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First Name: William Last Name: CORDELL
Date of Death: 18/10/1914 Lived/Born In: Haggerston
Rank: Private Unit: Royal Fusiliers1
Memorial Site: Ploegsteert Memorial

Current Information:

Age-20

Born-Stratford

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)

Since 15th October 17 Brigade, 6th Division, had moved forward from Steenwerck, secured the crossing of the River Lys at Bac St. Maur and established an outpost line near Chapelle d’Armentières. On the morning of 18th October they took part in an attack on the Prémesques-Perenchies ridge. 1st Royal Fusiliers marched in support of 3rd Rifle Brigade but when they reached the village of  L’Epinette they came under heavy fire and could go no further. They spent the night in a deep ditch. 

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