During the Allied retreat across the Marne river in September 1914, all of the bridges were blown. When the British and French counter-attacked during the Battle of the Marne, there were no crossing points along the river and pontoon bridges had be put in place by engineers. At La Ferte sous Jouarre on 9th September 1914, Royal Engineer units from the British 4th Division placed such a bridge across the Marne alongside the ruins of one that had been destroyed. While doing so they were under fire from the Germans on the opposite bank. The Official History records that the bridge here consisted of 2 trestles, 4 pontoons, 4 barrel piers, 1 barge and 2 boats. It was completed by 7am on 10th September 1914, and infantry and artillery from 4th Division then began to cross.

After the war this important feat during this key battle was recognised by placing two memorials on each bank of the Marne, on the spot where the bridge had been in 1914. To commemorate the role of the Royal Engineers each was engraved with the RE badge and topped with a flaming ball; also the insignia of the Royal Engineers.


ŠPaul Reed 2005

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