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Le Touret Memorial, France Le Touret Memorial, France
First Name: George Last Name: HOLLIS
Date of Death: 24/10/1914 Lived/Born In: London W C
Rank: Bandsman Unit: Devonshire1
Memorial Site: Le Touret Memorial, France

Current Information:




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 Bassé

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.

During the night of 16/17th October, 1914, the 1st Devonshire battalion of 8 Brigade, 3rd Division advanced along the La Bassée Canal towards the bridge south of Canteleux and entrenched east of Givenchy. On the following day, 17th October they advanced again in conjunction with the French who were on the south side of the canal but were forced to stop at 2pm when the enemy fire became too great. During the next day they pushed their line forward to a trench line that ran north to south through Canteleux. Here they remained under persistent artillery and rifle fire for five days and on the evening of 22nd October they withdrew to a new line at Givenchy. Their stay here at Givenchy lasted until they were relieved by French troops on 26th October after which they moved back to billets in Festubert.  As had been the case at Canteleux, during these four days in the Givenchy trenches, 1st Devonshire had to contend with a great deal of shell fire although no infantry attack on their lines developed. George Hollis was killed on 24th October.

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