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Ploegsteert Memorial Ploegsteert Memorial
First Name: Edwin Charles Last Name: DAVIS
Date of Death: 02/11/1914 Lived/Born In: Earlsfield
Rank: Private Unit: Hampshire1
Memorial Site: Ploegsteert Memorial

Current Information:

Enlisted-London

The Race to the Sea. September-October 1914

By the middle of September 1914, the Aisne battlefield had stagnated into trench warfare and in order to break this impasse, both sides tried to outflank each other in a general movement northwards. Moving up through Picardy, Artois and Flanders the race was over by 19th October when the North Sea was reached. The Western Front, a line of trenches stretching from Belgium to Switzerland, was now a reality. Initially it was the French army that conducted this movement whilst the British Expeditionary Force remained on the Aisne but by 6 October British reinforcements were needed to help beat off German attacks around Lille. They moved north and along with reinforcements from Britain, they took up new positions in Flanders, on the left of the Allied line and much closer to the Channel ports.

The Battle of Armentières  12th October-2nd November 1914

The official History pinpoints the battle of Armentières to a series of battles that took place between the river Douve and a line between Estaires and Foumers. It was part of the Race to the Sea and it determined the line of the Western Front in that sector. It was fought by III Corps. (4th & 6th Divisions + 19Brigade)

1st Hampshire, 11 Brigade, 4th Division moved to Ploegsteert Wood on 22nd October and on 28th October they relieved 1st Somerset Light Infantry east of Ploegsteert Wood, past St Yves, from Le Gheer to the River Douve, a front line of some 2000 yards. From 28th October to 2nd November they were subjected to heavy attacks as the Germans tried to break the line around Ypres and when on 31st October,  the Germans captured Messines, just to the north, 4th Division had pull back their line across the northern edge of Ploegsteert Wood to conform with this. On 2nd November the onslaught continued. At one stage the Germans broke into the trenches of 1st Hampshire but were expelled by 40 men. The line was not yet continuous and  isolated detachments suffered badly, but in the end the Germans were repelled everywhere. 

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