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La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial, France La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial, France
First Name: Christopher Last Name: BELL
Date of Death: 17/09/1914 Lived/Born In: Hackney
Rank: Rifleman Unit: King's Royal Rifle Corps2
Memorial Site: La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial, France

Current Information:

Born-Haggerston

 

 

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.

On 17th September, the Germans kept up a heavy bombardment for three hours on the part of the line held by 1st Division on the Aisne. They then sent forward a company, under cover of mist and rain, to an abandoned trench from which they could enfilade the British line. 1st Queens and 1st Northamptonshire, , supported by 2nd King’s Royal Rifle Corps of 2 Brigade,  were ordered to turf them out.  1st Northamptonshire crept up unnoticed and in one rush cleared, the trench. A group of Germans, led by two officers, approached 2nd King’s Royal Rifle Corps with rifles slung and hands up. Rising to meet them some of 2nd King’s Royal Rifle Corps were shot by the Germans firing from the hip and several were wounded.  When some 300-400 Germans tried this again against 1st Northamptonshire, the machine-guns of 2nd King’s Royal Rifle Corps mowed them down almost to a man. The battalion suffered a number of casualties on this day, one of whom was Christopher Bell.

 

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