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Sanctuary Wood (Hill 62) and The Battle of Loos - The First World War - 1915

Some of the heaviest fighting in the First World War was fought in the Battlefield's of Sanctuary Wood between 1915-16. The more frequently used name of this site is Hill 62. (Ridges were called Hills in the First World War, the number denotes how high above sea level they were). In October 1914 the area was silent and peaceful hence the use of the name Sanctuary Wood, but that began to change as by 1915 the woods became part of the Frontlines. The Germans launched many attacks in the area but was eventually stopped when the Canadians retook control of Sanctuary Wood. The trees were blasted and full of bullet holes and shell fragments. The first attack by the Germans in the war was also where Captain Noel Chavasse (the son of the bishop of Liverpool) won his military cross in June 1915 for 'Untiring efforts in personally searching the ground between our line and enemy's for which many of the wounded owe their lives'. Noel Chavasse took part in the attack on Sanctuary wood in September 1915. He wrote a letter home, describing very vividly the area:

'The dearest and most dreadful spot in the whole of that desolation of abomination called the firing line"

Many troops from India participated in the Battle of Loos.

September 1915 also saw a development in the technology of War, as the German's introduced the new aircraft, the Albatros.

The Albatros was the first German fighter to have two machine guns without coming in the way of flying. It went into action in the autumn of 1915. The Albatros D-II was an improved version which joined the Albatros D-I in action. On the Western Front, it was the best performing aircraft at the time, and it gave a distinct advantage over the Allies.

The Battle of Loos.

In May 1915 Artois was attacked. A man called Henri - Phillipe Petain and the 9th French Army launched this attack. Henri - Phillipe made a good effort but failed to hit the main objective of Vimy Ridge. Later that year on the 25th September, the Anglo - French forces launched another attack at Artois and nearby Loos.


A man called General Auguste Dubail and the Tenth French Army made some progress at attacking Artois. One division even managed to reach the top of Vimy Ridge. However Count Prince Rupprecht and the Sixth German Army made sure that the French didn't make any long - term effects.

General Sir Douglas Haig and his First British Army attacked at Loos. By the end of the first day of attacks the British troops were already on the suburbs of Lens. The Germans knew they had to force the British back so they did it by strong counter attacks on the them. When the British attacked again and suffered heavy losses, Sir John French decided to bring an end to it all.


The British lost 50,000 casualties, the French 48,000 and the Germans 24,000. Then finally the battle ended.

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