Profile Page

No image available
First Name: Charles Last Name: BONSER
Date of Death: 13/10/1914 Lived/Born In: Hammersmith
Rank: Private Unit: North Staffordshire1
Memorial Site:

Current Information:

Born-Hyson Green, Nottinghamshire

Outtersteene Communal Cemetery, Bailleul

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  13th 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)

On 13th  October, III Corps advanced on the line Armentières-Wytschaete with the  Cavalry Corps on their left. On the right 6th Division advanced but found the Germans entrenched along a small stream, the Meterenbecque, 5 miles beyond Hazebrouck.  They were on a long ridge running down from the main hills and upon which, Meteren with its dominant church tower, stood.  The Royal Flying Corps spotted German artillery and infantry moving to Meteren from Bailleul, so a stand seemed certain.  To the north, the cavalry met opposition and was unable to turn the position. They found themselves held up in Strazeele to where 17 Brigade was sent in support. A decision was taken to bring up 4th Division and make a combined III Corps attack on a 5mile front from La Couronne to Fontaine Houck.  At 1pm, having waited in vain for 4th Division to come up on their left, 17 Brigade attacked the Oultersteene-Meteren ridge with 1st North Staffordshire and 3rd Rifle Brigade. By now the rain had set in and mist had fallen so the British artillery was largely useless.  German reinforcements had also arrived but the attack was pressed home and by the evening  Outtersteene and Meteren had been captured. However, the Germans had defended their line well and III Corps suffered over 700 casualties whilst most of the Germans were able to slip away to fight another day.

« Back to Search Results
If you think any of the information shown here is incorrect, Click Here to submit your amends and comments


twitter icon
Copyright 2018 London War Memorial