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Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, France Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, France
First Name: Robert William Last Name: SCHOFIELD
Date of Death: 01/11/1914 Lived/Born In: Homerton
Rank: Private Unit: Middlesex1
Memorial Site:

Current Information:


79, Nisbet Street, Homerton

Boulogne Eastern 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 6th 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 at that time consisted of 4th and 6th Divisions plus 19 Brigade.

On 22nd October, the 1st Middlesex battalion of 19 Brigade took up a defensive position between La Boutillerie and Rouge Bancs. Here they remained until the end of the month, subjected to continuous sniping and shelling and inevitably there were many casualties. Their situation worsened in the early hours of 30th October when the enemy attacked their trenches. 1st Middlesex waited until they were at the wire, forty yards in front, and then opened rapid fire.  Despite this some German soldiers managed to penetrate between C and D Companies.  B Company tried but failed to evict them as did a platoon from Battalion HQ but a third attack in which all HQ staff and some of 2nd Argyle & Sutherland Highlanders were used, did manage to retake the lost trenches. Robert Schofield died from wounds on 1st November, 1914 after having been taken back to a base hospital on the coast but the exact day on which he was wounded is not known. 

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