April 27th 1918

Lieut. Henry Addis (Royal Dublin Fusiliers)

On April 11th Henry’s name appeared in the Daily Telegraph ‘Roll of Honour as being “wounded and missing, believed killedand whilst we feared the worst there was, given the confusion at the outset of the German offensive, a glimmer of hope.

However, it is now stated in the Times that Henry was killed in action on the first day of the German Offensive (March 21st.)

The German attack, made under the cover of a thick mist and in great numbers, overran many of our troops in the forward positions. Henry was stationed near the front (represented by the thick black line) at Lempire (east of Peronne) and it is understood that he was in a dug-out with his Captain when a messenger came with a despatch.

They told him where to take it, and he came back almost at once and shouted down that the Germans were upon them. The Captain and Henry got the men out immediately and there was a fierce fight. At the end of about twenty minutes, the Captain was shot through the chest and fell and another bullet went through his head and killed him. Henry ran to his side, but was immediately shot.

It is proving to be a harrowing month – this new phrase of the war has seen the deaths of 4 of our Old Boys endeavouring to hold back the German advance (Alan Haigh-Brown, George Thuillier and Ronald Stonehouse being the others). With casualty lists being the length they are, I fear there may be further additions to this list still to come.

 

Whilst at the Dragon, Henry was a quiet, reserved boy, with a considerable sense of humour. He was not particularly keen on games, but had his own amusements and was an interested observer of all that went on. He was always popular with a good set of boys. He was a good essay writer and fond of history.

His line of thought was always independent and original, and it is impossible to think of him without remembering the twinkle in his eye, which brought him into many scrapes and saved him from their usual consequences.

 

August 31st 1917

2nd Lieut. George Falkiner (Royal Dublin Fusiliers)

In the Times yesterday was the announcement of George’s death – the third Old Dragon to have been killed on August 16th (along with Alan Cam and Hampy Jefferson).

The family have been advised that George, who had been declared missing has in fact been killed and his CO has informed them that “the enemy put down a very heavy artillery and machine-gun barrage, and he was killed while leading his platoon up to support the troops in front.”

George and the 2nd Royal Dublin Fusiliers were supporting the Royal Irish Rifles and the 9th Royal Dublin Fusiliers in the attack at Frezenberg and all have suffered heavy casualties.

In May 1917 George was commended for his gallantry in a raid when he had a narrow escape. He performed a heroic action in carrying a wounded man for 300 yards over No Man’s Land. For this he received the honour of a ‘parchment’ – a thing peculiar to the Irish Brigade.

George was only with us for a year (1911-12), but his cheery nature and merry smile that was never missing from his handsome face, won the affection of all of us.

When George first tried to enlist last year, he was declared unfit for service due to “defective vision.” He successfully appealed against this decision, this process costing his mother a princely 4 guineas.

In just one cruel week, Mrs Falkiner has now lost two sons: in addition to the loss of George, her older son Frederick (who did not come to the OPS), was killed in action with the RFC five days later, on August 21st.