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La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial, France La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial, France
First Name: James Last Name: COE
Date of Death: 15/09/1914 Lived/Born In: Leytonstone
Rank: Gunner Unit: Royal Field Artillery 37th Brigade 31st Battery
Memorial Site: 1. Leyton Library 2. Le Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial, France

Current Information:


3, Holloway Road, Leytonstone


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, 37th Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery, attached to 4th Division, crossed the Aisne at Venizel. The following day, 15th September, they were at Bucy-le-Long and in the morning 31 and 55 Batteries were in action. At 2pm an enemy plane flew over the guns and then signalled back their position. Shortly afterwards both batteries came under heavy fire from 21cm mortars and between 40-50 shells fell among them. 31 Battery had 16 men killed, 12 wounded and lost 33 of their horses,  One shell fell among men who had been moved to a sunken road for shelter and killed 12 of them. One of those killed was James Coe.

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