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Loos Memorial, France Loos Memorial, France
First Name: Edward Albert Last Name: BARNES
Date of Death: 28/09/1915 Lived/Born In: West Hampstead
Rank: Private Unit: East Kent (Buffs)2
Memorial Site: 1. West Hampstead, St James 2. Loos Memorial, France

Current Information:

27 Palmerston Road, West Hampstead

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.

On 27th September, 1915, 28th Division arrived at the Loos battlefield to relieve 9th Division who had been engaged in a desperate struggle around the Hohenzollern Redoubt. 85 Brigade moved into the crowded trenches here where they were tasked with recovering Fosse 8 and The Quarries, both of which had been recaptured by an enemy counter attack. Their attack went in at 9.30am on 28th September, 1915, and for the rest of the day all four battalions of 85 Brigade, 2nd East Kent (Buffs), 3rd Middlesex, 2nd East Surrey and 3rd Royal Fusiliers were involved in fierce fighting. 1st Yorkshire Light Infantry and 1st York & Lancaster, both of 83 Brigade were involved too. 2nd East Kent (Buffs) led the attack. They charged across the open and were met with very heavy machine gun from the eleven German machine guns in the Miner’s Cottages and Slag Alley.  Cheering, they reached the edge of the Dump and clambered up the 10 metre mound. But the Dump was then plastered with shells by both sides and the attack was broken.  They crossed the summit but couldn’t reach the enemy at the opposite foot and 2nd East Kent (Buffs)  were forced back to their original trenches leaving 100 dead or wounded behind.  The German machine gun power and hand grenade supremacy had been too great and the small gains initially made were soon lost. By the evening 85 Brigade were back in the Hohenzollern Redoubt and being hard pressed by the Germans who now had a footing in both Big Willie and Little Willie, their original front line trenches. 

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