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Le Touret Memorial, France Le Touret Memorial, France
First Name: Henry Robert Last Name: WAYNE
Date of Death: 16/05/1915 Lived/Born In: Crouch End
Rank: Private Unit: Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry2
Memorial Site: Le Touret Memorial, France

Current Information:

2 Peckham Grove, Peckham

91 Weston Park, Crouch End

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 two miles 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 Battle of Festubert was preceded by a three day bombardment of the enemy positions and  at 11.30pm on 15th May 2nd Division and the Meerut Division from the Indian Army  attacked with mixed results. They gained some of their objectives but had met such strong German resistance, that they were unable to participate in the attack by 7th Division  at 3.15am on 16th May.

5 and 6 Brigades of  2nd Division attacked on a 1300 yard frontage with 5 Brigade on the left and beyond them the Meerut Division. Whereas the attack by 6 Brigade on the right had some success, the left hand of the attack did not fare so well. The enemy were alerted by the abnormal rifle and machine gun fire in the form of controlled five minute bursts at 8.30, 9.30, 10 & 10.30pm designed to assist the bombardment.  By using light balls and flares the Germans spotted the preparations being made and when the British artillery bombardment lifted at 11.30pm  they opened up with machine gun fire, raking the advancing infantry. At the same time their artillery began firing on no-man’s land and the British front line. 5 Brigade used the 2nd Worcestershires and the 2nd Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and it was only the right half of the 2nd Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, nearest 6 Brigade, that reached the German front line. In order to exploit this success 2nd Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry were sent up to assist but a  trench block prevented them from bombing up the German line. Casualties for 2nd Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry amounted to nearly 400.

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