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Ploegsteert Memorial, Belgium Ploegsteert Memorial, Belgium
First Name: Arthur Last Name: KITCHENER
Date of Death: 09/05/1915 Lived/Born In: Notting Hill
Rank: Lance Corporal Unit: Royal Berkshire2
Memorial Site: Ploegsteert Memorial, Belgium

Current Information:

Enlisted-London

Battle of Aubers Ridge

On 9 May 1915 the British attacked north at Arras as part of the British contribution to the Second Battle of Artois, a Franco-British offensive. Their objective was the capture of Aubers Ridge but it turned into an unmitigated disaster. The German defences had been much improved since the Battle of Neuve Chapelle in March and the British  artillery was in a parlous condition and failed to destroy the German defences during the short and insufficient 40 minute bombardment that preceded the attack. Extra artillery had been requested but further to the north, the Second Battle of Ypres was being fought on a ferocious scale and none was forthcoming. The few initial gains could not be held and by the evening of 9 May, all the British forces were back where they started, except of course the dead who littered the battlefield. There were 11,000 casualties for the British Army.

The 2nd Royal Berkshires, were part of 25 Brigade, 8th Division which attacked on the left of the British line towards Fromelles. They were in support  to 2nd Rifle Brigade and 13th London and when they moved up to press home the attack, they found the front line in a state of confusion. There were many dead there and by now men were streaming back, having been given the order to retire. The efforts of 2nd Royal Berkshire to reinforce the attack were in vain and their own casualties numbered nearly 300.

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