Ceremony to mark historic battle

Members of The Royal Sussex Regimental Association will be travelling to France next month to commemorate the centenary of an historic battle during the First World War.

The Battle of Aubers Ridge took place on May 9, 1915 and the association, which includes members from Hastings, will be marking the event on May 9.

There will be a presentation at the battlefield site and a commemoration service at Le Touret Cemetery, conducted by the Rev Jeremy James, vicar of Wadhurst.

Members of the association will also be on parade with branch standards and wreaths are also to be laid.

At the battlefield site gardens the president of the Sussex Regimental Association will be unveiling a commemorative bench.

The Battle of Aubers Ridge was a British offensive on the Western Front on May 9, 1915 during the First World War.

The battle was part of the British contribution to the Second Battle of Artois, a Franco-British offensive intended to exploit the German diversion of troops to the Eastern Front. The French Tenth Army was to attack the German Sixth Army north of Arras and capture Vimy Ridge, preparatory to an advance on Cambrai and Douai.

The British First Army on the left (northern) flank of the Tenth Army, was to attack on the same day and widen the gap in the German defences, expected to be made by the Tenth Army and to prevent German troops from being moved south of La Bassée canal.

This battle was an unmitigated disaster for the British army. No ground was won and no tactical advantage gained. The battle was renewed slightly to the south, from May 15 and is known as the Battle of Festubert.