Remembering the men who died at Hohenzollern

PTE. E. Barkworth (Lincs. Regt.) of Horncastle killed October 1915
PTE. E. Barkworth (Lincs. Regt.) of Horncastle killed October 1915

On October 13 1915, soldiers from the Lincolnshire Regiment went into battle at the German position of Hohenzollern, near the French village of Auchy-les Mines.

The attack took place on the last afternoon of the Battle of Loos, with the aim of defeating the German enemy and reaching ‘The Hump’, an old mine slag heap which controlled the high ground, housing observation posts and machine guns.

It was to be in vain. With the 1/4th and 1/5th Lincolnshire Regiments the first to go over the top. They were wiped out in less than half an hour. The loss of life was devastating.

Next month marks 100 years since the day 3,762 men were killed and around 7,000 wounded. Of those who fought in the battle, nine are known to be from Horncastle - their names immortalised on the town’s war memorial.

In a bid to honour the men, Horncastle and District Royal British Legion is organising a service next month in recognition of the sacrifice they made - a century to the day of the tragic battle at Hohenzollern.

Mike Allard, branch chairman, said: “We are hoping to hold a two minute silence during the service and are inviting any descendants of those that fought in the battle to attend.

“During the battle at Hohenzollern it is important to note that in the space of 10 minutes, the greatest loss of life was sacrificed.”

Records from the fateful day state it started with the “usual artillery barrage early morning and, after a lengthy pause, it was followed later with a gas attack.” The Battle of Loos, which took place from September 27 - October 14 1915 was the first time the British used poison gas.

“The gas attack proved to be ineffective, with the high command said to have demanded another pause before the troops went over the top. The Germans were then given the opportunity to occupy their positions ready for the expected attack with a clear field of fire down no mans land.”

The remembrance service will be held on October 13 at 1pm at the War Memorial Centre in North Street.