Published By Ben Hillidge
Battle of the Marne. 2 Bn Royal Welsh Fusiliers. 5-12 September 1914.
GOOGLE MAPS Link centres on La Ferte sous Jourre where 2 Bn RWF crossed the River Marne
In August 1914 the 2 Bn Royal Welsh Fusiliers was stationed in Portland having recently returned from India. They were some of the first troops to go over to France with the BEF landing at Rouen on 11 August. They were, at first, assigned as HQ troops to the defend lines of communications. On 14 August they moved forward to positions at Valenciennes, about 35 Kilometres to the west of Mons, arriving on 22 August and were assigned to 19 Brigade. During the Retreat from Mons they withdrew southwards, at times fighting rearguard actions, eventually reaching Grisy, SE of Paris on 5 September. Then, almost immediately, they advanced in readiness for the Battle of the Marne.
On 7 September the Brigade reached La Haute Maison where they bivouacked for the night. Here, too, they came into contact with the enemy but they retired towards the bridge over the River Marne at La Ferte sous Jourre. The brigade moved off the next morning at 4am. The battalion was split, A&B Coys taking the left flank guard with C&D Coys in reserve. The Brigade advanced towards La Ferte sous Jourre and the river crossing. At Signy Signets the advance guard came under heavy enemy fire and the advance was halted for a time. When the situation had become clearer the advance continued and approached La Ferte sous Jourre. A&B Coys took up position on wooded heights over looking the village, C&D Coys were ordered to clear the village. There was serious street fighting to take the village accompanied by heavy enemy rifle fire from across the river but the village was taken by 7pm. The battalion was relieved at 7am on the 9 September and moved back to Signy Signets. The Battalion War Diary records 1 man killed and 12 wounded during the operation.
References and Sources – WAR DIARY 2 Bn RWF
B&O 1914. Battle of the Marne. 2 Bn Royal Welsh Fusiliers 5 – 12 September 1914