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La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial, France La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial, France
First Name: Sydney Maggs Last Name: GRAY
Date of Death: 15/09/1914 Lived/Born In: Kilburn
Rank: Private Unit: Dorset1
Memorial Site: La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial, France

Current Information:


87, Hartland Road, Kilburn


The Battle of the Aisne 13th September -28 September

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 14th September, 1914, the leading battalions of 15 Brigade, 5th Division, moved out from Ste Marguerite and at 2.30pm reached the village of Missy where they met strong resistance and were unable to proceed further. The 1st Dorset battalion, bringing up the rear had only reached Ste Marguerite when they were they were forced to take shelter from shell fire in a sunken road. On the following day, 15th September, they moved to join the rest of the brigade in Missy, coming under shell fire as they did so. Sydney Gray did not survive the day.

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