Lance Corporal 15423 David John Lovell

Lovell David 96 4111x600Lovell David 96 400x600

Killed in Action on Saturday, 25th September 1915, age 29.
Buried in Grave VI. E. 11. at Dud Corner Cemetery, Loos, Pas De Calais, France.

8th Bn., Royal Berkshire Regiment. 1st Brigade of 1st Division.

Eldest Son of Mrs Dora Lovell, of 212, Burnt Tree, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Dudley, Enlisted: Smethwick, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, 7th August 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Dudley Clock Tower Memorial.
Commemorated here because identified as Tipton on 'Soldiers Died in the Great War'.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/527540/

Genealogical Data

Birth of David John Lovell registered September quarter 1886 in Dudley.

1901 Census
119 Salop Street, Dudley, Worcs.
Dora Lovell (45, Widow, Living on Own Means, born Dudley), and 4 of her children: David J. (14, fended Fitter, born Dudley), Dora H. (13, born Dudley), Mary Sophia (10, born Dudley), and Thomas (9, born Dudley).

1911 Census
119 Salop Street, Dudley, Worcs.
Dora Hannah Lovell (55, Widow, born Dudley), and 2 of her surviving 4 children of 9: Mary Sophia (20, Printer's Assistant, born Dudley), and Thomas (19, Brass and Iron Dresser, born Dudley). No trace of David.

Personal Data

Unfortunately 'Soldiers Died in the Great War' has this man's details incorrectly recorded. His surname is wrongly spelt as Lovett, and his date of death as 25th September 1916.

After David's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £2/9/0d (2 pounds and 9 shillings); this was paid to his mother and sole legatee, Dora, in January 1916. His War Gratuity was £3/10/0d (3 pounds and 10 shillings), this was also paid to his mother in August 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that David had enlisted in approximately September 1914.

Action resulting in his death

The 8th Royal Berkshires (8/Berks) and 10th Gloucesters (10/Glos) were New Army battalions who landed in France in August 1915. They joined the 1st Brigade of the prestigious 1st Division, replacing two Guards battalions moving to the newly-formed Guards Division. On 25th September, these inexperienced New Army battalions were to lead the attack for 1st Division in the opening attack of the Battle of Loos.

The 1st Brigade was the first wave for 1st Division attacking from just in front of Vermelles eastwards towards Hulloch. The 8/Berks had their left flank on the Vermelles/Hulloch road (see the map), the 10/Glos were located to the south of them. In front of the Royal Berkshires, in No-Man’s-Land, was La Haie wood.

The attack began at 06.30am after an artillery bombardment and the release of gas. The wind was generally not favourable, and the gas affected the British troops as much as the Germans; the 8/RBerks were not the worst affected of the British troops, but still had men out of action before the attack commenced.

The 8/RBerks quickly advanced to the wire in front of the German front-line trench, this had not been cut by the bombardment and many casualties were suffered trying to cut a way through. Once through the wire, and despite losses from machine-guns and artillery, the 8/RBerks took the German front-line with little resistance.

After reorganising, the 8/RBerks continued their advance and took the German 2nd line and 3rd line trenches (Gun Trench) by 08.00am. A move forward to the German 4th line trench was a move too far as there was little cover to be had, so they were ordered to fall back to the 3rd line and to dig in. Here they remained until they were relieved.

Their New Army comrades, 10/Glos, were equally successful. This success came at enormous cost to the 2 battalions in what was their first action. To their right, the other 2 battalions of 1st Brigade (1st Loyal North Lancs and 2nd King’s Royal Rifle Corps) were not as successful, being held up by un-cut wire and machine-guns.

The 8/RBerks had 493 casualties (killed, missing and wounded) on the 25th September of whom 170 men and 10 officers were killed. The majority of the 8/RBerks killed that day have no known grave and are commemorated on the Loos Memorial. David, however, is buried in Dud Corner Cemetery (site of the Loos Memorial) as his body was recovered some time later from a position just 50 yards to the north of the famous Lone Tree and re-interred in Dud Corner.
Lovell David Loos 1st Div

Map drawn with reference to 1915 Vol 2 Official History by Sam Eedle Design, many thanks to Sam for permission to use.

Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald September 30th 1916
LOVELL.- In loving memory of Lance-Corporal D.J. Lovell, of the Royal Berks, dearly beloved son of Mrs Lovell, Burnt Tree; killed in action September 25th 1915. Silently mourned by mother, brother Tom, and sisters, and all friends.

Dudley Herald September 28th 1918
In loving memory of Lance Corporal David John Lovell, late of Salop Street, killed in action September 25th 1915. Not forgotten by mother, brothers and sisters.
"Days of sadness still come o'er us,
Secret tears still flow;
But memory keeps our loved ones near us,
Though he died three years ago."