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Ploegsteert Memorial Ploegsteert Memorial
First Name: Albert Edward Last Name: BROWN
Date of Death: 01/11/1914 Lived/Born In: Hackney
Rank: Lance Corporal Unit: Hampshire1
Memorial Site: Ploegsteert Memorial

Current Information:

Born-Old Ford

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 Messines 12th October-2nd November 1914

The Battle of Messines was fought  in October 1914. It was part of the Race to the Sea and it took place between the Comines-Ypres canal  and  the River Douve. It involved the 1st and 2nd Cavalry Divisions and elements  of the 3rd, 4th and 5th Divisions as well part of the Indian Division.

Between 28th October and 3rd November, 1st Hampshire, 11 Brigade, 4th Division were in continuous action in trenches stretching from Le Gheer to the River Douve. The Germans were attacking the Ypres salient and the Messines Ridge in force and this impacted on 4th Division in and around Ploegsteert Wood. When Messines was captured on 31st October, they had to pull back their line so as not to be out flanked. 1st Hampshire had to deal with heavy bombardments and numerous infantry attacks and although their line held, the casualty list grew. 

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