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Nathaniel Lomax was born in Radcliffe in 1872 and was son to Daniel and Mary.  He was the husband of Jane Annie Lomax (nee Dillon) of 161 Bridgewater Street, Farnworth who he had married in Bolton in October 1903. They had three of their own children; Bertha (b. 26/01/1905), Nathaniel (baptised 14/03/1909) and Annie (baptised 25/06/1912) and he had a stepson Thomas Alfred Hudson.

When war broke out Nathaniel was recalled as a Special Reservist having previously been time expired from the Army and since working as a collier. He reenlisted at Farnworth on 24th August 1914 and was given the number 3335. The medical officer described him as being 5ft 7in tall, weighing 150lbs with a 38in chest.

Nathaniel sailed to France to join the 1st Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment on 29th November 1914; and following the actions at La Basse on 22nd December 1914 he was reported to be missing in action. It was later discovered he had been taken by Germans as a prisoner.

21st – 22nd December 1914 
On 21st December at 07:00AM the battalion, with 2nd Brigade moved by motorbuses to Zelobes (1/2 mile west of Vieille Chapelle). From Zelobes they marched to Le Touret, arriving about 12:45PM.

Orders were received that the battalion, along with the Northamptons, should make a night attack in order to regain some trenches that had been taken by the Germans on the night of 19th – 20th December near an orchard by LA QUINQUE RUE. It was noted in the War Diary that the information of the enemy’s disposition was somewhat vague.

The battalion left Le Touret at 15:30PM followed by the Northamptons and were led by a guide (an officer of 2nd Gurkhas) to a spot from which it was decided the attack should commence. The men carried 170 rounds of ammunition each.

By 18:45PM the two battalions were deployed ready to advance. A and D Coys in the front line, supported by C and B Coys at 100 yards distance. The Loyal North Lancashires took the right of the line and the Northamptons the left. The whole frontage covered about 300 yards.

At 19:00PM the order to advance was given by Major Powell and the whole line moved forward with fixed bayonets, the companies now being closed up and in two ranks.
After crossing two lines of trenches occupied by the 58th Infantry, with heavy rifle fire they charged and occupied the front line of the enemy’s trenches. After a short halt the attack was continued and another trench about 100 yards further on was captured. The battalion advanced further and was reorganised on a road by the orchard. During the advance 2nd Lieut Ellis was seriously wounded and about 20 men killed and wounded.

A line was occupied, and a reconnaissance conducted about 20 yards to the rear of the orchard. Tools were sent up to the newly held trench an hour or so later. It is written that the night was very wet and cold and the men only had minimum rations.

The line was held throughout the night, but they did suffer some casualties from bombs that were thrown from a German trench running obliquely to their right flank. At 07:00 AM on the 22nd December a Company was withdrawn from the Northamptons line due to the trenches being over-crowded.

Shortly after day break a very strong German attack developed from the direction of LA QUINQUE RUE and by 10:00AM the line became untenable chiefly owing to the enfilade fire (flanking fire) from the right flank which was very exposed.

After suffering very heavy losses and putting up a very stubborn defence, the retirement of the line commenced from the left and about 300 men succeeded in reaching the Rue de Bois.
The Battalion was collected and reformed on Rue de L’Epinette, the Machine Gun detachment cooperating with the Northamptons went up in support and a line was held by them roughly on the line when the attack had started on the night before. At about 15:00PM the battalion was withdrawn and went into billets at La Couture.

The battalion loses from this action were heavy. Captains Smart and Graham killed. Captains (De Cantect), Lieutenant Batty-Smith, 2nd Lieutenant Gilliland were all missing. Captain Hay was slightly wounded. There were 408 other ranks killed, wounded or missing.

Private Nathaniel Lomax died of typhus at Wittenberg prisoner of war camp at 17:30 hrs on 16th April 1915 and was buried in Berlin-South Cemetery.

Rank: Private
Service No: 3335
Date of Death: 16/04/1915
Age: 42
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st Bn.
Cemetery: BERLIN SOUTH-WESTERN CEMETERY

Paul McCormick
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Paul McCormick

Paul McCormick is the creator and administrator for the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment website. Since 2010 he has been researching the soldiers that served during the First World War and sharing their stories on his website. You can contact Paul through the website 'Contact Me' page or on Twitter and Facebook.
Paul McCormick
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