Profile Page

No image available
First Name: Ernest Edward Last Name: SMITH
Date of Death: 13/09/1914 Lived/Born In: Earlsfield
Rank: Rifleman Unit: Rifle Brigade1
Memorial Site:

Current Information:


Vauxbuin French National Cemetery


The Battle of the Aisne 13th September -28 September

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.

On the night of the 12th and 13th September the 4th Division reached the Aisne at Venizel and 11Brigade was ordered across. They were the first British troops across this river and although the Germans had destroyed most of the bridges, the one at Venizel remained standing. Well at least the central girder did and it was along this that the troops crossed. All the munitions and stores had to be unloaded from carts and taken across manually. Luckily the Germans had abandoned their trenches on the northern bank here in favour of better defences further up the steep valley.

By dawn the 1st Rifle Brigade battalion had crossed, made their way up the valley and taken possession of the high ground between Bucy-le-Long and Ste Marguerite. From there they moved through the woods at the top of the ridge and established outposts. From this position on the west side of the Chivres valley they were able to fire on the German troops dug in on the east side. Here they stayed for most of the day but by late afternoon the German artillery had got their range and their heavy fire forced 1st Rifle Brigade back down towards the river, suffering many casualties on the way. One of these was Ernest Smith.

« Back to Search Results
If you think any of the information shown here is incorrect, Click Here to submit your amends and comments


twitter icon
Copyright 2022 London War Memorial