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First Name: Heneage Greville Finch Last Name: FINCH
Date of Death: 14/09/1914 Lived/Born In: Belgravia
Rank: Captain Unit: Irish Guards
Memorial Site: House of Lords Memorial

Current Information:

3, Belgrave Square

Soupir Communal Cemetery, France

 

The Battle of the Aisne 13 -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.

Having crossed the River Aisne at Chavonne on 13th September, the following day, 14th September was a day of hard fighting for 4 (Guards) Brigade, 2nd Division.  A large German attack developed during the morning and in response, 2nd Grenadier Guards moved up on either side of La Cour de Soupir. The Germans then tried to outflank the left of 4Brigade but 3rd Coldstream Guards sent a company to help 2nd Grenadier Guards and the position held.  Reports arrived of a German withdrawal so Divisional HQ ordered the advance on the ridge to continue in the direction of Courtecon. In response, 1st Irish Guards moved north-west through woods causing 150 Germans near La Cour de Soupir to wave white flags.  Some of 1st Irish Guards and 3rd Coldstream moved out to accept the surrender when another body of Germans appeared on the skyline and opened fire.  Nevertheless the advance continued and the main body of 1st Irish Guards were 200 yards from the northern edge of the wood when they were stopped by more heavy fire. That night they withdrew back to bivouacks. One of their casualties on this day was Heneage Finch.

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