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First Name: Edward Ralph Last Name: SMITH
Date of Death: 14/09/1914 Lived/Born In: Islington
Rank: Lance Corporal Unit: Grenadier Guards2
Memorial Site:

Current Information:


44 Halliford St, Islington

Vailly British 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.

Having crossed the River Aisne at Chavonne on 13th September, the following day, 14th September was a day of hard fighting  for 4 (Guards) Brigade, 2nd Division.  A large German attack developed during the morning and in response, 2nd Grenadier Guards moved up on either side of La Cour de Soupir. The Germans then tried to outflank the left of 4Brigade but 3rd Coldstream Guards sent a company to help 2nd Grenadier Guards and the position held.  In the afternoon there was another German counter attack from Ostel towards La Cour de Soupir which was again halted by 2nd Grenadier and 3rd Coldstream.

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