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Ploegsteert Memorial, Belgium Ploegsteert Memorial, Belgium
First Name: Albert Edward Last Name: ELLIS
Date of Death: 22/10/1914 Lived/Born In: Bow
Rank: Lance Corporal Unit: Scottish Rifles1
Memorial Site: Ploegsteert Memorial, Belgium

Current Information:


99, Swaton Road, Bromley-by-Bow



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 Armentières  12th October-2nd November 1914

The official History pinpoints the battle of Armentières to a series of battles that took place between the river Douve and a line between Estaires and Foumers. It was part of the Race to the Sea and it determined the line of the Western Front in that sector.

The 1st Scottish Rifles battalion were part of 19 Brigade which at that time were not attached to any particular division but operating as part of III Corps. On 21st October, 1914 they marched to Bas Maisnil from Fromelles and moved forward in support of 1st Middlesex. However the shelling was so fierce that fell back to La Boutillerie. On the next day, 22nd Octoberber, a covering party was sent out early in the morning. The enemy allowed them to get close then hit them with machine-gun and rifle fire. They moved back a little to avoid the worst of this but then dug in and stood their ground despite the heavy shelling that continued throughout the day. In the evening a German infantry attack on their positions was repelled but the battalion suffered over fifty casualties. Albert Ellis was killed in action on 22nd October.

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