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Le Touret Memorial, France Le Touret Memorial, France
First Name: Sidney Thomas Last Name: DOVEY
Date of Death: 24/10/1914 Lived/Born In: Queens Park
Rank: Private Unit: Royal Fusiliers4
Memorial Site: Le Touret Memorial, France

Current Information:


3, Allington Road, Queens Park


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 La Bassée

This was fought by II Corps (3rd and 5th Divisions) between 10th  October and 2nd November 1914 and as the name suggests it focused on an area around the town of  La Bassée in northern France. It was part of the Race to the Sea and it determined the line of the Western Front in that sector. There were some initial British successes but La Bassée remained firmly in German hands. German reinforcements arrived and  the village of Neuve Chapelle was captured by them. Towards the end of October, the fighting on this front died down as the attention of both armies switched to Ypres.

On 19th October, the 4th Royal Fusiliers battalion of 9 Brigade, 3rd Division supported an attack on Le Pilly by 2nd Irish who captured the station there but received heavy losses in doing so. The following night a platoon was moved up to Le Pilly to give further support while the rest of 4th Royal Fusiliers held the west side of Herlies from the Le Pilly road. At 7 am on 20th October, there was a violent German bombardment of Le Pilly which reduced the village to ruins. This was followed by repeated infantry attacks. A company of 4th Royal Fusiliers were sent to support 1st Northumberland Fusiliers on the south side of the village and lost heavily as they advanced across the open shell torn land. In the afternoon the struggle grew more bitter and some men were sent back to prepare a second position. By late afternoon Le Pilly had been captured by the Germans and 4th Royal Fusiliers withdrew from Herlies and took up a position between Haut Pommereau and Le Plouich. A number of men from 4th Royal Fusiliers have their date of death recorded between 21st October and 24th October, but as there is little mentioned about these days in the battalion diary or elsewhere, it is more likely that they were killed in action on 20th October and their deaths not recorded until later. The diary records that on 24th October, 4th Royal Fusiliers were in divisional reserve at Pont du Hem so it is likely that Sidney Dovey was killed earlier.

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