OUR town lost thousands of young men who had gone bravely to fight for their country but never returned to their families.

Charles Rothwell Lomax was one such brave young man.

He was killed at the Battle of Loos on October 1, 1915.

Charles is buried, says his grandson, Stephen England, “in a small, by World War One standards, military cemetery in the very peaceful village of Vermelles, about an hour and half from Lille in France”.

Stephen, who lives in Lincolnshire, has visited his grandfather’s grave with his brother some years ago and hopes to do so again next year to commemorate the 100th anniversary of his death he says.

Coincidentally Ste-phen’s birthday is October 1, the date on which his grandfather was killed. “Grandad was born in Pennsylvania, USA a few miles from where my grandson was born in 2002,” he adds.

Charles was in the 2nd Battalion King’s Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment) and he died aged 30. He was the son of Alice Lomax and the late Thomas Lomax and husband of Kate Lomax of Garth Street in Bolton.

He had been recently appointed to the transport section when he died.

Charles had enlisted at the beginning of April and had been at the front about two months. He had three brothers-in-law fighting with the forces, one of whom had been badly injured.

Prior to joining the army he was employed at the Mill Hill Bleachworks as a maker-up.

HIs wife had only received a postcard from Charles shortly before his death saying he was “quite well”. He had three children.

Vermelles was in German hands from the middle of October 1914 to the beginning of December 1914 when it was recaptured by the French.

The cemetery was begun in August 1915, though a few graves are slightly earlier, and during the Battle of Loos, when the chateau was used as a dressing station, plot one was completed.

The Battle of Loos was the largest British offensive mounted on the Western Front in 1915 during World War One.