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Le Touret Memorial, France Le Touret Memorial, France
First Name: Charles John Last Name: SHENNAN
Date of Death: 21/12/1914 Lived/Born In: Camden Town
Rank: Private Unit: Manchester1
Memorial Site: Le Touret Memorial, France

Current Information:


12, Hampden Street, St Pancras


At the outbreak of the war in August 1914, the 1st Manchester battalion were in India as part The Jullunder Brigade, Lahore Division but they were soon on their way to France as part of the India Corps and reached Marseilles on 26th September.From there the Indian Corps moved north and by the end of October they were holding the line in the Festubert area.

On 20th December, whist in billets in Bethune, 1st Manchester received orders to march to Gorre to come to the assistance of the Sirhind Brigade. Early that morning, the Germans had bombarded the whole of the Sirhind Brigade front and had exploded 10 small mines under the trenches in front of Givenchy. This was followed by an infantry attack on Givenchy and up to La Quinque Rue. 1st Manchester were tasked with attacking the German trenches to the east of Givenchy and retaking the village. They moved forward at 3pm and found the village very strongly defended. Heavy hand-to-hand fighting ensued with the enemy holding their positions house by house and they were not driven out until the evening. 1st Manchester held the village during the night but their position was precarious and they were in grave danger of being surrounded and cut off.

The next day, 21st December, saw even heavier fighting for 1st Manchester. At 6.30am they launched an attack on the German trenches.They were met with withering fire made even more deadly as they were clearly illuminated by two blazing haystacks behind them and were unable to reach the German lines. Then, at 11pm, the Germans opened up a bombardment on Givenchy followed by an infantry attack. Despite the weight of this attack 1st Manchester stood firm until the French unit on their left were forced out of their positions which left them no option but to withdraw or be surrounded. They pulled back to Pont Fixe. Their casualties over the two days amounted to over 250 officers and men but their prolonged resistance had allowed other units to move forward and stabilise the line. One of those who did not survive was Charles Shennan who was killed on 21st December.

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