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First Name: John William Last Name: LEWIS
Date of Death: 18/09/1914 Lived/Born In: Westbourne Park
Rank: Private Unit: Yorkshire Light Infantry2
Memorial Site:

Current Information:


11, Modena Street, Kensal Road, Westbourne Park

Vailly British Cemetery, France


The Battle of the Aisne 13th September -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.

After crossing the River Aisne on 14th September the 2nd Yorkshire Light Infantry battalion of 13 Brigade, 5th Division joined became part of the advance towards the enemy. Some progress was made but the Germans were well dug in and all forward movement soon came to a halt. In the face of sniper fire and shell fire 2nd Yorkshire Light Infantry began digging in as well and here both sides remained. John Willis died from wounds on 18th September.

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