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First Name: James Last Name: KNOX
Date of Death: 13/09/1914 Lived/Born In: Leytonstone
Rank: Private Unit: Essex2
Memorial Site: 1. Leyton Library Memorial 2. La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial

Current Information:

Born-West Ham

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.

2nd Essex 12Brigade 4th Division

On 13th September at  6am, 12 Brigade began crossing the Aisne at Venizel.  Heavy German howitzers on the Chivres spur, caused them problems but by 11am nearly all of 12Brigade was across. In widely extended order 1st Royal Lancasters, 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 were subjected to shrapnel fire as they advanced but little damage was done. 2nd Lancashire Fusiliers and 2nd Essex then launched an attack on the Chivres spur, 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. They engaged these forces but could advance no further.  Meanwhile, 2nd Essex gave what support they could from the hill above Ste Marguerite.  

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