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The Worst Day - 25 September 1915

It may be of surprise to some that for Old Alleynians the worst day of the First World War was not the result of events in the totemic battles of the Somme, Third Ypres or the Ludendorff Offensive, but of one day in September 1915. Cumulatively these other battles saw a higher rate of casualties (73 OAs died on the Somme, 7 on July 1st alone), but 25th September 1915 marks the single worst day in the First World War, and indeed, we believe in the College’s 400 years. On that day 9 OAs were killed, all on the first day of the battle of Loos.
 
  • Lieutenant TP Wood (1896-1901)

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    Wood_TP
  • 2nd Lieutenant CG Weitzmann (1896-1899)

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    Weitzmann_CG
  • Captain LCF Oldfield (1899-1903)

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    Oldfield_LCF
  • Major KR McCloughin (1899-1901)

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    McCloughin_KR
  • Captain HD MacCall (1896-1899)

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    9/18/2015 12:04:41 PM
    Maccall_HD
  • Lieutenant LP Long (1909-1912)

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    Long_LP
  • Captain DM Hanna (1882-1888)

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    Hanna_DM
  • Major GD Campbell (1891-1896)

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    9/18/2015 12:04:40 PM
    Campbell_GD
  • 2nd Lieutenant HO Beer (1908-1914)

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    9/18/2015 12:04:40 PM
    Beer_HO

The Battle of Loos

Loos was part of an Anglo-French offensive against the German front lines where British political and French military pressures overrode the concerns of British commanders on the Front to attack heavily reinforced German positions. The attack was a disaster, and the British lost 59,000 casualties in three days.

Looking at the careers of these 9 is itself a window on the changing face of the British Army in the Great War: 3 were army regulars, those who has joined before 1914, and all were officers in Indian regiments; three were part of the Army reserve, those who has served in university OTCs, or left the army before 1914 or been part of the Volunteers; and three were those who had responded to Kitchener’s call in 1914, the New Army, most of whom would see their first day of battle on the Somme in 1916.