August 30th 1916

CH Counsell

Further information has been received on the death of  Lieut. Christopher Counsell on July 6th.

A fellow officer in the Hants Regiment, 2nd Lieut. Churcher, has confirmed that Chris was providing a covering party for a working party when he was hit in the head, and possibly in both hands, by machine gun fire. He never regained consciousness and died in transit from 89 Field Ambulance to 29 Casualty Clearing Station.

Oxford has converted a number of buildings to receive and treat the wounded and by chance a wounded sergeant in Chris’s company was brought to the Oxford Hospital at the new Schools. He said that Chris was always ready and eager to go out at night on any wild entertainment towards the Hun lines, and he was evidently greatly impressed with his Lieutenant’s daring.

Christopher’s father, Dr H.E. Counsell (whose practice is at 37 Broad Street) is in charge of Surgical 5 in the North School.

* * * * * * *

The Esson family have suffered another bereavement: Mr William Esson passed away in Abingdon aged 78 on August 25th. (Mrs Esson predeceased him, having died in 1893).

His poor daughter Margaret lost her brother Capt. William Esson on April 27th 1916 on HMS Russell; her husband, Capt. Edmund Gay has been missing in action since August 12th 1915 and now her father has died, all in the space of just over a year.

July 15th 1916

CH Counsell

Lieut. Christopher Counsell (Hampshire Regiment)

The Counsell family have suffered a week of grief, mixed with hope and despair. First they received a telegram informing them that Chris had been wounded in the “Push”:

Counsell wounded

Three days later has come the news that Chris is dead.

Counsell killed

His battalion had received their orders too late on July 1st to launch a further attack on Beaumont Hamel that day and thus they remained in the original British Front line.

Chris was providing cover for a working party on July 6th, whilst they placed some advanced outposts. A machine gun opened fire and Chris was severely wounded.

It transpires that he died on the way to the Casualty Clearing Station.


January 13th 1916

2nd Lieut. Leslie de Sélincourt has written to say that he has been transferred from the Hampshire Regiment in India to the 1st Battalion of the Ox & Bucks Light Infantry.

The Battalion itself is currently besieged at Kut and he is to join a provisional battalion at Ali Garbi to be part of a relief force.

Leslie is about to set off from Basra for Amara and he is currently doing battle with jackals and flies:

de Selincourt L5/1/16  “We are plagued by jackals who howl in the most dismal fashion round the tent at night. One came in last night and swallowed this morning’s breakfast while we all slept…

We are driven crazy here by flies. In spite of the cold – frost at night – they are as thick as… as…well, as flies. We have an admirable plan for catching them. Just a drop of methylated spirit in a glass which you hold under the fly as he sits on the roof of the tent; fuddled by the fumes, he immediately drops in. I caught 250 in 14 minutes.”