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La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial, France La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial, France
First Name: Harry Last Name: COLE
Date of Death: 16/09/1914 Lived/Born In: Spitalfields
Rank: Lance Corporal Unit: South Wales Borderers1
Memorial Site: 1. Limehouse, St Anne 2. La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial, France

Current Information:

Enlisted-London

 

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 14th September, 1914, 1st South Wales Borderers of 3 Brigade, 1st Division, crossed the Aisne. On 16th September they were at Moulins, and then moved north up the valley. It was a day of heavy fighting for the battalion as they made their way to the rudimentary trenches that constituted the front line and they suffered a number of casualties. They remained in these positions until 20th September when they were withdrawn to the Vendresse Ridge. 18th September was a particularly trying day because not only did they have to contend with enemy fire, which was constant, but it rained heavily all day. During these three days in the line they sustained over 160 casualties, one of whom was Harry Cole who was killed on 16th September.

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