25th September 1915
The name of Lance Vidal on the Loos Memorial. Photographed for ‘Marching in Memory’ for Combat Stress, July 2015
Battle of Loos
This must be considered the darkest day in the history of Radley College. Eleven men from the College fell on this one day during the Battle of Loos and an unknown number were wounded. Many of the men were volunteers in Kitchener’s New Army, so the list of the Fallen includes young men from Radley village who had worked for the College and the first serving schoolmaster to be killed.
Although the long-drawn out campaigns of Gallipoli, the First Battle of the Somme, the Third Battle of Ypres (Paschendaele) claimed more lives overall, 25th September must stand forever as a day of mourning.
Lancelot Vidal, Schoolmaster, Tutor of A Social. 2nd Lt, 2nd Bn, Ox & Bucks Light Infantry. Reported missing, believed killed in action on the first day of the Battle of Loos.
‘For days, even weeks, we entertained hopes that the news might be false, but eight weeks have now elapsed, and we can now only fear the worst. He was last seen in the German trenches in the attack on Sept. 25th. when in charge of a machine gun … it has since been learnt that he was killed by a shell whilst pushing forward with his section in the early morning of September 25.’
Lance Vidal was the first serving schoolmaster of Radley College to fall in the Great War. He volunteered in 1914, having held the post of Tutor of A Social for two weeks. He was a popular Don at Radley and was one of those instrumental in introducing and promoting rugby football as the school’s major sport. He had played for Harlequins before joining Radley. He was also Master in Charge of Cricket.