DescriptionGeneral Lomax is the highest ranking officer on the Town Hall war memorial. He had been a career Army officer before the Great War and was about to retire when the war began.
During October 1914, the First Division commanded by General Lomax, was engaged in the First Battle of Ypres in the salient around the Belgian town of Ypres, with its headquarters based in a large stately home named Hooge Chateau, recently vacated by General Douglas Haig. On the 31 October 1914, a meeting took place at the Chateau between Lomax and his Second Division counterpart, Major-General C. C. Monro. An observer noted that the officers’ staff cars were parked along the roadsides and provided an obvious target to German artillery An aerial spotter soon noticed the gathering and reported the situation to artillery officers on the ground, who fired three 5.9” shells at the Chateau. Both sides had been targeting chateaux on either side of the line in an effort to kill senior officers and gain some advantage in the developing stalemate.
The first shell exploded in the garden, causing the officers at the meeting to go to the windows to see the fall of the shell. Thus they were in the worst possible position for the second shell which exploded right in the window frame. The explosion killed six officers and mortally wounded two others. The third shell impacted an empty part of the house, although the owner, Baron de Vinck, narrowly escaped injury.
Monro had stepped into another room for a conference with his Chief of Staff and so survived with minor injuries but Lomax was seriously wounded and evacuated back to England, being placed in a nursing home in London where he received palliative care for the next five months.
General Lomax died on the 10 April 1915 never having recovered from his wounds and lies in a grave in Aldershot Military Cemetery. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle later wrote that his death “was a brain injury to the Army and a desperately serious one".
He lived at Froghall, Wokingham, with his wife Mary and their daughter Norah. Norah went on to marry a senior Army officer and their two sons also had distinguished military careers.
“Samuel Lomax,” Wokingham's Virtual Museum, accessed June 3, 2020, https://wokingham-tc.gov.uk/museum/document/WTH0386.