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First Name: John Last Name: ANDREWS
Date of Death: 09/04/1917 Lived/Born In: Harmondsworth
Rank: Private Unit: Royal Fusiliers4
Memorial Site:

Current Information:


Tilloy British Cemetery, Tilloy-les-Mofflaines, France


The Battle of Arras was a series of offensives by the British Army between 9th April 1917 and 16th May 1917. It had been planned in conjunction with the French who would attack in Artois and between them the Allies would force the Germans out of the large salient they had held since the line of trenches was first established. But the Germans had spoiled this plan by falling back to the new and very strong Hindenburg Line in January 1917 and the salient no longer existed.  For the want of an alternative plan the attack went ahead anyway. It all started well for the British who made substantial gains on the first two days but then the offensive ground to a halt and by the end their losses amounted to over 150,000.

On 9th April 3rd Division attacked at Tilloy-les-Mofflaines, just to the south of the Cambrai road. At 5.30am 76 Brigade advanced and captured their objective after which the 4th Royal Fusiliers battalion of 9 Brigade began their advance. The further they moved forward the heavier the shelling became. Not only did they have to contend with enemy HE and shrapnel shells , but the right hand company was also hit by the British barrage firing short. They went to ground and waited for about eight minutes for the creeping barrage to start again and when it did they followed close behind it and captured Nomeny Trench. Once again the right hand company suffered heavily as they were hit by machine-gun fire from the flank. By now the first wave of the attack was exhausted so the following waves passed through them and went on to capture Linx and String Trenches. At this stage 2nd Suffolk, the support battalion of 76 Brigade, moved up and continued the advance to the Blue Line, the 2nd objective, and many of 4th Royal Fusiliers went forward with them to Neuilly Trench. In total, the battalion had advanced around 1700 yards across open ground in the face of artillery and machine-gun fire and had suffered nearly 200 casualties as a result. One of these was John Andrews.

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