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La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial, France La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial, France
First Name: Frederick George Last Name: HEAD
Date of Death: 14/09/1914 Lived/Born In: New Cross
Rank: Private Unit: Royal West Surrey (Queens)1
Memorial Site: 1. New Cross, St James Hatcham 2.La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial

Current Information:

Born-New Cross

The Battle of the Aisne 13th September -28 September 1914

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 14th September, 1914 just before dawn, 1st Division moved off to seize the heights north of the Aisne including the Chemin des Dames. 2Brigade were leading but they were stopped at the strongly defended sugar factory north of Troyons  and just short of Cerny. At 7.30am, 3 Brigade set out from Bourg heading north to Vendresse and the Troyon spur except for 1st Royal West Surrey (Queens) who moved east to the Plaissy plateau. Although only the flankguard, 1st Royal West Surrey also crossed the Chemin des Dames meeting no resistance until it reached the northern slope by La Bovelle Farm( ½ mile north-east of Cerny). Here they took position and engaged the Germans in the Ailette valley . At 4.30pm, after sharp fighting at La Bovelle 1st Royal West Surrey withdrew to the foremost of the British guns on the Chemin des Dames. 

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