David Childs

Throughout September the British prepared for a big push across the open ground at Loos. It was an assault unsupported by Haig, who was to command it and unfavoured by Field Marshal French who approved it to show solidarity with the hard pressed French. The Germans knew that the attack was coming, holding up large banners in their trenches saying,"When is the big push coming off? We are waiting". Meanwhile they were making sure their machine guns covered every inch of the land including its abandoned villages and slag heaps.

The assault began with an inadequate barrage and a chlorine gas attack by the British which went disastrously wrong when the fickle wind changed and blew the gas back into our own trenches. The idiosyncrasies of battle include the London Irish kicking a football all the way to the German trenches - the football survived.

Piper Laidlaw won a VC for piping the Kings Own Scottish Borderers over the top and John Kipling, only son of Rudyard, was reported, 'missing, believed killed' on 27 September. His grandparents lie buried in Tisbury churchyard.


Following the public announcement of the loss of John Kipling the following poem, by RFW Rees, appeared in The Globe:

There was a singer of songs-o, a wonderful singer,
Son of the skalds who made valorous songs for our sires,
And he speeded his song on the wings of the waves and the tempest,
Calling a soul to the day of our slothful desires.

Bravely he sang - but they asked him for more than his singing,
Asked of him more than his wondrous children of song;
And he gave with a heart that with joy healed the braking of sorrow,
And tendered his all that the arm of the King might be strong.

Bravely he sang-o, his song brings a solace to mourning,
Halving the tears that are sorrow's with tears that are pride's.
And the song in his heart shall o'ershadow the pain and the weeping
As the glory of death gives proud men to the anguish it hides.


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