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The Black Watch (Royal Highlanders)
Killed in Action,
13th October 1915
Commemorated on Loos Memorial.
Tom Lacey Nuttall was born in February 1892 at New Pleasant Street, Acre, Haslingden. He was the son of Thomas and Nancy Ann Nuttall and was baptised at St. John’s Church, Stonefold in April 1892. In 1901 Tom lived at 429, Blackburn Road, Rising Bridge with his parents and brother John William and sister Sarah Jane. Prior to enlistment he worked as a spinner. He enlisted in Rawtenstall on 1 March 1915. He was then aged 23 years and one day. He was reported missing in action near Hulloch, France, on 13 October 1915. It is believed that he was engaged in the Battle of Loos.
At the time of his death, his parents resided at 457, Blackburn Road, Acre, Haslingden. Tom Lacey Nuttall’s name appears on the Loos Memorial to the Missing at Dud Corner Cemetery, near loos, France.
"On 11 October 1915 the battalion relieved the 10th Gloucestershire Regiment in the front line in readiness for the planned assault on the German positions. The following day four companies were placed in the front line and in a new assembly line 60 yards behind.
At 6 am on the 13th the British artillery started a seven hour bombardment to destroy German positions and cut their wire.
At 1 pm the British discharged gas and a thousand smoke grenades were thrown out every six yards at given intervals until 1.55 pm. Five minutes later two platoons of the Battalion advanced, after cutting through their own wire. Each platoon had its wire-cutting section and 12 men carrying Fumite bombs.
The objective of the Battalion was exactly 500 yards away. Machine guns opened a covering fire from the rear. The total strength of the Battalion in the attack was 14 officers and 536 men.
The leading platoons reached the German wire and found it uncut. They tried to cut it or lift the stakes. At the same time two German machine guns fired on two supporting platoons coming forward with picks and shovels, killing and wounding most of them. Because of the smoke and gas it was difficult for anyone to know what was happening and it was thought that the platoons had entered the German trenches.
Heavy fire from German machine guns caused many casualties amongst the bombers and prevented any further progress with the wire cutting.
Between 2.45 pm and 3.10 pm more supporting platoons were sent from the Battalion trenches and these came under further heavy fire. Further reports that the platoons had got into the German trenches proved to be wrong. More bombs sent from the Battalion trenches never reached the front companies.
At 7.25 pm instructions were received to hold the present position until further orders. By then every officer of the Battalion had become a casualty. At 8.50 pm a patrol of six men reconnoitred a sunken lane to the right of the objective. All the patrol were killed or wounded.
At 11.45 pm orders came for an attack on the same objective by another Brigade and for the Battalion to re-organise and hold the first British lines. This was completed by 12.20 am on 14 October.
The total casualties suffered that day by the Black Watch were 4 officers and 33 men killed, 5 officers and 163 men wounded and one officer and 33 men missing. Pte. Nuttall was probably listed as missing as his body was never found".