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Le Trou Aid Post Cemetery, Fleurbaix, France Le Trou Aid Post Cemetery, Fleurbaix, France
First Name: Dudley Charles James Last Name: COPLAND
Date of Death: 09/05/1915 Lived/Born In: South Hampstead
Rank: Second Lieutenant Unit: Sherwood Foresters1
Memorial Site: Hampstead, Holy Trinity

Current Information:

Age-19

77, Broadhurst Gardens, South Hampstead

Le Trou Aid Post Cemetery, Fleurbaix, France

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.

8th Division attacked towards Fromelles, 6000 yards to the north of Aubers Ridge. Their attack went in astride the Fromelles road with 24 Brigade to the south of it and 25 Brigade to the north. Facing 24 Brigade was a pronounced salient which 2nd Northamptonshire attacked from the right side and 2nd East Lancashire from the left with 300 yards between the two battalions. 2nd East Lancashire were heavily shelled when forming up in front of their breastwork for the assault during the intense stage of the British bombardment and when they advanced they got no further than 50 yards with the Germans actually standing on top of the parapet, firing at them.

Half an hour later at 6.10am, the support battalion of 24 Brigade, 1st Sherwood Foresters attacked  in support of  2nd East Lancashire but they were checked within 40 yards of the German line.  There was only one gap in the wire here and the sunken wire in the ditch immediately in front of the German breastwork was untouched.

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