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Le Touret Memorial, France Le Touret Memorial, France
First Name: Richard Last Name: URCH
Date of Death: 01/11/1914 Lived/Born In: Stratford
Rank: Private Unit: Scottish Borderers2
Memorial Site: Le Touret Memorial, France

Current Information:

Born-Haggerston

 

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 & 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 Messines - 12th October-2nd November 1914

The Battle of Messines was one of the actions that took place during the Race to the Sea and it took place between the Comines-Ypres canal and the River Douvre. It involved the 1st and 2nd Cavalry Divisions and elements of the 3rd, 4th and 5th Divisions as well part of the Indian Division.

On 30th October the enemy launched a series of attacks on the village of Messines and the 2nd Scottish Borderers battalion of 13 Brigade, 5th Division were one of the battalions sent there to lend assistance to the beleaguered Cavalry Corps trying to hold the village. The attacks continued the next day and the British line of defence had been withdrawn to the main street when, at 1pm, 2nd Scottish Borderers and 2nd Yorkshire light infantry attacked astride the Messines-Wulverghem road. However, with the two battalions numbering only 300 each there was little chance of regaining the lost trenches and machine-gun fire prevented 2nd Scottish Borderers from regaining any more than a few houses and the convent in the village. On 1st November, the day on which Richard Urch was killed, further enemy pressure at Messines resulted in the whole of the British line falling back to prepared positions and 2nd Scottish Borderers moved to trenches east of Wulverghem.

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