Battle of Loos 1915

by John Dixon

September 2015 Anniversary of the Battle of Loos Two Firsts: Volunteers in Battle v Germans & British use of Gas

689 Tewkesbury men responded to Lord Kitchener’s famous appeal - and some of them joined the 10th Gloucesters. They trained to be soldiers over one year - partly on Salisbury Plain but managed to spend the winter lodging in Cheltenham.

However, in August 1915 the battalion was sent to France - and given just 6 weeks of trench hardening. They were thrown into the Battle of Loos. one of the first volunteer battalions to be part of a ‘Big Push’.

The war had not ‘ended by Christmas’ and both sides were desperate to end the  stalemate of Trench Warfare.

The Fighting 10th was at least teamed with the very experienced Regular 1st Gloucesters, who had fought during the epic battles of Mons, Marne, Aisne and Ypres I. 

The battle was ill-prepared - in the wrong place and with a shortage of shells. Gas was used as an experiment. On 25 September the 10th lost 459 men: from Tewkesbury: T. Hall, J.A. Simms, E. Nunney, C. Wagstaff and forty-five-year-old teacher, A. Harrison.

The Germans counter-attacked and this time Regulars lost their lives: E. Rice, T. New and A. Didcote. By 13 October the battle petered out in failure - the British C-in-C was sacked.

Had lessons been learned?
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