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First Name: Henry Last Name: ANDERSON
Date of Death: 14/09/1914 Lived/Born In: Greenwich
Rank: Rifleman Unit: King's Royal Rifle Corps2
Memorial Site: Greenwich, St Alfege

Current Information:

Born Greenwich

London Cemetery, Longueval

The Battle of the Aisne 13th September -28 September

After the Germans were defeated on the Marne they fell back to the River Aisne, closely pursued by both the British and the French. The new German line was a very formidable defensive position. To attack it  meant  having to cross the Aisne and then climb up a 500 foot high ridge on top of which was the Chemin des Dames, a road that gave the Germans an easy way to move troops along the top of the hills. On 13th September the Aisne was crossed by both British and French troops but after that progress became slower, until there was no progress at all. Both sides dug in and the fighting settled down into trench warfare. The fighting on the Aisne continued for two weeks at the end of which both sides realised that frontal attacks on entrenched positions were both costly and non-productive, not that this deterred them from continuing with this tactic throughout the war.

At 3am on 14th  September,  2Brigade, 1st Division and two batteries of artillery moved off to capture the top of the Chemin des Dames ridge from Cerny to Courtecon. 2nd King’s Royal Rifle Corps led, followed by 2nd Sussex.  When the leading company of  2nd King’s Royal Rifle Corps reached the top two hours later, they surprised a German piquet but could not progress further. so two more companies were sent up. By now there was heavy rifle fire from both sides, a roar in fact but no artillery fire. There was obviously a strong German presence in front of them. At 6.30am 2nd Sussex moved up and deployed on the left of 2nd King’s Royal Rifle Corps. Each battalion held about 800 yards of front. 1st Loyal North Lancashire then came up from Brigade reserve to support another attack, this time on a Sugar Factory just beyond the ridge All three battalions advanced occupied the buildings and entrenched on the ridge beyond.  They could go no further but German counter attacks  were equally fruitless. Fighting surged to and fro all day.

Rifleman Anderson was buried in Corbie on the Somme, an area of the Western Front that did not see any British soldiers until the middle of 1915, so it is somewhat puzzling as to why he was buried here.

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