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First Name: Hubert Francis Last Name: CRICHTON
Date of Death: 01/09/1914 Lived/Born In: Belgravia
Rank: Major Unit: Irish Guards1
Memorial Site: Sloane Square, Holy Trinity

Current Information:


Sloane Square

Montreuil-aux-Lions British Cemetery, Aisne


After the opening battles of the war at Mons on 23rd August, 1914 and Le Cateau on 26th August, the British Army (BEF), in conjunction with the French Army, began a retreat that took them all the way back to the River Marne, 200 miles to the south. With the Germans in hot pursuit they were forced to fight a series of rear guard actions as they fell back in extremely hot weather. The Great Retreat, as it became known, came to an end on 5th September, 1914 when the allied forces attacked along the River Marne and drove the Germans back to the River Aisne.

On 1st  September, as the Great Retreat continued, the 1st Irish Guards battalion of 4 Brigade, 2nd Division,  came into action. Along with the rest of 4 Brigade they covered the withdrawal of the rest of 2nd Division, from a position to the east of Taillefontaine, five miles from Villers Cottérêts. At 10am 1st Irish Guards & 2nd Coldstream Guards were attacked between Vivières and Puiseux.  2nd Coldstream were sent back to the railway north of Villers Cottérêts but then orders arrived to delay any further falling back so as to allow 2nd Division a long midday rest.  1st Irish Guards waited alone and at 10.45am, the Germans launched a strong attack on them despite which they still managed to fall back fighting to join up with 2nd Grenadier Guards and 3rd Coldstream Guards. There was a degree of confusion and much intermingling as the three battalions fought their way back through the forest to Villers Cottérêts which they reached by 2pm. They had been engaged against a much larger German force and 4 Brigade suffered over 300 casualties, one of whom was Hubert Crichton.

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