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First Name: Henry Last Name: COLLINS
Date of Death: 26/08/1914 Lived/Born In: Bethnal Green
Rank: Private Unit: Royal Fusiliers4
Memorial Site: 1, Bethnal Green, St Matthew 2. La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial, France

Current Information:

Age-33

28 Pollard St, Bethnal Green

Le Cateau 26th August 1914

By the evening of the 25th August II Corps of the BEF, commanded by  General Smith-Dorrien, had reached Le Cateau, in France. They had been retreating, but still fighting rearguard actions for two long days and they were done in.  The Commander-in-Chief, Sir John French ordered the retreat to continue the next day but Smith-Dorrien chose instead to stand and fight.  He reasoned that with the Germans on their heels a retreat would be disastrous without first halting the German advance. So, on the next day II Corps turned and faced the enemy. A fierce battle ensued when the Germans began an artillery bombardment at dawn. German infantry followed up in the wake of this barrage and became the targets of both the British artillery and infantry. The Germans were held at bay until the afternoon but by then they were threatening the flanks of II Corps. The Brits withdrew, whilst the Germans reorganised. British casualties for the day, killed, wounded or taken prisoner, were nearly 8,000.

 

At 6am, 4th Royal Fusiliers, 9Brigade, 3rd Division fell back through Inchy and began digging in. When the battle began they moved back into reserve but a burst of shrapnel hit them as they crossed a sunken road, killing and wounding 20-25. They moved back to Troisville and a hot meal. At 2pm, with the G’s seen passing through the British lines about 1mile to the right, the retirement continued. 4th Royal Fusiliers acted as rearguard of the 3rd Division

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