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First Name: John Frederick Last Name: CORY
Date of Death: 26/08/1914 Lived/Born In: Bow
Rank: Lance Sergeant Unit: Royal Scots2
Memorial Site: La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial, France

Current Information:

Born-London

Enlisted-Stratford

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.

2nd Battalion, Royal Scots, 8Brigade, 3rd Division

 

At 6am on 26 August German artillery opened fire. This was followed at 6.30am by German infantry attacks which penetrated the outskirts of Le Cateau.  The two flanks of II Corps came under severe pressure but not so 3rd Division in the centre with 8Brigade at Audencourt. Here the German shells fell  with little effect and the British troops continued improving their trenches.  At 9am German infantry was seen advancing 2000yds off making fine targets for the divisional artillery.  At 1.40pm German artillery fire increased and their infantry advanced against the junction of 2nd Royal Scots and 1st Gordon Highlanders. However they failed to make ground in the face of accurate fire from these two battalions. Between 3.30  and 4pm, 8Brigade received orders to retire and  2nd Royal Scots withdrew quite easily except for a detached party who received no orders and stayed put. The Germans were slow to advance however and when they did at 5pm, slowly making their way up through a knee high field of beetroot, they were met by the rapid fire of this detached party at 400yds whilst  For an hour the G’s could gain no ground.

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