Western Front 1915
BATTLE OF LOOS
26th September – 9th October 1915
By the end of the battle 43,000 of the 75,000 British soldiers had been killed , including John Kipling, son of Rudyard Kipling; and Sir John French had been replaced by Sir Douglas Haig as the Chief of Staff of the British Army.
Previously in July, Sir John French had considered the terrain around Loos a difficult proposition, yet despite his reservations, he was ordered to assist the French Army regarding Commander in Chief Joffre’s wish to mount a large and powerful attack by the allies. “The battle of Loos was the biggest fought by the British in its history thus far.” Richard Holmes. An Anglo-French attack was to take place in the North of Loos near Artois, whilst the French were to attack Champagne in the South.
After 4 days of artillery bombardment of the German lines, the battle began at 6.30am on 26th September. Gas was used for the first time by the British Army as the men advanced. Its effect, however, was mixed as in some parts of the line it blew back onto the British causing 2,632 casualties, including 7 deaths. Also, the order to send in the two New Army Reserve Divisions was delayed which added to more casualties.
Despite allied courage and determination under fire 1915 proved to be a good year for Germany. Besides success in Gallipoli, Germany had continued to press forward on both Eastern and Western Fronts. Churchill’s plan of opening up a third front in order to put pressure on the German war machine had appeared to have backfired . Sir John French blamed the lack of men and ammunition on the Western Front on the excessive attention to the Gallipoli Campaign.
In the weeks prior to the battle of Loos, as was the norm along the trench line, snipers on both sides continued to gain advantage. One of the most valued targets was officers . This situation may have accounted for the death of Lieutenant James Tudor Edwards on 13th September 1915.
This is the LOOS MEMORIAL upon which are the names of
Private David H Davies and Lieutenant Sydney R Jenkins.
2nd Lieutenant James Tudor Edwards
13th September 1915
James was born in 1892 in 42,Dunraven Place, Bridgend where his father and mother Walter and Elizabeth Edwards owned a draper’s shop. His brother Walter Henry aged 10 had died in 1891 before James was born. His father died in 1906 and his mother moved to Llynrhos, Newton, Porthcawl which was next door to the Newton Hotel (Ancient Briton today ). In the 1911 census, James is found attending Cowbridge Grammar School in the same year as Roland Popkin. (see Red Baron link) Following school, James went onto to study at Jesus College, Oxford . At the outbreak of the war James enlisted into the King’s Liverpool Regiment and on 18th November 1914 was granted a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant before leaving the Officers Training Corps. Prior to James’s regiment 4th Liverpool Rifles being sent to France on 7th June 1915, he married Grace M Austin in Nottinghamshire in February 1915. After their marriage she went to live with his mother in Porthcawl . Sadly, James was killed in action in France on 13th September 1915. Sometime after his death his mother, Elizabeth moved to Cowbridge Road, Bridgend where she died in 1920. Grace married Edward Bramall in 1924 and moved to Cornwall.
Porthcawl lost 4 more soldiers in 1915.
Lieutenant Sydney Randell Jenkins
K.I.A 26th September 1915
Private David Henry Davies
K.I.A 27th September 1915
David Henry Davies was born in Ogmore Vale in 1878 to Herbert and Emma Davies previously of Tonypandy. David trained to be a plasterer like his father and after marrying Blanche in 1899 in Pontypridd, moved to 13 Railway Terrace ,Porthcawl. They were to have 4 children.
In the 1911 Census their address in given as 10,Mackworth Road,Porthcawl, which would suggest that not only did they possibly need a larger house, but that his plasterer/beater's business was doing financially well.
David enlisted in the Welsh Guards, Prince of Wales Coy, 1st Battalion, in Newport, 1914. His unit was sent to the front on 17th August. Private Davies was killed at the Battle of Loos, 27th September 1915; his body was never found. He is remembered on the Loos Memorial.
Sergeant Evan Thomas Rogers
27th September 1915
Evan Thomas Rogers was born in March 1890, in Aberkenfig, to Evan and Elizabeth Rogers.Evan,his brother John and sister Ann, were brought up in Parc Gwyllt Hospital ,Bridgend,(Parc Prison today) where his father worked as the engineer and gatekeeper.
In 1910 his brother, John,married Margaret and moved to 7 Suffolk Place,Porthcawl, in order to take up his post as an elementary school teacher at the National School,Lias Road.
In 1912 the rest of the family had moved to the same address in Porthcawl.His father, now retired,became an elder in the Bethel Calvinistic Methodist Church on South Road,where the family, also, regularly attended. Evan began work in an gentleman's outfitters in Porthcawl.
On 7th September 1914,Evan enlisted in Bridgend on 7th September 1914.He was posted to join the Kings Royal Rifles 12th (Service ) Battalion in Winchester on 21st September 1914, being promoted to Sergeant within a fortnight of arriving.
The 12th (Service) Battalion of the K.R.R.C landed in Boulogne on 22nd July 1915. In the Battle of Loos they formed part of the 60th Brigade, under Brigadier General J.W.G Ray. Evan died of his wounds on 27th September 1915. He is buried in Merville Communal Cemetery,Northern France. He was 25 yrs old.
Private Lionel Frank Thomas McLaughlin
25th September 1915
Lionel was born in Staines,Middlesex in 1893 the youngest of 4 brothers. He moved to Porthcawl with his brothers,John and William from London around 1911 to work as general labourers.1914 in Poplar,London, he married Katherine Mcd Smith ,an apprentice dressmaker, of Fern Cottage,Porthcawl.
Lionel died fighting with 15th Scottish Division at Loos.
" The mass of infantry now on Hill 70, seeing Germans retreating in some disarray, began to advance down the far-side slope. This advance was caught by German crossfire from the 2nd line, and it was brought to a standstill by 10.30am" He was 23 years old.
Lionel's brother John was sadly killed the following January,fighting with the Black Watch (Royal Highlanders) in Mesopotamia.The Regiment had landed at Basra 31st December 1915. In the previous May, John had been sent home to recuperate after having been wounded in the knee whilst fighting in France.
Lionel's other brother, Private William Mclaughlin Coldstream Guards, on the 25th January 1915,whilst fighting near Cuinchy in the Salient, a German advance preceded by the detonation of 4 mines managed to completely overwhelm the British trench. It is most likely that William was taken prisoner during this action. He remained a prisoner of war until 17th December 1918. He died in London on 5th October 1966
Please note that in this newspaper article Lionel is referred to as Charles.It can only be assumed that "Charlie" may have been his nickname and then used incorrectly or it has been recorded incorrectly.What is certain , is the date of his death, the name of his wife and his address.
Lance Corporal John McLaughlin