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La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial, France La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial, France
First Name: John Henry Last Name: SIMMONDS
Date of Death: 25/09/1914 Lived/Born In: Somers Town
Rank: Rifleman Unit: Rifle Brigade3
Memorial Site: La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial, France

Current Information:


75 Chalton Road, Somers Town


The Battle of the Aisne  13-28 September, 1914

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.

6th Division arrived in France on 12th September, 1914, and were straight away sent across country to assist the British efforts on the Aisne. On 21st September 17 Brigade were sent to relieve 5 Brigade from the Ferme de Metz in the Braye Valley to La Cour de Soupir,.  At dawn on 25th September, the 3rd Rifle Brigade battalion launched what was meant to be a surprise attack but the Germans were ready for them and “D” Company, who carried out the attack, suffered heavy casualties, including John Simmonds, before falling back to their own line.

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