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First Name: John Reuben Last Name: MIDDLEBROOK
Date of Death: 14/09/1914 Lived/Born In: Limehouse
Rank: Private Unit: Northumberland Fusiliers1
Memorial Site:

Current Information:



71, Church Row, Limehouse

Mons (Bergen) Communal 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.

On 13th September 9th Brigade, 3rd Division crossed the River Aisne and took up positions just beyond Vailly. At dawn on the following morning  the 14th September, 1st Lincolnshire and 4th Royal Fusiliers led the advance on the German and 1st Northumberland Fusiliers moved up on the left in support. The fighting became confused with attack and counter attack . Pushing forward again, 9 Brigade emerged from some woods, met heavy fire and tried to entrench. The leading coy of 1st Northumberland Fusiliers had advanced further than the others and suffered severely.  The rest of 1st Northumberland Fusiliers  rallied on 4th Royal Fusiliers. The situation was critical for most of the day and eventually 9 Brigade withdrew back to Vailly. However, Private Middlebrook is buried much further north at Mons, which suggests that he was wounded during the opening battle of the war and subsequently died of his wounds.

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