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Photo provided by Nicolas Wheatley Photo provided by Nicolas Wheatley
First Name: Raphael Harry Arthur Last Name: GOMILA
Date of Death: 26/09/1915 Lived/Born In: Southfields
Rank: Sapper Unit: Royal Engineers 4th London Field Coy
Memorial Site: Chelsea, St Luke

Current Information:

46, Engadine Street, Southfields


Nouex-les-Mines Communal Cemetery, France


The 4th London Field Company of the Royal Engineers went to France in the Spring of 1915 as part of the 47th (London) Division. Their first major action came with the Battle of Loos in September, 1915 which was fought by the British Army from 25th September, 1915 through to 13th October,  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.

On 25th September, 1915, 47th (2nd London) Division  attacked on the right of the British line with French troops holding a passive front in front of Lens on their right. They advanced along a 2500 yard front and had as their objectives the great dumps of Fosse 11 and Fosse 12, the Double Crassier and the Loos Crassier.  The waste from these pits had been shot into the valley rather than built up into a pyramid, forming two high embankments.  The Double Crassier was two 1200 yard long embankments about 100 feet high.  Two sections of 4th London Field Company accompanied the infantry and at some stage of the second day of the battle, 26th September, Raphael Gomila was killed.


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