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First Name: Arthur Last Name: STEWART
Date of Death: 19/10/1914 Lived/Born In: Earlsfield
Rank: Private Unit: Royal Fusiliers1
Memorial Site:

Current Information:

Age-30

Born-Clerkenwell

Chapelle-d'Armentieres Old Military Cemetery, France

 

The Race to the Sea - September-October 1914

By the middle of September 1914, the Aisne battlefield had stagnated into trench warfare and in order to break this impasse, both sides tried to outflank each other in a general movement northwards. Moving up through Picardy, Artois and Flanders the race was over by 19th October when the North Sea was reached. The Western Front, a line of trenches stretching from Belgium to Switzerland, was now a reality. Initially it was the French army that conducted this movement whilst the British Expeditionary Force remained on the Aisne but by 6 October British reinforcements were needed to help beat off German attacks around Lille. They moved north and along with reinforcements from Britain, they took up new positions in Flanders, on the left of the Allied line and much closer to the Channel ports.

The Battle of Armentières  12th October-2nd November 1914

The official History pinpoints the battle of Armentières to a series of battles that took place between the river Douve and a line between Estaires and Foumers. It was part of the Race to the Sea and it determined the line of the Western Front in that sector. It was fought by III Corps which consisted of 4th and 6th Divisions as well as 19 Brigade.

Since their arrival in Flanders on 15th October, 1914, 17 Brigade of 6th Division, had moved forward from Steenwerck, secured the crossing of the River Lys at Bac St. Maur and established an outpost line near Chapelle d’Armentières. On the morning of 18th October the 1st Royal Fusiliers battalion, in support of 3rd Rifle Brigade, took part in an attack on the Prémesques-Perenchies ridge but when they reached the village of  L’Epinette they came under heavy fire and could go no further. They spent the night in a deep ditch.  Arthur Stewart died from wounds on the following day.

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