Profile Page

Loos Memorial, France Loos Memorial, France
First Name: John Henry Last Name: KILSBY
Date of Death: 13/10/1915 Lived/Born In: Tidal Basin
Rank: Private Unit: East Kent (Buffs)6
Memorial Site: Loos Memorial, France

Current Information:

Age-23

45, Caxton Street, Victoria Docks

Born-Canning Town

The Battle of Loos

This battle, fought by the British Army from 25th September, 1915 through to 13th October, was conducted along a six-and-a-half-mile front running north from the mining village of Loos on the outskirts of Lens in Northern France. It was the largest offensive carried out by the British so far in the war. The opening day involved an attack by six divisions, with others entering the fray as it progressed and it was part of a much wider offensive with the French launching their own attacks in Champagne and at Vimy. It was the first time that the British used gas during the war, despite their condemnation of the Germans for doing the same in April 1915. There were some encouraging results on the first day but no major breakthrough was achieved and in the successive days the offensive became mired in trench warfare. By mid-October the battle had petered out with the British having suffered over 60,000 casualties during its course.

The last throw of the dice for the British army at Loos came on 13th October, 1915, when there was a renewal of the offensive along much of the line. But this time there were no grand ideas about a breakthrough. The objectives were far more modest and included the recapture of Fosse 8 and the Quarries and the consolidation of the line that ran along the Lens to La Bassée road. The action started at noon with a two hour bombardment of the enemy positions and once again the release of gas. The gas however was ineffective serving only to warn the Germans of the impending attack. 

When the infantry attack went in at 2pm, two brigades of 12th Division attacked the Quarries in front of Hulluch.  On the right, 37 Brigade , aided by smoke, attacked the stretch of Gun Trench still in German hands. 6th Royal West Surrey (Queens)  remained in the occupied part of Gun Trench whilst 7th East.Surrey and 6th East Kent (Buffs) charged across the 150 yards of no-man’s land.  7th East.Surrey took a 250 yard stretch of Gun Trench and although counter attacked with bombs, they went on to capture some of the communications trench leading to Cité St. Elie.  But things did not work out so well on their left where 6th East Kent had further to go and where they came up against a previously unnoticed trench which had not been targeted by the British artillery. The heavy machine gun fire from there stopped them in their tracks still within 100 yards of their starting line and very few of them made it back to their own lines. The casualties for 6th East Kent amounted to over 400 officers and men.

« Back to Search Results
If you think any of the information shown here is incorrect, Click Here to submit your amends and comments

Share

twitter icon
Copyright 2018 London War Memorial