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La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial, France La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial, France
First Name: Walter Edward Last Name: HOSKINS
Date of Death: 17/09/1914 Lived/Born In: Wood Green
Rank: Private Unit: Middlesex4
Memorial Site: La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial, France

Current Information:


2, Lakefield Villas, Westbury Avenue, Wood Green


The Battle of the Aisne 13th September -28 September

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.

At dawn on 14th  September, 8 Brigade of 3rd Division , having crossed the Aisne the previous day, moved up towards the crest of the Jouy spur. However they were unable to remain in this position in the face of German fire power and at 4 pm they retired and moved back to a position one mile north of Vailly where they were to stay for nineteen days.

Between 16th and 19th September, the 4th Middlesex battalion were at Bois Marin on the Aisne, watching the Condé bridge.  To escape observation they moved into the woods in the day and lined its edge at night.  No fires were allowed so they survived on cold rations.  At the approach of German planes whistles were blown. The records make no mention of casualties, except that they all occurred on either 16th or 17th September. It is probable that most of the deaths were as a result of shell fire including that of Walter Hoskins on 17th September.

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