Special Section, Special Brigade,
Died age 38
10th March 1917
SERGEANT LOBB KILLED IN ACTION
We regret to report that Mrs Lobb of Downgate, Stoke Climsland, has received the sad news of the death of her son, Sergeant Nathaniel Lobb RE in France. Sergeant Lobb, who joined that Royal Engineers on June 13th 1900, went through the South African War (Second Boer War) and went to France at the commencement of the present war.
He was reported wounded three times, the first time receiving wounds in the shoulder, knee, leg, hand and foot. Recovering from these he met the enemy and was wounded in the foot and, in a third effort, was wounded in the hand. He was at the Battle of the Somme and was awarded the Military Medal for bravery. So recently as January, he was home on a well earned ten days’ leave but, on returning to the Front, he developed bronchial pneumonia brought on by exposure and died in a French Hospital (10th Stationary Hospital, St Omer) on March 10th 1917.
Sympathetic letters from Sergeant Lobb’s fellow officers and comrades have been received by his widowed mother testifying to his ‘fearlessness and gallantry in action’ and his being ‘a remarkably cool and collected leader’. The Reverend Alfred Coutts, Chaplain to the Forces, in a touching and highly appreciative letter received on March 20th says Sergeant Lobb ‘was one of the finest men I have ever met’. Much sympathy is felt for the relatives in their bereavement of one of such sterling qualities both as a man and a soldier.
Although we do not know the nature of his work in South Africa, his assignment to the Special Section of the Special Brigade of the Royal Engineers is very interesting. This indicates he was one of the engineers drafted in from other units, initially as volunteers, to develop and deliver poisonous gas. These moves were in retaliation to the Germans’ deployment of similar materials earlier on in the war. The British efforts started in 1915 and the British army employed poison gas for the first time in the opening barrage for the Battle of Loos, principally to overcome a shortage of artillery.