Published By Ben Hillidge
Railway Wood, Ypres. Diversionary Action Battle of Loos.5 Bn King’s Shropshire Light Infantry. 25 September 1915.
In mid September the 5 Bn KSLI were in bivouacs about 2 miles north of Poperinghe. Time had been spent training and practicing for their part in the Battle of Loos. They were to act as a diversion to draw forces and attention from the main assault to the south. Ther diversionary attack was planned for early on the morning of 25 September. During the night of 23-24 September they moved up to their assault position in trenches at Railway Wood. At 3.50am the British laid down an intense bombardment which lasted for about half an hour. The enemy immediately retaliated with shelling that continued throughout the day resulting in 1 officer and 8 ORs being killed.
The next morning, 25 September, at 3.50am another British bombardment was laid down. Under cover of this the men got into position with A, D and part of B company immediately forward of the front line and with C and the other half of B company in support remaining in the trenches. At 4.20am the troops went over and the battalion stormed the enemy lines. As far as the battalion was concerned their objectives were quickly achieved and they occupied the front and second enemy line. However, the battalions attacking on their right and left flank were held up. Consequently the position of the 5 Bn KSLI became perilous and untenable. There was nothing to do but retire and by 8.15am they had moved back to their original line which by this time had been wrecked by heavy shelling. The enemy continued to shell their position throughout the morning and then again from 9pm to midnight. There was also the danger of occasional British shells falling short The battalion was relieved at 11.30pm and returned to billets near Poperinghe. Casualties for the action were: officers, 3 KIA, 5 wounded, 2 missing: ORs 41 KIA, 280 wounded, 100 missing. Some of the missing made their way back over the next few days.
GOOGLE MAPS Centres of CWGC cemetery RE Grave, Railway Wood
References and Sources WAR DIARY 5Bn KSLI. History KSLI.
B&O 1915 Loos. Diversionary action Battle of Loos. Ypres. Railway Wood. 5 Bn KSLI. 25 Sept 1915.