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Arras Memorial, France Arras Memorial, France
First Name: James George Last Name: SMITH
Date of Death: 09/04/1917 Lived/Born In: St Luke's
Rank: Private Unit: Liverpool (Kings)17
Memorial Site: Arras Memorial, France

Current Information:

Born-St Luke's


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 First Battle of the Scarpe (9-14 April)

On 9th April, 1917, 30th Division attacked in the southern part of the battle front, just to the north of the River Cojeul. The assault by 89 Brigade on the left of the divisional front was made by the 19th Liverpool and 20th Liverpool battalions with 2nd Bedfordshire in support and 17th Liverpool providing carrying parties bringing forward ammunition and mopping up captured enemy positions. The brigade met very heavy machine-gun fire and the attack failed. The men were forced to take cover in shell holes and were later withdrawn to St Martin to allow a fresh assault to take place. Among their many casualties was James Smith of 17th Liverpool.

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