1st British officer killed in ww1 ( at mons ?)

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Targets_UP, Nov 10, 2006.

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  1. dont know if any one can help,im trying to find out the name of the 1st british officer killed in ww1 ( at mons i guess) i did find a web site which had all the kia in it but ive lost it,any help cheers all
     
  2. Officer only?.

    I think the earliest are buried in St Symphorien cemetery near Mons, which was a Kraut field hospital.

    The first casualty often quoted was later than one buried in St Sym, although the Germans' famed attention to detail allowed them to build a nice memorial to the Royal Middlesex Regiment

    ... and for WW1 - we attacked Togoland before encountering the Bosche on the Western Front.

    and for the Navy .... 6 August 1914 HMS Amphion sunk in North Sea by floating mine; 131 lives lost.
     
  3. Here are two very interesting stories about the recent auction of a WW1 letter describing the Christmas Day truce. Bits in bold are relevant to the thread.
    ___

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6127984.stm

    WWI truce letter sold for £14,000

    The letter describes how soldiers exchanged cigarettes and clothes
    Singer Chris de Burgh has paid £14,400 for a letter written by an unknown soldier describing the Christmas Day truce in 1914.
    The document is one of the few first accounts of the famous event when German and British troops briefly halted hostilities at Ypres, Belgium.
    Signed simply 'Boy' the hand-written 10 page letter was penned by a young soldier whose fate remains unknown.

    De Burgh made a telephone bid for the object when it came up for sale.

    London auction house Bonhams had expected the item to fetch around £400.

    Lady in Red singer De Burgh, 58, said he was fascinated by the truce.

    "I am totally passionate about the subject. I read every line of the letter and found it an extremely moving and personal account of World War One," he said.

    "The letter is a great historical document charting the surreal events of the 25 December 1914."

    We can hardly believe that we've been firing at them for the last week or two - it all seems so strange

    British soldier's letter

    De Burgh added that his great uncle, Thomas de Burgh, was thought to be the first officer killed in the war, and his body was never found.

    His grandfather also served in the trenches.

    In the letter, dated 25 December, 1914 and addressed to "My dear Mater", the soldier wrote: "The Germans commenced by placing lights all along the edge of their trenches and coming over to us - wishing us a Happy Christmas etc.

    "They also gave us a few songs etc. so we had quite a social party."

    He went on: "They say they won't fire tomorrow if we don't so I suppose we shall get a bit of a holiday - perhaps.

    "After exchanging autographs and them wishing us a Happy New Year we departed and came back and had our dinner.

    "We can hardly believe that we've been firing at them for the last week or two - it all seems so strange."
    _____

    http://uk.news.yahoo.com/07112006/80-132/chris-de-burgh-buys-rare-ww1-letter.html

    LONDON (Reuters) - A rare letter home by an unnamed British soldier describing the Christmas Day truce with German forces in 1914 sold on Tuesday for around 40 times its estimate, and was bought by Irish singer Chris de Burgh.

    De Burgh contacted the press office at Bonhams auctioneers after paying 14,400 pounds for the manuscript against a presale estimate of between 300 and 400 pounds, explaining why he was so passionate about the subject.

    "He found the content extremely moving as it documented a very personal account of World War One and he believes it to be a great historical manuscript, charting the surreal events of December 25, 1914," Bonhams said after the sale.

    The star also said his great uncle, Thomas de Burgh, was an officer killed in the Great War and his grandfather General Sir Eric de Burgh served in the trenches.

    The five pencilled pages of an army-issue notebook addressed to "My dear Mater" and signed simply "Boy" are one of the few uncensored accounts of life in the trenches.

    Felix Pryor, a manuscript expert who acted as consultant on the sale, said it was one of the most moving documents he had come across.

    "Letters aren't rare in themselves. But I've been doing this since 1975 and I've never come across a letter like that describing the Christmas truce," he told Reuters. The fate of the author is unknown.

    In his account of one of the war's most poignant and surreal moments, the author describes how German forces placed lights along their trenches before approaching the British lines to wish them Happy Christmas.

    "This will be the most memorable Christmas I've ever spent or likely to spend: since about tea time yesterday I don't think there's been a shot fired on either side up to now," he said in the pencil-written letter dated December 25, 1914.

    "Some of our chaps went over to their lines. I think they've all come back bar one from 'E' Co. They no doubt kept him as a souvenir."

    During the lull in fighting, soldiers played football, helped each other bury the dead, enjoyed a traditional Christmas meal and chatted and smoked together.

    "We can hardly believe that we've been firing at them for the last week or two - it all seems so strange," the letter reads.
     
  4. Early on at least:


    DE BURGH, THOMAS
    Initials: T
    Nationality: Indian
    Rank: Lieutenant
    Regiment/Service: 31st Duke of Connaught's Own Lancers
    Secondary Regiment: 5th (Royal Irish) Lancers
    Secondary Unit Text: attd.
    Age: 26
    Date of Death: 17/09/1914
    Additional information: Son of Lt. Col. Thomas John de Burgh and Emily de Burgh, of Oldtown, Naas, Co. Kildare.
    Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
    Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 3.
    Memorial: NEUVE-CHAPELLE MEMORIAL
     
  5. Ventress

    Ventress LE Moderator



  6. Private John Parr is believed to be the first British Casualty of the Great War.

    http://www.cwgc.org/search/certificate.aspx?casualty=894896 (TOURNAI COMMUNAL CEMETERY ALLIED EXTENSION)

    One of the first Officers Killed in the Great War is possibly Lt Charles Bayly, killed when his aircraft crashed on a reconnaissance flight 22 Aug 1914. While it was probably an accident, these missions were the first really successful aerial recce missions as the RFC were the first to discover the scale of the German operations in Belgium and report the threat to the British at Mons.

    http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=478239 ST. SYMPHORIEN MILITARY CEMETERY

    One of the officers of 4th Middlesex or 4th R Fusiliers killed on 23 August and buried in St Symphorien during the German attack might be the first officer killed in action.

    Come and visit them with Remembrance Travel!
    We take pilgrimages around the cemeteries as well as battlefield tours.

    http://www.remembrancetravel.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=tour.
     
  7. The first two officers killed in WW1 were, I believe a pilot and navigator of 5 (AC) Sqn RFC. I can't remember the exact date but I think it was 25 Aug 1914. They are buried in Tournai cemetary. I will check for their names, but one was RE and the other East Yorks? - I think. I know 5 (AC) Sqn RAF lay a wreath each year on their graves.
     
  8. BAYLY, CHARLES GEORGE GORDON
    Initials: C G G
    Nationality: United Kingdom
    Rank: Lieutenant
    Regiment/Service: Royal Flying Corps
    Unit Text: 5th Sqdn.
    Secondary Regiment: Royal Engineers
    Secondary Unit Text: and 56th Field Coy.
    Age: 23
    Date of Death: 22/08/1914
    Additional information: Son of Brackenbury Bayly, M.I.E.E. (Woolwich) and Beatrice Mary Jessie Bayly, of Falmouth, Cornwall. (One of the first Royal Flying Corps battle casualties of the war).
    Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
    Grave/Memorial Reference: III. G. 3.

    5(AC) Sqn also had the honour of shooting down the first enemy aircraft.
    Cemetery: TOURNAI COMMUNAL CEMETERY ALLIED EXTENSION

    WATERFALL, VINCENT
    Initials: V
    Nationality: United Kingdom
    Rank: Second Lieutenant
    Regiment/Service: Royal Flying Corps
    Unit Text: 5th Sqdn.
    Secondary Regiment: East Yorkshire Regiment
    Secondary Unit Text: and
    Age: 23
    Date of Death: 22/08/1914
    Additional information: Son of Walter Frank and Mary Waterfall, of 1, Belvedere Terrace, Brighton. (One of the first Royal Flying Corps casualties of the war).
    Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
    Grave/Memorial Reference: III. G. 4.
    Cemetery: TOURNAI COMMUNAL CEMETERY ALLIED EXTENSION
     
  9. Therewas an article in the Telegraph (i think, can't find it now) the otherday about Chris de Burgh buying an anonymous letter about the Christmas 1914 truce. He had an interest in WW1 because a great uncle had been the first (maybe one of the first) officers killed in action in WW1. Searched the Telegrapph website & can't find it.

    And I had that avatar first! Get your own.

    Edit; Here;

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/military/story/0,,1941940,00.html

    "The singer bought it for £14,400 after a fiercely contested sale against 14 rival telephone bidders. De Burgh said he had a strong personal interest in the history of the first world war, in which his great uncle Thomas de Burgh was the first officer killed, and his grandfather, General Sir Eric de Burgh, served in the trenches."

    Musthave seen it on here, I haven't read a Grauniad in a long time.
     
  10. many thanks troops, seems to be conflicting info though, the de burg bit rings a bell thats who i had a feeling it was but others say different so i guess more searching cheers all for your help
     
  11. One tap

    Therewas an article in the Telegraph (i think, can't find it now) the otherday about Chris de Burgh buying an anonymous letter about the Christmas 1914 truce. He had an interest in WW1 because a great uncle had been the first (maybe one of the first) officers killed in action in WW1. Searched the Telegrapph website & can't find it.

    And I had that avatar first! Get your own.


    The dates for the deaths of the pilot and navigator is before any recorded engagements by the BEF and predates Mons, additionally CWGC does not list anyone killed before 22 Aug by enemy action.

    Also check date I joined for avatar :wink:
     
  12. I was just reporting the claim made in the paper for the information of the OP. I've no idea or interest in whether or not it is true.

    The CWGC don't have listing in respect of Thomas de Burgh because he hasn't been buried, his body was never found. I understand that in the early days, some officers' families could get the bodies returned to the UK, if they could pay for it.



    Why?
    Click on Profile and check on the avatars' properties & dates uploaded.
    Yours 11/10/06, mine 11/07/06.
     
  13. Ventress

    Ventress LE Moderator

  14.  
  15. Thanks for that.
    Indian! Who'd have thought that?
    You, of course! :D

    The date is much later than the others mentioned here. I'd imagine Chris de Burgh had said his realtive was 'one of the first', or something, and the press unintentionally misquoted it or altered it to add interest to the story, as they are wont to do.

    No, afraid not. It's something I read somewhere and I've no idea where it was. It may have been the CWGC website, where they give the history of the set-up of the Commission. I mentioned it as some of the early casualties might not have been buried in CWGC cemeteries. At that stage, the officers were almost invariably upper class & affluent.

    This makes a mention of it though;
    http://www.cwgc.org/admin/files/cwgc_history.pdf

    "The restriction of personal choice with regard to repatriation and the form of grave markers, led to powerful and vocal opposition."

    That was in 1918, so I think it did happen.

    There is a bit in Nevil Shute's autobiography, 'Autobiography of an Engineer' which mentions his elder brother Fred. Fred was wounded. If I recall it right, his parents went to France to be with him; the doctors amputated his leg(s?) in instalments in an unsucessful attempt to halt the spread of gangrene.

    http://www.cwgc.org/search/casualty_details.aspx?casualty=84523

    Buried at Wimereux, near the hospital, as is Lt.-Col. John McCrae, author of the poem "In Flanders Fields."

    I doubt that less affluent families could have done that for a son.
    Shute's surname was Norway, but he omitted it from his novels lest it detract from reputation in his career as an aircraft design engineer. According to Shute, Fred was far more talented than he was.

    His father was a senior civil servant in Dublin & young Shute was a very close bystander during the opening shots of the 1916 Easter rising. Nevil Shute was only able to join up in 1918 and spent some months travelling round Kent as the burial escort for armyvictims of the 1918 influenza pandemic. He also got to participate in a small mutiny, in which an officer tried to enforce his orders by pointing his revolver. The troops pointed their rifles back & the officer withdrew. :D