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Le Touret Memorial Le Touret Memorial
First Name: Francis Obree Last Name: JIGGINS
Date of Death: 21/10/1914 Lived/Born In: Silvertown
Rank: Private Unit: Cornwall Light Infantry1
Memorial Site: Le Touret Memorial

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 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 21st October a heavy German offensive developed against 3rd Division on the left of II Corps.  At 7am, under the cover of mist there was a particularly strong attack against 7 and 9 Brigades between Le Transloy and Herlies. A gap opened up in the British lines but German attempts to extend this gap were prevented in part by the stand made by 1st Cornwall Light Infantry,14th Brigade, 5th Division, at the southern edge of the gap.  Another strong German attack at 4pm resulted in all the officers of 1st CornwalI becoming casualties. At the end of the days fighting, they had lost, in one way or another, over 250 of their number. 

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