Home » 1916 » Spanky was our first fatality – shot by a sniper – April 1916

Spanky was our first fatality – shot by a sniper – April 1916

English: British Vickers machine gun crew wear...

English: British Vickers machine gun crew wearing PH-type anti-gas helmets. Near Ovillers during the Battle of the Somme, July 1916. The gunner is wearing a padded waistcoat, enabling him to carry the machine gun barrel. See Image:Vickers machine gun crew with gas masks rear view.jpg for an alternate view of this crew. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Our first injury was someone who got kicked in the jaw by a milking cow


It was making such a noise because it hadn’t been milked and this lad went over. It broke his jaw. That was our first Blighty one.


Our first casualty was a young section officer


Lieutenant Spanky Meadows from Dundee was shot through the head on the 15th April 1916. Before it got dark you fitted a muzzle attachment to the end of the machine gun. You didn’t want to give your position away; everyone had it in for the machine gunner. It was a stovepipe extension that concealed sparks from the end of the gun during night fighting.


In spite of all the warnings Spanky stuck his head up and got a bullet through it. Spanky was fiddling on with the muzzle cup in this Sap. Instead of pulling the gun down to take a look he got up and ‘crack’ he got a bullet through the head.


The Germans took sniping seriously.


They issued far more telescopic sights than the British. There were men were picked off while using a latrine SAP which the Germans could identify then target. They didn’t tell your Mother that in a letter home.



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