Loos 25 Sept to 15 Oct 1915: A Bloody Battle for COs

The Battle of Loos was an extraordinarily bloody battle for infantry battalion COs. 28 were killed and 26 wounded (one further CO being captured).

The following COs were killed in action or died of wounds:

Major John Gerrard Collins, 8th Black Watch, was born in 1867 and was a major in the reserve of officers in August 1914. He took command on the first day of the battle, when Lt-Col J. Forbes-Sempill was wounded, and was killed two days later.

Lt-Col Harold Duke Collison-Morley, 1/19th London. Born in 1877, Collison-Morley had been a regular captain of the Buffs in August 1914. He had commanded since 26 May 1915 and was killed in action at Tower Bridge on 25 September.

Major Alfred Hamilton Connell, 2nd Royal Scots Fusiliers, was born in 1881, and was a captain in the regiment in August 1914. He had commanded since 22 September when Lt-Col J.H. Pollard was promoted to the command of 2Brigade. He was killed by a shell inspecting the trenches.

Lt-Col Arthur Falconer Douglas-Hamilton, 6th Cameron Highlanders, was born in 1863, and was a major in the Reserve of Officers of the Cameron Highlanders in August 1914. He was the unit’s second CO from 1 October 1914. He was killed on Hill 70 on 26 September, beating off 4 enemy counterattacks, for which action he won the VC.

Lt-Col Richard Charles Dundas, 11th Royal Scots, was born in 1879, and was a major of 2nd Royal Scots in August 1914. He was the unit’s second CO from 10 October 1914. He was killed on 25 September somewhere near the junction of Pekin Trench and Haisnes Trench, attempting to deal with uncut wire.

Lt-Col Arthur George Edward Egerton, 1st Coldstream Guards, was born in 1879, and was a captain in the battalion in August 1914. He served as CO from 26 August, and was killed on 29 September when a shell hit 2nd Guards Brigade HQ.

Lt-Col Frederick Howard Fairtlough, 8th West Surrey, was born in 1861 and was a retired Miltia Colonel, born in 1860. The first CO of the battalion from 1 October 1914, he was killed on 26 September near Vermelles, and is commemorated on the Loos Memorial. His son Gerard, Royal Engineers, was killed in 1918.

Lt-Col George Herbert Fowler, 1/8th Sherwood Foresters, was born in 1877 and was a major in that unit in August 1914, taking over command on 19 February 1915. He was killed on 15 October in front of the Hohenzollern Redoubt, victim of a sniper.

Lt-Col Walter Thomas Gaisford, 7th Seaforth Highlanders, was born in 1871, and was a major of the 2nd Battalion, acting as depot commander in August 1914. He commanded from 19 August 1914, being the unit’s first CO, and was killed on 25 September. He is commemorated on the Loos Memorial.

Lt-Col Richard Davies Garnons-Williams, 12th Royal Fusiliers, was born in 1860, and was a Welsh rugby international (the inaugural 1881 match). Late Lt-Col of the South Wales Borderers, he was killed on the same day that he took command of the battalion, 25 September 1915, attempting to beat  off repeated enemy counterattacks.

Lt-Col Alexander George William Grant, 8th Devonshire, was a Lt-Col in the West African Regiment. The unit’s first CO, he commanded from 19 August 1914, being killed on 25 September. He is commemorated on the Loos Memorial.

Lt-Col Arthur de Salis Hadow, 10th Yorkshire, was born in 1878, and was a Lt-Col of the Reserve of Officers, Yorkshire Regiment, in August 1914. He was the unit’s first CO from October 1914. He was killed with his 2ic, Major W.H. Dent and 11 other officers attacking Hill 70 on 27 September.

Lt-Col Archibald Samuel Hamilton, 14th Durham Light Infantry, was born in 1865 and was a retired Indian Army major. He had commanded the 4th (Extra Reserve) Sherwood Foresters since January 1914 and was transferred to be CO of 14th DLI on 22 June 1915. He died on 13 October 1915, having been mortally wounded on 26 September on Hill 70.

Lt-Col Maurice Gordon Heath, 2nd West Surrey, was born in 1873 and was a major in the 1st Battalion in August 1914. He was promoted to command of the 2nd Battalion on 10 June 1915 and was killed in the Hulluch Quarries on 25 September.

Major William James Seymour Hosley, 6th Kings Own Scottish Borderers, was born in 1875 and was a captain in the 1st Battalion in August 1914. He took over after Lt-Col Henry Maclean was wounded on 25 September by shrapnel in the assembly trenches. Hosley was wounded going over the parapet by machine guns at Mad Point. He remained at duty, refusing to have his wounds dressed, and died  later that day.

Lt-Col John Hall Knight, 1/5th North Staffordshire, was born in 1865 and was commanding the battalion at the outbreak of war. On 13 October 1915 he lead his unit towards The Dump with shouts of “Forward the Potters” and “Up the Potters”. Over 500 casualties were sustained, mostly within yards of the front line, Knight being one.

Lt-Col Bertram Henry Leatham, 2nd Wiltshire, was  a captain of the Yorkshire Regiment in August 1914. He took over command of 2nd Wiltshire on 2nd June 1915. He died on 26 September, mortally wounded in the enemy attacks on Gun Trench in the early hours of the morning.

Lt-Col Bertram Percival Lefroy, 2nd Royal Warwickshire, was born in 1878. A captain of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, in August 1914 he was a GSO3 on the General Staff, serving as a GSO2 from November 1914 until he took over command of the 2nd Battalion on 14 July 1915. He was one of the first to fall, with his adjutant Captain Duke, as the unit attacked the Hohenzollern Redoubt on 25 September.

Lt-Col Edward Townshend Logan, 15th Durham Light Infantry, was born in 1865, and was commanding 3rd Cheshire (Special Reserve) in August 1914. One of the few SR COs to be given an active command, he took over 15th DLI on 24 August 1915. He was killed on 26 September in the attempts to retake Bois Hugo and Chalet Wood.

Lt-Col Gerald Hugh Charles Madden, 1st Irish Guards, born in 1872, was a major in the Reserve of Officers of the Irish Guards in August 1914. He had assumed command on 16 August 1915. On 11 October 1915 he was wounded when a shell on his HQ broke both his legs. He died on 12 November 1915.

Lt-Col George Henry Neale, 3rd Middlesex, was born in 1869, and was a major in the battalion in August 1914. He took over command on 24 April 1915, and was killed at The Dump on 28 September as his battalion withdrew.

Lt-Col Arthur Parkin, 7th Northamptonshire, born in 1862, was a major in the Reserve of Officers of the Northamptonshire Regiment in August 1914. He was the first CO of his unit from 1 October 1914, and was killed on 27 September at the Hohenzollern Redoubt, one of 350 casualties in the unit.

Lt-Col Charles Edward Radclyffe, 11th Essex, born in 1864, was an unemployed Lt-Col of the Rifle Brigade in August 1914. He was the first CO of 11th Essex, from 18 September 1914. He was killed on 26 September when his unit was supporting an attack by 72nd Brigade on the German second line trenches at Hulluch between Puits and Stutzpunkt IV. 18 officers, including Radclyffe, and 323 men became casualties, held up by uncut wire. He is commemorated on the Loos Memorial.

Colnel Frederick Charles Romer, 8th Buffs, was the oldest CO fatality of the war at the age of 63. He was born on 15 February 1853 and had become a Lieutenant in the Essex Rifles at the age of 20. He had served in South Africa 1900-1, and had retired as Lieutenant-Colonel of the 6th Lancashire Fusiliers in 1908. In 1914, he raised and trained the 8th Buffs. As Honorary Secretary of Boodles Club, he brought with him two fellow members as Majors, three as Captains, and one as a Lieutenant, as well as two of the club waiters. Romer died leading his battalion against the German second position on 26 September. Wounded in the shoulder he insisted on staying with his men, and was then shot through the heart.

Lt-Col John Raymond Evelyn Stansfeld, 2nd Gordon Highlanders, was captain and adjutant in his unit in August 1914. He took command on 17 December 1914. He was wounded at Neuve Chapelle, and mortally on 25 September, dying three days later.

Lt-Col George de Wet Verner, 7th Kings Own Scottish Borderers, was born in 1859, and was a Lt-Col of the Reserve of Officers of the KOSB, and was the unit’s first CO from 22 August 1914. Famously piped into action by Piper Laidlaw VC, Verner was one of 575 casualties, dying of wounds on 10 October.

Lt-Col Harold Ernest Walter, 8th Lincolnshire, born in 1865, was a captain of the Reserve of Officers of the Lincolnshire Regiment in August 1914. He was the unit’s second CO from 9 September 1914. He was killed in action on 26 September, near Bois Hugo, urging his men forward.

Lt-Col Claude Arthur Worthington, 2nd Buffs, was born in 1874 and was a captain in the battalion in August 1914. He took over command on 6 June 1915. He was killed in action on 28 September, and is commemorated on the Loos Memorial.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s