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Loos Memorial, France Loos Memorial, France
First Name: Frederick George Last Name: HALL
Date of Death: 28/09/1915 Lived/Born In: Waterloo
Rank: Private Unit: Royal Berkshire1
Memorial Site: Loos Memorial, France

Current Information:

Age-22

32 Algar Buildings, Webber Row, Waterloo Road

Born-Marylebone

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. 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 of the battle it became bogged down in brutal trench warfare. By mid-October the battle had petered out with the British having suffered over 60,000 casualties during its course.

On 25th September, 1915, 7th Division had attacked along a 1400 yard front between the Vermelles-Hulluch road and the Hohenzollern Redoubt which contained a number of German strongholds, not least of which was the Quarries, a great chalk excavation, one hundred yard wide, 20 feet deep and with steep sides honey-combed with dug-outs. This was captured but in the early hours of 26th September, the Germans counter-attacked and re-took it. This blocked the way for an advance on Cité St. Elie so it was decided that a force from 2nd Division, all of whom were now back in their original line after the failure of their attack on 25th September,  should be used to recapture it and 1st King’s Royal Rifle Corps and 1st Royal Berkshire, both of 6 Brigade and 2nd Worcestershire from 5 Brigade were chosen for the task. Known as Carter’s Force they moved independently to Vermelles on the morning of 26th September.  Rain and the state of the trenches delayed this attack until 4pm and then, because there were delays in reaching Vermelles, it was made only by 2nd Worcestershire plus two companies and the machine guns of 1st King’s Royal Rifle Corps.  They advanced by alternate platoons and despite incurring  heavy casualties they got as far as a partially dug communication trench across the Loos-Haisnes-La Bassee road, 200 yards short of the Quarries.  1st Royal Berkshire came up after dark and  the position was consolidated.

Another of the enemy strongholds in this sector was a coal mine known as Fosse 8. This had been captured on the first day but on 27th September, 1915, it was retaken by the Germans and now it fell to 1st Royal Berkshire to recapture it. At 2.30am on 28th September, 1915, they began their advance over half a mile over unknown ground in bright moon light. When they were half way across the Germans opened heavy fire but nevertheless they pressed on to within 70 metres of the Fosse at which point they could go no further.  The support companies came up and reached the nearby Dump but were then driven back by enemy bombing.  With daylight approaching, 1st Royal Berkshire returned to the old British front line having suffered over 300 casualties in this fruitless action.

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