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Le Touret Memorial Le Touret Memorial
First Name: Thomas Last Name: CONSTABLE
Date of Death: 25/05/1915 Lived/Born In: Brockley
Rank: Rifleman Unit: London21
Memorial Site: 1. Brockley, St Hilda 2. Le Touret Memorial, France

Current Information:

Age-19

43 Merrit Road, Brockley

The Battle of Festubert (15–25 May 1915)

This followed quickly on the heels of  the Battle of Aubers Ridge and was an offensive operation by the British Army in the Artois region of France in conjunction with a French attack further south.  Initial success soon ground to a halt and although there had been an advance of 3 kms in some places the end result was not the hoped for breakout but merely more muddy trenches which became the front line. British casualties over the ten days amounted to nearly 17,000, three times as many as inflicted on the Germans.

The final action of this battle took place during 25th and 26th May, 1915 and involved 47th Division and the 1st Canadian Division in an attack against Chapelle St Roche and Rue d’Ouvert in the Givenchy sector of the front. 47th Division was an all London division which had begun life as the 2nd London Division and had arrived in France in March 1915. This was to be  their first taste of an offensive action and was going to be a very costly one.  As a preliminary to this action and in an attempt to improve the positions from which the main attack would start, there was an attack in the early morning of 24th May, in which 8th London, 140 Brigade managed to take part of the German front line and the Canadians were able to advance their position some 150 yards

The main attack went in at 6.30pm on 25th May. 142 Brigade attacked with its right on the Chapelle St Roch – Givenchy road24th London (The Queens) and 23rd London led the attack.  They advanced 400 yards on a 1000 yard frontage, through hostile machine gun fire, and captured German front and support trenches. However these trenches had been so knocked about by artillery fire that in many place they were impossible to get into and the men were reduced to holding the original outward side of the parapet, which made them vulnerable to flanking fire. German artillery fire was directed on them especially from a heavy battery near Auchy lez la Bassée, far to the south and out of range. The support battalions of 142 Brigade, 21st London (First Surrey Rifles) and 22nd London (The Queens) moved up behind the initial attack and got involved with the fighting and also began to dig communication trenches up to the newly captured positions. There were heavy losses for 142 Brigade of nearly 1000 officers and men, but they clung to and consolidated their gains that night and throughout the next day until relieved in the evening.

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