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Menin Gate, Ypres Menin Gate, Ypres
First Name: Arthur Last Name: KING
Date of Death: 01/11/1914 Lived/Born In: Hoxton
Rank: Corporal Unit: Lincolnshire1
Memorial Site: Menin Gate, Ypres

Current Information:


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 & 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 Douvre. It involved the 1st and 2nd Cavalry Divisions and elements  of the 3rd, 4th and 5th Divisions as well part of the Indian Division.

On 31st October 1st Lincolnshire, 9 Brigade, 3rd Division along with 1st Northumberland Fusiliers marched to Kemmel so as to be able to support the Cavalry at Wytschaete. At 1 am on 1st November, nine German battalions attacked and took Wytschaete from the Composite Household Cavalry who numbered only 415 rifles. 1st Lincolnshire and 1st Northumberland Fusiliers were ordered to retake it.  Arriving within ¼ mile of Wytschaete,  they attacked along with 3rd Hussars but met heavy rifle fire from the Germans who were now established in the houses and in a sunken road.  French troops moving down from the NW also failed to make progress here.  When daylight arrived, Lt Col W E B Smith, Commanding Officer of 1st Lincolnshire could see the cavalry and London Scottish withdrawing on the right and he decided to stay put and cover them despite heavy German shelling and enfilade fire on their outflanked position.  Eventually they withdrew having suffered heavy casualties of over 300 in a few hours fighting.  

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