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Le Touret Memorial, France Le Touret Memorial, France
First Name: William Henry Last Name: BLYTH
Date of Death: 26/10/1914 Lived/Born In: Tottenham
Rank: Private Unit: Middlesex4
Memorial Site: Le Touret Memorial, France

Current Information:


676, Seven Sisters Road, South Tottenham


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 3rd and 5th Divisions of III Corps 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 and when German reinforcements arrived 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.

During 20th and 21st October, 1914, the 4th Middlesex battalion of 8 Brigade, 3rd Division were in trenches in front of the village of Le Riez where they suffered many casualties when the Germans shelled the village. On 22nd October the battalion were withdrawn to billets and then moved to Fauquissart where they dug trenches which they occupied on 24th October. They then remained in these trenches until the end of the month sustaining a few casualties each day one of whom was William Blyth who was killed on the 26th October.

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