Lance Corporal 15423 David John Lovell

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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

Loos 1915 by Nick Lloyd (Page 145)
The 8th Berks were: "Just south of Vermelles-Hulloch road at Bois Carré - took the German front line, but due to difficulties getting reserves and supplies up in support, lack of artillery support and strengthening of the German reserves, were unable to take the second line."

1st Division (which included the 8th Berks) had problems with gas released but not moving towards the enemy but staying in their own area, and also gas from the 15th Division drifting. Initially held up but by 3.50pm they had cleared the Germans from Lone Tree, the last piece of good news on the day.

The 8th Berkshires lost a staggering 170 Other Ranks on 25th September, the majority have no known grave but David Lovell is buried in Dud Corner Cemetery.

If anyone wants even more detail.....
War Diary 25th September 1915
5:50AM. The intensive Bombardment, preparatory to the attack on the German position SOUTH of the HULLOCH ROAD, began, the enemy's artillery at once replying, though they inflicted little damage and caused few casualties in our front-line trenches. Simultaneously with the bombardment, the gad company began to operate the gas cylinders which were in the front-line trench, and there then occurred several casualties from poisoning, caused it supposed, by leakages in the cylinders.
6:28AM. The gas now ceased, and smoke bombs were thrown from the front-line trenches, proving entirely successful in screening our Advance.
6:30AM. The fire of our artillery lifted, and Battalion advanced in quick time, to assault the first line Enemy Trenches, the 10th Gloucester Regt being on the right, the 2nd Gordons on the left. The advance was opposed by heavy artillery and machine-gun fire, while the wire in front of the German trenches was found to be scarcely damaged, and it was in cutting a way through this obstacle that most of the regiment's heavy casualties occurred. Shrapnel and machine-gun combined to play havoc in our ranks, and an additional disaster was the blowing back of our gas, by the wind, into our own ranks. However, after a struggle, the German first line was penetrated, and the trench found to be practically deserted, the enemy apparently, having deserted it earlier in the day, merely leaving behind sufficient men to work the machine-guns. Mainly overland, but with some men working up the communication trench, our line advanced successively to the 2nd and 3rd German lines, and met with but slight opposition. From the 3rd line a further advance was made, and an Enemy Field Gun captured. A 4th line German trench was also seized, but being in so incomplete a state that it afforded little cover from rifle fire and none whatever from shrapnel. COLONEL WALTON ordered the line to be withdrawn to the 3rd German line trench, and this position was occupied until the Battalion was relieved.
6:30PM circa. The following is a report by Lt. Col. GENTRY-BIRCH:- "At this point (i.e. when the Battalion was negotiating in German wire) about 50 of the 8th R. Berks R became separated from the remainder of the Battalion and attached themselves to the Gordons advancing and taking the German guns in the 4th line German trench. They then advanced and occupied the road WEST of HULLUCH. We were unable to advance further owing to our artillery fire, which was falling short. We waited for support to come up, in the meantime starting to dig ourselves in." 3:30PM "At 3.30PM the Germans counter-attacked, driving in our flanks and as the support had not yet arrived we were compelled to retire, holding a position about 100 yds WEST of the road. The Berks numbers were reduced to about half. On receiving news that the supports were coming up we again advanced to the road which we proceeded to place in a state of defense." 11:30PM. "At 11.30PM the Germans again counter-attacked in large numbers driving in our right flank. We retired to the position we had before held in the afternoon. The Germans continued to push the counter-attack. Our support line then opened fire and we were caught between the two fires. We then made our way as well as possible to our supporting line (the German 4th line). Only 6 of the Berkshires returned safely. The Germans continued to push the counter-attack, but suffered heavily and were driven back. C. GENTRY-BIRCH LT."

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."