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Le Touret Memorial, France Le Touret Memorial, France
First Name: William George Last Name: BUTCHER
Date of Death: 15/10/1914 Lived/Born In: Sydenham
Rank: Lance Corporal Unit: Wiltshire1
Memorial Site: Le Touret Memorial, France

Current Information:


Born & Enlisted-Wiltshire


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 13th October,1914, the 1st Wiltshire battalion of 7 Brigade, 3rd Division was part of a general advance eastwards, hoping to turn the German line. They drove some Germans back across the River Loisne and 1st Wiltshire entrenched near Lacouture before advancing to Neuve Chapelle on 16th October. During this time their casualties mounted up and included William Butcher on 15th October.

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