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Remembered Today:

George Purnell 8 Bn R. Berks. Reg't d 25/9/15

christine liava'a

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Remembering Today:

Pte George PURNELL, 14447 8 Bn, Royal Berkshire Regt, who died on 25.09.15. Loos Memorial, France


Initials: G

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Private

Regiment: Royal Berkshire Regiment

Unit Text: 8th Bn.

Date of Death: 25/09/1915

Service No: 14447

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 93 to 95



Country: France

Locality: Pas de Calais

The Panel Numbers quoted at the end of each entry relate to the panels dedicated to the Regiment served with. In some instances where a casualty is recorded as attached to another Regiment, his name may alternatively appear within their Regimental Panels. Please refer to the on-site Memorial Register Introduction to determine the alternative panel numbers if you do not find the name within the quoted Panels.

Location Information: The Loos Memorial forms the side and back of Dud Corner Cemetery, and commemorates over 20,000 officers and men who have no known grave, who fell in the area from the River Lys to the old southern boundary of the First Army, east and west of Grenay. Loos-en-Gohelle is a village 5 kilometres north-west of Lens, and Dud Corner Cemetery is located about 1 kilometre west of the village, to the north-east of the N43 the main Lens to Bethune road.

Historical Information: Dud Corner Cemetery stands almost on the site of a German strong point, the Lens Road Redoubt, captured by the 15th (Scottish) Division on the first day of the battle. The name "Dud Corner" is believed to be due to the large number of unexploded enemy shells found in the neighbourhood after the Armistice. On either side of the cemetery is a wall 15 feet high, to which are fixed tablets on which are carved the names of those commemorated. At the back are four small circular courts, open to the sky, in which the lines of tablets are continued, and between these courts are three semicircular walls or apses, two of which carry tablets, while on the centre apse is erected the Cross of Sacrifice.

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From the extensive section on the Battle of Loos that can be found on the Long, Long Trail:

"The 1st Division began to advance a few minutes late, after casualties were suffered from the British gas which had drifted back into the assault trenches.

On the right front of 2nd Brigade it was discovered that the enemy wire was undamaged, having been out of direct observation over a crest line, and two German machine guns and heavy rifle fire played across the lines of advancing troops as desperate efforts were made to cut the wire. The succeeding lines of infantry could not move forward and took to ground just below the gentle crest line. By 7.30am the gas and smoke had cleared, completely exposing the pinned-down troops in no man's land.

The 1st Brigade did not suffer so badly from gas, and the lead battalions (10/Gloucesters and 8/R. Berkshires, both New Army units that had replaced Guards battalions in the Division in August 1915) advanced through all objectives despite heavy casualties. By 8.00am they were in Gun Trench, an intermediate line running South of the Hulluch quarries.

The attack of 1st Division had met with such intensive enemy fire that by 10.55am it was effectively halted. By 1.15pm, it had been decided at Divisional HQ to leave only a screen of men holding their existing positions, and to move remaining men of 2nd Brigade (reinforced now by 1/Gloucesters) south to exploit 15th Division's success and attack the enemy from the flank and rear. 2/Welch, coming up in support at 11.00am, crossed no man's land unobserved and managed to arrive in Gun Trench with few losses. They expected to find the 2/Royal Munster Fusiliers there, but the latter had suffered heavy casualties. The Welch moved to their right, into the valley behind where the enemy was so stoutly defending against the attacks of 2nd Brigade. At this time, the enemy launched a counter-attack against 1st Brigade, but it was easily repulsed. By 2.30pm the Welch approached the Lone Tree - Hulluch track. The Germans - 400 men of 157th Regiment - now found themselves almost surrounded and surrendered. 2nd Brigade and the units that had been attached were now able to advance, but losses were such that only 1,500 men were able to do so. By 5.20pm they had reached the Lens road near Bois Hugo, in touch with 15th Division, where they dug in".

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