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Le Touret Memorial, France Le Touret Memorial, France
First Name: Albert John Last Name: REYNOLDS
Date of Death: 14/10/1914 Lived/Born In: Bloomsbury
Rank: Private Unit: East Surrey1
Memorial Site: Le Touret Memorial

Current Information:

Age-28

245, Peabody Buildings, Herbrand Street, Bloomsbury

 

The Race to the Sea. September-October 1914

By the middle of September 1914, the Aisne battlefield had stagnated into trench warfare and in order to break this impasse, both sides tried to outflank each other in a general movement northwards. Moving up through Picardy, Artois and Flanders, the race was over by 19th October when the North Sea was reached. The Western Front, a line of trenches stretching from Belgium to Switzerland, was now a reality. Initially it was the French army that conducted this movement whilst the British Expeditionary Force remained on the Aisne but by 6 October British reinforcements were needed to help beat off German attacks around Lille. They moved north and along with reinforcements from Britain, they took up new positions in Flanders, on the left of the Allied line and much closer to the Channel ports.

The Battle of La Bassée,

This was fought by II Corps (3rd and 5th Divisions) between 10th October and 2nd November 1914 and as the name suggests it focused on an area around the town of  La Bassée in northern France. It was part of the Race to the Sea and it determined the line of the Western Front in that sector. There were some initial British successes but La Bassée remained firmly in enemy hands and when German reinforcements arrived the village of Neuve Chapelle was captured by them as well. Towards the end of October, the fighting on this front died down as the attention of both armies switched to Ypres.

On 12th October II Corps advanced on an eight mile front, astride the La Bassée canal but the going was tough and slow with the enemy contesting every stage of the advance. The 1st East Surrey battalion of 14 Brigade, 5th Division, advanced to a position two miles west of Richebourg-St Vaast and a further move forward then brought them in contact with the Germans. Here they entrenched and repelled an enemy counter attack between the junctions of 3rd and 5th Divisions. Their casualties for the day amounted to 22 and included Robert Stocker. The advance continued on the following day and 1st East Surrey ended the day facing east, astride the Rue des Bercaux, halfway between Richebourg-St Vaast and Richbourg-L’Avoue. Here they entrenched and remained for three days. On the following morning, 14th October, they came under heavy fire during the relief of the front companies and suffered over thirty casualties including Albert Reynolds who was killed.

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