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First Name: William Last Name: HAGREEN
Date of Death: 05/10/1915 Lived/Born In: Hammersmith
Rank: Private Unit: Royal Fusiliers9
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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.

By the beginning of October, 1915, the British offensive at Loos had come to a standstill. Some ground had been gained, but not much and the Germans were launching a series of counter attacks. Nevertheless the Battle still had legs in the opinion of the high command and fresh divisions were sent to the battlefield to relieve those that had been shattered in the earlier stages of the action. One of these new divisions was the 12th Division which arrived from Ypres on 30th September, 1915.

 

On this day, 9th Royal Fusiliers of 36 Brigade, 12th Division relieved a battalion of the Grenadier Guards in the front line at Le Rutoire, just to the east of Vermelles, where enemy artillery was very active. Despite these dangers, 9th Royal Fusiliers, along with the other units of 12th Division were set to work preparing trenches, roads and gun positions for the renewal of the offensive, work that they continued with until relieved on 7th October. Private Hagreen died of wounds on this day and it is likely he was one of the many wounded during this period in the front line.

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