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Battle of Loos Local Heroes Remembered
Thursday 22nd October 2015 @ 16:20 by Tom Greggan

Battlegrounds Tour director Nigel Dunkerley has looked into the lives and deaths of the five Glossopdale men who perished in one of the First World Wars most brutal encounters.

Last Tuesday, a service was being held at Glossop’s Norfolk Square War Memorial to commemorate the centenary of the Battle of Loos and to remember those who fought and died.

Nigel, who has carried out research into the battle and the local lives lost said: “It incurred staggering casualty figures as the British attempted to support the French to break the deadlock of trench warfare, yet the memory of the battle is now commonly overshadowed by the battles of the Somme and Passchendaele.

“Glossop and Hadfield lost at least five men during the battle and possibly many more were wounded in the fighting. Three of the men died on the same day whilst serving with the same battalion.”

The men known to have been killed during the battle were:

Private John Bernard Dwyer, aged 20, of the 1st Battalion of the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry who was the first known casualty, dying on October 1st 1915. He had arrived in France less than five months before he was killed;

Private George Sharples, aged 23, of the 2nd Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment was killed on October 3rd 1915. George was the brother of Mrs F Close of Edward Sreet and had been in France since December 1914, previously serving with the 1st Battalion;

Lance-Corporal John Robert Avision, also of the 2nd Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment. He had served previously with the regiment before the war and went to France with them on January 16 1915. He died on October 3rd 1915;

Corporal Thomas Potter was 32 years old when killed serving with the same battalion as George Sharples and John Robert Avison. He too died on October 3rd and left behind his wife, Minnie Potter, of 13 Lees Row, Padfield.

“All of the men named above are now commemorated on the Loos memorial which lists those men who died in the area during the war and have no known grave. The memorial is engraved with the names of over 20,500 men.

“Private John (known as Jack) Jepson was wounded by a bullet in the knee at the battle and lay for some hours on the battlefield before he could be safely attended to.

“He was evacuated to a hospital at the French town of Etaples but subsequently died of his wounds. He was buried in Etaples Military Cemetery. For Jack’s parents his death must have been devastating.

“They had lost a son-in-law in 1914 and Jack’s brother, Fred, was killed in February 1915. Jack himself was married with a young child.”

The Battle of Loos started on September 25ht 1915 and did not finish until mid-October. The official history of the war tells us that there were 50,000 casualties and nearly 16,000 of them were killed.

The Germans had around 19,800 casualties of which 5000 were killed.

Nigel added: “Little is known about most of the Glossopdale men listed above. Unusually, there was no obituary in the Glossop Chronicle for any of the men except Jack Jepson but their sacrifices are not forgotten.

“At the memorial on Tuesday they were remembered alongside all those who fought and died at the battle.”