Private 2679 Stephen William Lounds

Killed in Action on Wednesday, 13th October 1915, age 21.
Commemorated on Panel 73 to 76 of Loos Memorial, Pas De Calais, France.

'B' Company of 1st/6th Bn., South Staffordshire Regiment. 137th Brigade of 46th Division.

Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Wolverhampton, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, 5th March 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the St. John's Memorial.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/734429/

Genealogical Data

Birth of Stephen William Lounds registered December quarter 1894 in Dudley.

1891 Census
2 Brickyard Road, Princes End, Tipton, Staffs.
Stephen Lounds (27, Coal Miner, born Tipton), his wife Annie (21, born Sedgley), and their daughter Mary A. (9 months, born Tipton).

1901 Census
3 Brickyard Road, Princes End, Tipton, Staffs.
Annie Lounds (30, Widow, born Princes End), and her 5 children: Mary Ann (10, born Princes End), Jane (9, born Princes End), Stephen (6, born Princes End), Phoebe (4, born Princes End), and George (1, born Princes End).

1911 Census
1 Brickyard Road, Princes End, Tipton, Staffs.
After the death of his widowed mother Annie in 1908, Stephen and his siblings were living with their grandparents William and Ellen Stringer:
Stephen Lounds (16, Coal Miner, born Princes End), Rebecca (14, born Princes End), and George (11, born Princes End).

Personal Data

Stephen Lounds is commemorated on St. John's Memorial as S. Lowndes. This is the only place using that surname spelling.

An article by Andrew Thornton on Tom Morgan's "Hellfire Corner" site quotes a letter written by Stephen on 6th May 1915, trying to reassure his relatives and friends at home: (sic)
"Lily, I have just heard off Albert that your mother is worrying herself to death over us but tell her it goes hard with us when we here that they am put so much about but try and cheer her up as you know that someone as got to come and save there country and it was in our heart to join for true so tell her from me she as got two good lads who are fighting for there country and that they are in good health and hearty."

Action resulting in his death

The 1/6th South Staffs arrived in France between the 3rd and 5th March 1915. They moved to Armentieres on 20th March and then to Fletre for further training. In April the battalion marched to Wulveringhem in Belgium alternating between trench duties and further training. In June 1915 they moved nearer to Ypres, and for the next 2 months spent time at the feared Hill 60.

On 2nd October the 1/6th moved back into France to take part in the second stage of the Loos Offensive. Further training preceded the march to the assembly trenches near Vermelles on 12th October.

At noon on 13th October, a fine sunny day, the attack commenced. The 1/5th and 1/6th South Staffs were to attack the West Face of the heavily defended Hohenzollern Redoubt, from the trench known as Big Willie which was already partly held by the 1/5th South Staffs. The South Staffs battalions were to attack in 4 waves; 'B' and 'C' companies of the 1/5th, followed by 'A' and 'D' companies of the 1/5th, followed by 'A' and 'C' companies of the 1/6th, and finally 'B' and 'D' companies of the 1/6th.

The first wave hardly got out of their trench due to devastating machine gun fire decimating their number. The second wave made their advance unaware of the disaster in front of them and suffered similarly high casualties. The third wave followed on as ordered, as they too were unaware of the situation in front due to lack of communication and the smoke intended to mask the South Staffs advance. The fourth wave also took losses, but at this point the attack was called off.

The 1/5th South Staffs, who provided the first and second waves, had over 100 men killed on the day or died from wounds in the next week. The 1/6th South Staffs, who provided the third and fourth waves, lost over 125 men. The attack was a costly failure and this in effect was the culmination of the Battle of Loos. This was the single most expensive day for the 46th (North Midlands) Division, even though it was involved in July 1st 1916 at Gommecourt. The Division had casualties of 180 Officers and 3583 Other Ranks. As Edmonds wrote in the Official History ".. it was a long time before the Division recovered from the effects of 13th October."

Stephen Lounds, like the majority of the men killed here, has no known grave and is commemorated on the Loos Memorial at Dud Corner, in sight of the Hohenzollern Redoubt.

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