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battle of loos

Loos was not a battle of Britain’s choosing.

It was fought in support of French operations

in Artois and Champagne. Politically, it was

important that Britain was seen to be playing

her part in support of her French ally.

The British Expeditionary Force would attack

on a wide front extending from the

La Bassée Canal to Loos.

At the outset Haig had serious reservations about the proposed

offensive. The German defences overlooked the British front

line along its full length, and the ground between was open,

devoid of cover, and studded with industrial buildings and mine

workings, which presented a difficult challenge to Haig’s First



The advantage as regards the Loos battlefield was clearly

with the German defenders. The advance would be made by six

divisions, with three in reserve, supported by over one hundred

heavy guns.


The attacking force included three Regular, one Territorial

Force and two New Army divisions – 9th and 15th (Scottish)



Thirty-six battalions, half the number which

participated in the opening stages of the battle, were from

Scottish regiments.


In total, over 30,000 Scots would take

part in the attack, most serving in the two Kitchener Divisions,

complemented by a core of regular soldiers, and territorials,

representing communities from across Scotland.


The ranks of

these battalions, representative of each of the ten Scottish

infantry regiments, were not exclusively ‘Scottish’. The kilt

and Scotland’s martial traditions had broad appeal. But, the

disproportionate number of Scots who went over the top at 6.30

a.m. on 25 September 1915 ensured Loos would be remembered as

a Scottish battle.

2 Ibid.

3 Ibid, 15.

4 T. Royle, The Flowers of the Forest (Edinburgh, 2007), 85.

5 Ibid, 86.

6 Ibid, 86.