Private Michael Rowley

Private Michael Rowley, “C” Coy., 11th ( Service ) Battalion, Highland Light Infantry. He was killed in action in France on 25th September 1915, aged 22, on the first day of the Battle of Loos. He was the son of William and Mary Anne Rowley of 17 Bell Tower Place, Berwick and is buried in Cambrin Churchyard Extension, Loos, France. The Battalion was part of 9th ( Scottish) Division and was tasked to capture a German position called ” Madagascar Trench “. Previous attacks had failed and it had been pointed out further assaults would be pointless. Another attack was ordered but the Artillery bombardment was mistimed and in the face of intense machine gun fire their was no chance of any meaningful advance.. The Battalion and their fellow attackers in the 9th Scottish Rifles had over 400 casualties. The first photo shows   an actual assault with the troops disappearing into the clouds of smoke and gas. This was the first time in the War that the British Army used gas. The second shows the village of Loos after its capture. The artist’s nightmarish illustration depicts a Battalion attack at Loos with the troops wearing their gas hoods and using primitive grenades.

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