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Ploegsteert Memorial, Belgium Ploegsteert Memorial, Belgium
First Name: Herbert Edward Last Name: SWANN
Date of Death: 18/12/1914 Lived/Born In: Holborn
Rank: Private Unit: Scots Guards2
Memorial Site: Ploegsteert Memorial, Belgium

Current Information:

Born-St Lukes

 

7th Division, which included the 2nd Scots Guards battalion of 20 Brigade, had been heavily involved in the fighting associated with the First Battle of Ypres in October-November, 1914 but on 5th November they were withdrawn from there and sent further south to Sailly-sur-la-Lys in France where they remained for the rest of the year, either in the front line or in support or reserve.

On 18th December, to comply with Marshal Joffre’s request that demonstrations be made in support of a French offensive near Arras, attacks in various forms ranging from two companies to two battalions were made by IV Corps. As part of that, at 6.15pm, along with the 2nd Border battalion, also of 20 Brigade, two companies of 2nd Scots Guards launched an attack on the German trenches along a front that ran from a road running south-east of La Cordonniere Farm, to the Sailly-Fromelles road. No-man’s-land was 150 yards wide at this point and they almost reached the enemy line before the Germans opened fire. In places there was no wire and they were able to enter the trench, but not go beyond it. Attempts to dig a sap across no-man’s-land failed in the face of heavy enemy shell fire. Those still in German line were withdrawn just before dawn on the 19th December. Among the many casualties suffered by 2nd Scots Guards during this operation was Herbert Swann.

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