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Le Touret Memorial, France Le Touret Memorial, France
First Name: Herbert Last Name: BLOWS
Date of Death: 12/10/1914 Lived/Born In: Plaistow
Rank: Corporal Unit: Dorset1
Memorial Site: Le Touret Memorial

Current Information:


73, Pelly Road, Plaistow


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 Bassée,

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.

On 2nd October, 1914 the 1st Dorset battalion and the rest of 15 Brigade, 5th Division, left the Aisne and began their move northwards. By 11th October they had reached Bethune where they took up outposts along the canal and on the next day, 12th October, they marched, via Gorre, towards Festubert. Enemy shell fire caused them to halt for a while on the Rue de Bethune after which they moved along the canal tow path to Pont Fixé where they took up positions in a large, unfinished factory. At 4pm they joined in an attack against the enemy positions and made good progress, ending up on a line stretching from the La Bassée Canal to a large farm north of Givenchy. The battalion suffered over sixty casualties during this operation, one of whom was Herbert Blows.

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