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First Name: George Last Name: ACKLAND
Date of Death: 23/04/1917 Lived/Born In: Plumstead
Rank: Private Unit: Royal Fusiliers10
Memorial Site:

Current Information:

Born-Greenwich

Chili Trench Cemetery, Gavrelle, France

 

The Battle of Arras was a series of offensives by the British Army between 9th April 1917 and 16th May 1917. It had been planned in conjunction with the French who would attack in Artois and between them the Allies would force the Germans out of the large salient they had held since the line of trenches was first established. But the Germans had spoiled this plan by falling back to the new and very strong Hindenburg Line in January 1917 and the salient no longer existed.  For the want of an alternative plan the attack went ahead anyway. It all started well for the British who made substantial gains on the first two days but then the offensive ground to a halt and by the end their losses amounted to over 150,000.

The Second Battle of the Scarpe (23-24 April, 1917)

The British offensive at Arras was resumed on 23rd April, 1917, when they attacked eastwards along an nine mile front from Croisilles to Gavrelle on both sides of the  River Scarpe in what some came to consider was the hardest fighting of the war so far. 37th Division attacked north of The River Scarpe with its main objective being the Roeux-Gavrelle road. 111 Brigade advanced from the Oppy Line in what the Official History described as one of the finest feats of the day. Attacking with 10th Royal Fusiliers, 13th Royal Fusiliers and 13th King’s Royal Rifle Corps they advanced behind a creeping artillery barrage and captured the first trench In the confusion of battle 10th Royal Fusiliers lost contact for a while with the battalions to their right and left and this isolation left them vulnerable to machine-gun fire from the flanks. Many of their casualties came at this stage of the battle. Nevertheless they managed to push even further forward, crossing the Roeux-Gavrelle road and establishing themselves in Cuba Trench some 200 yards further on. However, by this time, 10th Royal Fusiliers had been reduced to three officers and around twenty men. Elements of 13th Royal Fusiliers and 13th King’s Royal Rifle Corps began arriving at Cuba Trench and the position was consolidated but patrols pushed out to the right to make contact with 63 Brigade had no luck. To deal with this a defensive flank was formed on the right until contact was finally made in the evening. 10th Royal Fusiliers remained in this forward and exposed trench until 29th April during which time they sustained many casualties, one of them being George Ackland, who was killed on 23rd April.

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