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La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial, France La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial, France
First Name: William George Last Name: CHILVERS
Date of Death: 22/09/1914 Lived/Born In: Tidal Basin
Rank: Private Unit: Royal Fusiliers4
Memorial Site: La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial, France

Current Information:

Born-West Ham


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.

On 20th September1914, 9 Brigade of 3rd Division were in the line south-west of Rouge Maison on the Aisne, where they were subjected to a violent bombardment after which the enemy brought forward a machine gun and a field gun to enfilade their trenches.  Overnight the Germans had moved forward unnoticed and were entrenched within 400 yards of 1st Northumberland Fusiliers on the left of 4th Royal Fusiliers. However, at 9 am, before the attack could develop, two howitzers of XXX Brigade forced the Germans to withdraw their guns.  1st Northumberland Fusiliers then counter attacked and drove the Germans from the wood on their front.  At 1 pm the fighting here died down and at 5 pm 1st Lincolnshire relieved 4th Royal Fusiliers who went back to Vailly after seven days and nights in the trenches. The following day, 21st September, they moved to Courcelles and billets and although the death of William Chilvers is recorded as being on 22nd September, it is much more likely that he was killed on the 20th September. 

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