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First Name: Reginald Last Name: MACHIN
Date of Death: 09/05/1915 Lived/Born In: Plumstead
Rank: Company Sergeant Major Unit: King's Royal Rifle Corps3
Memorial Site:

Current Information:

Age-30

18 Bostall Hill, Plumstead

New Irish Farm Cemetery, Belgium

Battle of Frezenberg Ridge (8 May-13 May)

In April 1915 the Germans, using gas for the first time, launched an all out attack on the salient around the Belgian town of Ypres. It became a gargantuan struggle that lasted well into the next month and at the end of it, the salient, though drastically reduced, still stood.

The name is deceptive because the Frezenberg ridge, which lay to the north-east of the town rose to only 50 metres above sea level and was one of a series of low ridges that ran in a generally westerly direction and branched off the main ridge that ran north-easterly from Kemmel to Passchendaele. Nevertheless, it gave a commanding view down on to the town of Ypres and for that reason it was strategically important.

On 8th  May, 1915 at dawn there was a violent bombardment on the front held by 28th Division and 80 Brigade, 27th Division on the Frezenberg Ridge. The full fury of the bombardment lasted for four hours. Parapets were flattened and trenches destroyed.  At 8.30am the German guns lifted onto the support trenches and approach roads and their infantry assaulted the front of the Frezenberg ridge with the brunt of the attack falling on 3rd Monmouth and 2nd Royal Lancaster of 83 Brigade and 1st Suffolk and 2nd Cheshire from 84 Brigade. 80 Brigade, 27th Division were in the line to the right of 83 Brigade. They had 4th King’s Royal Rifle Corps and Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry in the line, holding Hooge Woods and Bellewaarde ridge on a 1200 yards front.  The terrific German bombardment caused many casualties but with reinforcements from 4th Rifle Brigade and 3rd King’s Royal Rifle Corps the Germans were checked. The battalions of 80 Brigade were able to clear their front of all of the enemy except for a few snipers in an action, which along with that of 28th Division, was one of the heroic episodes of the war.

80 Brigade remained in these positions, astride the Menin Road, for the next two days and nights. On 9th May at 4 o’clock in the afternoon there was a ferocious bombardment of the British positions which lasted 20 minutes and was immediately followed by the enemy attacking in three infantry lines. The combined fire of 80 Brigade brought the attack to a halt with great loss for the Germans. The same thing happened the following day, 10th May, but this time the shelling started at 10.30 in the morning and lasted for three hours. So fierce was this bombardment that front line trenches were demolished and their occupants buried alive. The survivors fell back 300 yards to the support trenches which the became the front line and where the ensuing infantry attack was again repelled.

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