thomas, J.L. (James Leonard), 7 Training Squadron, RFC, aged 26.

    Claims: 2

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    OberLt Josef Pürer claims his 3rd confirmed victory with Flik 19, shooting down a Farman, in a Hansa-Brandenburg CI, over enemy lines. One of the few Austro-Hungarian aces to receive the Military Merit Cross twice.

    SgtCosimo Rizzotto, claims his 1st confirmed victory with 77 Squadrilla, shooting down an enemy aircraft near Monfalcone.

    Home Fronts:

    Germany:
    Only 60,000 Auxiliary Service Law Volunteers (mainly women) instead of 200,000 hoped for.

    Russia:
    Duma member Kerensky calls for end to ‘medieval regime’.

    India:
    Act forms Indian Defence Force (all British European subjects).

    Western Front


    France:
    Nivelle letter to government warns of ‘pacifist propaganda’ reaching troops.

    Somme:
    British have captured 11 villages and 2,133 POW during February.

    Thilloy, Gommecourt, Puisieux and Sailly-Saillisel taken by British.


    Tunstills Men Wednesday 28th February 1917:


    ‘Z’ Camp, east of Poperinghe

    The move to Corps Reserve continued on another fine, bright day, with the Battalion departing at 8.15am and marching a further seventeen miles to billets in the Bollezeele area, via Watou, Houtkerque, Herzeele, Wormhoudt, Esquelbecq and Zeggers Cappel. Because of the extended nature of the day’s march, in addition to the hourly ten-minute halt, dinner was to be taken between 12.30 and 1.30 with the men taken off to the roadside if at all possible. Reflecting on the day, Brig Genl. Lambert (see 26th February), noted in his diary, “Marched to Bollezeeele area. Billetted at Mayor’s house. Mess in estaminet in square. Troops much scattered in billets. Men marched well, except 10th (ie 10DWR) who were a bit ragged”.

    A payment of £6 12s was authorised, being the amount outstanding in pay and allowances to the late Pte. Charlie Branston (see 3rd November 1916); the payment would go to his widowed mother, Hannah.

    69th Brigade War Diary recorded casualties for the Brigade for the month of February:

    Killed 12 other ranks

    Accidentally killed 0

    Died of wounds 0

    Wounded 1 officer and 59 other ranks

    Accidentally wounded 0

    Missing 0

    10DWR’s casualties were recorded as:

    Killed 3

    Accidentally killed 0

    Died of wounds 0

    Wounded 16

    Accidentally wounded 0

    Missing 0

    These official casualty figures do not take account of the deaths of three men who had died while serving away from the Battalion or who had been wounded but had died subsequently from their wounds.

    The official cumulative casualty figures for the Battalion since arriving in France were now:

    Killed 157

    Accidentally killed 4

    Died of wounds 7

    Wounded 772

    Accidentally wounded 49

    Missing 116


    Eastern Front:

    Romanian counter-attacks in Bukovina partially successful.

    Southern Front:

    Austrian attacks on Asiago Plateau and north of Gorizia repulsed.

    Africa, Asiatic & Egyptian Theatres:

    Turkish losses in Mesopotamia in last three months estimated at over 20,000.

    The cavalry of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force enter Khan Yunus, midway between the Egyptian border and Deir el Belah and the Turkish line is withdrawn to Gaza and Beersheba.

    Naval Operations:


    Atlantic:
    In February British 10th (Minesweeping) Sloop Flotilla transferred from Immingham on East Coast (Humber) to Queenstown to meet mine threat off Southern Ireland, loses 2 ships in March.

    7 Arethusa-class cruisers from Harwich Force and Grand Fleet converted to lay 70-74 mines each (February to November); carry out 35 operations (2,553 mines laid by November 1918).

    French destroyer "Cassini" torpedoed in Mediterranean.


    Shipping Losses: 9 (1 to mine & 8 to U-boat acion)


    Allied February shipping losses:
    254 ships of 500,673t (German figure 520,412t) including record 105 British ships worth 313,486t. Mediterranean toll is 105,670t.

    Political:


    Allied Minister present Memorandum to Chinese Government.


    Particulars of German plot re: Mexico and Japan published in U.S.A.


    Anniversary Events:

    1066 Westminster Abbey, the most famous church in England, opens its doors.
    1574 On the orders of the Holy Office of the Inquisition, two Englishmen and an Irishman are burnt for heresy.
    1610 Thomas West is appointed governor of Virginia.
    1704 Indians attack Deerfield, Mass. killing 40 and kidnapping 100.
    1847 Colonel Alexander Doniphan and his ragtag Missouri Mounted Volunteers ride to victory at the Battle of Sacramento, during the Mexican War.
    1861 The territory of Colorado is established.
    1900 After a 119-day siege by the Boers, the surrounded British troops in Ladysmith, South Africa, are relieved.
    1863 Four Union gunboats destroy the CSS Nashville near Fort McAllister, Georgia.
    1916 Haiti becomes the first U.S. protectorate.
    See you on the Dark Side......

  50. #2250

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    Thursday 1st March 1917

    Today we lost: 862
    Today’s losses include:
    · Multiple men who will have sons killed in the Second World War
    · The son of the British Consul in Paris
    · Multiple sons of members of the clergy
    · A man whose son will be killed in 1918
    · The son of a General
    · Two battalion commanders of the Central Ontario Regiment
    · A man whose sister will die on service next year

    Today’s highlighted casualties include:

    · Colonel Charles Bury Collins CMG DSO (commanding Royal Engineers) dies on service in East Africa at age 49. His son will be killed in the Royal Air Force in September 1918.
    · Lieutenant Colonel Samuel Gustavus Beckett and Lieutenant Colonel Arnold Henry Grant Kemball CB DSO (Central Ontario Regiment) are both killed. Kemball dies at age 56. He is the son of Major General J S Kemball. He is the former Colonel of the 5th Gurkha Rifles until he retired in 1910. He is the son of Major General John Shaw Kemball and the brother of Major General George Vero Kemball KCMG CB DSO. He served on the Black Mountain in 1888, Hazara 1891 and the Northwest Frontier and Tirah 1897-8.
    · Lieutenant David Alwyn Forneri (Canadian Infantry) is killed in action. His sister will die on service in April 1918 and they are children of the Reverend Canon Richard Sykes Forneri Rector of Lt Luke’s Kingston Ontario.
    · Second Lieutenant John Arnold Buckland (Somerset Light Infantry) is killed at age 20. He is the son of the Reverend Vansittart Buckland Rector of Whitelackington.
    · Second Lieutenant Torquil Lorne Campbell (Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders) is killed in action at age 31. His brother will be killed in April 1918.
    · Private Joseph Moyses MM (Machine Gun Corps) is killed. His brother will be killed in August 1918.
    · Private William Annesley Dallas Tyndale (Royal Army Medical Corps attached Dublin Fusiliers) is killed on Salonika at age 23. He is the son of the Reverend William Earl Tyndale and he was a theological student.
    · Private Francis King Horton (Central Ontario Regiment) is killed at age 36. He is the son of the Reverend Alfred William Horton Rector of Dewsall.
    · Private Henry Hazlett (Royal Engineers) is killed at age 30. His son will lose his life in the Second World War.

    Air Operations:


    German air losses during February twice those of Allies.

    The first air raid of 1917 saw a single seaplane fly from Zeebrugge to attack Broadstairs on the Kent coast. The aircraft appeared shortly after 9.30am on this Thursday morning and was first noticed as it dropped three HE bombs at sea, about 50 yards east of the pier.

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    Victoria Gardens, Broadstairs.

    Coming inland, the pilot then dropped an HE that exploded in Victoria Gardens near a large hotel, narrowly missing Dr Brightman, the Chairman of the Council. In King Edward's (now Edward) Avenue a bomb landed in the street slightly damaging two houses, followed by another that landed in Cinder Path, which ran alongside the railway. It caused damage to nine houses in neighbouring Clarendon Road. The next bomb fell in the playground of the County Council school in Grosvenor Road, close to a classroom full with 40 children. Their teacher, Miss Webb, reacted quickly, getting the children shelter beneath their desks. Although window glass blasted into the classroom, only Miss Webb and five of the children received minor cuts thanks to the teacher’s quick actions. A second bomb also fell in Grosvenor Road, damaging two houses. The sixth and final bomb struck Gladstone Road, about half a mile inland. The bomb struck the roof of a villa known as Fern Cottage, demolishing the upper part of the house and causing damage to four houses nearby, but all the occupants emerged unharmed.

    Having dropped his final bomb, the pilot turned back to the coast and flew back to Zeebrugge.

    The response from the RNAS and RFC was sluggish. The RNAS ordered up nine aircraft but the first of these only took off at 10.02am, when the raider was already heading home, while five of them took off after 10.30. The RFC sent up 14 aircraft, with 10 of these coming from Essex, but the order was only received at 10.12am and although seven aircraft were in the air within 13 minutes it was all too late.

    6 Injured

    Damage £700

    Flight Sub Lieutenant Charles Keith Chase and Flight Lieutenant Charles Cyril Rogers Edwards (Royal Naval Air Service) were attacked by two hostile machines while on a reconnaissance flight. Flight Lieutenant Edwards was hit by a bullet which passed through his left shoulder, fracturing the collar bone, and at the same time he was wounded slightly in both feet. Although constantly suffering considerable pain, he brings his machine home safely, in spite of being again attacked by two hostile aircraft. By his determination and pluck he probably saved his own life and that of his observer.

    Royal Flying Corps Losses today: 3


    Flt Lt Daglish, G.R.G. (George Richard Gordon), Cranwell Central Depot & Training Establishment, RNAS. Killed whilst flying, crashed in a BE2c.

    2Lt Hare, J.A. (John Alfred), 6 Reserve Squadron, RFC. Killed whilst flying.

    Lt Perraton, F.A. (Frederick Arnett), RFC. Accidently killed in Norfolk.

    Claims: 2 (Entente 1: Central Powers 1)

    Lt James Leith Leith claims his 5th confirmed victory with 25 Squadron, RFC. Flying a FE2b, with observer Lt G.M.A. Hobart-Hampden, he shot down an Albatros DII near Mericourt. After serving with the Hampshire Regiment, James Leith Leith joined the Royal Flying Corps in February 1916. Posted to 25 Squadron, he scored 8 victories with the FE2b before joining 46 Squadron as a flight commander, scoring 1 more victory with the Sopwith Camel.

    Lt Renatus Theiller claims his 9th confirmed victory with Jasta 5, shooting down a balloon west of Frise. At age 18, Theiller received flying license #511 on 12 September 1913. In 1916, as a two-seater pilot with FFA 25, Otto Schmidt flew as his observer. The following year, Theiller was killed in action when his Albatros DIII was shot down by a Sopwith 11/2 Strutter of 70 Squadron.

    Western Front


    G.H.Q. reports capture of 2,133 German prisoners and 11 villages during past month.

    Tunstills Men Thursday 1st March 1917:


    Bollezeele


    On a fine, bright morning with some sun, the Battalion left Bollezeele at 10.20am and completed the final ten-mile march to Eperlecques, via Wulverdinghe, Watten-Bridge and Ganspette. The Battalion would remain at Eperlecques until 19th March. Brig Genl. Lambert (see 28th February), again recorded in his diary his concerns about the marching of 10DWR, “10th (ie 10DWR)again marched poorly; remainder v.g”.

    (I am greatly indebted to Juliet Lambert for her generosity in allowing me access to Brig. Genl. Lambert’s diary and letters).

    Here the billets were good and there was some scope for the men to relax alongside their training regime. Much hard training would be done, at Company, Battalion and Brigade levels, with an emphasis also on rifle practice on the ranges at Tilques.

    Pte. Herbert Edwin James Biggs (see 4th November 1916), having completed his officer training course, was commissioned temporary 2nd Lieutenant with the West Riding Regiment.

    Eastern Front:

    Austria: Arz succeeds Conrad as CoS.

    Germany:
    Colonel Hentsch (Marne decision) made CoS German Rumania military occupation.


    Naval Operations:

    HMS Furious starts modifications:


    HMS Furious
    was a modified Courageous-class battlecruiser built for the Royal Navy (RN) during the WW1. Designed to support the Baltic Project championed by the First Sea Lord of the Admiralty, Lord Fisher, the ship was very lightly armoured and designed to be armed with only two heavy guns (18-inch), one forward and one aft, plus a number of lesser guns. Furious was modified and became an aircraft carrier while under construction.

    During the First World War, Admiral Fisher was prevented from ordering an improved version of the preceding Renown-class battlecruisers by a wartime restriction that banned construction of ships larger than light cruisers. To obtain ships suitable for traditional battlecruiser roles, such as scouting for fleets and hunting enemy raiders, he settled on ships with the minimal armour of a light cruiser and the armament of a battlecruiser. He justified their existence by claiming he needed fast, shallow-draught ships for his Baltic Project, a plan to invade Germany via its Baltic coast.

    Furious was laid down on 8 June 1915 at Armstrong Whitworth's Low Walker shipyard in Newcastle Upon Tyne. The ship was launched on 18 August 1916 and commissioned on 26 June 1917. As completed, her complement numbered 737 officers and enlisted men.

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    Furious as originally completed. She had a flying-off deck for aircraft forward.

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    Stern view of Furious in 1917, showing the ship's single 18-inch gun.

    Furious had an overll length of 786 feet 9 inches (239.8 m), a beam of 88 feet (26.8 m), and a draught of 24 feet 11 inches (7.6 m) at deep load. Furious and her half-sisters were the first large warships in the Royal Navy to have geared steam turbines. To save design time the installation used in the light cruiser Champion, the first cruiser in the RN with geared turbines, was copied and simply duplicated to provide two sets of turbines.

    Furious at full capacity, she could steam for an estimated 6,000 nautical miles (11,110 km; 6,900 mi) at a speed of 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph). The ship was designed to carry two BL 18-inch Mark I guns in two single turrets, one each fore ('A') and aft ('Y'). Her secondary armament consisted of 11 BL 5.5-inch Mk I guns. A pair of QF 3-inch (76mm) 20cwt anti-aircraft guns were mounted before the funnel. Furious also mounted two submerged tubes for 21-inch torpedoes and 10 torpedoes were carried.

    Even as she was being built, Furious was modified with a large hangar capable of housing ten aircraft on her forecastle that replaced the forward turret. A 160-foot (49 m) flight deckwas built along its roof. Aircraft were flown off and, rather less successfully, landed on this deck. Floatplanes like the Short Type 184 used a four-wheel trolley that ran down a track along the centre of the flight deck for take-off. Aircraft were lifted by crane from the hangar to the flight deck. Although the aft turret was fitted and the gun tested, it was not long before Furious returned to her builders for further modifications. In November 1917, the rear turret was replaced by a 300-foot (91 m) deck for landing aircraft over another hangar. Her funnel and superstructure remained intact, with a narrow strip of decking around them to connect the fore and aft flight decks. Turbulence from the funnel and superstructure was severe enough that only three landing attempts were successful before further attempts were forbidden. Her 18-inch guns were reused on Lord Clive-class monitors General Wolfe and Lord Clive and during the war.

    First weekly statement of shipping sailings, arrivals and losses issued.

    Germany announces end of safe period for sailing vessels in Atlantic.

    During March an average of 40 U-Boats at sea per day and maximum of 57. Shipping entering British ports in February and March is only 25% of February to March 1916 levels. 16 British oilers (Fleet tankers) sunk March to September. Germany announces end of safe period for sailing ships in Atlantic.


    Shipping Losses: 30 (3 to mines, 1 to surface action & 26 to U-Boat action)
    The destroyer HMS Pheasant is lost when she strikes a mine off the Orkneys while acting as a dispatch ship for the Grand Fleet.
    Among the eighty-nine killed are:
    · Lieutenant Henry Walter Edward Hearn age 22. He is the son of the British Consul in Paris.
    · Sub Lieutenant Oswald Maughan Johnson (HMS Pheasant) killed at age 21. He is the son of the late Reverend J J Johnson.

    HMHS Drina is torpedoed and sunk outside Milford Haven, off Stokholm Island by UC65, fifteen lives are lost.

    Channel:
    British hospital ship Glenart Castle damaged by mine between Le Havre and Southampton. Further mine or torpedo disasters to hospital ships on March 20 (Asturias; 14 killed), March 30 (Gloucester Castle, no lives lost); April 10 (Salta, 52 killed); April 17 (Lanfranc, 35 killed including 20 Germans) and ambulance-transport (red crosses and distinctive marks dropped) Donegal (41 killed). Germans convinced hospital ships carrying munitions and radioing U-Boat positions.

    Mediterranean:
    From mid-April British hospital ships sailing zigzag course and get 2 destroyer escorts. French embark 70 German officer POW (April 15 to c.August 15) in 5 hospital ships and notify Berlin (which sends 200 French officer POW to Western Front areas shelled by Allies).


    Political:

    Speech by Herr Zimmermannn on torpedoing of neutrals.

    Government of India's offer of �100,000,000 towards cost of war accepted.

    Neutrals:


    USA:
    Wilson hands press Zimmermann Telegram. In March DW Griffith sails for Europe to make two British-funded films on Western Front.

    Switzerland:
    Rice and sugar rationing cards issued (2 meatless days per week since February 12).


    Anniversary Events:

    1642 York, Maine becomes the first incorporated American city.
    1692 Sarah Goode, Sarah Osborne and Tituba are arrested for the supposed practice of witchcraft in Salem, Mass.
    1776 French minister Charles Gravier advises his Spanish counterpart to support the American rebels against the English.
    1780 Pennsylvania becomes the first U.S. state to abolish slavery.
    1803 Ohio becomes the 17th state to join the Union.
    1808 In France, Napoleon creates an imperial nobility.
    1815 Napoleon lands at Cannes, France, returning from exile on Elba, with a force of 1,500 men and marches on Paris.
    1871 German troops enter Paris, France, during the Franco-Prussian War.
    1875 Congress passes the Civil Rights Act, which is invalidated by the Supreme Court in 1883.
    1896 The Battle of Adwa. The Ethiopian Army defeats outnumbered Italian forces. This ends the First Italo-Ethiopian War, but becomes the precursor to the Second Italo-Ethiopian War, resulting in the breakdown of the League of Nations, and a precursor to World War II.
    1912 Albert Berry completes the first in-flight parachute jump, from a Benoist plane over Kinlock Field in St. Louis, Missouri.
    1915 The Allies announce their aim to cut off all German supplies and assure the safety of the neutrals.

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    Last edited by Skafloc; 03-01-2017 at 04:18.
    See you on the Dark Side......