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Arras Memorial, France Arras Memorial, France
First Name: Harry Leslie Last Name: CARTER
Date of Death: 14/04/1917 Lived/Born In: Brockley
Rank: Rifleman Unit: London16
Memorial Site: Arras Memorial, France

Current Information:

Age-20

Enlisted-Westminster

 

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)

169 Brigade was in reserve when, on the morning of 9th April, 1917, the opening day of the battle, the other two brigades of  56th (London) Division attacked and captured the strongly fortified village of Neuville-Vitasse, just to the south of Arras. Two days later, on 11th April, they relieved 167 Brigade and the 16th London battalion moved up to the Cojeul Switch  trench system.. An attack was planned for 13th April and in order to take part in this, three companies of the 16th London battalion were sent forward to Nepal Trench in the Wancourt line. However, because the neighbouring divisions were unable to get their troops forward, the attack was postponed until the following day. At 5.30am on 14th April, 16th London and 9th London attacked towards the Sensée River and the village of Chérisy. The London battalions came nowhere near reaching these objectives. They were hit by the German artillery and from unexpected fire from their flanks as they headed towards their first objective, a ridge running to the west of Chérisy. Both battalions sought what cover they could but then had to contend with a determined counter attack from the enemy which drove them back to their starting line. Between them the two battalions had sustained over 600 casualties and gained nothing. Harry Carter was one of those killed. 

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