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First Name: Thomas Last Name: BALL
Date of Death: 21/10/1914 Lived/Born In: Walthamstow
Rank: Private Unit: Essex2
Memorial Site: Ploegsteert Memorial

Current Information:


55, Roma Road, Walthamstow

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 & 6th Divisions + 19Brigade)

Early in the morning  on 21st October there was heavy German shelling of the British line near Frélinghien and at 3 am, two battalions of 11 Brigade and two companies of 2nd Essex, 12 Brigade, 4th Division were ordered to Hill 63 at the north-west corner of Ploegsteert Wood to secure the left flank of III Corps. At 9 am they counter attack from Ploegsteert Wood and successfully regained all the abandoned trenches.  At 4 pm the other two companies of 2nd Essex,were sent to strengthen Messines where the line held by Cavalry Corps was seriously threatened. After recapturing a trench at Wambeke crossroads, they found three dead Germans in a house with no mark on them, victims of concussion. 

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