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First Name: Albert Last Name: CRAWFORD
Date of Death: 14/09/1914 Lived/Born In: Isleworth
Rank: Private Unit: Lancashire Fusiliers2
Memorial Site:

Current Information:

Age-23

586, London Road, Isleworth

Born-Clapham

Vauxbuin French National Cemetery

The Battle of the Aisne 13th September -28 September

After the Germans were defeated on the Marne they fell back to the River Aisne, closely pursued by both the British and the French. The new German line was a very formidable defensive position. To attack it  meant  having to cross the Aisne and then climb up a 500 foot high ridge on top of which was the Chemin des Dames, a road that gave the Germans an easy way to move troops along the top of the hills. On 13th September the Aisne was crossed by both British and French troops but after that progress became slower, until there was no progress at all. Both sides dug in and the fighting settled down into trench warfare. The fighting on the Aisne continued for two weeks at the end of which both sides realised that frontal attacks on entrenched positions were both costly and non-productive, not that this deterred them from continuing with this tactic throughout the war.

Although the records state that Private Crawford was killed in action on 14th September it is more likely that he was killed on 13th September,  when 12 Brigade, 4th Division crossed the Aisne at Venizel. The heavy German howitzers on the Chivres spur, caused problems especially as the artillery of 4th and 5th Divisions were south of the river and out of range. Nevertheless by 11am all of 12Brigade was across and 2nd Lancashire Fusiliers and 2nd Essex moved across 2 miles of water meadows to Bucy le Long at the foot of the northern ridge.  They met  shrapnel fire en route but little damage was done. They then went on to attack the Chivres spur astride the Chivres-Ste Marguerite road and across swampy, unknown ground where the thick undergrowth made progress very slow. At 5pm 2nd Lancashire Fusiliers came under heavy fire from trenches south of Chivres village and on their right flank too from Germans on the western slopes of the Chivres spur. 2nd Lancashire Fusiliers engaged these forces but could advance no further.  They held on in this position until relieved by 2nd Manchester at nightfall.

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