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Le Touret Memorial, France Le Touret Memorial, France
First Name: Arthur James Last Name: COLLINS
Date of Death: 17/05/1915 Lived/Born In: Clapton
Rank: Private Unit: Cameron Highlanders4
Memorial Site: Le Touret Memorial, France

Current Information:

Age-24

157, Mount Pleasant Lane, Upper Clapton

 

The Battle of Festubert (15–25 May 1915)

This followed quickly on the heels of  the Battle of Aubers Ridge and was an offensive operation by the British Army in the Artois region of France in conjunction with a French attack further south.  Initial success soon ground to a halt and although there had been an advance of two miles in some places the end result was not the hoped for breakout but merely more muddy trenches which became the front line. British casualties over the ten days amounted to nearly 17,000, three times as many as inflicted on the Germans.

The Battle of Festubert was preceded by a three day bombardment of the enemy positions and  at 11.30pm on 16th May, 7th Division attacked using 20 and 22 Brigades and although they finally managed to secure most of their objectives they did so at a terrible cost in casualties. The next day it was the turn of 21 Brigade. At 2pm, 2nd Wiltshire and 2nd Royal Scots Fusiliers attacked eastwards towards La Quinque Rue between the Orchard and the cross roads south of Ferme Cour d’Avoué.  On the right 2nd Wiltshire managed to occupy the northern section of the breastworks there but had to abandon this when they met concentrated flanking fire from previously unknown German positions.  2nd Royal Scots Fusiliers suffered heavily at the hands of 2nd Division’s artillery which fell short among their ranks and stopped them from going forward. At 7.30pm, 2nd Bedfordshire and 4th Cameron Highlanders, attacked in a south-east direction towards the southern section of the breastworks near Rue d’Ouvert.  which had just been reinforced by two companies of German troops.  Their attack took them across 400 yards of no-man’s-land where the 12 inch high grass concealed a number of broad dykes into which some men fell and drowned.  About 200 of 4th Cameron Highlanders managed to enter the breastwork but overnight, in heavy rain, they were bombed out and were forced to retire along the dykes with casualties amounting to nearly 250, killed, wounded or missing. One of these was Arthur Collins.

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