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First Name: William Last Name: WARD
Date of Death: 19/09/1914 Lived/Born In: Borough
Rank: Private Unit: Royal Irish Fusiliers1
Memorial Site:

Current Information:

Born-Southwark

Neuilly-sur-Seine New Communal Cemetery, France

 

The Battle of the Aisne  13-28 September, 1914

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.

The 1st Royal Irish Fusiliers battalion of 10 Brigade, 4th Division, crossed the Aisne on 13th September and took up a reserve position near the village of Bucy-le-Long. Although they were in reserve, they still came under shell fire and the battalion suffered a number of casualties, one of whom was William Ward who died from wounds on 19th September.

 

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