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Loos

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Another name vaguely familiar from various Colours and memorials and pronounced, "Loss," by the French

In 1915 it was a small mining village near Lens.

Of those who were there, Major General Richard Hilton (FOO at the time) subsequently wrote:

"A great deal of nonsense has been written about Loos. The real tradgedy of that battle was its nearness to complete success. Most of us who reached the crest of Hill 70 and survived were firmly convinced that we had broken through on that Sunday, 25 September, 1915. There seemed nothing ahead of us but an unoccupied and incomplete trench system. The only two things that prevented our advancing into the suburbs of Lens were, firstly the exhaustion of the Jocks (for they had undergone a bellyful of marching and fighting that day) and secondly the flanking fire of numerous German machine-guns which swept that bare hill from some factory buildings in Cité St Auguste to the south of us.

All that we needed was more artillery ammunition to blast those clearly located machine-guns and some infantry to take over from the weary and depleted Jocks. But, alas neither ammunition nor reinforcements were immediately available and the great opportunity passed."

Private Frank Richards DCM MM wrote:

"The Young Soldier called us three bloody old pessimists and said that if the attack did come off on the 25th there couldn't be many Jerries left alive after our bombardment had finished with them, and what was left our gas would soon polish off. The Old Soldier then had a fit of swearing and wound up by calling upon J. C. and all his Angels to knock a bit of sense into the Young Soldier's pound."

British casualties in the first 24 hours of this battle amounted to some 25 000 men.