Loos 1915: The Little Girl of Loos
Today is the 97th Anniversary of the Battle of Loos and this image connections us with the tragedy of that day – the human cost in lives as the soldiers of both sides fell in their thousands on 25th September 1915. But this image is not of a soldier or a warrior, but of a little girl. Written on it is the legend ‘Returned From France after Battle of Loos’. A postcard photograph, it was taken in Reading – where I bought it when I lived there in the early 1990s. The Royal Berkshire Regiment, the local unit to Reading, had several battalions involved in the fighting at Loos and it likely was the daughter of one of their men who went over the top that day. What happened to him? How did he become separated from this image? One veteran I interviewed recalled seeing postcards like this blowing around the battlefield, scattered from the pockets of men killed and wounded. Some soldiers picked them up, knowing how such treasures would be missed, and sent them back to local newspapers who printed them after big battles like Loos. Whether this one was ever reunited with its owner or whether this young girl grew up without a father we will never know – but it remains a powerful image and a link to the tragedy the Great War caused.