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
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
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.
3 Ibid, 15.
4 T. Royle, The Flowers of the Forest (Edinburgh, 2007), 85.
5 Ibid, 86.
6 Ibid, 86.