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Menin Gate, Ypres Menin Gate, Ypres
First Name: Edward George Last Name: BEMI
Date of Death: 31/10/1914 Lived/Born In: Battersea
Rank: Sergeant Unit: Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry2
Memorial Site: Menin Gate, Ypres

Current Information:



First Battle of Ypres

Between 21st October and 22nd November, 1914 a desperate fight took place around the Belgium city of Ypres, the first of three major battles that were to be fought there during the course of the war. British troops entered Ypres in October. The 1st and 2nd Divisions plus the 3rd Cavalry Division had made their way up from the Aisne as part of the “Race to the Sea”, whilst the 7th Division came west to Ypres after Antwerp had fallen. The Germans knew that Ypres was the gateway to the Channel ports and that these were vital to Britain’s war effort so they poured reinforcements into the area. The fighting fell into three distinct battles; the Battle of Langemarck, 21-24 October, the Battle of Gheluvelt, 29-31 October and the Battle of Nonne Bosschen, 11 November. Ypres did not fall to the Germans but its defence during these two months resulted in the destruction of much of the old regular British Army.


.On 31st October, 1914, there was desperate fighting in the morning against the British units, including 2nd Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry, 5 Brigade, 2nd Division in their defensive positions which lay across the forward slopes of three spurs that converged on Zandvoorde at Klien Zillebeke, the woods later known as Shrewsbury Forest and the group of houses  ¾ mile west of Gheluvelt, called Tower Hamlets.  1st Northamptonshire were ordered to stand firm whilst 2nd Gordon Highlanders, half of 2nd Sussex and half of 2nd Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry moved up to consolidate another position and later were involved in a last ditch counter attack which saved the day. 

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