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First Name: Albert Last Name: CRAWFORD
Date of Death: 14/09/1914 Lived/Born In: Isleworth
Rank: Private Unit: Lancashire Fusiliers2
Memorial Site:

Current Information:

Age-23

586, London Road, Isleworth

Born-Clapham

Vauxbuin French National Cemetery

 

The Battle of the Aisne 13th September -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.

On 13th September, 1914, 12 Brigade of 4th Division crossed the Aisne at Venizel. The heavy German howitzers on the Chivres spur, caused problems especially as the artillery of 4th and 5th Divisions were south of the river and out of range. Nevertheless by 11am all of 12 Brigade was across and the 2nd Lancashire Fusiliers and 2nd Essex battalions moved across 2 miles of water meadows to Bucy le Long at the foot of the northern ridge.  They met shrapnel fire en route but little damage was done. They then went on to attack the Chivres spur astride the Chivres-Ste Marguerite road and across swampy, unknown ground where the thick undergrowth made progress very slow. They came under heavy fire from trenches south of Chivres village and on their right flank too from Germans on the western slopes of the Chivres spur. 2nd Lancashire Fusiliers engaged these forces but could advance no further and held on in this position until relieved by 2nd Manchester at nightfall. Although the death of Albert Crawford is recorded as 14th September, it is more likely that he was killed on 13th September, during this operation, but that his death was not recorded until the following day.

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