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Ploegsteert Memorial, Belgium Ploegsteert Memorial, Belgium
First Name: John Alfred Last Name: FISHER
Date of Death: 18/10/1914 Lived/Born In: Bermondsey
Rank: Rifleman Unit: Rifle Brigade3
Memorial Site: Ploegsteert Memorial

Current Information:



The Race to the Sea. September-October 1914

By the middle of September 1914, the Aisne battlefield had stagnated into trench warfare and in order to break this impasse, both sides tried to outflank each other in a general movement northwards. Moving up through Picardy, Artois and Flanders the race was over by 19th October when the North Sea was reached. The Western Front, a line of trenches stretching from Belgium to Switzerland, was now a reality. Initially it was the French army that conducted this movement whilst the British Expeditionary Force remained on the Aisne but by 6 October British reinforcements were needed to help beat off German attacks around Lille. They moved north and along with reinforcements from Britain, they took up new positions in Flanders, on the left of the Allied line and much closer to the Channel ports.

The Battle of Armentières  12th October-2nd November 1914

The official History pinpoints the battle of Armentières to a series of battles that took place between the river Douve and a line between Estaires and Foumers. It was part of the Race to the Sea and it determined the line of the Western Front in that sector. It was fought by III Corps. (4th and 6th Divisions + 19Brigade)

Since 15th October, 3rd Rifle Brigade of 17 Brigade, 6th Division, had moved forward from Steenwerck, secured the crossing of the River Lys at Bac St. Maur and established an outpost line near Chapelle d’Armentières. On the morning of 18th October they took part in a brigade attack on the Prémesques-Perenchies ridge. This attack was hampered by the failure to make contact with the 4th Division which made it necessary to form a flank on their left, along a railway. Nevertheless they attacked with three of their four companies but by 9am they were held up by a strong German position one mile from Perenchies and were unable to advance beyond the level crossing south of La Fresnelle. Among the casualties suffered by 3rd Rifle Brigade on this day was John Fisher who was killed in action.

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