Veterans in City Square with a tribute to piper Daniel Laidlaw who won the Victoria Cross on the opening day of the Loos offensive. He was wounded but survived (Photo: Centenary News)

Battle of Loos 1915 - Scotland's tribute to the fallen in Dundee

Posted on centenarynews.com on 26 September 2015
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Prince Charles, Scotland's First Minister and veterans of the armed forces have paid tribute to the thousands of Scottish soldiers who fought and died at the Battle of Loos 100 years ago.

Dundee's City Square was transformed into an open-air 'cathedral' for a national commemorative service on September 26th 2015 marking the Centenary. 

Commemorations were also held in Northern France at the scene of the battle in the former mining town of Loos-en-Gohelle.

Soldiers from all 11 Scottish infantry regiments took part in Britain's biggest Western Front offensive of 1915 at Loos.

Of the 21,000 British dead, over 7,000 were Scottish soldiers.

The losses were felt throughout Scotland. It was said that 'not a street in Dundee was untouched by the battle.' 

Prince Charles, titled Duke of Rothesay in Scotland, unveils a commemorative plaque, accompanied by his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Rothesay (Photo: Centenary News)

Speaking at Caird Hall, Prince Charles recalled that his great uncle, Captain Fergus Bowes-Lyon had died while attempting to storm a fortified German position known as the Hohenzollern Redoubt.

He said: "Whatever historians may say about the purpose and direction of the battle, the story of the Battle of Loos is one that fills us all with the deepest admiration for the extraordinary courage and steadfastness in the face of fearful of fearful odds shown by men from Dundee and throughout Scotland.

"We are told that they came out of action unsubdued. Their example is deeply humbling and is something in which the people of Scotland can take enormous and justifiable pride."

Hundreds of veterans and serving members of the armed forces paraded through the streets of Dundee to the remembrance service in City Square.

A piper plays a lament on the steps of Caird Hall during the commemorations (Photo: Centenary News)

Actress Leslie Mackie read an account of the Battle of Loos. Guests gathered in front of Caird Hall heard that 'not since Culloden in 1746 had so many Scots been involved in such a serious military undertaking.'

The British Army launched its attack on September 25th 1915 in support of a wider French offensive aimed at breaking the German lines in Artois and Champagne before the onset of winter.

Britain used gas for the first time at Loos. The battle also saw the first major deployment of the volunteer units raised by War Minister Lord Kitchener.

After several of weeks of fighting, the British had lost up to 60,000 casualties (men killed, wounded or missing) and made negligible gains. German losses were around 26,000.

Wreaths were laid at the end of the service by Prince Charles, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Dundee's Lord Provost, Bob Duncan (Photo: Centenary News)

The weekend of commemorations in Dundee is part of the Scottish Government's national First World War remembrance programme.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon commented: "Almost every town and village in Scotland was affected by the losses at Loos. Battalions from every Scottish regiment fought and endured unthinkable horrors.

"We come together to ensure their legacy lives on, and to ensure our country never forgets."

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, reporting for Centenary News from Dundee

Information: WW100 Scotland

Images: Centenary News