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Menin Gate, Ypres Menin Gate, Ypres
First Name: Stanley Duncan Last Name: COLDHAM
Date of Death: 08/05/1915 Lived/Born In: Wapping
Rank: Private Unit: Royal Fusiliers3
Memorial Site:

Current Information:

Born-Clare, Suffolk

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.

At 7 am on 8 May, 1915, there was a massive German bombardment on the front held by 28th Division followed by a strong infantry attack.  83 Brigade, in the front line at the time,  gave way and they were driven from their positions on the Frezenberg  Ridge.  To try to stem the German advance 3rd Middlesex  and 2nd East Surrey from 85 Brigade launched a counter attack and in the evening, 3rd Royal Fusiliers, the last reserve of 85 Brigade, were brought forward and thrust into the battle. The ‘History of the Royal Fusiliers’ states that they played no active part other than being sniped at from in front and from the right. Some of the lost trenches had been retaken but without artillery support no further advance could be made and 3rd Royal Fusiliers remained in this exposed position throughout the night with the casualty list steadily growing. 

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