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First Name: Frank Thomas Last Name: BENNETT
Date of Death: 13/09/1914 Lived/Born In: Notting Hill
Rank: Private Unit: Royal West Kent1
Memorial Site: La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial, France

Current Information:

Age-19

279, Portobello Rd., Notting Hill

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.

1st Royal West Kent 13 Brigade, 5th Division reached the Aisne at Missy where they found the bridge well defended. Moving forward to the river several men were hit by the German rifle and machine gun fire The bridge, a 3 span, iron girder structure, had its northern span blown up and the passage strongly held by the Germans and being somewhat exposed the advanced detachments of 1st Royal West Kent were pulled back. The British artillery came intpo action and in the early afternoon the Germans withdrew. That night 1st Royal West Kent crossed the Aisne by means of the bridge and in 5 small rafts built by the engineers.

 

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