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La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial
First Name: Arthur Last Name: GIDGE
Date of Death: 14/09/1914 Lived/Born In: Wandsworth
Rank: Private Unit: Coldstream Guards1
Memorial Site: La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial, France

Current Information:



The Battle of the Aisne 13th September -28 September, 1914

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.


At 7am on 14th September, the head of 1(Guards) Brigade reached Vendresse. 1st Coldstream Guards, 1Brigade 1st Division moved up through the thick wood on a steep hillside, to extend the left of 2 Brigade. They finally reached the top where they found 1st Cameron Highlanders and 1st Black Watch, who had come up the easy road way, already in position. 1st Coldstream deployed between these two battalions and the left of 2 Brigade and moved up to the roadway on top of the Chemin des Dames, which, two feet below the general surface, provided some, but not much cover especially as it had no banks or ditches.  In this exposed position 1st Coldstream suffered heavily from German artillery fire. Colonel Ponsonby collected about 200 men together and led them, in the confusion of the heavy fog to Cerny, penetrating deep into the German position. Both sides mistook the others as friends but then 1st Coldstream cottoned on and their fire drove off the nearby Germans.  The rest of 1st Coldstream worked their way east to join on the right of 2nd King’s Royal Rifle Corps. By dusk 1st Coldstream had moved back, much reduced in numbers, to the general line.  

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