The Tragedy of Loos - The Bulletin SCOTLAND’S DAILY PICTURE PAPER - Friday, November 19, 1915

The Tragedy of Loos - The Bulletin SCOTLAND’S DAILY PICTURE PAPER - Friday, November 19, 1915

24th September 1915 - 27th September 1915

Camerons! Slainte! At the head of the list of V.C.’s published today stands the name of Major (Temporary Lieutenant-Colonel) Angus Falconer Douglas-Hamilton, commanding 6th Battalion the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders. Read the little story attached, and if you have tears to shed, drop one on the grave of this noble man. For he is dead. He died at Hill 70 on September 26 after earning the Cross and this commendation from his chief – “It was mainly due to his bravery, untiring energy, and splendid leadership that the line at this point was enabled to check the enemy’s advance.” Only a Major from the Reserve of Officers, denied apparently the substantive rank of his post, abandoned by some person or persons whose conduct is being inquired into. Let him pass! you say. Yes, with hundreds of heroes, named and unnamed, of this war, but he goes to the Shades with our thanks and blessing. We all know boys who served with him and are glad that they served and suffered under such a gallant and efficient soldier. We will never forget Angus Douglas-Hamilton. It is not only for his glory and the glory of the 6th that we single out this name. We are not going to conspuer anybody, but we simply must hark back to the story of the day when Colonel Douglas-Hamilton won the V.C. and one of his subalterns, Joseph Wilson, the Military Cross. Indeed, the official notices issued with these honours oblige us to, for they fill out the tale. And if you really wish to know how the war is being fought, that tale you must learn and think over. The 6th Camerons were in the 15th Division (all Scots Kitchener’s) when the attack was started on September 25. We do not pretend to know the whole story, but the 6th went for Hill 70 and took it. It was a fine piece of work, but it was too quick. The Staff had not allowed for such speed or for the terrifying push of the 15th Division. Don’t blame the Staff for that yet awhile. Don’t blame – yet awhile either – that brigade of the 1st Division which was held up on the left of the 15th, whereby our Division was exposed to enfilading fire. Because it was exposed it had to fall back that afternoon, and the 6th Camerons spent that night holding on to the west side of Hill 70 – all that could be retained. Next day. Ah! fatal tomorrow. That was the enemy’s turn. It should also have been the turn of the 11th Corps (21st and 24th Divisions) at Hill 70. When the day broke the advanced positions were held by the shattered 15th Division, including a fraction – we cannot say exactly how small – of the 6th Camerons. On came the enemy in masses again and again. Where were the supports? The inquiry will tell somebody what had become of the 21st and 24th Divisions since they were sent into the battle on the previous day. General French could not tell us a fortnight ago. However, they turned up now, and were sent forward to meet the Germans attacking the Hill 70 positions. They broke. Suspend judgement; these were Kitchener Divisions, too, unblooded. They broke. Poor fellows! But so, the 6th Camerons were shot down like rabbits in a battue4. There is no doubt about it. Read the official paragraphs in the “Gazette.” Of the Colonel we read that on this 26th of September, “when the battalions on his right and left had retired, he rallied his own battalion again and again, and led his men forward four times. The last time he led all that remained, consisting of about 50 men, in a most gallant manner, and was killed at their head.” Compare what is said of Lieutenant Wilson – “He collected and rallied stragglers and led them through the troops of another division who were retiring.” It is a story that tears the heart. You are proud when you read it, but it makes you want to kill somebody. Yet that is unworthy, as King Lear showed us. Down, hysterica passio! It will help any of you who lost a son on the 26th, take this for true – Sir John French has vouched for it. The 6th Camerons by their self-sacrifice did the work of brigades that day. It will be a good thing for the Army if you insist on knowing the result of the inquiry. Anyhow, you will join in raising a cairn somewhere to the memory of Angus Falconer Douglas-Hamilton “for most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty.”

Created by: Christine3721

  • Profile picture for Joseph Wilson

    Born 1887

    Died 1917

    British Army Second Lieutenant Cameron Highlanders

    British Army Temporary Captain Cameron Highlanders

    British Army Captain Cameron Highlanders